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Information Wars: America vs. Russia



The situation in Crimea is quickly turning scary. Talking head Obama previously only spoke about vague retaliatory threats, but today it appears real economic and visa sanctions against Russia will soon be a reality. Meanwhile, it's very difficult to understand what truly is happening from a distance. In America, most people can view English language news on the Russian channel "RT", which is government-sponsored. Obviously the slant here is pro-Putin, yet I still occasionally watch it to try to understand the perspective of those who support intervention in the region. One of the broadcasters officially resigned on air yesterday, stating that she could no longer deliver false information to the viewing audience, or support Russia's actions in Crimea.

Yesterday, the U.S. State Department issued an official press release entitled "President Putin's Fiction: 10 False Claims About Ukraine." The text is reproduced below. Some Russian media portray most of these claims as truth, and I don't know what to believe. Perhaps the only people who really know the truth are those on the ground, or our fearless leaders who sit behind closed doors and instigate further actions which will likely impact citizens of both nations, either economically, or limiting travel options for some. So educate me if you wish. Which of these State Department "false claims" do you believe to be truth? Do you support the actions of your nation?

I will read your comments and make my own judgments, but please be respectful to one another if you wish to engage in a dialogue or debate with another reader. It's not about who is right or wrong, but about calling out blatant lies on both sides of the fence. This will be my only post about the Crimean situation, and it mostly serves as a quest for personal enlightenment.

President Putin's Fiction: 10 False Claims About Ukraine
U.S. Department of State - Great Seal
Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
March 5, 2014



As Russia spins a false narrative to justify its illegal actions in Ukraine, the world has not seen such startling Russian fiction since Dostoyevsky wrote, “The formula ‘two plus two equals five’ is not without its attractions.” Below are 10 of President Vladimir Putin’s recent claims justifying Russian aggression in the Ukraine, followed by the facts that his assertions ignore or distort:

1. Mr. Putin says: Russian forces in Crimea are only acting to protect Russian military assets. It is “citizens’ defense groups,” not Russian forces, who have seized infrastructure and military facilities in Crimea.

The Facts: Strong evidence suggests that members of Russian security services are at the heart of the highly organized anti-Ukraine forces in Crimea. While these units wear uniforms without insignia, they drive vehicles with Russian military license plates and freely identify themselves as Russian security forces when asked by the international media and the Ukrainian military. Moreover, these individuals are armed with weapons not generally available to civilians.


2. Mr. Putin says: Russia’s actions fall within the scope of the 1997 Friendship Treaty between Ukraine and the Russian Federation.

The Facts: The 1997 agreement requires Russia to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity. Russia’s military actions in Ukraine, which have given them operational control of Crimea, are in clear violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.


3. Mr. Putin says: The opposition failed to implement the February 21 agreement with former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

The Facts: The February 21 agreement laid out a plan in which the Rada, or Parliament, would pass a bill to return Ukraine to its 2004 Constitution, thus returning the country to a constitutional system centered around its parliament. Under the terms of the agreement, Yanukovych was to sign the enacting legislation within 24 hours and bring the crisis to a peaceful conclusion. Yanukovych refused to keep his end of the bargain. Instead, he packed up his home and fled, leaving behind evidence of wide-scale corruption.

4. Mr. Putin says: Ukraine’s government is illegitimate. Yanukovych is still the legitimate leader of Ukraine.

The Facts: On March 4, President Putin himself acknowledged the reality that Yanukovych “has no political future.” After Yanukovych fled Ukraine, even his own Party of Regions turned against him, voting to confirm his withdrawal from office and to support the new government. Ukraine’s new government was approved by the democratically elected Ukrainian Parliament, with 371 votes – more than an 82% majority. The interim government of Ukraine is a government of the people, which will shepherd the country toward democratic elections on May 25th – elections that will allow all Ukrainians to have a voice in the future of their country.

5. Mr. Putin says: There is a humanitarian crisis and hundreds of thousands are fleeing Ukraine to Russia and seeking asylum.

