For nearly 5 years now, people like myself, as well as many of my friends and colleagues, have been repeatedly slandered, ostracized, doxxed, de-humanized, and de-platformed as “Russian trolls”, “Kremlin bots”, and “fake news” by so-called “experts.” At least several hours of media programming a day in the West are devoted to screeching ad nauseam about “Russian state media”, “Russian propaganda”, “Russian disinformation”, and “Russian interference.” Of course, 9/10 people who parrot these lines don’t know anything about media, not to mention Russian media or Russia, and would prefer to remain in the bliss of aggressive ignorance. But the next time someone of their ilk tries to push such at you, show them this.
Presented below are two news pieces covering the ongoing Ukrainian elections.
The first is from April 9th, and was published by “Press of Ukraine.” “Press of Ukraine” was founded and is funded by the US National Endowment for Democracy, and is an official partner of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, under what Wikipedia hilariously calls “an independent agency of the United States government” (?!) – the US Agency for Global Media. If you, like me, are an American citizen, your tax dollars are paying for this.
The second is from April 7th, and is from Russian RT, i.e., the “infamous Russian state media” supposedly bombarding you with “fake news”, “conspiracy theories”, and “bare assertions.” A few days ago, the US’ special envoy to Ukraine and former NATO ambassador, Kurt Volker, warned Americans in an interview with the Public Broadcasting Corporation (another US state media org) that RT’s Ukraine coverage is “propaganda.”
The level of discourse, analysis, and balance of opinions between these two pieces is incomparable. I’ve translated both as verbatim as possible for you to judge for yourself. But just remember that it’s for translating this, and for critically commenting on it, that someone somewhere on the internet is calling me a Russian troll and is logging these likes and shares as evidence of some kind of “Russian network” – all the while as they take your tax dollars to fund Exhibit A, and as they invest millions more in destroying a man who will likely be tortured in Guantanamo for exposing other horrors paid for out of your pocket and orchestrated by the very same people telling you what to read and what not to.
PRESS OF UKRAINE: April 9, 2019 12:39:
“GERMAN POLITICAL SCIENTIST APPRAISED POSSIBLE ZELENSKY PRESIDENCY”
Andreas Umland explained why the majority of Ukrainians have supported Vladimir Zelensky. He also said what the newcomer politician can give people. This news is being re-transmitted by “Press of Ukraine.”
The German political scientist Andreas Umland expressed his opinion on the candidate for the post of President of Ukraine, Vladimir Zelensky. In his words, Zelensky really has a big chance to win in the end. Umland proposed that voters who voted for Yulia Tymoshenko, Yurii Boyko, Alexander Vilkul and others, are likely to vote in the second round for the newcomer politician, not Petro Poroshenko.
“A Zelensky presidency would be not only a political, but an historic departure in post-Soviet Ukraine. Zelensky is not simply a stranger in Ukrainian politicians. He might turn out to be the first outsider to achieve such a high post. In 2014, the former boxing champion Vitaly Klitschko headed Kiev, and there are more than a few political newbies among parliamentarians or ministers, but never before have they participated in politics and gotten so close to the highest government post as Zelensky”, Umland said.
In his opinion, Ukrainians’ commitment to Zelensky can be explained simply. People are disappointed with the ruling class.
“One can even prove that a Poroshenko re-election would be – taking into consideration Ukraine’s negative experience with him and previous presidents of a similar type – an expression of some kind of regressive social immobility,” he added.
Andreas Umland noted that people hope that Zelensky will give Ukrainians access to political decision making processes with his presidency and team. Nevertheless, he recalled that formally Ukraine is a parliamentary-presidential republic, and significant prerogatives are concentrated in the hands of the parliamentary majority, government, and prime minister.
We remind [readers] that the second round of presidential elections will take place on April 21st.
