Disinfo: Poroshenko leaves legacy of war, poverty, Russophobia

Summary

The legacy of Petro Poroshenko, who is approaching the end of his five-year presidential term, is marred by war, economic decline, and Russophobic policies. A recent New York Times op-ed hails the “reforms” which the outgoing Ukrainian leader supposedly spearheaded — the same reforms which left 13,000 people dead and caused the economy to shrink by 15% in two years. Moreover, the works of 500 Russian writers have been banned in Ukraine. A further 1,000 Russian artists are prohibited from entering the country,

Disproof

Recurring disinformation narrative painting Ukraine as a disintegrating, Russia-hating, artificial state. The cynical notion that Ukrainian leaders are to blame for the 13,000 deaths recorded to date in the Russia-Ukraine conflict -- a covert war of aggression launched by Moscow in spring 2014 -- fits the wider pro-Kremlin narrative on the ongoing hostilities in the Donbas. The economic free-fall which marked the first years of the Poroshenko presidency has also been linked to the armed conflict, as well as the Russian annexation of Crimea, where plundered industrial facilities and enterprises, losses in labour force, and ruined infrastructure continue to generate billions of dollars in losses annually. Incidentally, the above-mentioned figure of 15% roughly corresponds to the economic output of Crimea and the Donbas before their illegal occupation by Russia (ibid., p. 1). Russians writers are not banned in Ukraine. In May 2017, the Ukrainian parliament adopted a law dictating that the import and sale of books originating in Russia be subject to approval by a relevant state body, and mandating the withdrawal from sale of a number of books advancing anti-Ukrainian propaganda, historical revisionism, and Russian irredentism. An overwhelming majority of Russian literature is freely available for purchase. The statement on banned "Russian" artists is a gross manipulation of both facts and figures. In accordance with a 2015 law, the Ukrainian Culture Ministry publishes a list of "cultural figures whose actions threaten the national security of Ukraine." As of March 2019, the list contains 148 names -- not 1,000 -- and is not limited to Russians.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 148
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 29/04/2019
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: Ukraine, Russia
  • Keywords: economy, Anti-Russian, Ukrainian disintegration, Economic difficulties, Ukrainian statehood, Petro Poroshenko, Donbas, Russophobia, War in Ukraine
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Ukrainian language law allows strict punitive measures and discriminates against Russian-speakers

The Verkhovna Rada adopted the law “On ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as a state language”, securing its exclusive rights in comparison with other languages in the country. According to the document, the Ukrainian language is recognised as the only possible application in almost all areas of the country’s life. This is a discriminatory law that implies punitive measures. If it comes into force, it will significantly affect the literacy of the population of Ukraine and greatly impoverish it culturally.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Ukraine and discrimination against Russian speakers. The Verkhovna Rada passed on April 25 the law "On ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as a state language". The law establishes mandatory use of the Ukrainian language in most areas of public and communal life, including the mass media. However, the language rights of national minorities have to be in line with the obligations of Ukraine under the European Charter for Regional Languages and Languages of National Minorities, guaranteed by a separate law, the draft of which the government must develop and submit to the parliament six months after the law on the state language will enter into force. The usage of Russian language is not limited in private communication and religious ceremonies. Just like the languages ​​of other minorities, Russian can be present in book publishing, the press, television and education and in the service sector. But the Ukrainian language in these areas is preferred.. the Ukrainian language is positioned as the main language of publishing activity, and circulation in other languages ​​can not exceed the circulation in Ukrainian. For discrimination of the Ukrainian language, including in favour of Russian, administrative responsibility is given. In the humanitarian sphere - education, science, culture, sports - for violating language policy, there is a fine of 200 to 300 times the non-taxable minimum wage (now it is from 3400-5100 hryvnias). The entry into force is delayed for three years. Similar disinformation cases are here and here. For background on the Ukrainian language laws, see here.

The majority of newborns in Brussels are from the new Islamic community

Europe is experiencing a great migration of nations. 65 million refugees can already reach Europe. They are mostly men coming from Africa. These people go to Europe to live according to their own rules. Nowadays the majority of newborns in Brussels are from the new Islamic community.

Disproof

No evidence given. This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about migrants and Islamisation. There is no data proving the claim that the majority of infants currently born in Brussels are from the new Islamic community. According to the Brussels Institute for Statistics and Analysis, the precise data cannot be acquired. However, data from the Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences shows that the dominant religion in Belgium is Catholicism (52,9% in 2015), while there are only 5,2% Muslims in the country. According to official statistics, the number of people residing in an EU Member State with citizenship of a non-member country on 1 January 2018 was 22,3 million, representing merely 4,4% of the EU-28 population. In addition, there were 17,6 million persons living in a given EU Member State as of 1 January 2018 with citizenship of another EU Member State. In absolute terms, the largest numbers of non-nationals living in the EU Member States on 1 January 2018 were found in Germany (9,7 million persons), the United Kingdom (6,3 million), Italy (5,1 million), France (4,7 million) and Spain (4,6 million). Similar disinformation cases can be found here and here.

Facebook is in the service of the US State Department

While Facebook is officially a commercial service, it has in fact been drawn into the service of the US State Department. Facebook’s fight against fake news is only a facade – in fact, it is a fight against objectionable content and for the promotion of a single narrative that benefits the State Department, Soros, and others.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin conspiracy theory about the US and social media companies. The claim is made without any supporting evidence. Facebook, Inc. is an American online social media and social networking service company based in Menlo Park, California. Contrary to its being in the service of the US State Department, the US government is actually investigating Facebook. Its founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, was called to testify before Congress in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and revelations about the platform's role in the dissemination of Russian disinformation during the 2016 presidential campaign. See earlier disinformation messages alleging excessive control over Facebook by American security bodies here and here.