New Russian Fake ‘Ukrainian Separatism’ Season Gets Underway
A fictitious ‘Assembly of Romanians of Bukovyna’ is for the second year running reported to be demanding greater autonomy for ethnic Romanians and complaining that the rights of minorities are violated in Ukraine. The latest reports come just two weeks after Russian TV
There is no evidence that the so-called Assembly actually exists, but having succeeded in duping one western journalist a year ago, those behind the fake presumably saw no harm in going for a remake.
Very little effort was, unfortunately, required with a number of Ukrainian media simply reporting the demands as though genuine. Most cited Ukrainian News as their source, yet had obviously failed to check the link. Since this leads nowhere, there was even confusion as to whether the alleged coordinator of this assembly is a man or a woman!
The Bukovyna website
One of the Russian sources that reported these “demands for autonomy” was
A letter has supposedly been sent to President Petro Poroshenko in which they call on him to give the area with a high percentage of Romanians in the Chernivtsi oblast territorial autonomy status. This was allegedly reported to Ukrainian News by Chirtoaca who claims that the rights of Romanians and other ethnic minorities are gravely violated in Ukraine. The document is variously referred to as a letter or a statement, and is nowhere provided in full, however it is stated that the ‘Assembly’ has decided to send it to the EU, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and other international bodies. Chirtoaca claims that “activists of the Romanian national movement are persecuted, and not allowed to hold events and forums”.
There were no pictures, no direct link that opened to the alleged source and conflicting views as to whether the coordinator was a man or woman. Most disturbingly, none of the Ukrainian media who reported the ‘Assembly’s demands’ had thought to check the information out with representatives of Romanian organizations in Bukovyna. This despite the fact that they were being presented with an ever shoddier remake of a fake from July 2015.
The first report of a founding conference of the so-called ‘Assembly of Romanians of Bukovyna’ was posted on July 27 by nr24.org, and from there by
Chernivtsi photographer Mykola Havka demonstrated then that the reports were a low-grade fake.
Arkady Opaits, Head of the League for the Defence of the Rights of National Minorities, also believes that the Kremlin was behind the fake. The idea,
Neither Opaits, nor his colleagues who have connection with Romania had ever set eyes on any of the people in the photo.
Regrettably the ‘cheap bone’ back in July last year did find a taker. For reasons that remain unclear, Thomas Barrabi writing for the International Business Times deemed the Kremlin-funded
“A group of ethnic Romanians in western Ukraine have demanded autonomy from Kiev amid dissatisfaction with the nation’s internal security and economic situation, according to a report Thursday. The outcry unfolded alongside ongoing efforts by separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine to achieve political autonomy.”
Barrabi only mentioned his source halfway through the third paragraph. Even readers knowing Sputnik’s questionable reputation might still be deceived since Barrabi writes as though he has himself spoken with Dorina Chirtoaca, then referred to as a woman.
He goes on to assert that “a similar dispute was at the heart of Kiev’s clashes with pro-Russian separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine . Various rebel groups have sought to form their own autonomous government within Ukraine”.
Russia’s highly active role in this ‘dispute’ is ignored entirely, and as for its invasion and annexation of Crimea, Barrabi mentions this really only to suggest that Ukraine is a hotbed of separatist tendencies. “Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that 97 percent of Crimeans preferred Moscow’s rule,
There have been many ‘separatist stunts’. They can seem absurdly shoddy when exposed as fakes. Ukraine learned to its cost that not all are exposed, and their danger should not be underestimated.