The Facts: To date, there is absolutely no evidence of a humanitarian crisis. Nor is there evidence of a flood of asylum-seekers fleeing Ukraine for Russia. International organizations on the ground have investigated by talking with Ukrainian border guards, who also refuted these claims. Independent journalists observing the border have also reported no such flood of refugees.


6. Mr. Putin says: Ethnic Russians are under threat.

The Facts:  Outside of Russian press and Russian state television, there are no credible reports of any ethnic Russians being under threat. The new Ukrainian government placed a priority on peace and reconciliation from the outset. President Oleksandr Turchynov refused to sign legislation limiting the use of the Russian language at regional level. Ethnic Russians and Russian speakers have filed petitions attesting that their communities have not experienced threats. Furthermore, since the new government was established, calm has returned to Kyiv. There has been no surge in crime, no looting, and no retribution against political opponents.

7. Mr. Putin says: Russian bases are under threat.

The Facts:  Russian military facilities were and remain secure, and the new Ukrainian government has pledged to abide by all existing international agreements, including those covering Russian bases. It is Ukrainian bases in Crimea that are under threat from Russian military action.


8. Mr. Putin says: There have been mass attacks on churches and synagogues in southern and eastern Ukraine.

The Facts:  Religious leaders in the country and international religious freedom advocates active in Ukraine have said there have been no incidents of attacks on churches. All of Ukraine’s church leaders, including representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate, have expressed support for the new political leadership, calling for national unity and a period of healing. Jewish groups in southern and eastern Ukraine report that they have not seen an increase in anti-Semitic incidents.


9. Mr. Putin says: Kyiv is trying to destabilize Crimea.

The Facts:  Ukraine’s interim government has acted with restraint and sought dialogue. Russian troops, on the other hand, have moved beyond their bases to seize political objectives and infrastructure in Crimea. The government in Kyiv immediately sent the former Chief of Defense to defuse the situation. Petro Poroshenko, the latest government emissary to pursue dialogue in Crimea, was prevented from entering the Crimean Rada.


10. Mr. Putin says: The Rada is under the influence of extremists or terrorists.

The Facts:  The Rada is the most representative institution in Ukraine. Recent legislation has passed with large majorities, including from representatives of eastern Ukraine. Far-right wing ultranationalist groups, some of which were involved in open clashes with security forces during the EuroMaidan protests, are not represented in the Rada. There is no indication that the Ukrainian government would pursue discriminatory policies; on the contrary, they have publicly stated exactly the opposite.

Comments

( 197 comments — Leave a comment )
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rider3099
Mar. 6th, 2014 11:29 pm (UTC)
It was really 10 False Claims About Ukraine. I listened/watched Putin’s press-conference from the beginning to the end.
peacetraveler22
Mar. 6th, 2014 11:46 pm (UTC)
Olga, do you have any family or friends in this region of Ukraine?
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(no subject) - skvorets1989 - Mar. 22nd, 2014 06:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
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onkel_hans
Mar. 6th, 2014 11:50 pm (UTC)
Watch his face when he is explaining how he will use the human shield of children and women to fight Ukrainians:


Imperatively, never watch the RT! It is not one but already two venal mouthpieces who decided the wage is not worth the ignominy of working for Putin at the RT.

The State Department's statement is very proper and correct.
onkel_hans
Mar. 6th, 2014 11:57 pm (UTC)
Here are the very reasonable sanctions suggested for the US by the former Chairman of the National Bank of Russia, Alexashenko (Google translation):

* Freezing dollar assets of the Russian government and the National Bank of Russia , Russian state-owned companies and banks, as well as those listed in the section on the visa sanctions , including dollar accounts in Russian banks.

* Prevent U.S. companies to any cooperation with the Russian state-owned companies , mandatorily , including Rosneft and Gazprom .

* The ban on U.S. banks issuing loans to Russian state-owned companies and maintaining correspondent accounts of Russian state banks.

* Prevent American insurance companies to provide services for the insurance and reinsurance Russia , the Russian state and state-owned banks .

* Prevent American companies to buy Russian oil. (Embargo)


* A ban on exports to Russia of any process equipment . (Embargo)

* Achieve introduce similar sanctions by the European Union. For companies whose importance of the Russian market is much higher than for the U.S. .

