Disinfo: The West needs to accept the status of Crimea as Russian and remove the sanctions

Summary

Nobody expects the Great and the Good of the West to openly admit they were wrong about Crimea, and that the region and its citizens are in fact immeasurably better-off than they would be had they been subjected to rule by Kiev. But there is usually a way out of such a dilemma, and one that can be gently implemented without embarrassment. All that the West needs to do is quietly accept the status of Crimea and remove anti-Russia sanctions without fanfare.

Disproof

This is recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation on the illegal annexation of Crimea.

The illegal annexation of Crimea was a violation of the UN Charter, of the OSCE Charter and of Russia's obligations as a signatory of the Budapest agreement.

No international body recognises the so-called referendum, announced on the 27th of February 2014, and held on 16th of March 2014. A year after the illegal annexation, Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted that the plan to annex Crimea was ordered weeks before the so-called referendum.

On 27 March 2014, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution in which it stated that the referendum in Crimea was not valid and could not serve as a basis for any change in the status of the peninsula. On 17 December 2018, the UN General Assembly confirmed its non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea.

The EU's policy of non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol includes a set of restrictive measures against entities and individuals responsible for actions against Ukraine's territorial integrity. In March 2019, on the fifth anniversary of Crimea's illegal annexation, the EU reiterated its position of non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol. The EU continues to stand in full solidarity with Ukraine, supporting its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Read similar cases claiming that Crimean people have expressed their desire to rejoin Russia in a democratic process and that Crimea never belonged to Ukraine.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 193
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 14/04/2020
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: Russia, Ukraine
  • Keywords: illegal annexation, Crimea
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Jews dominate Hollywood

Weaponizing one point of view inevitably limits the ability of contrary views to be heard. The downside is, of course, that the frenzy that has resulted in the criminalization of free expression relating in any but a positive way to the activity of Jewish groups. It has also included the acceptance of the dishonest definition that any criticism of Israel is ipso facto anti-Semitism, giving that nation a carte blanche in terms of its brutal treatment of its neighbors and even of its non-Jewish citizens.

Jewish dominated Hollywood and the entertainment media have helped to create the anti-Semitism frenzy and continue to give the public regular doses of the holocaust story. 

Disproof

The suggestion that "Hollywood is dominated by Jews" is a traditional anti-Semitic trope. EUvsDisinfo has reported on the connections between pro-Kremlin disinformation outlets and the spread of anti-Semitic narratives.

The Europeans can’t even buy food for the first time in 75 years, but the EU prefers to remain silent

For the first time in 75 years, the Europeans can’t even buy food but the EU prefers to remain silent. If one EU member country faces problems, the rest gets away from it, hoping for the situation to solve itself. This approach has become a regular one. In Italy, for example, the system to deliver cash to the poor has failed, which led to the fact that for the first time in 75 years, a large number of Europeans can’t simply buy food, but bureaucrats in Brussels simply stick to the policy of ignoring the problems.

Disproof

This is a deliberate distortion of the words of BBC and The Guardian commentator Simon Jenkins, who wrote a critical op-ed about the role of the European Union during the economic crisis caused by coronavirus. The NewsFront article pretends to report on this op-ed, but whole paragraphs were added to the original, such as mentions about the EU preferring to “remain silent” and “stick to the policy of ignoring the problems”, “hoping for the situation to solve itself”. Besides, the headline was misleading, adding “the” to the word “Europeans” to imply that the whole of Europe was finding it difficult to purchase food. In reality, though significant, those concerned were actually a minority in southern Italy. Indeed, by the end of March 2020 the Italian government started a programme of aid for those most in need [see the original decree here in Italian].

This is part of a recurrent Kremlin-led disinformation narrative to portray the European Union as a dysfunctional entity, especially during the coronavirus crisis. You can see other examples in our database, such as claims that the European project is dead because the EU is unable to handle the Covid-19 crisis, which will lead also to the end of the euro; that Brussels tried to finish Italy off because it opposed sanctions against Russia; that the Italian Parliament lowered the European flag; that the European Union is ruled by an American NATO general; or that the EU is trying to blame Russia for its internal problems.

The US fears Russian monarchists, so it labelled them as terrorists

The US State Department designated the organisation Russian Imperial Movement as a terrorist one, the first time that they accuse a group that doesn’t practice radical Islamism but Orthodox Christianity. The decision is justified by the allegation that the group holds and promotes white supremacist ideas, which from the point of view of the institution represents a threat to the State. But if we analyse the publications of this group in social media, the movement actually focuses on the restoration of the order that existed in the Russian Empire and not on racism. Its manifest doesn’t include any article indicating their adherence to white supremacism. Rather the US State Department affirms that RIM’s international activities aim to join forces with its allies in the US and Europe in a common front to fight against their enemies, and that is what the US is afraid of.

Disproof

The designation of the Russian Imperial Movement (RIM) as a global terrorist group is based on its responsibility in paramilitary and terrorist actions, which led to violence against innocents, and not on its ideological stance, according to the US State Department. In addition, RIM has provided paramilitary-style training to white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Europe and actively works to rally these types of groups into a common front against their perceived enemies. RIM has two training facilities in St. Petersburg, which are likely being used for woodland and urban assault, tactical weapons, and hand-to-hand combat training. In 2016, two Swedish individuals attended RIM’s training course; thereafter, they committed a series of bombings in Gothenburg, Sweden, targeting a refugee shelter, a shelter for asylum seekers, and a café, for which they were convicted in Sweden. The Swedish prosecutor credited RIM for their terrorist radicalisation and relevant training. RIM has also provided paramilitary-style training to white supremacists from Germany, Poland, and Finland.

RIM’s racism and its anti-Semitic ideology are well documented. Though not officially promoted or funded by Russian authorities, RIM has been tolerated by the Kremlin for its role in recruiting, training and sending volunteers to the Donbas war. Russian former intelligence officer Igor Girkin [a.k.a. Igor Strelkov], indicted for his responsibility in the downing of the MH17 flight in Ukraine, expressed solidarity with RIM over the designation as a terrorist organisation. Members of RIM’s paramilitary wing, the Imperial Legion, also fought in support of Russian interests in Ukraine, Syria and Libya.