Disinfo: In Ukraine, political opposition is ruthlessly suppressed

Summary

In Ukraine, political opposition is ruthlessly suppressed, nonetheless the country is classified as partly free by Freedom House

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative accusing the West of double-standards and violating freedom of speech.

It is not true that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is attempting to eliminate the opposition as recently stated by several pro-Kremlin outlets.

The claim Zelenskyy wants to suppress the Opposition Platform for Life and Anatoly Shariy’s Party is not backed by any evidence.

These two parties have a certain pro-Kremlin propensity, so affiliated politicians and media outlets are trying to portray Zelenskyy as a blatant Russophobe, whom the West ordered to wipe out everything Russian in Ukraine.

In reality, neither pro-Kremlin parties nor politicians/media are persecuted in Ukraine as long as they obey the law. Three Ukrainian TV channels – 112 Ukraine, ZIK and NewsOne – were taken off the air on 2 February 2021 because economic sanctions were imposed on their owner Taras Kozak. According to the Ukrainian Government and President, these channels were supposedly financed from the separatist region of Donbas in Eastern Ukraine and from Russia.

One of the leaders of the Opposition Platform for Life, Viktor Medvedchuk, is a close friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Russian leader is also the godfather of Medvedchuk’s daughter. Medvedchuk often visits Russia and is considered by many observers to be including Kremlin's views in his own policies in Ukraine.

Anatoly Shariy is an opposition blogger who is residing in Spain. Living abroad, he created a pro-Kremlin political party in Ukraine and called it after his name (Shariy’s Party). However, it showed a modest result in last year’s local elections. In February 2021, Ukraine’s security service (SBU) declared that Shariy is suspected of committing high treason.

Read here a similar case claiming that West hails Zelenskyy’s attempts to eliminate opposition.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 237
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 17/03/2021
  • Article language(s) Italian, English, Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Ukraine, Russia, US
  • Keywords: Freedom of speech, Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukrainian statehood, Media
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Western countries lie about Ghouta

The UN final report on what is known as the Ghouta massacre on August 21, 2013 does not reveal its perpetrator.

In addition, a MIT study from February 2014 explains that the attack was launched from a so-called rebel area.

This is not to say that Bashar El Assad did not perpetrate any chemical attack. This is to emphasise that once again, Western governments have lied to their people to bring down their enemies.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives attempting to cast doubt on who is responsible for the 2013 chemical attacks in Syria and questioning the integrity of Western governments by accusing them of lying systematically to the public to bring down countries that resist them.

The Ghouta attack was investigated by a UN Mission set up by the UN Secretary General, and its findings were contained in a report published in September 2013. The OPCW and the WHO played an important but auxiliary role throughout the process (ibid., p. 4).

Bellingcat reports do not contain evidence

The Bellingcat news agency has been registered in Higgins' name, and the latest "revealing" anti-Russian news is spread from this agency. However, these reports do not contain any evidence.

Disproof

Pro-Kremlin disinformation attempting to discredit Bellingcat which has long been a thorn in the side of the Kremlin and recently presented proof that Alexei Navalny was poisoned by FSB agents. Alexei Navalny duped one of the FSB agents, Konstantin Kudryavtsev, into admitting his role in the poisoning and Bellingcat had already named him in its investigation as one of the FSB agents involved.

Ironically, no evidence is given to support the claims about a lack of evidence in Bellingcat’s reports. Bellingcat is an well-known independent group of researchers, investigators and citizen journalists which probes different subjects using open source and social media investigations. The team has won a lot of awards and prizes, for example, the European Press Prize for Investigation in 2019 and the London Press Club award for Digital Journalism in 2019 to name just a few.

Crimea returned to Russia after a referendum

Crimea returned to be a Russian federal province, after a referendum held on March 16, 2014, in Crimea and Sevastopol, and both regions have become within the Russian Federation, as of March 18, 2014.

Crimea was one of the Russian provinces up until the beginning of the fifties of the twentieth century when the authorities of the Union of Soviet Republics decided to transfer their subordination to the Republic of Ukraine.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the illegal annexation of Crimea, claiming that Crimea voted to rejoin Russia through a legal referendum and painting the idea that Crimea has never belonged to Ukraine.

For historical reference, Crimea was annexed by Catherine II (the Great), then containing Ukraine in 1783, already in violation of a treaty that guaranteed the independence of the Tatar khanate.