Disinfo: French Documentary about Russia is nearly Russophobic: distorts facts about Ukraine

Summary

Sensationalist, alarmist and nearly Russophobic documentary “Russia, the new cold war” on Channel M6 in France is simplistic, biased and full of historical inaccuracies. RT France corrected a few points about Eastern Ukraine and Crimea :

1.The film never mentions that after the Maidan coup, the Russian-speaking Eastern part of Ukraine was to be denied the right to speak its own language.

2.There was a referendum in which the citizens of Crimea overwhelmingly approved the attachment to the Russian Federation.

3.There are many polls on this subject, including that of the very serious GFK (German social research organization) which, in 2015, confirmed that 82% of the inhabitants of Crimea favoured attachment to Russia. We have known more brutal annexation.

4.Two Ukrainian soldiers interviewed by documentarists speak Russian. However, the Ukrainian government is doing everything to ban the Russian language in eastern Ukraine, where the vast majority is Russian speaking.

Disproof

Recurrent disinformation messages about eastern Ukraine and the 2014 annexation of Crimea.

There was no coup in Ukraine in 2014. The demonstrations which began in Kyiv in November 2013 – called "Maidan"– were a result of the Ukrainian people's frustration with former President Yanukovych's last-minute U-turn when, after seven years of negotiation, he refused to sign the EU–Ukraine Association Agreement and halted progress towards Ukraine's closer relationship with the EU.

The Ukrainian government, which came into power after the Euromaidan, did not use force to suppress the dissenters. The war in eastern Ukraine, which is often regarded as an outcome of this, is actually a well-documented case of Russian armed aggression.

Ukraine did not ban the Russian language, closed parties, NGOs, or oppositional media. The Russian language remains one of the minority languages in Ukraine; it can be used in private communication and religious ceremonies, in book publishing and the press, including radio and television, in education, the service sector, the healthcare system, and in law enforcement. New parties as well as new media came into existence after 2014.

Concerning Crimea, no international body recognises the so-called referendum, announced on 27 February 2014 and held on 16 March 2014. A year after the illegal annexation, Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted that the plan to annex Crimea was ordered weeks before the so-called referendum.

Read also: The coup in 2013-2014 is the root cause of the war and other problems in Ukraine, Euromaidan and pro-European politics led to the collapse of Ukraine, or After the coup in Kiev in 2014, Crimea reunited with Russia following a referendum .

The disinformation claim appeared in the same video clip, as the allegation that Russia did not invade Georgian territory in 2008.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 218
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 25/10/2020
  • Language/target audience: Arabic, French
  • Country: Russia, Ukraine
  • Keywords: Russian language, Coup, Euromaidan, Crimea

Disclaimer

Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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The Navalny setup may be related to the success of Russia’s space programme

The Navalny case strongly brings to mind the case of Skripal, which was also a clumsy setup. There are geostrategical interests in place, not only the Nord Stream pipeline but also Russia’s spectacular advances in creating a vaccine against Covid-19, and the launching of the Soyuz, which reached the international station in three hours, which reminds us of the Soviet advances in this field and the old competition with the US. This time, Russia overcame all the other players in providing supplies for the international space station.

Disproof

This is part of a pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign on the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, which follows the same playbook as the one deployed after the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury in 2018, a case where there is strong evidence of the involvement of Russian intelligence operatives and high-level Russian officials. Since the use of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group against Navalny has been established beyond any doubt by a specialist Bundeswehr laboratory, the claim that the Navalny case was a setup is false, and even more the affirmation that it may be related to the recent successes of Russia’s space programme.

See other examples of pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives on Alexei Navalny’s poisoning in our database, such as claims that only caffeine and alcohol were found in his blood, that the US wanted to use it to block Russia's vaccine against coronavirus, that the West hopes that he dies to have an excuse for new sanctions, or that Western accusations on Navalny’s case are as false as they were about Sergei Skripal and Alexander Litvinenko.

Russia did not invade Georgian territory in 2008

It is incorrect to say that the Russian army has already invaded neighbouring countries, like what happened in Georgia in 2008.

Georgia invaded the pro-Russian separatist republic, resulting in an armed reaction from Moscow to protect Ossetian citizens, the majority of whom have Russian passports. It’s still not the same as an invasion.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative trying to deny any role for Russia in the Russo-Georgian 2008 war, and presenting it instead as a conflict between South Ossetia and Georgia.

For the 10 years anniversary of the conflict between Russia and Georgia the EU declared that :

Nobody talks about the White Helmets anymore, because now everyone knows they faked everything

The White Helmets, now everyone knows that this was a total fake. And no one talks about them now. Where did they go, do we know? They won their Oscar and then they left?

Yes, they probably have other parallel activities, surely of the same kind. We know that they are the ones who mounted false chemical attacks in Syria. The Russians, moreover, recently warned that they had information that others, this time not the White Helmets, were preparing a new fake chemical attack in the region of Idlib.

Disproof

Recurrent disinformation narrative on the White Helmets.

The White Helmets movement originated in Syria in 2012. The organisation, which is made up of 3,400 volunteers including teachers, engineers, tailors and firefighters, states that it has no affiliation to any political or military actor and is committed to rendering services to anyone in need. Volunteers save people from the rubble after bombings, despite the danger of dying themselves as a result of repeated airstrikes.