Trojan Horse of Russian propaganda – the case of Valentina Lisitsa

Cartoon by Dutch artist  Arend van Dam

Cartoon by Dutch artist Arend van Dam 

2015/04/24 • Op-ed

Article by: Inna Platonova and James Dmitro Makienko

The new century brought a tremendous amount of unity and connectedness to the artists worldwide. Many of the world’s famous artists are uniting their efforts against xenophobia, racism, hatred and bullying. However there are regrettable exceptions even to something as beneficent to humanity as fine arts.

Valentina Lisitsa is one such exception. She is propelled to the status of martyr for free speech by the media while she calls an ethnic and cultural group “dog feces” and “pigs” and promotes violence. She tweets that Ukrainians need “strong meds” next to images of Holocaust victims. Ms. Lisitsa has more than one idea on how to “cure” Ukrainians – she tweets: “Russia sent 1,000 men into Ukraine?.. why not send 100 times more and finish it in 3 days?” Since last summer she has published material that incites hatred and violence against Ukrainian people and spews insults against other ethnicities, Holocaust victims, people with disabilities and mental illness, and black Africans, among others.

After months of attempted mitigation, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) decided to dissociate themselves from Ms. Lisitsa for her hate-inciting and racist tweets. However, Ms. Lisitsa responded with a major PR campaign describing herself as a martyr for free speech while encouraging her fans to bully the TSO. Under tremendous pressure, the world famous pianist, Stewart Goodyear, who was supposed to replace Ms. Lisitsa during the TSO concert, had to withdraw from it. Obviously shaken by the ordeal, he shared:

“Her [Lisitsa’s] words offended many people who perceived her as pro-violence and anti-love. Her most recent “plea” to her fans and followers to attack the orchestra that released her of her performance schedule was unfortunate. Free speech has consequences, and one most own one’s position. Dragging other people who have nothing to do with her position does nothing constructive. Her attitude, and the mob-like behavior of her devotees, censored Rachmaninoff’s second concerto.”

Immediately, the Kremlin-controlled media went into a complete frenzy over Lisitsa with further promotion of war propaganda and vilification of the West. This rhetoric was also picked up by many in the mainstream media in Canada and UK portraying Lisitsa as a martyr of free speech and a victim of censorship, yet coverage in the United States focused on Lisitsa’s racist tweets. Some went as far as comparing Lisitsa to the victims of Charlie Hebdo – an immoral and rather inappropriate comparison given that she lost a contract while others lost their lives. Ms. Lisitsa continues tweeting and expressing her views in public. No one jails Lisitsa for her speech, while the Russian government jailed people for just holding “Je Suis Charlie” signs. How is her freedom of speech infringed on or limited in any way? The truth is Ms. Lisitsa simply refuses to take responsibility for her speech unlike all of us must do.

Few remember that in 2014, both Opera Australia and La Monnaie Opera in Brussels dismissed the Georgian soprano Tamar Iveri over her Facebook post where she referred to gay people as “fecal masses.” Ms. Iveri found very few supporters and there were no editorials defending such a vile position. Finally Ms. Iveri apologized for her remarks. Why didn’t the Canadian media portray Ms. Iveri as yet another martyr for freedom of speech as they did with Ms. Lisitsa? What about the right of businesses to disassociate from performers, contractors and employees who have a negative effect on their bottom line? Businesses have a right to care about their image, and fire those who hurt it and their profits – this is business, not censorship.

Important observation to note is that Ms. Lisitsa’s PR campaign coincides with disproportional injections of Kremlin propaganda rhetoric into mainstream press in Canada where the Lisitsa’s tweets are cherry-picked to transition into a political discussion, which boasts of propaganda material about events in Ukraine. Canada has a strong position of supporting Ukraine and it is something that Kremlin desperately wants to change. Also, some anti-government groups in Canada who care less about Ukraine are using propaganda language to score few points against the current Canadian government.

The Kremlin propaganda machine is spending billions on its overseas operations and is vigorously engaging Putin lobbyists and sympathizers across the globe, including in Canada. The Lisitsa debate provides an excuse and opportunity for activating those lobby groups and further developing platforms for distributing Kremlin propaganda in Canada. The purpose is to confuse the Canadian public about the real state of events in Ukraine and Russia’s involvement in them and doubt Canada’s official response. This dynamic is worrisome as the propaganda is aimed at inciting inter-ethnic hatred and promoting violence. It is already poisoning some in Russian speaking communities in Canada who bully and even post personal threats to those disagreeing with Putin’s lies. Is it the direction we want to see Canada taking?

