3 February 2014

Pro-Russian network behind the anti-Ukrainian defamation campaign

Read this article in German, French, Russian and Ukrainian.

There has been a huge tide of false, incorrect and bloated reports that exaggerate or over-emphasize the significance of the far right in the current Euromaidan protests in Ukraine. A Moscow-based journalist Alec Luhn writes in The Nation about "the Ukrainian nationalism at the heart of ‘Euromaidan’", a leftist Seumas Milne argues in The Guardian that "in Ukraine, fascists, oligarchs and western expansion are at the heart of the crisis", while a self-styled "independent geopolitical analyst" Eric Draitser, in his nauseatingly misleading piece for his own Stop Imperialism (later re-published by The Centre for Research on Globalization), even goes so far as to claim that "the violence on the streets of Ukraine [...] is the latest example of the rise of the most insidious form of fascism that Europe has seen since the fall of the Third Reich".

These and many other similar articles are all written according to the same pattern, and their aim is to discredit the Euromaidan protests as the manifestations of fascism, neo-Nazism or - at the very least - right-wing extremism.

Every single mass political mobilisation in Ukraine has been accompanied by the attempts to compromise the popular uprisings by associating them with the extreme right. And not only uprisings or protests, but big events too. For example, a few weeks before the start of the Euro-2012 football championship, British media hysterically accused Ukrainians of racism and xenophobia, and warned that any non-White person going to see football matches in Ukraine would definitely and immediately be killed. After the championship was over, no British media outlet apologised to the Ukrainian people when it turned out that not one racist incident involving Ukraine fans had been reported during the tournament.

The current campaign to defame the Euromaidan protests is so far the strongest attack on the Ukrainian civil society and democratic politics. Similar attacks took place in the past too, although their intensity never reached today's level. During the "Orange revolution", the Ukrainian semi-authoritarian regime under President Leonid Kuchma was also trying to defile democratic presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko by associating him with the extreme right. And here is a story that links the past and the present.

In the run-up to the 2004 presidential election, which resulted in a dramatic stand-off between Viktor Yanukovych and Viktor Yushchenko, a certain Eduard Kovalenko, leader of the virtual far right party Ukrainian National Assembly (UNA), declared that he and his party would hold a march in support of Yushchenko as a presidential candidate. Yushchenko's office immediately replied that they never needed that support and did their best to distance from Kovalenko's sordid initiative. Yet Yushchenko's office could not hamper that march and, on 26 June 2004, Kovalenko proceeded:

Eduard Kovalenko (in the centre) leading the UNA march

At the meeting that was held after the march, Kovalenko declared: "We, the right-wing nationalist party, are supporting the only one candidate from the right-wing forces: Viktor Yushchenko. One Ukraine, one nation, one people, one president!". And he gave a Hitler salute.

According to Andriy Shkil, then the leader of the UNA-UNSO, the whole event was staged by Viktor Medvedchuk*, then the Head of the Presidential Administration (under President Leonid Kuchma), who was later involved in the electoral fraud in favour of pro-Russian Yanukovych which triggered the "Orange revolution". Medvedchuk was (and still is) also known for his close personal relations with Vladimir Putin who is the godfather of Medvedchuk’s daughter.

Kovalenko's task was simple: by giving support to Yushchenko under the Nazi-like flags, he was expected to discredit the democratic candidate in the eyes of Western observers. Luckily for Yushchenko, however, the Western media largely did not buy into that frame-up and ignored it.

But some Western organisations did not. One of those was the eccentric - and apparently non-existent today - British Helsinki Human Rights Group (BHHRG) not affiliated, despite the name, to the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights. The BHHRG was notorious for claiming that elections in authoritarian Belarus met democratic standards, that Latvia had not been occupied by, but incorporated in, the Soviet Union, that the Romani people of the Czech Republic did not suffer from racism as generally reported, etc. On 24 November 2004, the BHHRG published a report "Shadow of Anti-Semitism over Ukraine’s Disputed Election" in which the authors concluded:
With friends like these [i.e. Eduard Kovalenko and some others] Mr Yushchenko may feel he has all the People Power he needs to seize the presidency, but should OSCE observers, European parliamentarians, Colin Powell and George W. Bush be undiluted in endorsing a candidate with backing from neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers?
One of the first web-sites to re-publish the report was the very same Centre for Research on Globalization which has recently re-published Eric Draitser's piece on Ukraine to which I referred in the very beginning. Another web-site that re-published the BHHRG report, this time in Russian, was the web-site of the Historical Perspective Foundation headed by Russian national-conservative Natalya Narochnitskaya. Since 2008, she has been heading the Paris-based Institute of Democracy and Cooperation, together with British eurosceptic journalist John Laughland as director of studies. Laughland, described as a "right-wing anti-state libertarian and isolationist", was one of the trustees of the BHHRG.

