Russia: Telegram block leads to widespread assault on freedom of expression online (UPDATED)
53 international and Russian human rights, media and Internet freedom organisations, strongly condemn the attempts by the Russian Federation to block the Internet messaging service Telegram.
Four years of Kremlin’s ‘Donbas republics’ and their far-right and left-wing friends
It is surely appropriate that the self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics’ [DPR, LPR] date their ‘statehood’ from a fake referendum that even Russia eventually decided not to recognize. This is not the way the so-called ’11 May referendum’ is presented in the militant-controlled media and a new ‘history textbook’, and it is certainly not the impression that a small number of European politicians, usually from the far-right or extreme left, give when they appear for their all-expenses-paid visits, via Russia, to Donbas.
Would the Tribeca Film Festival also award a film starring Islamic State terrorists?
If not, then it should withdraw the top prize awarded to a film starring Russian writer / fighter Zakhar Prylepin who is taking part in Russia’s undeclared war against Ukraine in Donbas.
The day Russia lost Odesa and launched a lethal propaganda lie used to kill in Donbas
Those who find only humour in the mention by Donald Trump’s adviser of a ‘Bowling Green Massacre’ that never happened should think again. It is dangerously easy to then convince people it did happen, and there is nothing funny about stories of an invented ‘massacre’ used to send young men to die or to kill others. That is precisely what Russia launched exactly four years ago
Russian state TV uses old film footage to ‘prove’ chemical attack in Syria was faked
Two Russian state-controlled channels have used shots from a 2016 feature film as part of ‘evidence’ to back Moscow’s claim that the chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma was staged
Russia tries to ‘give itself’ more Ukrainian territory
The Russian-controlled ‘government’ in occupied Crimea has decided to ‘hand over’ Ukraine’s Tuzla Island to Russia. The move is linked with Russia’s construction of a bridge between Russia and Crimea, and is legally meaningless
New law in Ukraine would strip citizenship of Crimean victims of Russian occupation
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has proposed amendments to the Law on Citizenship which, if passed, would deprive Crimeans of their Ukrainian citizenship for actions forced on them by Russia as occupying state
Russian tanks entering Ukraine that the OSCE is mandated to miss
Russia has spent four years denying responsibility for the tanks and huge arsenal of weapons provided to Kremlin-controlled militants in Donbas, and using OSCE observers to purportedly back this denial. While this is not the observers’ fault, the vast expanse of border area physically beyond their scope, as well as the clamps placed on what they are mandated to observe, must surely place the sense of their mission in question.
Ukrainian journalist loses defamation suit for criticizing Moreira propaganda film on Ukraine
A French court has upheld a ruling that found Ukrainian journalist Anna Chesanovska guilty of defaming Paul Moreira in comments about his highly controversial film on Ukraine ‘Masks of the Revolution. As well as a prohibitive fine, the journalist has been ordered, in effect, to retract the truth about a film which is grossly manipulative and misleading
Russia hurts political prisoners in revenge for Ukraine’s expulsion of diplomats
Russia has responded to Ukraine’s expulsion of 13 diplomats with nominal symmetry, but brutal precision, targeting both Moscow and the consulate in Rostov where many of Russia’s politically-motivated trials of Ukrainians are held. Rostov also borders areas of Donbas under Kremlin-backed militant control, and Russia would doubtless prefer as few Ukrainian eyes as possible monitoring its regular flow of fighters, military equipment and arms across the border.
Crucial EU Initiative that Outs Kremlin Lies Under Fire
A crucial program that identifies Kremlin methods of disinformation has come under attack. Alarmingly, one of the key accusations is that its activities constitute an attempt to restrict freedom of speech. The situation could not be more absurd.
Political Shenanigans to the End: Ukraine’s Parliament elects their own MP as ‘Human Rights Ombudsman’
“The Ombudsman is not a commodity and parliament is not a bazaar!”. That was the message from Ukrainian rights activists this week, and one that Ukraine’s parliamentarians have now ignored. On March 15, a politician was elected to the post by her colleagues through procedure in open breach of the Law on the Human Rights Ombudsperson
The Truth Behind Ukraine’s Language Policy
On February 28, Ukraine’s Constitutional Court ruled the bill "On the principles of the state language policy” unconstitutional and rendered it invalid. The law in question, adopted back in 2012 and known as the “Kivalov-Kolesnichenko language law,” granted Russian the status of a “regional language.”
Yanukovych switches story about letter Putin used to justify Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine
Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was pulled out of Russian hiding on March 2 for a press conference seemingly aimed at denying that he had ‘really’ asked for Russian troops to be sent into Ukraine. His rather confused denial follows the about-face by Russia regarding this same letter which was used quite unambiguously back in March 2014 to justify Russian military intervention in Ukraine.
Ukraine: the perennial disinformation target
Four years have passed since the protests and subsequent violence on Maidan square in Kyiv, and also another anniversary is soon upon us; that of the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia. It is therefore no surprise that we see a focus on these events in pro-Kremlin disinformation this week: anniversaries are often used as a hook to reinforce the disinformation narratives constructed to obscure the facts about what happened
Siemens is not alone in helping Russia to breach sanctions over Crimea
Siemens is continuing its attempts to present itself as the aggrieved party over the delivery of Siemens gas turbines to Russian-occupied Crimea. The grounds for disbelieving them are strong enough to make it critical that both the German prosecutor and the EU respond. It is also vital that the loop-holes in sanction documents or deliberate sanction-bypassing methods, used by major companies, such as Adidas, Metro Cash & Carry, Auchan, Volkswagen, DHL, Visa and Mastercard are also challenged.
Fake Crimean Tatar pro-Putin propaganda stunt uses the wrong language
Russia cannot even fake a Crimean Tatar ‘rally in support of Russian President Vladimir Putin without getting it wrong. Not only was the event very obviously orchestrated for the cameras, but they hadn’t even bothered to get the language right. According to Refat Chubarov, head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, the words which were supposed to mean ‘Putin forward!’ in Crimean Tatar were, in fact, in the Tatar language
Ukrainian MP caught in scam to bypass sanctions on Russian-occupied Crimea
Skhemy investigative journalists report that Ukrainian MP and wealthy businessman Oleksandr Hereha has effectively retained his business in Crimea despite Russia’s occupation and in breach of both Ukrainian and international sanctions. Hereha and his wife Halyna are using the same implausible denial and tricks used by Siemens and other international firms breaching sanctions.
Saakashvili was illegally stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship. Formal grounds for deportation are mere cosmetics
Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili is now in Warsaw, having been forcibly detained and deported from Ukraine on February 12. He was not arrested, and not sent back to Georgia to face imprisonment on charges which many suspect are politically-motivated. That makes the cosmetics of the situation a touch better, but is still very far from being, as Ukrainian Border Guard spokesperson Oleh Slobodyan claimed, “in compliance with all legal procedure”.
How can OSCE observe Russian ‘elections’ that are being illegally held in occupied Crimea?
There are several reasons why the event on March 18 which will give Vladimir Putin his fourth official term as Russian President can only loosely be termed ‘elections’. There is one, however, that surely invalidates any outcome since Russia is insisting on holding the elections in illegally occupied Ukrainian Crimea.