Disinfo: Donbas is Russia and it must return to its natural border

Summary

Centripetal processes that are bound to come and are inevitable should involve Donbas first. We can see on the map where Donbas is located, how close to Russia. Donbas is not even a zone of Russia’s geopolitical influence, Donbas is Russia itself and it must return to its natural border.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin narratives about Donbas, war in Ukraine, and the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

Donbas is historically a Ukrainian region. "Until the 15th century, it was a  referred to as the"wild field", where all who visited the south of Ukraine walked and lived. The 15th-18th centuries were a period of Cossack colonisation, to which government imperial colonisation and the unauthorised settlement of runaway peasants seeking free living space were later added. This continued until the early 19th century," said ethnologist Lesya Gasydgak. In 19th century Donbas began to be inhabited by workers from the Russian provinces. The historian of Donetsk Law University Dmitry Titarenko says that both in that period and in the twentieth century, up to the postwar period, Russian colonisation was a sign of the formation of Donbas.

Ukraine hasn't recognised the so-called DPR and LNR as independent states separate from Ukrainian territory. These are parts of  the Ukrainian regions Donetsk and Luhansk but supported by Russian military units. Not a single country has recognised them as independent entities.

The EU has condemned the clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity by acts of aggression by the Russian armed forces since February 2014.

Read similar cases claiming that "The DNR and LNR gained independence from Ukraine", "Kyiv does not want rebel-held territories to rejoin Ukraine", that there is no evidence of Russian presence in Ukraine, that rumours about Russian military presence in Donbas come from linguistic misunderstanding, or that Crimean people have expressed their desire to rejoin Russia and that Crimea never belonged to Ukraine.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 216
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 13/10/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Russia, Ukraine
  • Keywords: Eastern Ukraine, War in Ukraine, Donbas

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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Tsikhanouskaya’s trip to Germany shows that Merkel is her handler (and Navalny’s)

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Disproof

Recurrent disinformation narrative against Belarusian opposition members Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya and Svetlana Aleksievich and Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, accusing them of being puppets of the West. Contrary to the claim, Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya is not handled by German chancellor Angela Merkel nor by any foreign power but is the leader of a wide, grass-root Belarusian democratic movement, as is the case of Navalny in Russia. By attacking them, pro-Kremlin disinformation aims to discredit the whole opposition movement, both in Belarus and in Russia.

This story appeared in a context of Russia’s growing irritation with the reaction of Germany and the EU to the poisoning of Navalny and its rejection of Belarus’ fraudulent election, which led to sanctions against top Russian and Belarusian officials.

Moscow prevented a colour revolution in Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyz president Sooronbay Jeenbekov declared a state of emergency in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan’s capital. Some data suggests that he is under the protection of the Russian police. Bishkek thinks that Russia’s participation prevented another “colour revolution” and a division between the north and the south of the country.

Disproof

Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative framing any popular protest as a colour revolution, and accusing the West of attempting to destabilise Kyrgyzstan. No evidence is provided to support the claim.

See other examples in our database, such as claims that external forces are acting in Kyrgyzstan, and that those events are a test before a colour revolution in Russia; that the EU funds the protests in Kyrgyzstan in exchange for valuable minerals; or that the US is stirring up conflicts around Russia aiming to achieve destabilisation in the post-Soviet space.

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Western structures are deliberately creating instability focus in the post-Soviet spaces, forming a “fire belt” around Russia. Everything points to the fact that Ukraine was not enough for the West and it took over Belarus and Kyrgyzstan, where massive protests are taking place.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory framing Russia as the ultimate target of international events, based on several recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about Russia being encircled and about colour revolutions, framing popular protests in Belarus and Kyrgyzstan as Western-backed destabilisation attempts. There is no evidence backing any of the claims.

See other examples in our database, such as claims that the escalation in the Caucasus is directed against Russia, because someone wants to divert Moscow’s attention from Belarus and Syria; that the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh is a cover-up operation, as was the 1956 Hungarian Revolution; that Ukraine is sending weapons and nationalist fighters to this war theatre; that the US embassy in Armenia is a mini-Pentagon escalating tension in the region and the Middle East; or that the US is encircling Russia with biological labs for a future attack and is ready to carry out a false flag operation in Alaska to blame Russia.