Edited at 2014-03-06 11:58 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Mar. 7th, 2014 01:22 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - onkel_hans - Mar. 7th, 2014 01:39 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - skvorets1989 - Mar. 22nd, 2014 07:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
girlspell
Mar. 7th, 2014 12:08 am (UTC)
I didn't see anything about Soviet Union giving the Crimea to Ukraine in 1954, Nikita Khrushchev gave the peninsula to Ukraine as a gift. He was born there and had strong emotional ties with the Crimea. Prior to that it had been Russian territory. After he became premier, he arranged for the Ukraine to have it. If he had never done it, there wouldn't be the problem that there is now. There are three ethnic groups there. Russians, Ukrainians and Tartars. Most of the Tartars were deported because the Soviets (even then) didn't want to risk a Muslim state. There are some left there though. The population now is not high enough for them to make the Crimea a Muslim state. So they won't be a factor. I have no idea what will happen. The Ukrainians have had it for a long time, so I don't know if they will hang on it or what.
peacetraveler22
Mar. 7th, 2014 01:30 am (UTC)
Soon a vote on whether they will join Russia, so the whole world waits to see...
(no subject) - girlspell - Mar. 7th, 2014 02:13 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - skvorets1989 - Mar. 22nd, 2014 07:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
ross_irk
Mar. 7th, 2014 12:46 am (UTC)
Russia Today is definetly sponsored by our government. US media - well, their rhetorics are generally pro-US and anti-Russia (that i've seen on the web). Truth is allways somewhere in between. It would be a pity if it ends in another cold war, but if that is gonna happen - no big deal. Both Russia and USA will survive it, i think. No WW3, that is for sure.

On 16th of March Crimea will have referendum about independence or it's place in Ukraine or joining the Russia. Let's live to see what will happen there.
onkel_hans
Mar. 7th, 2014 01:26 am (UTC)
You are totally wrong regarding the US media. It is a free media, definitely not propaganda.

Anyway, Sieg Heil, Genosse! See you in the Hague.

Edited at 2014-03-07 01:30 am (UTC)
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dubovich
Mar. 7th, 2014 12:47 am (UTC)
This whole thing is tremendously sad. I'm not at all into the politics, but I just sincerely feel for the people. But my seven years old made me lough today: "mommy, do you know why there is a war between Russia and Ukraine? It's because Russia cheated in the Olympics". I wish everything in life would be so easy...
peacetraveler22
Mar. 7th, 2014 01:42 am (UTC)
I have a five year old nephew, and it's amazing to watch him and see the world through his eyes. Life so much simpler and kind at that stage of life...
(no subject) - dubovich - Mar. 7th, 2014 01:56 am (UTC) - Expand
onkel_hans
Mar. 7th, 2014 01:29 am (UTC)
Here is the latest interview speech of Putin overlaid on the One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest video. The title is "Senility of the National Leader"


If you do not understand words, simply watch the voice.

Edited at 2014-03-07 01:31 am (UTC)
peacetraveler22
Mar. 7th, 2014 02:21 am (UTC)
I've never seen this American film! :) Almost all of Putin's speeches and question/answer sessions are translated into English somewhere online and even on the Kremlin site. For instance, I read the very long text here http://eng.kremlin.ru/news/6763, so I know some of the information he's conveying to the masses.
(no subject) - onkel_hans - Mar. 7th, 2014 03:05 am (UTC) - Expand
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rollson
Mar. 7th, 2014 02:17 am (UTC)
King of Prussia Russia lost Ukraine while was watching ice skating in Sochi.
(He needs Ukraine to build an Empire).

When he woke up he decided to care about Russian speaking people in Crimea.
Russians in Crimea are oppressed by Ukrainian language and this is depressed Putin.

So Putin after breakfast captured Crimea.
Putin is a hero now, he is a some kind of liberator now (something between Superman and Spider-man without a leotard), and his rating goes up.

As result he got one more enemy -Ukraine, NATO will set missiles close to Russian border
but Putin will have more resorts.














