The Kremlin propaganda against Ukraine is reprehensible and non-stop. But it is often so outlandish that it’s easy to ignore and hard for many outside of Russia, and some within Russia, to believe.
But there’s no excuse for Western pundits to be so ignorant about Russia’s war against Ukraine. Some follow the Kremlin line so closely that it makes one suspect they are on dictator Vladimir Putin’s payroll. These three guys stand out, not as the worst, but with recent op-eds built on faulty premises:
Kenneth Rapoza, Forbes
On May 30: “Russia quickly moved to annex Crimea, then an autonomous region of Ukraine’s southeast, and home to Russia’s historic Black Sea Fleet. Crimean authorities voted to secede from Ukraine on March 16, 2014.”
On May 22: “That means Ukraine is as much to blame for the failure of Minsk as the Russians, whose involvement primarily exists in the shadows of covert operations, often subject to conspiracy theory and unreliable sources of information.”
May 17: “Despite the civil war in east Ukraine...”
May 12, 2014: “Between 94% and 98% of eligible voters in Ukraine’s eastern provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk both voted for greater autonomy from Kyiv, the head of the region’s Central Election Committee said on May 12.”
On April 14, 2014: President Viktor “Yanukovych was removed from office by extra-legal means and replaced by two pro-Westerners, one being the well known Arseniy ’Yats’ Yatsenyuk.”
This guy is so many shades of ignorance, it’s hard to keep up with. Russia militarily invaded Crimea and held an election at gunpoint, unmonitored by any reputable election watchdogs. No civilized nation recognizes the theft of Crimea. The “election” in eastern Ukraine was similarly a farce, done amid Russia’s war. Here’s your tipoff, Rapoza: Anytime almost 100 percent of people vote one way on a divisive issue, something is fishy. But there are so many ways the elections were shams.
Rapoza also gets it wrong in calling Russia’s war “a civil war” in Ukraine. There would be no war without Russia, yet Rapoza races to complete idiocy in writing “Ukraine is as much to blame for the failure of Minsk as the Russians.” Russia has not lived up to any of its commitments: 1. cease-fire; 2. withdrawal of troops and weapons; 3. return of eastern border to Ukraine’s control; and 4. unfettered access of international observers. Rapoza seems clearly on the side of evil in writing that Russian involvement rests on conspiracy theories and unreliable sources of information. Even Putin grudgingly confirmed Russian military involvement. So does Ukraine, NATO, Western intelligence agencies and Russians, whose dead soldiers are sent home on a regular basis. Russian involvement is as plain as day.
Finally, Yanukovych fled to Russia on Feb. 22, 2014, he wasn’t removed by “extra-legal” means. He abdicated office amid a popular revolution. His days were numbered for his alleged mass murder and multibillion-dollar theft.
Doug Bandow, CATO Institute
On April 1: “Kyiv simply doesn’t matter geopolitically to Europe or America... Since gaining independence in 1991, Kyiv has suffered corrupt, incompetent and authoritarian governance...While Ukraine ultimately could become a significant trading partner with Europe, that day is far in the future and isn’t worth war.”
Bandow packs an incredible amount of ignorance and disdain in one paragraph. If it doesn’t matter to the West that Russia invades a nation and steals part of its territory, then the West is bankrupt in values. Yes, we live with the corruption in Ukraine every day here, partly Soviet legacy, partly stoked by the Kremlin and partly homegrown. Also, nobody in Ukraine has ever asked the West to go to war with Russia -- modern military weapons and more aid are what’s needed. Ukrainians are fighting for their own homeland -- 10,000 killed so far.
The grand prize for Westerner ignorance goes to Ron Paul, the former U.S. congressman who is possibly nuts or a Kremlin agent.
On April 16, 2014: “The U.S. government pulled off a coup in Ukraine earlier this year.”
On Feb. 21, 2014: “Ukraine is an utter disaster. A few thousand violent rebels in a country of more than 40 million have turned Kyiv into a post-apocalyptic hell...incapable of protecting its own police force from snipers...”
Paul is dead wrong and must love dictators. Most Ukrainians supported the revolution; that’s why ousted President Viktor Yanukovych fled after evidence shows he ordered police snipers to kill protesters. Supporting the revolution was the right thing to do, but the U.S. remained cautious to the end, even making a deal to keep Yanukovych in power.
As bad as they are, I hope these guys represent fringe opinion. But all of this shows many in the West have not awakened to the threat posed by Russia to world peace.