How Russia wags the dog in Ukraine
In the past several days there’s been an escalation of conflict in Ukraine with Russia moving it’s troops and justifying this with shameless propaganda.
They decided to stick to rhetoric that Ukraine is now in "deep chaos" with "nazis, fascists and radical extremists" seizing power as a result of a military coup. As a resident of Kiev I confirm that this is absolutely not true. The situation is as calm and peaceful as never before and the government has full support of the people.
Russia is cultivating the idea that their fight against fascism and nazism is the "sacred mission" of Russian people since World War 2. So any mention of the fight against "fascists" automatically gains approval with the majority of Russians who don’t have internet access and get information only from state-owned media.
And here comes the "wagging"
In the last couple of days a number of TV channels, both Russian and international, reported about pro-Russian rallies in Eastern Ukrainian cities, where people would chant "Russia, Russia" and put Russian flags on top of government buildings.
This was illustrated by images like this:
When in fact amateur footage shows this:
Link to video: http://vk.com/video95225045_168214042
Then we saw a reportedly huge pro-Russian rally in the Eastern city of Kharkov, where "activists" stormed the city council building and put a Russian flag on top. This in fact happened, however these "protesters" were brought from nearby Russia (thankfully they don’t need visas and the border is just about 50 km away.
Here are the photos of buses with Russian number plates that were waiting for demonstrators nearby:
Here is the video on Ukrainian tv:
And the guy who put the Russian flag on top of the city council was soon identified on social network VK.com where it says he is Russian and lives in Moscow.
Here is the photo of him putting Russian flag on city council:
And here is the screenshot of his VK profile (including the above photo):
His profile: http://vk.com/venoru
Another PR stunt from Kremlin was the announcement that over 140 thousand (! what a nonsence) of Ukrainian refugees fled the country to Russia and asked for asylum.
This was illustrated on Russia’s main tv-channel "Channel 1" by a line of cars that reportedly were queuing to cross Russian border:
However the picture in fact shows a customs point Shegini (there is a sign!), which is on Ukrainian-Polish border thousands of miles away from Russian border.
Even Russian internet newspaper reported on this fake: http://lenta.ru/news/2014/03/02/first/
But millions have seen it on TV already, and maybe a few thousand read about it on the internet.