 

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Note: The authors gratefully acknowledge Arend van Dam for contributing his art to support this article and helping to debunk Kremlin propaganda.

For more information about the Valentina Lisitsa scandal, please visit Valentina Lisitsa Performance 

Authors

inna
Inna Platonova is the Founder & Coordinator of Russian Speaking Canada for Peace group, which brings together people of Ukrainian, Russian, Belarusian, and other origins in Canada and overseas who advocate for peace, condemn Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and support the principles of sovereignty, tolerance and democracy. Inna holds a PhD from the University of Calgary and is involved in research and consulting in the area of international development.

dima
James Dmitro Makienko is the President of Ukrainian Self-Reliance Association of Ottawa, a Ukrainian Canadian organization dedicated to maintaining and promoting Ukrainian heritage and culture and to helping fellow Ukrainians in Ukraine and Canada. Dmitro is also Chief Editor of geopoli.info, a geopolitical analysis blog dedicated to studying hybrid warfare.

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  • Roger D. Pettersen

    Kind of funny.. It does something when it`s about a blond woman playing classical music on piano .. Had it been a good average male hockey player, no one would have cared if the team fired him for hate speech, -At least people would have been curious about the content of his messages, bfore defending him :)

    • Natalie Jarnstedt

      Unfortunately, Ms. Lisitsa must have hoped that being a blond Barbie would have been enough to let the racism and hate speech ride….

  • Inna

    Dear Ivan Chernovol,

    I am glad you took the time to check my CV, yet you show no interest in looking into Lisitsa tweets, which makes me believe you are not here to search for truth.

    I am surprised you have so little knowledge about EU and US numerous grants and scholarships to help build civil society and help develop democratic institutions in Ukraine while Russia’s focus was on infiltrating these very institutions to keep them from evolving and keeping corrupt mechanisms in place.

    Many of us benefited from these opportunities through the grants and scholarships that helped gain experience and education in how democratic institutions and processes work. Now we apply this knowledge and want to see our countries to develop democratically and prosper. We don’t want authoritarian and blood-soaked regime of Putin to undermine such development and we want Putin crimes against humanity to stop. How is your “Here we go. It’s hard to bite the hand that once fed you, isn’t it?” hold, unless your morals and values are skewed and that is how you perceive the world and people around you, which makes me doubt your judgement and ability to contribute to our group. In fact, we don’t accept Putin lobbyists and sympathizers. You sound like one and thus can’t join us. You can join other groups of uninformed bullies and Kremlin paid trolls in social media to serve your purposes.

    It is interesting how you want to bring into discussion Svoboda. Did you check the results of the last election in Ukraine? I doubt. As they lost terribly in the election, thus Ukraine spoke, but you had no interest in listening. Ultra-nationalist political groups have far less influence and presence in the legislature or government of Ukraine than in pretty much any EU country, yet people like you conveniently disregard the facts. I would also encourage you to study ultra-nationalist groups and their influence in Russia to have better understanding where a government is in fact ultra-nationalist.

    By the way, what is “Kiev propaganda” and where is it in the article? I don’t think one needs a PhD or do an internship in the Ukrainian or Canadian Parliament to read the Lisitsa’s material and see that she chose to promote hate and violence instead of peace and love.

    Sincerely,

    Inna Platonova

    • Vol Ya

      Inna You wrote a very thoughtful and truthful and well balanced article. But it was a waste of time writing it to a Russian troll lvan. They don’t know what it means to speak. In fact the job of a russian troll is to spread lies and misinformation and to confuse the public. That is why they never speak about the facts on the ground. The russian trolls won’t comment on all the Russian soldiers killed in eastern Ukraine, who are supposedly not there. What about the Russian military equipment that has been captured. How did it get there? The russian trolls won’t admit that Russia invaded Ukraine even though putin has admitted he invaded Crimea. Treat Russia trolls for what they are, a piece of excrement.

      • Inna

        Thank you Vol Ya for your feedback! I can clearly see that article was useful as it definitely triggered a lot of interest. I also see now that Ivan Chernovol is not here to learn or inform, but rather attack people personally and misinform and spread lies.

      • Dignity

        Putin knew about Buzina killing before the authorities of Ukraine had a chance to report publicly. What a coincidence. Buzina was your typical “shit disturber”, he had no influence over anything in Ukraine, but he was popularized in Russia. His killing was only needed for Russian TV and Putin. Ivan, you will be shocked if you saw how Kremlin trolls attack and threaten our people in social media and off it too. So don’t even go there. Indeed, one day you will realize what kind of supporters you have.

