Moscow has promoted Ukraine’s ‘dismemberment’ since 2004, Kyiv disinformation specialist says

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Many who look at Moscow’s propaganda efforts consider only their current state and fail to see the ways in which the Kremlin has cultivated certain ideas over a very long period, laying the groundwork for what it may only expect to be able to achieve in the long term.

Such people thus miss opportunities to identify Moscow’s plans and to counter such propaganda before it can inflict the most harm, according to Vyacheslav Gusarov, a specialist on Russian disinformation at the Kyiv Center for Military-Political Research.

The notion that Ukraine might dissolve into several states has been around for a long time, but Russian information operations intended to lay the ground work for that are of more recent origin. The “first serious” example of promoting discussion of this issue came in 2004 during the Ukrainian presidential vote.

That campaign continued through 2006, he says, in order to undermine the new government of Viktor Yushchenko by suggesting that he would eventually have to accept the division of his country if he hoped to stay in power. It featured numerous Russian officials as well as some ethnic Russians from eastern Ukraine.

Even after Viktor Yanukovych came to office and promoted an expansion of the influence of Ukraine’s eastern sections on the rest of the country, Moscow continued to promote the notion that Ukraine was so diverse that it had little chance of holding together unless of course it accepted Russian dominance of its entire space.

And for the same ends but playing an entirely different note, Moscow also played up complaints by people in Western Ukraine about Yanukovych’s deference to Russian interests, including on Sevastopol, and suggested that their attitudes made the division of Ukraine inevitable.

In the first half of last year, Gusarov continues, Russian media both domestic and international dramatically increased the number of reports and discussions about what they suggested was the inevitability of the division of Ukraine into one or more states given its political and cultural diversity.

While that theme faded somewhat in the second half of 2014, it resumed with a vengeance at the end of February 2015. Among those pushing the line that Ukraine must be divided the hardest was Modest Kolerov, a former Putin advisor who now heads the Regnum news agency.

Moscow simultaneously promoted the appearance of articles and programs in foreign news outlets about the possibility of Ukraine’s dismemberment and then recycled them in its own outlets in order to suggest that the Russian position was shared by others, thus further pushing the notion that Ukrainians are isolated on this issue and have no other choice.

The list of articles and programs promoting Moscow’s line on this subject, the Kyiv expert continues, could be extended at will. But even this brief survey points to three important conclusions about the motives of those behind it. First, Moscow wants Ukrainians to get accustomed to the idea that their country will be divided at some point.


Second, the Russian center wants to spark discussions about it in Ukraine itself. And third – and this is especially important – it wants to promote the notion among Ukrainians that the Russian side must be “included in this process” as “a political arbiter,” something that would allow Moscow to draw the lines rather than anyone else.

To counter this, Gusarov says, Kyiv must carefully monitor what Russian media are saying, it must track how Moscow’s messages are being received in various parts of the country and by various groups, and it must develop an information strategy to respond and undercut the Kremlin’s message whether it is delivered directly or indirectly.

None of these steps will be easy, he suggests, but taking them is critically important to the survival of Ukraine.

Edited by: A. N.

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  1. Avatar Brent says:

    First of all many countries have diverse regions, some with different languages and differences in culture. Russia is a prime example of this, but the same can be said of Great Britain, Canada. the United States, India et al. This notion floated by the Kremlin and its ‘useful idiots’ paid trolls and stooges that Ukraine’s ‘east-west’ divide is so diverse that these two alleged halves cannot get along is manufactured and is propaganda. The proof of this is the situation in Ukraine prior to Maidan where there was no evidence orf the need to ‘protect Russian speakers’ due to some supposed ethnic conflict. Now, listening to Russia’s proxies (I still think they are terrorists) in Eastern Ukraine and they never ending spouting of fictitious “neo-Nazi’s” running Kyiv and the supposed “junta” shows how effective this brainwashing has been on the weakminded.

    Secondly, the evidence that a neanderthal like Dugin was running strategy camps for dissidents in Southern Russia as far back as 2006, and that the Crimea annexation was carried out so swiftly confirm this was not the ‘overnight’ operation dreamed up on February 23rd as claimed by Putin. This was in the works for a much longer time, and he confirms this with statements back to George Bush about “Ukraine not really being a country” and in 2009 referring to it as “Little Russia” are a precursor to his true intentions over 5 years ago. Putin now claims he made the decision February 23rd, one day after Yanukovych fled Ukraine. Yeah right. Vlad, I’m not one of your mindless trolls you can tell such nonsense so give me a break and stop thinking I’m stupid to believe that.

    Thirdly, the real failure has been on the part of our Western leaders to be unwilling to engage Putin for his illegal invasion of a sovereign nations. Of course, Russia got away with this previously, when Sarkozy spearheaded France’s appeasement of Russian’s war against George. What these countries should finally understand is that you don’t appease kleptocrats like Putin, and you don’t do business with him. You isolate him and teach him this type of criminal behavior is not acceptable. You don’t go running to him every time he dupes you into thinking he’s willing to negotiate, but you tell him this will no longer be tolerated. You need to be willing to get into the trenches with him and not think he’s capable of being a progressive open minder intellectual, but you have to treat him like the mafia boss that he is.

