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Disinformation:

DISINFORMATION: In Ukraine, children are starving and the land reform will turn the country into a Western colony

Disinformation

Ukraine is facing a food crisis. Ukrainian children are already starving. Western corporations will destroy the agriculture and within a few years, the UN will be collecting humanitarian aid for the starving Ukrainian people, according to a new wave of false narratives disseminated by the Russian media.

NEWS: “[…] most people are starving in countries with developed agricultural systems in Africa, Asia and Latin America, where there’s plenty of food. […] Of course, Ukraine is not on the list of countries where people are dying from starvation, but the UN’s Hunger Map shows that 4.6 million Ukrainians (tantamount to 10% of the population) don’t get enough food. They are not suffering from starvation the same way people in Somalia or Zimbabwe are, but they lack enough food supplies to live a normal life. It’s terrible to learn that 22.9% of Ukrainian children under 5 years of age are suffering from chronic hunger, whereas 8.2% are struggling with food shortage. […] We are talking about an “agricultural superpower” rich in chernozems which exploits 80% of its land resources.

[…] We’re not talking about a food crisis, but the fact that the production process is being controlled by the private sector and foreign corporations export everything to the West.

[…] The public statistics agency notes that Ukraine has a meat production deficit of 1.1%, while meat imports exceed exports six times.  

[…] Cheap foodstuffs for the majority of rich capitalist states are a direct consequence of plundering poorer nations which are late comers to the capitalist game – former colonies or territories of the Soviet Union.

[…] The possibility of selling land to foreign corporations starting 2024 might bring Ukraine closer to countries for which the UN is collecting humanitarian aid.

[…] In technical terms, Ukraine can feed its entire population, without a democracy and investments”.

Reality

NARRATIVES: 1. The population of Ukraine, just like the people of Africa, is starving. 2. The launch of the land market in Ukraine will trigger a food crisis. 3. Ukraine has become an agrarian colony of the West. 4. To solve the current agricultural crisis, Ukraine doesn’t need a democratic government or a climate favoring investment, but merely a centralized regime.

BACKGROUND: On July 1, the land market law took effect in Ukraine, under which people are now free to buy or sell farmland. Starting 2024 the market is due to be expanded to include foreign citizens. Right now, Ukraine’s agricultural output is underperforming due to the lack of investment. The ban on selling farmland is a legacy of the communist period. Whereas the Government in Kiev claims the launch of a functional market in one of the most fertile areas on the planet marks a first important step towards a more efficient agriculture that will boost investment, the Russian state media continues to promote various false narratives about this reform. Ukraine is described as a state struggling with hunger, which exports most of its quality foodstuffs to the West, because large corporations are turning it into an agricultural colony. The agrarian reform, like most of the other initiatives bringing Ukraine closer to the West for that matter, is seen as a threat which leads to Moscow losing influence over Kiev.

PURPOSE: To convince public opinion that the land reform is a mistake which will turn Ukraine into an agricultural colony of the West. The narratives criticize the transparent norms that regulate the functioning of the food market with a view to conveying a pro-Kremlin message – to solve the current agricultural crisis, there’s no need for a democratic state or an investment-friendly climate, but rather for a centralized regime.

WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: The headline, conclusions and the political messages at the end of the news article bear no logical connection to the facts presented by the author. The article contains a number of obvious fallacies. On the one hand, the author writes about “the great hunger” in Ukraine, about an obvious food crisis, whereas on the other hand he states that meat imports have gone up six times! Ukraine is compared to Somalia and Zimbabwe for which the UN is collecting humanitarian aid, while at the beginning of the article the very author writes that “of course, Ukraine is not on the list of countries where people are dying from starvation”. The information is presented so as to give uneducated readers the impression that Ukraine is now at a level similar to underdeveloped countries in Africa due to the land reform launched a few days ago!

The Hunger Map, which, the article claims, proves that Ukrainians are starving, in fact shows that Ukraine is no different from most other EU states. Still, the situation is critical in Donbass, namely in areas that aren’t currently controlled by the Ukrainian authorities. The Russian state media doesn’t mention this, thus misleading public opinion.

The other false narratives are presented as the author’s personal commentaries, emulating the Kremlin’s usual narratives regarding Ukraine. Such anti-Western narratives speak about Ukraine being turned into a colony of the West, the failure of capitalism and democracy compared to centralized regimes (an allusion to the successful agricultural system administered by the Putin regime in Russia).

In truth, if implemented correctly, the land reform could breathe new life into Ukraine’s economy. Kiev experts claim that the land market would spell additional income from exports for the country and would translate into more food for the rest of the world. The liberalization of farmland trading would give rise to a more efficient agriculture, and the market would become more transparent, which hasn’t been possible so far.

  • Publication / Media:
    ukraina.ru
  • Date of publication:
    05/07/2021
  • Language / Target audience:
    Russian-language speakers in Ukraine, Russia and ex-Soviet states
  • Amplification:
    Russian public television broadcasters, social networks
  • Political affiliation:
    The Kremlin
  • Key narrative:
    The launch of the land market in Ukraine will trigger a food crisis
Marin Gherman

06 Jul 2021
Marin Gherman

10 minutes read
  • Ukraine is facing a food crisis. Ukrainian children are already starving. Western corporations will destroy the agriculture and within a few years, the UN will be collecting humanitarian aid for the starving Ukrainian people, according to a new wave of false narratives disseminated by the Russian media.
  • NARRATIVES: 1. The population of Ukraine, just like the people of Africa, is starving. 2. The launch of the land market in Ukraine will trigger a food crisis. 3. Ukraine has become an agrarian colony of the West. 4. To solve the current agricultural crisis, Ukraine doesn’t need a democratic government or a climate favoring investment, but merely a centralized regime.
  • PURPOSE: To convince public opinion that the land reform is a mistake which will turn Ukraine into an agricultural colony of the West. The narratives criticize the transparent norms that regulate the functioning of the food market with a view to conveying a pro-Kremlin message – to solve the current agricultural crisis, there’s no need for a democratic state or an investment-friendly climate, but rather for a centralized regime.
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