Russian state TV channel Russia-24 has got itself into a fix. After giving their comments on the situation in Crimea, the channel’s editors asked an MP of the Verkhovna Rada of the Crimean Republic for an interview. The hitch: they chose the wrong MP! Leonid Pilunskiy is an opposition MP, which only came to light after he had begun commenting on the air.
Check out the video below to see what happened next. It took only one and a half minutes for someone to realize what a mistake they had made in inviting Mr. Pilunskiy to comment, but it was more than enough time to have a dazzling effect.
Leonid Pilunskiy is a deputy head of the Kurultai-Rukh faction. In addition to being a member of the Crimean parliament, he is a human rights activist and heads the Petro Hryhorenko Crimean Center for Human Rights.
Host: Now, directly from Crimea, a deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea, Leonid Pilunskiy. Good day, Leonid Petrovich. We would like to hear your comments on the situation in Crimea.
LP: What would you like to know–about the situation in Crimea, or about the situation in Ukraine in general?
Host: Let’s start with Crimea, since you are currently there.
LP: In Crimea everything is quiet, except for the government’s efforts to cause unrest. The government is so corrupt, and has stolen so much, that they are panicking at the prospect of their removal from office. This is the government of the Party of Regions, and they have been in power here in Crimea for twelve straight years. That’s why they have everything to lose and that’s why they are trying to heat up the unrest in Crimea. Except for this, nothing out of the ordinary is happening. The government organizes so-called protests, they bring in the so-called titushki, the petty criminals who try to provoke fights. Yesterday, they tried to change the Constitution, despite the fact that the Crimean Rada has no right under the law to make such changes. They do not represent all the Crimean citizens, they have never shown them the proposed changes to the Constitution, and yet they dare to carry this initiative in the name of the people. Despite all these efforts, everything is very quiet; the Crimean people mostly ignore these initiatives and take no part in them. Here, the organizations supporting Maidan are completely harmless and so few in number that it is simply ridiculous to think or say that they may represent physical danger to anyone. The worst that they can do is gather, well, 50, maybe 100 to 200 people at a time and hold peaceful meetings ….” (taken off the air)
(All this time, while the interviewee is saying that everything is peaceful and as usual, the video shows war in Kyiv, without stating so. Clearly this is meant to fool the audience and trick them into thinking that this is not Kyiv, but Crimea – AP)
Host: (mumbles incomprehensibly and pushes papers) I thank our guest and remind you that this was a deputy of the Crimean Parliament, Leonid Pilunskiy. I apologize to our audience; unfortunately, it is not always possible to have a good connection on the air.
Translated by Anna Palagina
Edited by Mariana Budjeryn and Robin Rohrback