Foreign media digest 23 September 2014


Ukraine used all methods to create the public opinion it needed, spread disinformation and half-truths – and yet could always get support from the West.

Die Welt:

Not only the Kremlin uses propaganda in fighting for the eastern Ukraine, but Kyiv also, Andre Eichhofer writes for Die Welt. Ukraine used all methods to create the public opinion it needed, spread disinformation and half-truths – and yet could always get support from the West. The correspondent shows concrete examples. In August, NSDC spokesman Andrei Lysenko claimed the army had destroyed a Russian military convoy in eastern Ukraine. He did not provide evidence. Early September, the pro-government website Euromaidanpress wrote that Russia had annexed the city of Lugansk and spread their Russian money and Russian passports. It appealed to a German member of the Bundestag, who was supposed to be on the spot. Upon request of the “Welt am Sonntag” he says this: “I was never in Lugansk.”

Most of all Ukrainian press get the information about losses, fallen soldiers directly from Ukrainian army and spread this unverified information, the article states. Much military news comes from Dmitri Tymchuk, a Ukrainian ex-military, who leads Kyiv “Center for counter-information” and usually reported in great detail on the fighting in eastern Ukraine. Where, however, Tymchuk gets its information is unclear. It is suspected that Timtschuk is used by Kiev to launch information to the public.

As in Russia, most newspapers and TV stations in Ukraine spread a patriotic mood. Russian-speaking citizens are not vilified. This distinguishes the Ukrainian from Russian propaganda, the Kremlin critics like branded as “fascists”. The press would also annoy their readers because high-circulation newspapers like Segodnja or Fakty, as well as magazines such as Novoe Vremya or Focus, appear in Russian.

Media which report critically on the operations in eastern Ukraine are coming under increasing pressure. An impressive example is the newspaper “Vesti”. The journal was formerly close to the Party of Regions of ex-president Viktor Yanukovych. After the Maidan-revolution “Vesti” although distanced from the former government, however, is still considered as a pro-Russian, the author explained.

“Maybe because we critically examine the war and do not publish all government’s declarations if they are not proved,” says “Vesti” reporter Igor Burdyga. In early July masked and armed men with baseball bats ravaged the editorial office of “Vesti”. Two weeks ago, the Ukrainian intelligence service SBU raided the offices of the newspaper, confiscated computers and froze publisher accounts. The reason for the search, the editors suggest, could have been an article about the daughter of intelligence service chief Valentin Nalyvaychenko.


The West needs to see compromises with Russia based on now-unfashionable principles of realpolitik.

The Atlantic

writes: The U.S. and NATO could offer neutrality for Ukraine—that is, pledge in writing not to invite it to join the alliance, and prevail upon Ukraine’s leadership, which is now entirely dependent on Western largesse for its survival, to withdraw the bill Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is ushering through parliament that would annul the country’s non-bloc status. If Western leaders did this now, they might be able to forestall the worst-case scenario: Putin seeking to replicate the seizure of Crimea elsewhere—say, in the Baltics—where Russian-speaking populations exist outside Russia’s borders.

The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland: “Russia is a part of our system of values” SonntagsZeitung:

I hope the ceasefire will remain. There are evidences both sides want to end the military conflict. The further step should be to hold negotiations where real causes of the conflict will be discussed.

In Ukraine, the Euromaidan movement made explicit their civilizational “choice for Europe.

Washington Post:

There are very real dangers in trying to reanimate dead ideas. It is time to let Huntington’s “clash of civilizations” finally rest in peace, the newspaper concludes.

OSCE diplomacy had a huge effect (!!!!), for 6-month period it has help to reduce the tension, the author writes.


At the talks on September 5, OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Heidi Tagliavini was able to achieve the signing of the ceasefire agreement, in which “no one believed at the start of the negotiations.” Then at the talks in Minsk on September 19-20, OSCE was succeeded to impose a 30-kilometer buffer zone, which is to be controlled by OSCE mission. Peace talks in Vienne are in the nearest future, which are yet not clear, Liberation writes.

Private armies, funded by oligarchs, fighting for the Kiev government, have attracted hard-right recruits. The Azov Battalion is particularly popular for foreign volunteers because of its English-language social pages.

The Independent:

Mikael Skillt, a 37-year-old former Swedish soldier, joined after his “warrior soul was awakened” by the Maidan protests against Yanukovych’s government. Skillt, who says he is proud to be a National Socialist, was “fighting for the freedom of the Ukrainian people against Putin’s imperialist front”.

High Hopes for Russia Are Fading on Wall St.

The New York Times:

The Financial Times informs The Blackstone Group, the private-equity firm, is planning to end its ambition to make investments in Russia this year, according to a person involved in the decision. As The New York Times prognoses, “up to $100 billion of capital could flee the country just this year, making investments and mergers and acquisitions almost impossible.”

Browder: Russian oligarch’s arrest is a warning against a palace coup.

The Guardian:

The arrest of one of Russia’s richest men last week was an attempt by President Vladimir Putin to protect himself from a palace coup, according to one of his most vocal critics Bill Browder, The Guardian writes. ” I just think [Putin] randomly picked one out to make sure none of the other oligarchs is going to start challenging him or start planning any palace coups,” Browder goes on. “Now that their wealth has been diminished by Putin’s actions, they have a big incentive to act against Putin and he knows that,” he adds. Analyst Alexander Kliment gives his view on the problem: “As the economic pie starts to shrink, everyone is sharpening their knives. Those who are closer to the Kremlin will do better than those who are not, and Yevtushenkov was not as close to the Kremlin as others.”