John Laughland and Natalya Narochnitskaya

At least three people who were associated with the BHHRG joined the US-based Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity: Daniel McAdams (Executive Director of the Institute), Mark Almond (former chairman of the BHHRG) and John Laughland. The web-site of the Ron Paul Institute is full of misleading articles on Euromaidan associating it with the extreme right, and various drivels by Mark Almond (who likes to present himself as "professor of history at Oxford University", but does not even work at Oxford) are particularly prominent (see for example his "Ukrainian Opposition and the West ‘Playing with Fire Siding With Extreme Nationalists'").

The Canada-based Centre for Research on Globalization is also interesting. It was founded and is now headed by Michel Chossudovsky; among the Centre's contributors are Neil Clark, Mahdi D. Nazemroaya and William Engdahl. Chossudovsky, Nazemroaya and Engdahl are members of the scientific committee of the Italian journal Geopolitica, which also includes John Laughland and Natalya Narochnitskaya. Geopolitica is edited by Tiberio Graziani, a fervent advocate of the Eurasian cooperation and a member of the High Council of the International Eurasian Movement led by Russian fascist Aleksandr Dugin. In 2008, Dugin called for the Russian occupation of Georgia, and even made a trip to South Ossetia together with his followers from the Eurasian Youth Union.

Aleksandr Dugin and his followers in South Ossetia in 2008

Geopolitica itself is an off-shoot from the Italian extreme right journal Eurasia, Rivista di Studi Geopolitici, published and edited by Italian Nazi-Maoist Claudio Mutti. The scientific board of Eurasia includes Aleksandr Dugin and William Engdahl. In the early January, Engdahl published a piece titled "The Belgrade US-Financed Training Group Behind the Carefully-Orchestrated Kiev Protests".

Dugin has been promoting the idea of the destruction of Ukraine and its colonisation by Russia since the early 1990s. He has also been an inspiration for the foundation of the Italian national-socialist organisation Stato & Potenza which openly calls for the annexation of Ukraine to the Russian Federation. Dugin and Mutti have been friends since 1990; Mutti himself is closely associated with Stato & Potenza.

Aleksandr Dugin and Claudio Mutti in 2012

All the above-mentioned people and groups form - apparently a small - part of the wide network which is aimed at promoting anti-Western, pro-Russian and pro-Eurasianist ideas in the EU and the US and Canada. Moreover, the following people from this network are official regular contributors to the Kremlin-sponsored Russia Today (RT) TV:

And these authors are in the pool of political commentators of yet another Kremlin-sponsored media service, the Voice of Russia:

  • Mark Almond (ex-BHHRG, Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity)
  • Michel Chossudovsky (Centre for Research on Globalization, Geopolitica)
  • Neil Clark
  • Eric Draitser (Centre for Research on Globalization, Stop Imperialism)
  • Aleksandr Dugin (International Eurasian Movement, Eurasia)
  • William Engdahl (Centre for Research on Globalization, Geopolitica, Eurasia)
  • Tiberio Graziani (Geopolitica)
  • John Laughland (ex-BHHRG, Institute of Democracy and Cooperation, Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity)
  • Daniel McAdams (ex-BHHRG, Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity)
  • Natalya Narochnitskaya (Institute of Democracy and Cooperation)

The Voice of Russia's offshoot in France is ProRussia TV which is linked to the French far right National Front and headed by Gilles Arnaud, a former National Front councilor in the Upper Normandy. The National Front's leader Marine Le Pen has received a warm welcome in Russia last summer. Then, in particular, she met Vice-Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who helped found the Institute of Democracy and Cooperation when he was Russia's ambassador to NATO (2008-2011). It was during Rogozin's service in the Russian Mission to NATO when Ukraine and Georgia were denied membership in this organisation.

