Disinfo: Crimean referendum was the will of the Crimeans, while Kosovo was an outside intervention

Summary

There is a difference between the Crimean referendum and the situation in Kosovo. The Crimean referendum was the will of the Crimeans, and Kosovo is an outside intervention.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on Russia's annexation of Crimea, claiming that people chose to rejoin Russia through a legal and democratic referendum. For similar cases, see here and here. No international body recognises the so-called referendum and held on 16th of March 2014. On the 27th of February 2014, when it was announced, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution which stated that the referendum in Crimea was not valid and could not serve as a basis for any change in the status of the peninsula. A year after the illegal annexation, even the Kremlin admitted that the plan to annex Crimea was ordered weeks before the so-called referendum.

It is also pro-Kremlin disinformation about countries controlled by the West and their statehood. See similar cases here and here. There was a civil war in Kosovo, with thousands of casualties and hundreds of thousands of refugees, and which Western countries stopped. In 2008 the EU Council stressed that in view of the conflict of the 1990s and the extended period of international administration under Security Council Resolution 1244, Kosovo constituted a sui generis case. On February 17, 2008, ​the Kosovo Assembly unanimously (109 members present) voted to declare independence from Serbia. Serbia declared that the independence of Kosovo was illegal and Russia supported Serbia in that decision. The basis for Kosovo’s independence was the prevailing view in international law that minorities who suffer systematic discrimination have the right to secede. This provided the basis for Kosovo’s recognition by a majority of UN member states. There is no evidence given for the claim that the Kosovo case (independence) is “an outside intervention”.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 184
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 02/01/2020
  • Language/target audience: Serbian
  • Country: Kosovo, Serbia
  • Keywords: Yugoslavia, Kosovo, Crimea, Referendum
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Ukraine may immerse itself in homodictatorship

Using the example of Western European countries, one can draw simple conclusions that, in the absence of active opposition from civil society and religious structures, sexual minorities will go on the offensive in Ukraine. From the persecuted yesterday, they will quickly turn into persecutors, because the repressive state apparatus will contribute to this in every way.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Europe's moral decay and degradation of Ukraine. This statement comes following the discussions in Verkhovna Rada about a new draft law which aims to harmonise legislation in the field of prevention and combating discrimination in line with the European Union law and introduces fines for any form of discrimination. You can read similar cases such as "Europeans flee to Russia because of juvenile justice and homosexual dictatorship", "Ukraine is obsessed with marijuana, prostitution and LGBT" and "Gay fascism has long been present in Europe and the US".

There is no freedom of speech in Estonia

The only thing we are guilty of is the fact that we are journalists working for an outlet independent of any government. While we fight for the right to continue our work, we also fight for the rights of readers in Estonia and abroad to access the full spectrum of information. This is called freedom of speech, that, sadly, is missing in Estonia today, despite the fact that according to Reporters without borders, our country is fit for 11th place in the Press freedom index.

Disproof

As for the freedom of speech, Estonia is indeed on the 11th place of Reporters without Borders Press freedom index. It's important to note that Estonia has not blocked Sputnik Estonia's website, as it is accessible and operational. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu has emphasized that Estonia has not taken any measures against the portal's media content: "They are financial sanctions aimed at economic activity. I believe it to be justified. We have notified the European Commission's Legal Service. European agencies have said in the Commission that steps taken by Estonia in exercising sanctions policy are warranted." Sputnik was created by a Presidential decree with the aim to “report on the state policy of Russia abroad”. Numerous reports have described how top managers from all the large government-controlled outlets and some influential private media attend the weekly meetings where "media managers receive guidelines that “help” them not to overstep the Kremlin’s so-called “double white lines”". The EU vs Disinfo team has found 49 different Sputnik websites from all over the world and 31 of them are in the Disinfrormation cases database, meaning those outlets have been reported publishing disinformation. Sputnik Estonia is represented in that database both in Estonian and in Russian languages. Article 2 of the Council Regulation (EU) No 269/2014 on the territorial integrity of Ukraine foresees freezing the assets of Dmitry Kiselyov, the Director General of Rossiya Segodnya. As a result, Estonian banks froze accounts of Rossiya Segodnya and the Financial Intelligence Unit informed persons employed or contracted by Rossiya Segodnya that knowing performance of work or services to a sanctioned person was forbidden.

Estonian regime is publicly persecuting its citizens

Despite the apparently absurdity of the Estonian authorities’ threats, the criminal prosecution of journalists in Europe today is a reality. The behaviour of the Estonian regime towards its citizens can be considered as public persecution, legal arbitrariness, a phenomenon of totalitarianism and the grossest violation of freedom of speech, which is unprecedented in the European Union.

Disproof

This is part of a recurrent Russian disinformation narrative to portray Baltic states as dictatorial and Kremlin-linked media as sources of alternative views and Russia as a global champion of freedom of the press.

Estonia is ranked as the 11th freest country in the world for press by Reporters Without Borders. Estonia does not persecute journalists or limit freedom of expression. It's important to note that Estonia has not blocked Sputnik Estonia's website, as it is accessible. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu has emphasized that Estonia has not taken any measures against the portal's media content: "They are financial sanctions aimed at economic activity. I believe it to be justified. We have notified the European Commission's Legal Service. European agencies have said in the Commission that steps taken by Estonia in exercising sanctions policy are warranted."