Edited at 2014-03-07 02:18 am (UTC)
peacetraveler22
Mar. 7th, 2014 02:45 am (UTC)
Hmm, timing of this after the end of the Games is absolutely no coincidence. I just wonder if he was formulating his plan while smiling at the world during the Olympics? Possible. I think all world leaders are crazy to some extent, it's just a matter of who tops the list.
(no subject) - sergechel - Mar. 7th, 2014 04:02 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - alexeykostylev - Mar. 7th, 2014 02:54 am (UTC) - Expand
barabaan
Mar. 7th, 2014 02:59 am (UTC)
p 3 is true, the rest is so-so. Everyones knows, mr Putin is the great liar. But its his work, he's politician.
Actually Crimea never were too ukrian, before 2ww it was russia. So they dont support ukranian goverment, and they do welcome our "polite forces". Pls notice, noone was killed in Crimea after our "invasion"
So lets wait for referendum.
sergechel
Mar. 7th, 2014 03:57 am (UTC)
so lets wait for same referendum in Kaliningrad, Chechnya, Vladivostok, Tatarstan...
(no subject) - barabaan - Mar. 7th, 2014 04:30 am (UTC) - Expand
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onkel_hans
Mar. 7th, 2014 03:19 am (UTC)
Another story for your thriftbox
There is a prominent Russian political analyst, Stas Belkovsky. He made the following statement:

It is a well known demand to send Putin to the Hague tribunal. This is a wrong opinion. It is I who should be sent to the Hague. Because I kind of supported Putin with my presentations. What has to be done is for the US 6th fleet to hit the Sebastopol naval base with one tactical nuclear missile form Bahrain. All Russian retaliation missiles are rotten crap. They will not fly. Then I will stand my trial and Putin will be put to a nuthouse.


You may see the original "There is no need to call the UN Security Council, just get a council of psychiatrists" at
http://udf.by/news/face2face/97156-belkovskiy-ne-nado-szyvat-sovbez-oon-nuzhno-sozvat-sovet-psihiatrov.html - a Goggle translate does a pretty good job .

Stas is a very paradoxical person.



Edited at 2014-03-07 03:29 am (UTC)
oleko
Mar. 7th, 2014 03:47 am (UTC)
We don't like war, we don't want it. Still there are two things that basically The Russians want to know: why the hell USA poaches into business of country on the other side of the globe? When they bombed Irak, Lybia and else - did they have the right for it?
sergechel
Mar. 7th, 2014 04:00 am (UTC)
yes, they had "right" for these actions based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions etc.
(no subject) - phd_paul_lector - Mar. 7th, 2014 09:51 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Mar. 7th, 2014 02:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - oleko - Mar. 11th, 2014 05:38 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - skvorets1989 - Mar. 22nd, 2014 07:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
sergechel
Mar. 7th, 2014 03:55 am (UTC)
Putin is definetely going away from reality, all public media are under strong state control and shows absolutelly insane propaganda. This is going to be sad future for Russia if no one stop him.

Most russians, as well as politics, have really poor knowledge about economy and really don't understand the future result of this stupid game. Others got their savings in dollars and euros.

peacetraveler22
Mar. 7th, 2014 02:50 pm (UTC)
I'm afraid there are a lot of hypocritical Russians, even amongst the oligarchs, who bitch about the evils of the West, yet buy real estate here, vacation and lounge on Miami beaches, and store money in our banks. LJ also full of insane propaganda! :) Too bad the State Department doesn't pay me.
(no subject) - oleko - Mar. 11th, 2014 05:40 am (UTC) - Expand
pro100_petrov
Mar. 7th, 2014 04:51 am (UTC)
First of all, in Kiev there was a coup organized by the U.S. This is the main thing that you have to know. And all that bla-bla-bla of State Department is just way to justify the actions of the U.S.


