Disinfo: Crimean Tatars in Crimea receive great support from Russia

Summary

Muslims and Crimean Tatars in Crimea receive great support from Russia. All Muslims are free to perform their religious rite, wear traditional clothes and celebrate holidays. Russia does not oppress the rights of Crimean Tatars.

Disproof

Pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Crimea. Ukrainian human rights organisation Crimea SOS emphasises that in 2019, the largest number of criminal cases against the Crimean Tatars were recorded since the beginning of Crimea's occupation. The number of violations of the right to freedom of religion and the right to peaceful assembly is increasing. Russian security forces detain activists and the occupation authorities deprived Crimeans of the right to receive education in Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar. According to human rights defenders, in just one year, hundreds of illegal searches, detentions and arrests and dozens of cases for political reasons were recorded in Crimea. 70% of all Crimean prisoners for political reasons are Crimean Tatars. In total, from 2014 to 2018, Crimea SOS recorded at least 144 cases of politically motivated criminal prosecution of Crimeans: at least 66 people are in places of detention; at least 15 people abducted by security forces have not yet been found; at least 20 people were killed; at least 290 people were tortured; at least 349 people became victims of politically motivated administrative prosecution. The authors of the report recorded at least 372 cases of illegal detentions, as well as at least 340 politically motivated searches, the Crimea SOS report says (page 8-9). In December 2019, the Office of the Prosecutor of the UN International Criminal Court published a report on the preliminary investigation activities for 2019, which relates to the situation in the occupied Ukrainian territories. International investigators qualify the situation in Crimea as “the situation of occupation” and “international armed conflict” (paragraph 270 of the report). The report also lists the crimes committed by Russia against Crimeans. Among them, torture, abduction, murder, arrests and other egregious cases of violation of human rights by Russian invaders were recorded (paragraphs 272, 273 of the report). According to Freedom House, Russia used coercion to increase the participation of Crimeans in Russian elections; the Crimean Tatars are being repressed and the Mejlis - an organisation representing the Crimean Tatars - was banned; the Russian FSB use intimidation and harassment to eliminate opposition to Russian occupation; a forced Russification is ongoing (including making anything connected to Ukraine a taboo), and rights to freedom of association are severely restricted. Read similar cases claiming that Crimean Tatars in Simferopol enjoy the freedom of speech and that leader of the Crimean Tatars Mustafa Dzhemilev is a terrorist.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 200
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 21/05/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Ukraine, Russia
  • Keywords: International Criminal Court, War crimes, Occupation, Crimean Tatars, Crimea
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Ukraine does not want Donbas

Ukraine is increasingly losing its chance to return Donbas, and the so-called “Plan B” implies the actual construction of a wall with the republics, which will draw the final line under the final break-up. Ukraine doesn’t need Donbas, therefore these cries that “we want to return Crimea and Donbas” are not true, they do not want to return them.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the war in Ukraine. During the “Normandy Four” summit in Paris on 9 December 2019, the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy reiterated that achieving peace in Donbas is the strategic priority of the Ukrainian government. In the communique that was signed by Ukraine, Germany, France, and the Russian Federation, the next security steps have been agreed, such as the “full and comprehensive implementation of the ceasefire”, “exchange of detainees […] based on the principle all for all”, establishing “three additional disengagement areas”, establishing “new crossing points along the line of contact” and “the development and implementation of an updated de-mining plan”. President Zelenskyy has been stressing on numerous occasions that his main strategic goal and the first and foremost task as president is to achieve a peaceful settlement of the war in Donbas as soon as possible. For instance, on 13 October 2019, he underlined that “ending the war in Donbas” is a priority for the Ukrainian government. To accomplish this task, Ukraine has fulfilled all preparatory steps, including the withdrawal of troops on three sites, which are necessary to hold the meeting in the “Normandy format”. See related examples of pro-Kremlin disinformation claiming that Kyiv is imposing a siege on Donbas, the main task of Kyiv is the return of Donbas territory without its people, any attempt to give Donbas to Ukraine will be perceived as surrendering the territory to Nazis.

The main goal of American bio-labs is to surround Russia and hit it with bioweapons

The main goal of the United States is different: to surround Russia not only with troops but also with bio-labs, which, in the event of a possible military threat, will make it possible to deliver a quick strike with the most unpredictable and deadly biological weapons.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about 'secret laboratories' on Russia's borders. See related examples of disinformation about the Lugar lab in Georgia. There is no evidence to claim that the US is developing biological weapons. Contrary to the claims of the pro-Kremlin media, the Richard Lugar Centre for Public Health Research in Tbilisi, Georgia, is a facility of the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC). The Lugar centre is a top-tiered institution in NCDC’s laboratory network and serves as a reference laboratory for Georgia’s public health system. In no case has this laboratory designed, redesigned or built biological weapons. Read more about the Lugar lab on Myth Detector. In Ukraine, the US supports the research against dangerous infectious diseases through the Biological Threat Reduction Program. In the wake of a disinformation campaign about the US-Ukraine cooperation to reduce biological threats, the US Embassy in Ukraine reaffirmed that the country offers its support to ensure Ukraine can detect and report outbreaks caused by dangerous pathogens before they pose security or stability threats. See related disinformation cases alleging that US laboratories in Ukraine are deadly; that COVID-19 brings attention to secret US laboratories on the borders of Russia and China; that the US is afraid of leakage of infectious substances on its territory so it builds secret laboratories in colonised countries.

The West belittles the greatness of victory of the USSR in the war

It is beneficial for Western politicians to belittle the significance of the victory of Soviet troops over Nazi Germany.

Disproof

This message is part of the Kremlin’s policy of historical revisionism and an attempt to portray Russia's role in World War II as not aggressive. Western historians acknowledge the role played by the USSR in defeating Nazism and do not question the Soviet contribution to the victory in WWII and the status of the USSR as a country. The European Parliament resolution on the importance of European remembrance for the future of Europe stressed the fact that WWII was an immediate result of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. The resolution is aimed at the promotion of historical remembrance about WWII and condemnation of totalitarian ideologies. Read similar cases claiming that Lithuanian authorities rewrite the history of their own country, that Poland and Lithuania question the status of Russia as a country who won WWII, and that US vassals question the outcome and results of the WWII.