RT: April 7, 2019 08:39
“‘CHECKMATE’: COULD THE WEST BE SUPPORTING POROSHENKO IN THE RUN UP TO THE SECOND ROUND OF ELECTIONS IN UKRAINE?”
In anticipation of the second round of presidential elections, the US State Department’s special envoy for Ukraine, Kurt Volker, stated that the current head of the country, Petro Poroshenko, wields a number of advantages over his competitor – the showman Vladimir Zelensky. Previously, the deputy to the leader of Angela Merkel’s faction in the Bundestag, Johann Wadephul, remarked that Ukraine cannot afford ‘inexperienced leadership.” In the opinion of the majority of experts and RT sources in the Ukrainian government, this rhetoric of Western politicians might testify to interference in the elections by foreign states.
In an interview with the American Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), US State Department special envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, shared his assessment of the contenders for the highest state post in the republic – the showman Vladimir Zelensky and the current president Petro Poroshenko.
Washington’s representative called Zelensky a candidate who merely criticizes the existing system, whereas Poroshenko, in Volker’s opinion, despite certain discontent among Ukrainians, has done a lot for the country. Volker assessed Poroshenko’s advantages thusly: ‘Do they want someone who is just going against the establishment, promising massive reform? Or do they want someone who maybe has been disappointing to them in some respects, but has done more on reform than anyone else has in Ukraine for the past 20 years and stood up to Putin?’ Volker stressed: ‘now the Ukrainian public is faced with this choice.’
Previously, the two finalist candidates in the second round of presidential elections in Ukraine were also commented on by the deputy to the head of the CDU/CSU ruling bloc faction in the Bundestag, Johann Wadephul. Commenting on the results of the first round in early April, he remarked: “Over the next three weeks before the runoff vote, Zelensky must specify what he stands for and which team of politicians will support him. Ukraine cannot afford to rely on inexperienced leadership in the conflict with Russia and in its difficult economic and social situation.”
In turn, on April 1st, Angela Merkel held a telephone conversation with the Ukrainian president, during which she congratulated him on entering the second round. The next day, Poroshenko was congratulated by the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk.
On April 5th, the official spokesman of the German government, Steffen Seibert, and the head of Poroshenko’s election headquarters, Oleg Medvedev, reported that the Ukrainian president will visit Berlin on April 12th, where he will hold talks with Merkel. According to Seibert, Germany does not regard this step as a demonstration of support for Poroshenko. However, Medvedev stated that the current president’s trip to the German capital is “an unconditional sign of attention to the elections in Ukraine and our candidate.”
According to the results of the first round of presidential elections in Ukraine held on March 31st, Vladimir Zelensky received 30.24% of the vote, and Petro Poroshenko 15.95%. The second round of voting, which will determine the next president, will be held on April 21st.
A source of RT’s in the [Ukrainian] Radical Party of Oleg Lyashko, explained these statements of Western politicians thusly: “Everyone in the American Embassy in Ukraine was shocked when they realized that Vladimir Zelensky might very well win. They perfectly understand that the oligarch Igor Kolomoysky stands behind him – Ukrainian journalists have proven this. At the same time, it is unknown how Zelensky will behave after the elections and what Kolomoysky’s real plans are. This is exactly what the West fears, and that is precisely why they intend to support Poroshenko.”
A source of RT’s in Yulia Tymoshenko’s Fatherland Party suggested that assurances that the West is not interfering in Ukrainian politics have turned out to be a blatant bluff. The interlocutor of RT said: “The US and EU don’t trust Petro Poroshenko, especially because of the corruption scandals implicating him. But for the West he still looks better than Zelensky. What if Zelensky tomorrow suddenly starts direct negotiations with Russia? This would be a failure of Western policy in Ukraine.”
According to a source in Arsen Avakov and Arseny Yatsenyuk’s Popular Front party, now “Petro Poroshenko’s chances of victory have sharply increased.” They told RT: “As far as I understand, Berlin and Washington have decided to provide direct support to one of the presidential candidates – Petro Poroshenko. The West has made it clear that it does not want to cooperate with Zelensky. They realize what kind of show he might arrange following the debates at the Olympic [Stadium] and his public test disclosures.”