Edited at 2014-03-07 05:01 am (UTC)
sergechel
Mar. 7th, 2014 06:10 am (UTC)
"First of all, in Kiev there was a coup organized by the U.S."
And by ZOG
(no subject) - pro100_petrov - Mar. 10th, 2014 05:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Mar. 7th, 2014 02:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
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new_forester
Mar. 7th, 2014 04:54 am (UTC)
The truth is that no one is interested in the truth: politicians on both sides are so deeply entrenched in the Cold War mentality that they won't see anything that falls outside of the "We good, them bad" paradigm.

In historical perspective, however, the clear analogy to the current situation in Crimea is the Texas independence war against Mexico. More recently, the US supported the independence of Kosovo (and Russia didn't). So, nothing new here.
Economically, I think Russia is too important a trading partner for Western business. The corporate tycoons will never allow any real sanctions.
peacetraveler22
Mar. 7th, 2014 02:52 pm (UTC)
Money rules the world, so you're probably right about the sanctions. I especially like to hear John McCain speak about Putin, really there is no fiercer critic of Putin's sanity or policy. Although all recognize his intelligence and strategic brilliance.
pro100_petrov
Mar. 7th, 2014 05:02 am (UTC)
The best answers:

Victoria Nuland from U.S. Department of State vs U.S. ambassador in Ukraine

Estonian minister of foreign affairs vs Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

Edited at 2014-03-07 05:15 am (UTC)
___tais
Mar. 7th, 2014 05:12 am (UTC)
I want to give one post. It wrote the ukranian doctor (nicname: dok_zlo )
It is with translation googl:

".For all the conflict I'm on his own initiative otfrendil not a single person until today. But my heart was not iron. Read the rest of this crap I can not have any patience has a limit, and after reading today's tape I tachycardia 120, and the fingers on the keys do not get.

Therefore, some explanations and alas - otfrend.

1. I am Ukrainian.
To 7 years, I do not know how to speak Russian. I was always a lot of fun and spoke Ukrainian, even in those times when it caused ridicule many current maydanozaschitnikov.

2. I did not support the European integration (or rather its conditions ) even before it has refused to support Yanukovych . I did not support and do not support the maidan . Yanukovych as many " business executives " are not very aesthetically pleasing , and all ukr.politiki Ukr in his pocket (in this respect from the current pretenders differs only in that schemit trifle disdain , and only pressed more or less prominent ) . Of course, not a good president , Cho really there . But that hell which predictably fell into our territory after " Peremogi " does not compare with ... Police intimidated , controlled ultra . Robbery . Makhnovshchina . " Tho in Pick Me a gun? " . Paresis BANKS . The collapse of the hryvnia. Intimidation of dissent. Torture . Gasoline yesterday - 12.90 . Gray, gray faces of the people who once .. and he was not the future .... Unpopular measures . No, not the oligarchs that you - us. It is not infringement bizzznesa , it's us ...

3 . In Crimea - " polite " . According to many friends to take the most time machine and go harrow Nenko . And I do not want . I do not want to mourn , you idiots. While not firing polite and rob somebody's house , do not suit the economic and social collapse , do not throw the wounded in the service of people die without treatment , not handcuffed and put on my knees do not agree with them, do not rob , rob not - I do not care . And while they are there .. in Crimea this had happened. Crimeans not mind. Other Ukraine can boast the same ? ? ? Bit sorry that I could not go to a favorite New World if the border will be closed ... But I can not have so for economic reasons. And those who think that those Ukrainians ( shkolota not count) who can disassemble machine , ready to send it to the Russian belly ... I was in December in Moscow. There's good warm people , believe me. NOT ENEMIES . Good doctors , good nurses and skilled , polite ... If anyone thinks that for the sake of " tsilostnosti " and or other there , then what other slogans , you can breathe a little smell gutted bellies of their children - go on a dick .

4. Private. Yes, Peter, it's because of your post I have now shaking hands. Otfrend sorry. Your site piarit'll write in a personal, if necessary, the site is not to blame, nice, helpful. And you read it now ... However you then dissected rats. And the smell released guts know .... in theory.

general_denikin
Mar. 7th, 2014 11:13 am (UTC)
This guy is a moron. I'm pretty much sure he got paid for his pro-Putin's rant.
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Mar. 7th, 2014 02:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
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