Marine Le Pen and Dmitry Rogozin in Moscow, 2013

Commenting on the Ukrainian government's decision not to sign the Association Agreement with the EU, Le Pen said that she was disappointed with the EU interference in the Ukrainian matters and recommended to the Ukrainians not "to join this nightmare", i.e. the EU (although nobody actually discussed Ukraine joining the EU). In this rhetoric, Le Pen was supported by Andreas Mölzer from the far right Freedom Party of Austria, who also suggested - when speaking about Ukraine's rapprochement with the EU - "to take into account the legitimate interests of Russia [which] is very sensitive to everything that happens in her immediate neighborhood [that] includes Ukraine, which, since the time of Peter the Great, was part of the Russian sphere of influence".

The large network consisting of pro-Russian authors and institutions is a hard/extreme right breeding-ground of all kinds of conspiracy theories, Euroscepticism, racism and anti-democratic theories. Today, this is also one of the main sources of the articles, op-eds and statements that are one way or another trying to discredit the Euromaidan protests by associating them either with neo-Nazism or with the alleged US expansionism. The rhetoric of these authors fully conforms to the remarks made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov who has recently slammed Western support for Euromaidan and declared: "What does incitement of increasingly violent street protests have to do with promoting democracy? Why don’t we hear condemnations of those who seize and hold government buildings, burn, torch the police, use racist and anti-Semitic and Nazi slogans?".

Here is a list of selected publications that this Eurasianist Kremlin-inspired network has produced so far:

I don't know if Alec Luhn writing for The Nation or Seumas Milne writing for The Guardian are part of this pro-Eurasianist network. Despite the fact that their message is similar to that of the many articles produced by the pro-Eurasianist authors, they may simply not know what they are writing about. But those people, who have been associated with the British Helsinki Human Rights Group, Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, Institute of Democracy and Cooperation, Centre for Research on Globalization, International Eurasian Movement and - I presume - many other similar institutions, which are yet to be revealed, are obviously ideologically driven anti-democratic activists engaged in the anti-Ukrainian and, eventually, anti-European subversive operations.

* - Due to the threats of legal action from Viktor Medvedchuk, I decided to change the wording of the first part of the sentence.

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  1. Clark & Milne are Yugoslav/ Soviet nostalgists--examples of "reactionary socialism", whose version of "anti-imperialism" took years to build (not by them) in the wake of Iraq and now is set in stone: no need to do any new research (I don't think Clark is capable of it), just stuff all new developments into the existing "anti-imperialist" template. They are fellow travellers of Putinist nationalist.

  2. Kremlin's fascists spreading propaganda and hatred for all things West. How cute. But maybe, just maybe they really do not understand what democracy is all about. It is really not just about being elected in fair (probably) elections and then establishing yourself as the only ruler of the country.
    Russians obviously cannot understand this because they never had a democracy in their country.

  3. This is an excellent and timely article. Defamation of Ukrainians and denigration of Ukrainian nationhood is common in some quarters and I urge all Ukrainians to respond to such attacks by writing and speaking out. I have no doubt that most of these propaganda efforts are Kremlin-inspired. Unfortunately many Russians do not seem capable of accepting that Ukrainians have the right to live in their own democratic, independent nation.

  4. Human Rights.. Democracy and Cooperation.. Peace and Prosperity.. Wow, those guys have definitely a talent for inventing nice names!

    Author says "[a]ll the above-mentioned people and groups form - apparently a small - part of the wide network [...]." As far as I understand the spine of this "wide network" is RussiaToday TV ..or is there something else?

  5. Great article! Russian imperialists are much more dangerous then most people think. Ukraine needs help from the West. Russian nationalists must be stopped.

  6. Very good article. Thanqu. You open many russian antiukrainian agents.

  7. Долой независимость Украины!