  2. Avatar Michel Cloarec says:

    It is so sad to see what has been going on . Like if we did not know. But nothing was done about it. Putin placed his croonies on all the gvnt of Ukraine and of course Yanukovich . Who was ready to sell Ukraine for his own gains.
    If anyone doubts ! putin is a dictator not worth more than mogabe .
    PROPAGANDA-CORRUPTIONS-SECRET SERVICES-KILLINGS-MAFIA-NO FREE PRESS-STATE TELEVISION-TERROR are the tools of dictators wherever they are. The only thing to keep the mood up is to know that all the dictators end their lives themselves or get help from the people .
    I am still convinced that DEMOCRACY is the solution for all people of good will !
    Unfortunatly democracy has to be fighten for when in fact it is so simple !
    SLAVA UKRAINE ! You managed at 98% to keep the country not divided as the putinoid from kremlin wishes .

  3. Avatar puttypants says:

    I agree Brent many countries have diverse populations with different languages and different cultures and that includes Russia. Did Ukraine have its head in the sand all these years…have they not been paying attention. However, the best revenge is for Ukrainians to live better than Russians. That’s the most important issue in this situation. So Ukraine has got to get their act together. They can’t continue to ask their citizens to live worse than they did before or they won’t be a country. If the West gives one flying fig for protection from Russia which Russians have shown the rest of the world needs to be protected from them…they better get their act together. Ukraine needs a Marshall Plan…plain and simple.

    1. Avatar Charles J. Kollman says:

      I can not talk about all Ukraine, but in the territory i have family in the south near Odessa they say living is hard. Flat rent utilities and food have sky rocked out of sight. If you are on a pension the pension is now almost nothing. The Government helps no one. Jobs are hard to come by and people have no money, so what is the answer. If you have gas water heat and electric you are lucky. What are people suppose to do .

      1. Avatar puttypants says:

        Mr. Kollman that’s why I suggested a Marshall Plan. I know how Ukrainians are suffering. The government can’t ask them to suffer anymore and unfortunately, the government is broke. That’s why it’s so important this war gets done with and USA and Europe helps Ukrainians more than they are doing now. However, most Ukrainians know Putin and his Russia is also going broke and besides Putin wouldn’t do anything good for Ukraine anyway. At this point, no matter what they all have to unite and do the best they can in supporting the Ukrainian government.

        1. Avatar Charles J. Kollman says:

          How long do you think this is going to take. Obama is very good at aiding and supporting Bloodthirsty Savage Barbarians around the world. Those who behead people Savage Muslims. They for your info have many training camps in The US. Obama and his cronies have been looking for ways to take Liberty from We The People. As you can now also see Obama does not support Israel. My believe has always been about him that he is false and fake. I do not except him as President of my Country. If there was a white US. President Ukraine would now have what it needs to get the job done. Americans most of them still have their head up their ass and most are fat soft lazy naive and gullible. They have become socialists they want all things free and the government to take care of them. Freedom is not free you must work hard every day to keep it. When the people fear their government that’s Tyranny and when the government fears it’s people that’s Liberty. Live free or die! We must purge our government of the progressive liberal socialists in Congress that don’t have the balls to impeach Obama. McCain is brain dead his time has come and gone. I now look to people like US. Senator Ran Paul that are outspoken and against Obama and his kind and do not run and hide under the table from Fascist Obama.

          1. Avatar Charles J. Kollman says:

            OMG. Rosa you hit the nail right on the head. Like America Russia also needs that war time economy. Yes many of my brothers have payed the price, so the wealthy can put more $$ in their pockets. The military industrial complex in America are big players as is oil barons and banks. You must investigate who in this world controls all things and yes Russia also. They will let Putin play his games just so far and when it will threaten them the rug get’s pulled out from under Putin. Look and find out the 15 families in this world with power and control over all. See where they say they live and know they have allegiance only to money. The military complex likes when a war is not won and keeps going on, because for them it means more $$. These people will crush Putin and why. Not because they love the people or the fact they will say it’s for freedom. The reason as they see it, that there are many opportunities in Russia to make $$. Money makes the world turn and money talks when bull shit walks. Yes money is the root of all evil.

        2. Avatar puttypants says:

          Rosa…you are absolutely out of your mind. How can reason with someone like you who has become a misinformed robotized Putinite? Germany and the rest of Europe were able to rebuild quickly with the Marshall plan. Please you are either a Putin troll…they have been sold crazy stuff…omg…

      2. Avatar Michel Cloarec says:

        If only putin would stop, I am sure that some sort of Marshall plan could work ! It will be hard for Ukraine but with help they can manage
        There are many foreign companies working already, more can come.
        That´s why we must keep help them to get out of this mess.

    2. Avatar kievjoy says:

      Ukraine didn’t have it’s head in the sand, since independence it’s had mostly pro-Russian presidents. Russia didn’t bother then, until after the Orange Revolution when it started to realise that perhaps Ukraine wouldn’t always do what Russia told it to do.

  4. Avatar Murf says:

    I guess the Russians were never the brothers the Ukrainians thought they were.
    Miss placed loyalty.
    It is still amazing how quickly the Russians turned on their former countrymen.

    1. Avatar Michel Cloarec says:

      Myself I believe that the normal russians are maybe not that bad and they strive to get a better standard of living. Only if a real democracy was possible, I am still convinced that they have a chance . I remember in the sixties when they listened to west music, wanted jeans and so on, they also had a dream.
      1991 the West really thougt , OK now it is time for them . A lot of businesses went on . All the countries around started to feel, ok now we don´t have to spend so much on defences, the cold war is ended ! It was pleasant to meet russians, to see them travelling as free people.
      AND THEN because of one man we start on all that again ! SAD ! TRIST !

    2. Avatar Michel Cloarec says:

      A pity, but with propaganda anything and everything is possible !