Facebook Twitter Instagram Youtube LinkedIn

Disinformation:

DISINFORMATION – After 30 years of independence, Ukraine is a failed, artificial and fragmented state

Disinformation

Ukraine is a failed and artificial state, with a fragmented population, that has recorded no progress in its 30 years of independence, according to a number of false narratives carried by the Russian media. The narratives had been used in the past as well, and are now rehashed on the occasion of Ukraine celebrating its independence anniversary.

NEWS: “In the early 1990s, Ukrainian politicians enjoyed predicting that Ukraine will be sharing the fate of France. Indeed, we are talking about comparable populations in terms of size (52 compared to 58.5 million), fairly similar territories (600 and 640 thousand square kilometers), the same climate and equally sizable agricultural and industrial resources… Adding to that is the glory of the most promising state in Eastern Europe. Why, then, wouldn’t Ukraine be like France?

Ukraine did not become a second France. Furthermore, in 2021, Ukraine is starting to look like France less and less, judging by its modern-day parameters. Its surface is smaller than 560 thousand square kilometers (which is something Ukraine won’t admit), and its population is 32 million. What a catastrophe!

[…]

Right from the start, Ukraine was divided in three territories: Western European, southeastern Russian and central Ukrainian. Its center was either pro-Western or pro-Russian. However, Ukraine didn’t manage to fulfill any of its objectives during its years of independence.

[…]

It is a failed state, which continues to live off the goodwill of its neighbors, who prefer having a divided and aggressive country, rather than a barren wasteland as their neighbor.

As long as this goodwill lasts, this state will continue to exist”, Ukraina.ru writes in a piece devoted to the social and political developments of the last 30 years in Ukraine.

“Ukraine is a state whose string of failures started in 1991. During these years, politicians have been trying to create a Ukrainian nation, but all they have to show for is the struggle against the Russian language, culture and history”, Lenta.ru notes, citing various Russian or pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine.

“Ukraine’s biggest mistake in the last 30 years was not its unwarranted trust in Russia, but its refusal to be a good neighbor. And where did that lead to? War, a rift in Ukrainian society, social unrest and a severe economic crisis”, reads an article by RIA Novosti, which published an address of former president Viktor Yanukovych to the Ukrainian people celebrating Ukraine’s independence.

Reality

NARRATIVE: Ukraine is an artificial and failed state that exists only due to the consensus of its neighbors.

BACKGROUND: On August 24, Ukraine celebrated 30 years since the country proclaimed its independence. Ukraine’s independence and its break with the Russian world are however seen with a critical eye by Moscow, which regards ex-Soviet space as its sphere of influence; for that matter, the breakup of the USSR was described by the current Russian president, Vladimir Putin, as a geopolitical catastrophe of the last century. In 2013, Russia forced Ukraine into signing the Association Agreement with the EU. Then, when the pro-Russian regime was toppled in the wake of a people’s uprising, Russia invaded and annexed the Crimean Peninsula and supported the separatist war in the East. Moscow also engaged in information warfare, whereby it tries to prove that Ukraine is a failed state, emerged by accident, and that without Moscow, Ukraine’s political future will be short-lived.

Now, as Ukraine celebrates its independence, the Russian state media has reiterated all these arguments and published a number of false narratives concerning the social, political and economic developments in Ukraine in the last three decades, considering that 30 years ago many people in Ukraine saw a parallel with France in terms of economy and geography. A great many politicians and specialists believed Ukraine had every chance to become as developed a nation as France.

PURPOSE: The goal here is to sow frustration and disgruntlement in Ukrainian society over the achievements of the state in the last 30 years. Moreover, as the narratives only deal with the political failures of Ukraine, Moscow’s actions in Crimea and Donbass are justified in the eyes of the Russian population by relativizing / criticizing the principles of international law.

WHY THE NARRATIVE IS FALSE: The Russian media ridicules Ukraine’s achievements, claiming its territory and population have shrunk, although it fails to mention that this process is also the result of the illegal annexation of Crimea back in 2014 and of Russia’s support of separatist militias in Donbass. Between 2.5 and 3 million people were living in Crimea at the time of its annexation. Moreover, the conflict in Donbass, backed directly by Russia, has triggered a migration wave, many people choosing to relocate to central and western Ukraine, and some of them to EU states or even Russia. The Russian media overlooks these sad chapters in Ukrainian history, caused by the armed aggression of 2014, blaming it only on politicians in Kiev.

The narrative about the division of Ukraine into pro-Russian, pro-European and central Ukrainian territories has been used by the Kremlin during election campaigns, particularly during the term in office of the pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, its sole purpose being to divide Ukrainian society. In fact, according to sociological surveys, there has never been a dominant pro-Russian attitude in any region of Ukraine after 2014. The Russian media has picked up on the classic narrative about the division of Ukraine in order to prove that, as a state, Ukraine exists only due to its neighbors’ goodwill. In addition, every now and then the social media in Ukraine disseminates fake news about the alleged territorial claims of EU and NATO states (Poland, Hungary, Romania). In fact, all of these states have repeatedly expressed their full support for the integrity and territorial sovereignty of Ukraine.

