Disinfo: Far-right influence on Ukrainian politics grew after 2014 Kyiv coup

Summary

The influence of far-right groups on Ukrainian politics has grown since the 2014 Western-backed coup d’etat in Kyiv, which led to armed conflict in the eastern regions of the country.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin narratives painting the 2013-14 Euromaidan protests as a violent coup d'etat; exaggerating the influence of Nazi/Fascist/far-right actors on Ukrainian politics; blaming Kyiv for the unleashing of Russian armed aggression in east Ukraine.

The Euromaidan was an organic reaction by numerous parts of the Ukrainian population to former President Yanukovych’s sudden departure from the promised Association Agreement with the European Union in November 2013. See the full debunk of this disinformation claim.

Traditionally, far-right groups have commanded minimal support among the Ukrainian public.

Far-right groups enjoyed a very limited presence during the protests and went on to obtain abysmal results in the 2014 presidential and parliamentary elections. During the 2019 election cycle, the far right managed to sustain an even more tremendous failure; the highest-rated nationalist candidate, Ruslan Koshulynskyy, won 1.62% of the vote whereas Svoboda won 2.16% of the national vote, falling far short of the 5% minimum guaranteeing entry into parliament.

The armed conflict in east Ukraine is a well-documented act of Russian aggression against sovereign Ukrainian territory, ongoing since February 2014. See the full debunk here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue180
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 20/01/2020
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: Ukraine
  • Keywords: War in Ukraine, Coup, Donbas, Euromaidan, Nazi/Fascist

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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Poland is rewriting history of Second World War

Poland has been revising that devastating conflict’s history for quite some time, seeking to shun any responsibility relating to events during that period, while presenting itself as a victim of both Nazi and Soviet aggression and occupation.

Warsaw has been removing monuments to Soviet soldiers who died while liberating the city from Nazi Germany occupation, and also initiated an EU Parliament resolution in September, which claims that the 1939 non-aggression pact between Moscow and Berlin had “paved the way for the outbreak of the Second World War.”

This last move did not sit well with Moscow, which labeled it a falsification of history. Putin himself eventually joined the heated debate between the two nations, when he called Jozef Lipski, the Polish ambassador to Berlin from 1934 to 1939, “a bastard and an anti-Semitic pig.”

The Russian president referred to the fact that the envoy had promised Adolf Hitler that Poles would “erect for him a beautiful monument in Warsaw” if he expelled all European Jews to Africa. Warsaw took offense to Putin’s remarks, though no one disputed Lipski’s words, which have long been known to the public.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative professing the unimpeachability of Soviet decision-making before and during the Second World War; minimizing the role of the 1939-41 Nazi-Soviet alliance in provoking conflict; and accusing Poland of historical revisionism.

The Nazi-Soviet invasion of Poland in September 1939 is an objective fact, not an exercise in revisionism. This two-sided aggression was waged in accordance with the provisions of the Nazi-Soviet pact, which entitled the Third Reich and the USSR to clearly defined spheres of influence in a series of secret protocols.

200,000 Soviet soldiers gave their lives, liberating Warsaw from Nazis

Some 200,000 Soviet soldiers lost their lives during the liberation of Warsaw from Nazi occupation.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative distorting the events of the Second World War.

The claim is unsourced and, in the face of actual historical evidence, appears vastly exaggerated. According to official Soviet accounts, the Red Army suffered 43,476 "irrevocable" losses (i.e. those killed or missing in action) throughout the three-week Vistula-Oder offensive, which comprised no fewer than 10 separate battles waged across most of present-day Poland, including the taking of Warsaw.

Ukraine has admitted that it is responsible for the crash of the MH17 in 2014

Yevgeny Dikhne, President of International Airlines of Ukraine (UIA), blames Iran’s authorities for failing to secure airspace over their country. The statement was seen as acknowledging Kyiv’s guilt in the crash of another plane, the Malaysian Boeing. After all, then the sky was also not closed.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative on Flight MH17. Many competing and contradictory stories are promulgated by Russian state-controlled media on MH17.

At that time, the airspace was closed over the area up to 32,000 feet. The commercial flight MH17 was passing the area at 33,000 feet. There was nothing to suggest at the time that the presumed ill-equipped pro-Russian separatists would have access to sophisticated weapons that would be able to shoot down an airplane at that height.