    1. In English please, lapot' :))

    2. Good article, need more about all these anti democracy publication. They have damage already in our free world.

    3. Excellent research. Need more articles to expose the lies of the Putinesque new modern facists of the 21 st century

  8. Sure lets blame Russia for everything, it becomes a national past time in some circles in Ukraine. “А если в кране нет воды - Воду выпили Москали”. And the things is smart intelligent man believe it, becuase they want to believe that Ukraine nationalist are all nice and fluffy, so anything contradictory to that is Russian conspiracy. Author does not even bother to provide any supporting information. “Eduard Kovalenko was paid a huge amount of money by Viktor Medvedchuk”, right, author has its own NSA/CIA spying agency that provide him with such exclusive information? Right and anybody cautioning about danger of far right Ukrainian nationalism are paid by Russian spying agencies? On Aug. 1, 1991, President George Bush, himself a head of CIA at some point, delivered a memorable speech in Kiev, Ukraine. Poland was free, Germany was reunited, the Soviet empire was falling apart. Yet President Bush, obsessed with stability, warned the Ukrainian people "Americans will not support those who seek independence in order to replace a far-off tyranny with a local despotism. They will not aid those who promote a suicidal nationalism based upon ethnic hatred." However, Bush's position was criticised by Ukrainian nationalists. Ivan Drach, the chairman of Rukh, told journalists that "President Bush seems to have been hypnotized by Gorbachev". May be it is time for some Ukrainian nationalists finally to look into a mirror and finally acknowledge the truth; it is not moskal under the bed who is doing the most damage to Ukrainian democracy.

  9. Le Pen was supported by Andreas Mölzer from the far right Freedom Party of Austria, who also suggested - when speaking about Ukraine's rapprochement with the EU - "to take into account the legitimate interests of Russia [which] is very sensitive to everything that happens in her immediate neighborhood [that] includes Ukraine, which, since the time of Peter the Great, was part of the Russian sphere of influence".

    Just like Austria "took into account the legitimate interests of Germany" in 1938?
    Terrific analysis, Anton. Thank you very very much

  10. All these commentators urged by the Kremlin are out there to enforce neo-Stalinist policy not only in Ukraine but in the whole of the civilized world. Their obsession with looking for external enemies and labeling everything they don't like and / or don't understand as "fascist" proves that they know no history before Stalin and NKVD. In fact, Ukraine has had many liberation uprisings over the last 500+ years, with Cossack Hetmanate being the greatest result and the strongest reference point to date. It's the free Cossack spirit that is in the core of this healthy movement of human dignity for Ukrainians as well as numerous other ethnic groups residing in Ukraine and standing up for our shared motherland. Unfortunately, imperialistic Russians and their bootlickers are more likely to die than to recognize human rights of other nations.

    1. Neo-Stalinist? Do you mean the Anglo-American West? Or are you another one of these Ukrainian country bumpkins raised on Hollywood and Coca Cola for his perspective of Western Freedom and Democracy TM?

  11. This gigantic conspiracy theory -- purportedly involving everyone from the libertarian Ron Paul to the Russian "Eurasianists" -- does nothing to whitewash the brazen anti-Semitism of Svoboda and its ultra-nationalist allies. See here:


    Or is the Jewish Telegraphic Agency part of this Grand "Eurasianist" Plot to smear the so-called opposition.

    1. Well, the JTA was stupid enough to publish an article written by Oleksandr Feldman, who is a member of the Party of Regions - the party which helped turn Ukraine into Yanukovych's criminal terrorist state.

      Here's a good article how the state terror (and Feldman is part of it) is using a problem of anti-Semitism to discredit the Ukrianian revolution:

      Read also these articles:

  12. An addition to "gallery of shame".
    This one may be not a direct putinist propaganda, but nevertheless ruskies are very pleased to hear how useful liberal idiots are calling brave people "thugs" and "hoodlums".

  13. Thanks for this bit of yarn spinning, oh Wall Street shill.

  14. Anthon ... obviously puppet of ZIO NWO U.S/ E.U powers .

  15. Hi Anton,

    do you know what Mark Almond's relationship with Oxford University is? He is described all over the internet as a "Lecturer in Modern History" so it seems like he must have worked there in the past.

