Disinfo: Ukraine banned Vkontakte as a result of Facebook lobbying

Summary

In 2017 Ukraine blocked access to Russian social media Vkontakte as a result lobbying by Facebook.

Disproof

No evidence given to support this allegation. Ukraine blocked access to Vkontakte and other Russian social media for security reasons, as part of a broader set of measures by the National Security Council (NSDC) to expand “personal economic and other restrictive measures (sanctions)” against personalities linked to the Crimean annexation, terrorist activities, illegal border crossing, and 468 Russia-based or Russia-affiliated companies. According to the Secretary of the National Security Council (NSDC) Olexandr Turchynov, such measures were taken as Russian Internet resources “threaten information and cyber security of Ukraine” and “are used for propaganda and the recruitment of agents by Russian security services.”

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 135
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 01/02/2019
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Ukraine
  • Keywords: social media, Facebook
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Süddeutsche Zeitung - an instrument of London and Washington for sowing hatred towards Russia

As the European elections are approaching, the Anglo-Saxons are desperate to stop the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, and curb the success of the European parties that are opposing the sanctions again Russia. An article in the German Daily Süddeutsche Zeitung is an example of these attempts. At the 75th anniversary of the end of the siege of Leningrad, the paper published a russophobic attack on the commemoration of the victims. Attacking the memory of the Russian people’s heroism in the fight against Nazism is done to drive a wedge between Moscow and Berlin.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory, presented without any evidence. The original article raises the question whether it is appropriate to memorialise the tragedy - "A monstrous crime by the Wehrmach", "A genocide" - with military parades instead of solemn remembrance. The siege of Leningrad was never memorialised in this way before; the parade is a first of its kind on this day. Russian pro-Kremlin media have also published texts, voicing criticism about the military parade.

PACE resolutions have no power

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is an outdated and toothless organisation, which doesn’t do anything clever. It is a club of people who like to talk about everything. Resolutions are simply not needed because they have no power.

Disproof

Among other instruments of influence, PACE has the right to demand action from 47 European governments, who must jointly reply, question Presidents and Prime Ministers on any topic it chooses, sanction a member State by recommending its exclusion or suspension, etc.

"Though it has no power to pass binding laws, PACE holds a constant dialogue with governments, national parliaments, other international organisations and civil society which "sets the agenda", says the official website.

Without Russia, Ukraine would collapse economically

Ukrainian ex-minister Evgeniy Chervonenko said that Ukraine would collapse economically without Russia, and that Ukraine’s duty-free quotas to Europe stopped at the end of January 2019. “I think that today, without Russia, we would have an economic collapse”, the politician concluded. “Life shows the truth (…). January ends, and quotas to Europe end as well”.

Disproof

In 2016, the EU became Ukraine's largest trading partner, accounting for more than 40% in 2016. In 2017, the overall trade between the EU and Ukraine has increased by 24%. In 2018, the trade turnover of only agricultural goods between Ukraine and the EU increased by 11.4% and reached 9 billion USD. In 2014-2017, Ukrainian companies exported 265 new products to the EU that had not been exported before, among them are butter, poultry, lard, image projectors, snowmobiles, and washing machines. The EU is also the largest investor in Ukraine. The Ukrainian Agrarian Business Club reported that “as of January 21, Ukraine closed the quotas for duty-free export to the EU of honey, wine and apple juice, as well as the main and additional quotas for corn ... Despite the exhaustion of duty-free quotas, the export of these products will continue in the future”. In addition, the list of products for which Ukraine has duty-free quotas for export to the EU is much bigger, therefore, it cannot be argued that quotas have been closed in January. The goods that cannot be exported duty-free will be exported on a regular basis. The Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine notes that, in 2018, additional trade preferences were opened in the European market for honey, grape juice, processed tomatoes, barley groats, flour and oats. The vice-president of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis said in an interview with “European Pravda” that “it is already noticeable that the Ukrainian economy is beginning to recover. Last year, the GDP growth rate was 2.5%, we expect acceleration to 3.5% next year”. In addition, Ukraine’s trade with other countries is also growing, new agreements are emerging. For example, the trade turnover between Ukraine and China increased by $1.1 billion compared to 2017. In early 2019, Ukraine also signed the Free Trade Agreement with Israel.The Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine expects growth to $ 63.5 million compared to previous years thanks to the new agreement. Further debunking by StopFake.org. For more information on trade between the EU and Ukraine, see here. For other disinformation narratives on EU trade see here.