Ukraine is not a failed state in the sense of the term defined by the UN and Fund of Peace (loss of control of its territory or of the monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force, erosion of legitimate authority to make collective decisions, inability to provide public services, inability to interact with other states as a full member of the international community). The Russian media describes Ukraine as a failed state for losing control over Donbass and Crimea, but fails to specify that, without Moscow’s direct involvement, none of that would have happened. The civil war Russia claims is ongoing in Ukraine broke out and continues with Moscow’s direct contribution. Russia continues to fuel tensions in the region, providing separatists with weapons and fighters.

GRAIN OF TRUTH: The linguistic division of Ukraine is a fact (the East-West divide), but this division has no (geo)political implications. Speaking Russian does not make one pro-Russian. The Ukrainian army, for instance, has a large number of Russian speakers who fight against Russian aggression.

  • Publication / Media:
    Ukraina.ru, Lenta.ru, Ria Novosti
  • Date of publication:
    24/08/2021
  • Language / Target audience:
    Russian speakers in Ukraine, Russia and ex-Soviet states
  • Amplification:
    slovo.odessa.ua, yandex.news
  • Political affiliation:
    The Kremlin
  • Key narrative:
    Ukraine is a failed state, which exists only due to the consensus of its neighbors
Marin Gherman

25 Aug 2021
Marin Gherman

12 minutes read
  • Ukraine is a failed and artificial state, with a fragmented population, that has recorded no progress in its 30 years of independence, according to a number of false narratives carried by the Russian media. The narratives had been used in the past as well, and are now rehashed on the occasion of Ukraine celebrating its independence anniversary.
  • PURPOSE: The goal here is to sow frustration and disgruntlement in Ukrainian society over the achievements of the state in the last 30 years. Moreover, as the narratives only deal with the political failures of Ukraine, Moscow’s actions in Crimea and Donbass are justified in the eyes of the Russian population by relativizing / criticizing the principles of international law.
DISINFORMATION: Inclusive and health policies are forms of totalitarianism
DISINFORMATION: Inclusive and health policies are forms of totalitarianism

Vaccination, tolerance of LGBTQ+ people, digitalization – all these translate into the establishment of a totalitarian regime, according to a Russian historian who stands against vaccination and supports the theory that “ultra-globalists” want to control humanity through the pandemic. The narratives are part of a campaign aimed at undermining Western democracies by hijacking the values that underlie them, such as democracy and freedom. At the same time, it seeks to create confusion about the difference between political concepts and fundamental freedoms and health-care measures.

Mariana Vasilache
Mariana Vasilache
15 Oct 2021
DISINFORMATION: Delivery of Russian gas to Hungary will lead to the collapse of Ukraine, which will become “another Afghanistan”
DISINFORMATION: Delivery of Russian gas to Hungary will lead to the collapse of Ukraine, which will become “another Afghanistan”

In the context of signing an agreement on gas deliveries from Russia to Hungary, bypassing the Ukrainian gas pipeline system, the Russian government-controlled media outlets have begun to promote “apocalyptic” messages about the future of the Ukrainian state. According to such disinformation messages, Ukraine might collapse because of Kiev's “phony” Western partners.

Marin Gherman
Marin Gherman
05 Oct 2021
DISINFORMATION: The Istanbul Convention – a blow to orthodoxy and traditional values
DISINFORMATION: The Istanbul Convention – a blow to orthodoxy and traditional values

The Republic of Moldova’s ratification of the Istanbul Convention is a blow to orthodoxy and traditional values, says the former Moldovan president and the current Socialist leader, Igor Dodon, whose opinion has been largely disseminated by the media in the Republic of Moldova, particularly outlets affiliated to his party. This is not the first time Igor Dodon makes such statements regarding this document, which was submitted for ratification two years ago by a government under his control, made up largely by his advisers.

Cornel Ciobanu
Cornel Ciobanu
04 Oct 2021
DISINFORMATION – Romania lost its sovereignty and national dignity, but Liviu Dragnea can restore them
DISINFORMATION – Romania lost its sovereignty and national dignity, but Liviu Dragnea can restore them

Romania may regain its sovereignty and national dignity with the help of politicians such as former PSD leader, Liviu Dragnea. The narrative is promoted by Sputnik, which picks up on an article written by a Romanian journalist in China. It is part of the older meta-narrative promoting sovereigntism and hostility towards the West.

Mădălin Necșuțu
Mădălin Necșuțu
23 Sep 2021