News / Europe

Ukrainians Fight Back in Information War

FILE - Journalists listen to ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich during a news conference in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, Feb. 28, 2014.
FILE - Journalists listen to ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich during a news conference in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, Feb. 28, 2014.
Kremlin-controlled media have launched an information war to justify Russia’s seizing of Crimea. In response, Ukrainians are organizing to counter Moscow’s version of events.
 
When Russian soldiers seized the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea last week, Moscow launched an aggressive propaganda campaign to justify its intervention. It claimed  troops were dispatched to defend ethnic Russians and it accused neo-Nazis and extremists for the earlier ousting of its ally, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, whose downfall triggered Russia’s military intervention.
 
Coping with the aftermath of a revolution, Ukraine’s interim government does not have the media resources to counter what it says is Moscow’s skewed version of events - most new ministers do not have press officers. But ordinary Ukrainians are trying to counter the narrative offered by Kremlin-controlled media outlets.
 
Part of that resistance is taking place at Kyiv’s Ukraine Hotel, where a crisis press center has been set by a group of Ukrainian private-sector public relations experts, including Frolova Alina, the chief executive of a public relations agency.
 
“When the invasion of Russian troops started we all just were shocked and we understood that our government is just quite young. They have a huge number of problems, huge, and they don’t have a time even to pay attention to informational protection of Ukraine.  And we started to call each other, saying that we need to do something to protect Ukraine and to give the more independent information, reliable information, our point of view,” said Frolova.
 
Frolova said the center is not government funded.
 
“This is absolutely voluntary all the people who are working here, and this is just professionals in PR, advertising, communications and international relations,” Frovola explained.
 
The crisis center does not offer its own informational narrative, but instead serves as a platform for Ukrainian politicians, activists, business people and visiting international officials to hold news conferences. What they say is then reported in news releases and on the center’s Facebook page and Twitter feed.
 
This week, the U.S. State Department blasted Moscow’s propaganda effort, arguing that “the world has not seen such startling Russian fiction since Dostoyevsky wrote, ‘The formula ‘two times two equals five’ is not without its attractions.’”
 
Sviatuslav Yurash, 18, agrees with the U.S. State Department’s claim. He is one of many Ukrainians seeking to use the Internet to launch  initiatives to confront Russia's state media.
 
His web site, EuroMaidanPR, was set up in January to document the protests against Yanukovych. Now, he and his friends focus on Crimea and the standoff with Russia.
 
“We are trying to provide more facts to highlight the truth behind what is actually happening in the East, and in the south and in Crimea,” said Yurash.
 
Yurash’s website was quick to debunk Moscow’s assertions earlier this week that tens of thousands of ethnic Russians were fleeing Ukraine. He pointed out that an anchorwoman on the Russian television station Russia Today quit the station this week.
 
“Russia has started a campaign of blatant lies. We had actually today the news of one of the anchors leaving their job because she couldn’t handle it any more because you can lie only so much,” said Yurash.
 
With tensions mounting over Crimea, the propaganda battle is likely to intensify.

You May Like

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Tatiana from: Ukraine
March 11, 2014 6:53 AM
Keeping territorial integrity against the will of the people is a bad idea! The Crimean peninsula has been part of Russia since the 18th century and all throughout the first half of the 20th century when it was offered as a gift from Russia to Ukraine by former (Ukrainian-born) leader of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev, and became part of the Soviet Republic of Ukraine. The change in ownership was more symbolic than materialistic due to the fact that Ukraine was a region in the Soviet Union under Russian leadership. No wonder if Crimeans want to join Russia!
In Response

by: odisei from: Russia
March 16, 2014 3:50 PM
Tatiana you are a [...] - Russia occupied Crimea in 19th century not in 18th (after a war with Ottoman Imp. in 186x). There had NOT been Russians before ever! There were Greeks, romans, vizantinians, venizians… but not Russians. In 1944…1945 Crimean Tatars (as well as Greeks, Armenians etc… ) were sent out and replaced by many Russians – that was a reality of the soviet national politic.

by: Mike Powell
March 08, 2014 8:57 AM
I thought it's the George Soros that funded this "revolution"? How co-incidental, that this revolution gone into high gear just soon after Mr. Yanukovich rejected the E.U. deal.

by: forwardus from: Chicago
March 08, 2014 12:18 AM
This is a joke that the Maidan wasn't prepared in this informational war. On the contrary, our US handlers provided all the technological resources via grants to nationalistic movement to set up websites, blogs, TV channels (I guess, after they won) - that's how Yanukovich lost the info war - many non-violent Ukrainians supported the Maidan and its violent roots.