    1. Hi Bob,
      He may have worked there, but not as Professor though.

  16. HROMADSKE TV. who is this"??

    1. Hromadske.TV is an independent, non-partisan Internet television station in Ukraine.

  17. This article is interesting, but it makes it seem that the anti-Ukrainian sentiment in some quarters is part of a huge Russian disinformation campaign, kind of a mirror image of those who thing that the Maidan movement was the result of NED spreading its largess. More worrisome is that a lot of this sentiment is spontaneous. Particularly since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, this belief that the Americans and/or Israelis are behind every uprising against governments which happen to have a problem with the US is the default position in the thinking of billions of people around the world. Sure, RT and Global Research push this along, but much of it would be there in any case.

    1. I was writing about a very specific network of commentators who are clearly connected to the Kremlin and its propaganda machine.

  18. I fully agree, Russian post-soviet propaganda, which tide close on the basics of so called Goebbels' propaganda has a lot of web all over the world. There is also well known connection of communist and Nazis, who had shelter in Soviet Union after the end of 2nd world war. And this information also needs to be opened.

    I can add to the list of Russian propaganda people also this person Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, from Global Research, February 15, 2014
    The article I found by accident and it has the main features of Russian propaganda:

    - “Suppression of the Russian speaking population by forcible Ukrainianization;” – this is what Russian propaganda like to lie on russian TV. I live 30 years in Donetsk, I was born there, the most Russian speaking city in Ukraine. We never had any problems (all young generation like me speaks Russian, and Ukrainian our 2nd language and we are proud to be bilingual), but Ukrainian speaking people in Donetsk, opposite, the Ukrainian schools were closing for 25 years, the last Ukrainian school they tried to close in 2014, and it was a big protest off parents and others people.
    - “The American media is a Ministry of Propaganda for the government and the corporations and helps Washington paint Russia in bad colors. “ – this is a feature of Russian Goebbels’ communist propaganda, as Russian use a lot this idea of existing 2 propagandas in the world (Russian and US) and divide the world on propagandas at all.
    The rest about this article and Russian propaganda you can find on my blogs. As a native Ukrainian, person that lives in eastern part of Ukraine, in Russian speaking part, for 30 years I have seen the reality of Russian propaganda in Ukraine)

    Thank you very much for research. It’s a grate work.
    Can I republish it on my blogs? (With the link of source)

  19. It's rather amusing how the supporters of Russian fascism desperately accuse everybody else of being fascists.

  20. This is a good article, but commits sins of omission. First, the article does not mention the huge number of connections between supposedly pro-capitalist, pro-democracy Western corporations and Russian fascists. Many Western NGOs profess to believe in democracy but seem more interested in forging global wealth ties to anti-Western regimes.

    "Conservatives" in the West are just as responsible as "liberals," for they supported the fascist Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoot al-Qaeda since the 1950s, ostensibly to fight Soviet/Russian influence. Instead, the Brothers/al-Qaeda merely pretended to fight the Soviets and united with anti-Western leftists and fascists in a unity that has metastasized into today's grave threat to Western civilization: the communist-fascist-Islamist-globalist axis of evil.

    Despite the growing power of the CIA and the "conservative" New Right, the U.S. has lost just about every conflict since Vietnam. The "conservatives" describe Reagan's policies as successful against communism, but if that were true the Castro regime, Nicaragua's Ortega, Venezuela's Maduro, and Stalinist elements would not be around today. All the anti-Soviet policies of the Reagan administration were conducted so hesitantly and sloppily, as was the Iraq war (led by many of the same people), that it is difficult to believe that this was not deliberate sabotage by the same "conservatives" who were leading the efforts.

    After all, the West has always had more financial resources at its disposal than the communist side, so there is no excuse for this failure. Blaming the machinations of the "left" is a cop-out for conservatives who profess to believe in personal responsibility for one's failures. It seems as if, for the right as well as the left, party loyalty and orthodoxy are more important than successfully prosecuted national security.

    "Conservatives" routinely describe "liberal" nostalgia for the Soviet system as "naive" rather than witting. This is a grave lie, and it is repeated so often by the conservative right (the "pro-American" neocon/Christian ones, not the Russian apologists the article mentions) that one wonders whether they are in fact working covertly with the left. Not one "conservative" or any other source deals with this prospect in a serious manner.

    What is also disconcerting is that the people blaming Russia for many of the issues in Ukraine are so immersed in the myth of Western triumph that they do not even see how that civilization is in a slow-motion act of willful self-destruction.


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