A taste of Guardian propaganda

This is how it goes over at the Guardian newspaper. In an article about Crimea and people registering new born sons as future soldiers (itself of course a story taken out of context and meant to assist a narrative about aggressive Russians etc.) the Guardian offers its readers this neat little summary of the situation with Crimea:

Russia seized control of Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014 after supporting a takeover of the local administration, sending in troops in unmarked uniforms and staging a referendum dismissed around the world as illegitimate.

Brief fact check:

The referendum was held by the legitimate and elected regional assembly. It was not set up by Russia. There was no ‘takeover of the local administration’. A clear majority of elected deputies in the existing legislature backed the referendum. Most of the troops were already there under a valid agreement. These are clear facts.

The role of the Russian troops was to ensure that the referendum could be carried out peacefully. They blocked possible interventions by Ukrainian troops stationed in the peninsula. They prevented a group of Tatars (a minority in Crimea) from blocking the workings of the regional assembly. This account, which is the Russian one, is potentially arguable. However; the area was saturated with Western journalists and observers e.g. from European socialist parties. They did not report obvious irregularities in the conduct of the referendum. You can bet that had there been the Western press would have reported on it. The results claimed in the referendum were that 80% of the population voted and that 98% of the votes cast were for separation from Ukraine and joining Russia.

Back to clear facts. Crimea had been part of the Russian Empire since the late 18th century and then the Soviet Union. It was transferred to Ukraine in 1954 by Khrushchev. Since the fall of the Soviet Union there has been a movement in Crimea to re-join Russia. [1] More than 50% of the population are ethnic Russians. Since the referendum polls carried out by major Western polling organisations have confirmed that a large majority of Crimeans continue to be happy with having rejoined Russia. [2] A Gallup poll found that 82.8% were happy. A subsequent poll by a major German pollster also found 82% were happy. The figure of 82% corresponds exactly with the results of 98% on a turn-out of 80% from the ‘staged’ referendum.

In this farcical and make-believe account the historical background is simply airbrushed out. There is no mention of the violent coup in Kiev. No mention that it was carried out by people chiefly from the West and Centre of Ukraine. No mention that the overthrown President had been elected and that he was particularly popular in the East of the country. [3] I.e. specifically the background which explains the reunification decision in democratic terms is missing.

The Guardian loses all claim to be a newspaper when it publishes pure propaganda like this. Propaganda of this kind is an act of war. Farcical on the one hand. But worrying in as much as it may be used to destabilise the situation and create a narrative which excuses war.

Notes

1. http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/crimea-work-progress/ri7794http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2015/02/a-not-so-brief-history-of-crimea.html

2. http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2015/03/20/one-year-after-russia-annexed-crimea-locals-prefer-moscow-to-kiev/

3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Yanukovych

Author: justinwyllie

EFL Teacher and Photographer