At the same time, the director of the Kiev Center for Political and Conflict Studies, Mikhail Pogrebinsky, is skeptical about the information that Poroshenko is supported by the US and Germany. According to the political scientist, “there is no invitation to vote for Poroshenko in Volker’s words.” As for Merkel’s congratulations and the upcoming talks in Berlin, in Pogrebinsky’s opinion this is the direct initiative of the current President of Ukraine.
“Poroshenko provoked Angela Merkel’s congratulations in order to show everyone that the Chancellor supports him,” Pogrebinsky believes, “This looks absolutely inadequate. Could you imagine Merkel calling Poroshenko to actually congratulate him on a loss?”
According to the expert, demonstrating Western support is the Ukrainian president’s electoral team’s plan. “They need to save themselves. In order to do so, they need to show that Poroshenko is most suitable for the West and that the West wants him to win,” the political scientist believes.
In turn, the director of the Fund for Progressive Policy, Oleg Bondarenko, believes that Angela Merkel in fact might support Petro Poroshenko. The two politicians have “become each other’s hostages”, the expert told RT in an interview.
“Merkel is trying to demonstrate foreign policy success, of which she hasn’t had any for practically this whole past term. She has fully invested in Poroshenko. If he loses, this will be a blow to Merkel’s position,” Bondarenko believes.
The expert also remarked that Kurt Volker and Johann Wadephul’s statements are “pure attempts to interfere in the Ukrainian elections.” “This is an indirect call to vote in favor of the ‘more experienced politician’”, Bondarenko postulates.
A similar opinion is shared by the deputy director of the Institute for CIS Countries, Vladimir Zharikhin. “Of course the US is interfering in the elections in Ukraine”, the expert told RT in an interview. Zharikhin stressed that although Volker’s position might not reflect the views of other key figures who determine Washington’s policies towards Kiev, “he is an official State Department officer, and in this regard this is clear interference in the course of an electoral process.”
Vladimir Zharikhin believes that Washington and Berlin’s behavior ahead of the second round of Ukrainian presidential elections “calls into doubt the appropriateness of recognizing the results of the vote.”
“Poroshenko, as they say, has been checkmated. The US is not sure that they can expect Zelensky to show the same devotion and active fulfillment of all instructions. Therefore, they still want to keep Poroshenko in power,” the political scientist believes.
In the very same interview in which he spoke of Poroshenko’s advantages over Zelensky, Kurt Volker also accused Russia of attempting to influence the Ukrainian elections. According to the American diplomat, Moscow is using all methods for pressuring Kiev, including the operations of RT.
“They keep the fighting going. You see all kinds of propaganda, R.T., Sputnik, cyber-attacks. The whole — the whole toolbox is on display in Ukraine,” the US’ special representative said.
According to Vladimir Zharikhin, the US and its European partners, by unfoundedly accusing Russia of interfering in the Ukrainian elections, are demonstrating double standards. Western countries themselves are interfering in the Ukrainian election process, but they don’t consider this to be a problem, the expert remarked. “They always act like this: they consider one behavior acceptable for themselves, and another for others,” the expert emphasized.
In addition to support in words, Western partners have provided Kiev with certain “pre-election” financial aid as well. As RT reported earlier, through the American embassy in Kiev the US State Department has advanced several hundred thousand dollars in the form of grants for working with voters – $303,495 for 19 projects for various non-governmental organizations and media.
Among the grantees are the non-governmental organization “Borot’ba za prava” (“Struggle for Rights”), the Independent Association of TV and Radio Broadcasters of Ukraine, Hromadske Radio, Ternopol Media Center, and the Nothing Creative Association. The latter has received money for ‘mobilizing youth to participate in elections in Western Ukraine.’”