Disinfo: Double standards in Western attitudes on status of Kosovo, Crimea

Summary

There are double standards in Western attitudes on the status of Kosovo and Crimea. Why is it acceptable to recognise Kosovo but not Crimea’s reunification with Russia?

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative drawing parallels between the Kosovo independence movement and Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea. International recognition of Kosovar statehood came only after the region had been ravaged by a bloody civil war, which Western countries stopped. This was followed by a decade of international administration and status negotiations. In 2008, the EU Council stressed that, given the 1990s civil conflict and protracted international administration under Security Council Resolution 1244, Kosovo constituted a sui generis case. By contrast, there was no war in Ukraine until Russian military aggression (see ICC report here). Negotiations on Kosovo's status lasted 10 years. The time period between Russia's military operation and annexation of Crimea was 20 days. Unlike Kosovo, Crimea was annexed by a third state (Russia), following an illegitimate referendum which was held at gunpoint and featured no recognised election observers. Russian authorities actively advanced the narrative of Ukrainian far-right activists terrorizing ethnic Russians, while Russia proactively saved Crimeans from "terrorists and extremists", the minister of foreign affairs of Russia said. Human rights missions visiting Ukraine in 2014 did not find evidence of discrimination against or danger to the Russian minority. According to international law, Crimea is a part of Ukraine. Russia violated the international law as well as key principles of the European security framework by illegally annexing the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol. The European Union does not recognise and continues to strongly condemn this violation of international law, which remains a challenge to the international security order. This position is based on the UN Charter, which clearly states that the territory of a State cannot be acquired by another State resulting from the threat or use of force, as well as on the Helsinki Final Act in which the signatories declared their intention to respect the inviolability of frontiers and territorial integrity.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 215
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 01/10/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Kosovo, Ukraine, Russia
  • Keywords: United Nations, illegal annexation, Yugoslavia, Kosovo, Manipulated elections/referendum, Crimea
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The only inspiration for the Polish foreign policy are the phone calls from the US Embassy

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Disproof

A common pro-Kremlin narrative on “lost sovereignty”, Poland and the US presence in Europe. The statement that the US authorities and the US Embassy in Warsaw have a decisive impact on the formation of the foreign policy of Poland is a conspiracy theory. Poland is an independent state, which shapes its own foreign and domestic policies. Read more about the key aspects of the Polish foreign policy here. See other messages promoting the statement that Poland is not a sovereign state - Poland is not a sovereign state; Poland is not perceived as a country with an independent foreign policy, and Poland is governed by the US Embassy. This message appeared in the same article as the claim that the Three Seas Initiative is an American project against the European Union.

The Three Seas Initiative is an American project against the European Union

No one outside Warsaw sees the success of the Three Seas Initiative – the Polish authorities present this “fantasy” project as if it already existed. There is one interesting sentence in the recent article of a new Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Zbigniew Rau – he states that the Three Seas Initiative, this American project for Europe, is limited to the countries of the European Union. This statement is important as so far, Poland has claimed to be the Ambassador of non-EU countries – Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Belarus, etc. (what was in line with the American recommendations). Suddenly, [in the case of the Three Seas Initiative], Poland limits itself within the EU countries – in this situation, it becomes clear that the Three Seas Initiative is an American project against the European Union.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the US presence in Europe. The Three Seas Initiative is a forum of 12 countries from Central and Eastern Europe launched in 2015. The main goal of this Initiative is to promote better connectivity among the Member States, with a particular focus on infrastructure and energy. The main projects discussed at the forums of the Three Seas Initiative are the Via Carpathia, Baltic-Adriatic Corridor, Via Baltica, Rail Baltica and the LNG infrastructure in Poland and Croatia. See similar messages such as Three Seas Initiative is a geopolitical concept designed to promote American interests, Aim of the Eastern Partnership is to separate Russia’s neighbours from it, and Three Seas Initiative is a tool of American hegemony in post-Soviet areas surrounding Russia. This message appeared in the same article as the claim that the only inspiration for the Polish foreign policy are the phone calls from the US Embassy.

Trump faced several coup attempts, including the impeachment and the Russian collusion fraud

President Donald Trump faced political persecution, and had to defend himself even against the several coup attempts, such as the impeachment and the fraud of the Russian collusion.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory, with no evidence provided to support the claim. This is a recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about an alleged plot against president Donald Trump by undemocratic powers, articulated through a “fake Russiagate” and an impeachment process. The 2019 impeachment was not a coup attempt but an entirely legal procedure contemplated by the US Senate legislation, whose aim was to determine whether President Trump committed high crimes and misdemeanours by 1) pressing a foreign government (Ukraine's) to harm a domestic political rival, former vice president and current Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, and 2) trying to impede a Congressional investigation by blocking testimony and refusing to provide documents in response to House subpoenas. Regarding to collusion with Russia, there were plenty of reasons for US authorities to open an investigation, as the Volume 5 of the Intelligence Committee of the US Senate on Russian Interference in the 2016 election (released in August 2020) shows, which highlights many elements that were not cleared by the previous Mueller Report. Though Mueller’s inquiry only had stated that the investigation “did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities”, it unequivocally established that Russia attempted to interfere in the election on Trump’s favour. Pro-Kremlin disinformation, however, has repeatedly portrayed Mueller’s work as proof that there was no such interference and that Russia is always falsely accused. See other examples of these disinformation narratives, such as claims that the Deep State is behind the racial justice protests in the US; that Trump’s impeachment was a failed plot by a group of Democrats obsessed with Soros, who had links to the whistleblower who triggered the inquiry; that the NYT story on Trump’s tax returns proves that the Russiagate is a hoax; that the CIA is organising a colour revolution in the US to oust Trump after the 2020 election; or that US Democrats are trying to destroy Trump and incite a civil war. This disinformation message appeared in the same article as the claim that “Biden refused to condemn street violence because he fears losing electoral weight.”