by: jonathan huang from: canada
March 07, 2014 5:02 PM
Crimea ppl have the right to decide their own fate! its "universal human right", Ukraine must respect Crimeas right!
but UN can send personnel to monitor the referendum to make sure it is fair!
In Response

by: Pol from: Russia
March 16, 2014 4:04 PM
Russian propaganda is trying to convince everybody that there were a treat to Russian speaking in Crimea and Ukraine, but so far I did not see any Russian speaking asking for the refugee status in the west nor in the east, nobody has not seen ANY refugees in the west of Russia as its propaganda declared 10 days ago, but after even Russian newspapers had found no refugees Kremlin all of a sudden did withdraw this subject and never returned back to.
In Response

by: forwardus from: Chicago
March 08, 2014 11:45 AM
I have just talked to two of my very close friends who live in the Ukraines' East. Their views are 180 percent opposite. Both participate in meetings of their cause actively. But both say for sure that Ukrainians will never fight each other. Putin doesn't have legal rights to Crimea, but, since they don't recognize the Kiev government who seized power illegally, they don't have to observe the law in return. Should Putin be condemned? As the law says, yes, but ethnic Russians feel safer against the ultra-nationalists who bear arms by the way and maintain road blocks everywhere they can. In the end, our American scenario to overturn a legitimate government in Ukraine worked, but Putin had a response handy and his scenario to annex Crimea has been working so far.
In Response

by: forwardus from: Chicago
March 08, 2014 12:13 AM
@GoFigure from Canada: I lived half of my life in Eastern Ukraine, have you? I know how ultra-nationalist talk and what they want to do with Ukraine. The "Right Sector" is a serious military group (backed up and trained by US instructors) that can goo far - even intimidate everyone to vote for their leader Yarosh as President. Once they felt that they can no longer to abide by law, they now feel invincible and they WILL NEVER ABIDE BY LAW. Russia didn't do anything before the coup succeeded, and now Russian-speaking people in the East at least can have someone to protect them against the maidan's military groups. I don't praise Russia, but they did what they had moral rights to do: protect their kind, the way Reagan protected Americans in Grenada...
In Response

by: Adrian from: Russia
March 08, 2014 12:11 AM
You don't get it - it is so perverse that it is difficult to understand coming from such a free society as Canada. Imagine this, 1960s Quebec, English/French language, Quebec separatist minority, with only a few radicals such as FLQ. Bombs, kidnapping etc. All of a sudden, France invades Quebec "to protect their French speaking brothers who are at risk due to the English speaking fascists". Or if that's too hard to imagine, try: the Soviets invade Quebec to "protect their Marxist comrades who asked for their help against the fascist English speakers". The Soviets close down all radio, TV, except for the Marxist programs. All English speaking leaders are arrested because they are "fascists". They pay citizens to go out and "protest" with the FLQ or threaten their family or lose their job if they don't. Demonstrators against the invasion or separation are arrested. Since they control the media, they send photos/videos of many "protestors" waving Quebec flag and claim all of Quebec wants to separate and be part of France or the Soviet Union (whichever is easier for you to imagine) People in the Soviet Union/France says yes we support military intervention in Quebec because they are all asking for our help. UN observers are rejected at the border by the military guards. Associated press journalists have their equipement confiscated. Other journalists are beat up by the FLQ who are portrayed as the "People's Militia to Protect Quebec". A "referendum" is scheduled in 10 days to vote on joining France/Soviet Union. The votes are then counted by the invading soldiers.

Then someone from a far distant country says "the Quebec people have the right to decide their own fate!" Which is true. Just not in this context.

This has absolutely nothing to do with "universal human rights" of Quebec or Crimea. It has everything to do with why is France/Soviet Union invading Quebec or why is Putin invading Crimea. But you missed that because Putins propaganda works so well.
In Response

by: GoFigure from: Canada
March 07, 2014 11:21 PM
What you see on the news is complete BS the "protesters in Crimea" are Russians who have been bused in and the " Government " is Russian appointed. What you are seeing is what Russia wants not what any in Crimea want. The whole Russian speaking vs Ukrainian speaking is complete media BS. These so called divisions exist only in Russian propaganda, as they have for the last 20 years. The fact is Russia wants to use its neighbours as a sheild, nothing more. and when it cant control them politically then it does so with force as it has done in Georgia ( After assasinating its leader failed)

by: Anonymous
March 07, 2014 2:17 PM
Sorry to break it to you Russia and Putin, but the only voice that really matters is the Ukrainians. Whatever Russia says or claims, does not matter one bit in the slightest.
In Response

by: Anonymous
March 08, 2014 8:19 AM
Sorry to break it to you but from the East Ukrainian friends I have, they are pro Russian...lol

by: Sindhuratna from: India
March 07, 2014 10:44 AM
India is ill advised to keep purchasing Russian military equipment. The quality of Russian technology just pale in comparison with Israeli/American "on shelf" technological sophistication - not just in Space and Aviation - but but in mundane areas crucial to our security, even our survival as a unified nation. I have been involved for the past 20 years in military procurements from Russia. I have been stationed in the Crimea on many iterations. And I am here posting a comment under a false name but with the hope that someone in India might hear me. We must start aligning ourselves with the truly advanced nations on Earth, and stop this silly sentimental leanings towards a bankrupt and defunct "Soviet Union" - if we want to survive and thrive.
In Response

by: jonathan huang from: canada
March 07, 2014 4:59 PM
dont be stupid, if india can get any technologies from west, you think Inida wouldnt do it?
btw, india military is a joke, how many subs you just have blown up recently?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More