Disinfo: Ukrainian lawmaker says Crimea is booming, better off under Russian control

Summary

A Ukrainian lawmaker and member of President Zelensky’s ruling party has argued that Crimea changed for the better since returning to Moscow’s control in 2014. She said that many people living in Crimea, including former Ukrainian citizens, are “satisfied and happy” with the way the peninsula has developed since voting to join Russia in 2014.

The parliamentarian suggested that people were used to politicians in Kiev not playing a role in their life, saying “in the 30 years before, nothing had been done. When we don’t make any progress, we stand still.”

By contrast, she added, since the peninsula began to be administered by Russia, significant building works had been begun in cities such as Simferopol. The lawmaker’s admission is all the more extraordinary given that she had been a resident of Simferopol until 2014, and she added that “Russia is building a lot. I saw a video of the place where I lived, I just did not recognize it at all … there are already high-rise buildings, and highways have been built there.”

Disproof

The story advances a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on Crimea through cherry-picking several isolated sentences from a much longer TV appearance by Ukrainian People's Deputy Yelizaveta Bohutska.

The lawmaker certainly does not characterise the economic situation in Crimea as "booming," nor does she suggest that Russian occupation of the peninsula has produced an overall improvement in people's lives there. Bohutska prefaces her remarks with a statement which RT handily omitted from the story. In reference to recent comments by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, she says that “the press secretary of a president who occupies my homeland is telling me that my hatred for them is only temporary and will soon pass, but how soon this will happen depends on them. It depends on how soon they give me back my home, which is illegally occupied by Russians” (01:23-01:45). Read in this context, Bohutska’s remarks are anything but an endorsement of Russia’s illegal presence in Crimea.

She does mention construction work in Simferopol (03:20-03:46), but then contrasts it with the situation elsewhere in the republic: "On the southern coast, however, all footpaths leading to the beach are fenced off. [...] Those living in the south who awaited Russia and thought that their businesses would suddenly take off are now lamenting that things were much better under Ukrainian control” (03:48-04:07). This is also absent from the RT report on Crimea's supposed economic renaissance.

The Autonomous Republic of Crimea is part of sovereign Ukrainian territory. Its armed seizure by Russia in February 2014 was followed by a fake "reunification" referendum, which has yet to be recognized by a single international institution.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 221
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 16/11/2020
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: Russia, Ukraine
  • Keywords: economy, illegal annexation, Russian superiority, Crimea

Disclaimer

Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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