Disinfo: The attack on the Russian language caused the conflict in Ukraine

Summary

People living in those two provinces, in Donetsk and Luhansk, should be able to speak their mother tongue, Russian, knowing that is was the reason for this explosion. The populations and the persons in charge of Donetsk and Lugansk are ready to accept a solution, a form of autonomy which allows them simply to speak their language, to have their culture and not to have a centralising State which tries to impose by all possible force a Ukrainian nationality which in fact, in this particular region, does not really exist.

Disproof

This recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative is aimed at weakening the national identity of Ukrainians and undermining Ukraine's sovereignty. Ukraine is a well-defined nation-state with a long history, which preserved language, literature and identity, despite foreign rule for long periods. The international community, including the European Union recognizes and condemns clear violations of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity by acts of aggression by the Russian armed forces since February 2014. The law on regional languages was repealed by the parliament of Ukraine on February 23, 2014. However the decree was not signed. The law officially expired only on February 28, 2018, when the Constitutional Court of Ukraine declared the law unconstitutional. At Euromaidan, which propaganda outlets describe as a coup not accepted by Donbas, three Donbas residents were among the killed activists. Human rights missions that travelled to Ukraine in 2014 did not find evidence that the Russian minority would have been in danger: 1. The Advisory Committee’s Ad hoc Report on the situation of national minorities in Ukraine, adopted on 1 April 2014, Council of Europe; 2. Report on the human rights situation in Ukraine, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, 15 June 2014; 3. Statement by the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities on her Recent Visit to Ukraine, 4 April 2014 By 2016, 1 870 000 people moved as refugees from Donetsk and Luhansk occupied regions, as well as from Crimea to the rest of Ukraine and about 800 000 to 1 million moved to Russia. Read other disinformation cases on Donbas. Background: During the general census of the population in 2001, 74% of the population in the Donbas region and 68,8% in Luhansk region named Russian as their first (but not unique) language. Russian was in use especially in the cities, while villages remain Ukrainian speaking. Regardless of the language they speak, 56% of Donbas residents called themselves ethnic Ukrainians.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 180
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 11/12/2019
  • Language/target audience: French
  • Country: Ukraine
  • Keywords: DNR, Russian language, LNR, Minsk agreements, Donbas
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Russian-Ukrainian conflict only appeared after the coup in Kyiv

The problems between Russia and Ukraine arose after the coup in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv in 2014. This led to the Crimean region to leave the administrative dependence of the Republic of Ukraine and return to the arms of the Russian homeland. The coup in Kyiv also led to the start of the armed conflict in southeast Ukraine between the new Ukrainian regime and the opponents of the coup in the Donbas region.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative painting the 2013-14 protests in Kyiv as a coup orchestrated by the West.

There was no coup in Ukraine six years ago. The demonstrations which began in Kyiv in November 2013 – called "Maidan", or "Euromaidan" – were a result of the Ukrainian people's frustration with former President Yanukovych's last-minute U-turn when, after seven years of negotiation, he refused to sign the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and halted progress towards Ukraine's closer relationship with the EU as a result of Russian pressure. The protesters' demands included constitutional reform, a stronger role for parliament, formation of a government of national unity, an end to corruption, early presidential elections and an end to violence.

Nazis and Vatican oppose the Union State between Belarus and Russia

There should be a strong information and education stream of truth telling that Belarusians and Great Russians are integral branches of one, Russian people, which was artificially divided. The reunification of divided Russian people of Great, Little, and White Rus’ and the victory over anti-Christian Western globalist project is sacred. Only a few Nazis and their liberal friends in Vatican and Moscow stand against the sacred Union of Great and White Rus’. The Vatican actively assists Belarusian Nazis. The Belarusian Catholic Church considers heroes the terrorists Kasciushka and Kalinowski. It wants to repeat Ukrainian Maidan in Minsk. Tadevush Kondrasevich, the Belarusian Roman Catholic Archbishop, is also an expert in the creation of “fifth column” in the Russian Orthodox Church. In the meantime Orthodox majority prays for Vladimir Putin and Alyaksandr Lukashenka and for the resolution of Belarus-Russia integration issues by 20 December.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory is aimed to discredit the Belarusian Roman Catholic Church, Belarusian national heroes, and the part of Belarusian society opposing deeper integration with Russia. The disinformation message is consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about Belarusian national heroes as terrorists, about decaying, immoral West, and West's attempts to organize Ukraine-like scenario in Belarus. The accusation of Nazism/fascism, a recurring disinformation techniques of the pro-Kremlin outlets, has been lately increasingly used in relation to Belarus. It also promotes the concept of all-Russian people, an imperial Russian and Russian irredentist ideology that is a favored pro-Kremlin narrative aimed at weakening the national identity of Belarusians and Ukrainians, as well as their sovereignty. Ukraine and Belarus are well-defined nation-states with a long history; both nations preserved language, literature and identity, despite foreign rule for long periods. On 7 December 2019, the day of a meeting between Belarusian and Russian presidents in Sochi, over 1,000 demonstrators rallied in Minsk to protest closer integration with Russia. Concerns in the Belarusian society are growing over the secrecy around the two countries' negotiations over deepened integration. In the past pro-Kremlin media outlet accused Tadevush Kondrasevich, the Belarusian Roman Catholic Archbishop, in anti-Soviet and Russophobic worldview. See earlier disinformation cases alleging that the West is destabilizing Belarus with the help of Nazis and LGBT, that pro-Western Belarusian opposition prefers commemorating WWII events with swastikas and LGBT symbols, that Warsaw is preparing Euromaidan scenario for Belarus, the Union State of Belarus and Russia saves post-Soviet countries from pro-fascist West, and that western Europe is abandoning Christian roots.

Second Srebrenica to happen in Donbas if Ukraine receives control over the border

In case Ukraine takes control over the border, the massacre [like the one] in Srebrenica might be repeated. I will just remind those who forgot: this is the bloodiest episode of the collapse of Yugoslavia; 8,000 dead in a few days in July [1995].

Disproof

The claim is unfounded and in line with the pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives on the situation in Ukraine and the war in Donbas. The original claim was made on 9 December by the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, who warned that if Kyiv is granted control over the border with Russia in the temporarily occupied territories of Donbas, there would be a second Srebrenica. Ukraine has been accused several times of committing genocide against ethnic Russians in Ukraine. Human rights missions that traveled to Ukraine in 2014 did not find evidence that the Russian minority would have been in danger. See, for instance, the Advisory Committee’s Ad hoc report on the situation of national minorities in Ukraine, adopted on 1 April 2014 by the Council of Europe; June 2014 report on the human rights situation in Ukraine by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; and the statement by the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities on her visit to Ukraine, published on 4 April 2014. On the latter negotiations in the Normandy Format, Ukraine insisted that the political part of the Minsk agreements, such as elections, will be implemented only after Ukraine receives full control over the 450-km long border with Russia in Donbas. See similar narratives alleging that Russia prevented genocide in Donbas and that Russia will not stay on the sidelines if Ukraine starts carrying out a genocide against its own, Ukrainian, population in Donbas.