German mercenaries, Dmytro Yarosh’s ever-present business cards, a fitness trainer playing the role of Right Sector activist, and dead people who have signed a letter supporting Vladimir Putin’s actions in Crimea.
Over the past few months, the bloopers and blunders of the Russian mass media have become real hits on social networking websites. Hundreds of Internet memes and posts have been created based on shocking slip-ups.
INSIDER has selected materials in which Russian journalists have distorted the facts.
TV channels such as Lifenews, NTV, and Russia, where the odious Kremlin propagandist Dmitriy Kiselyov hosts his program, engage in the most manipulation of the facts.
Fitness trainer – terrorist
On Sunday [April 20, 2014], the Lifenews TV channel broadcast a piece about a Right Sector activist from Vinnytsia who allegedly participated in an armed attack on a checkpoint and was arrested by the militiamen in Slavyansk.
On the same day, the man appeared on Russia TV channel, where in addition to the above information it was claimed that two of his friends were killed during the attack on the checkpoint. They allegedly had a gun, explosives, and the business card of Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh.
However, within a few hours the ‘terrorist’ was recognized as a fitness trainer from Kyiv. Podrobnosti [Details] reported that Vitaliy Kovalchuk’s profile and photo were immediately removed from the gym’s website, but remained in cached versions and on social networking websites.
The NTV and Russia TV channels showed the same man twice: first as a German mercenary preparing the subversives, and later as an anti-Maidan supporter from Mykolaiv who was injured by Right Sector activists.
This is the only case which caused some reaction from the Russian journalists. After a number of accusatory publications, they made another piece in their defense, referring to the man as a doctor from Germany.
In early March, the official website of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation published an open letter from cultural figures expressing their support for Vladimir Putin’s position concerning Ukraine and Crimea. At that time, it had been signed by 85 people, among them Batalov, Bezrukov, Govorukhin, Gazmanov, Lanovoy, Spivakov, Khazanov, and Tsiskaridze. The number of signatures eventually reached 500.
Both Russian and Ukrainian mass media have widely distributed this information, but as it turned out, the list included persons who did not give their consent to the signature, or, worse, have already passed away.
According to Lenta.ru, the names of the artists Aidan and Tahir Salahov and architect Yuri Gnedovsky were on the list, but disappeared. The surname Tsigal, with the intitials V.E., has vanished as well. The artists whom those initials belonged to were brothers Victor Efimovich and Vladimir Efimovich Tsigal, who died in 2005 and 2013 respectively.
In addition, Radio Svoboda has reported that the artist Zurab Tsereteli, who still remains on the list, has not signed any letter whatsoever.
Channel One broadcast a story about a refugee who had fled from Donetsk and spoke at a rally in Novocherkassk (Russian Federation). With tears in her eyes, she recounted her dreadful experience.
In Donetsk, the audience knew the woman, but as an Odesa resident who had given her comments to Vesti in Crimea. In addition, a collection of about a dozen roles which this woman managed to play within half a year has appeared on the Internet.
In another piece, NTV tells of a doctor of philology from the University of Kharkiv who refused to follow the administration’s orders to deliver lectures on Russian language and literature in Ukrainian. This was allegedly followed by his immediate dismissal.
Yet it was reported on the University’s official website that the lecturer had been dismissed in November 2013 for holding positions in several universities simultaneously. Moreover, he had been working in the Department of History of Foreign Literature and Classical Philology, so by definition he could teach neither Russian literature nor the Russian language.
Maidan activists were paid
A Vesti TV newscast showed video segments where Maidan activists allegedly complain about not having received the money they were promised for participating in the protests, which, based on the record, are called orchestrated.
After watching the full version of the video, it becomes clear: the dispute was indeed quite serious, but it concerned the money collected from donations in order to help the wounded. [Maidan] self-defense claims that it had not taken a penny of it.
Reporting on the continuing siege of the Donetsk Regional Administration building by activists, Channel One said that the police promised not to use force, referring to Roman Romanov, Head of the Central Administration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine in Donetsk Oblast.
The piece is dated April 8, 2014. Meanwhile, Donbas News [Novosti Donbasa] reported that Romanov had left his position on March 5. In addition, his words have were recorded in early March. The video of this was published on March 4.
Translated by Katherina Smirnova, edited by Robin Rohrback