        • puttypants

          Glory to Ukraine means Long Live Ukraine….What’s so scary about that? Maybe for a Putler troll it’s scary since its a way of uniting a country.. I believe all countries in a state of war must have slogans to promote enthusiams. You bet…it’s Slava Ukrainia…

          • puttypants

            If you lived in Ukraine and studied the language than why are you so anti-Ukrainian. I don’t believe you. Long live Ukraine is to seperate people? Wow how in the world did you come to that determination??? Long live your country?? Is that wrong to say when your country has been attacked, people killed, thousands wounded, 2 million refugees, hundreds of towns and villages devastated? That saying isn’t meant to divide it’s meant to unite. Why would anyone want to leave Ukraine for that slogan. In other words you don’t really want a united Ukraine? You believe Russia owns Ukraine…that’s what you are telling me by being offended by this Slava Ukrainia!!

          • puttypants

            America says “God Bless America”. Every country has its slogans especially in a time of war. Ivan I don’t think anyone would do anything to you for not shouting “Glory to Ukraine.” But if you don’t have love of country than you need to move to a country you can love. I’ve live many places and like most of them. But, I must admit I love America best.

          • puttypants

            Ivan…I guess I wouldn’t want you for a citizen when the chips are down because you wouldn’t stand up and fight for anything. I have a love of many things but most of all my family…always family first, love of nature, love of country, love of human beings even though so many do such stupid and cruel things….I’m more of a lover than a hater. I believe in forgiveness. This war has really pissed me off…because of the lies against Ukraine and the unnecessary destruction of a country that has been so brutalized all thru its history. Someone has to stick up for her. I feel sorry for the underdog.

      • puttypants

        Ivan…Putler troll. You’re wasting all of our time here. No on can have an intelligent conversation with a troll since they simply repeat all kinds of lies written for them. Isn’t there a better way to make a living than spreading vicious lies about a helpless country like Ukraine…You are truly bullies of the most frightening kind.

    • Vol Ya

      Ivan take your feces elsewhere. You are a lying machine. You conveniently forgot to mention that in March 2015 there was a world congress of fascists and ultranationalists and Nazi supporters held in Russia. That is right Ivan, it was held in Russia, not in Ukraine, not in Canada, not in the USA. So that tells you where the true fascists are located. Why don’t you pack your bags and go back to Russia. You are an embarrassment to the free and democratic country of Canada.

      • Vol Ya

        Spoken like a true russian troll Ivan. You avoid speaking about any pertinent facts such as the world forum of neo nazis, ultra nationalists and Nazi supporters. Is that inconvenient truth too painful for you. Yes it is very pertinent because Putin and all the Russian trolls keep referring to all the supposed fascists in Ukraine. The fact shows just the opposite, the fascists are located in Russia and Putin supports neo fascist groups all around the world.

        • Vol Ya

          Just keep up your selective news gathering. That is what russian trolls do. I noticed you don’t have any video clips from Russia of the world conference of fascist and Nazi supporters. Do you want me to send you some to add to your collection. And you forgot to send a video clip of a huge gathering of Nazis and fascists in Crimea last summer after Russia invaded Crimea. In fact Putin even attended the event. Your lies and misinformation just go to show how you are a russian troll. And the whole world can see through your lies. How pathetic that you Russian trolls have to intentionally post lies.

          • puttypants

            BBC is bought and paid for by Putin.

          • puttypants

            Yes I have. I’ve looked at every video they’ve put out they worked hard to prove Ukraine was a bunch of nazi’s by interviewing the right sector of about 200 young people with 2 younsters said they were patriots and who they were against. It was obvious they had no idea what a nazi was. Their coverage has been a joke and very pro-Russian. No fair person today could possibly be pro-putin.

      • Vol Ya

        One more thing Ivan, it is typical russian fashion to show off their money and brag about their wealth. If you don’t like paying such high taxes in Canada, then why don’t you leave. No one will miss you or your fascist views. In fact why don’t you go to Russia. You should feel right at home with your soviet buddies. It is so hypocritical of you to take advantage of Canada’s free speech and democracy, yet you deny that same free speech and democracy to the people of Ukraine. After Putin’s invasion of Crimea, the people there have no freedom of the press or freedom of speech. Ukraine, something you and Putin do not understand. The people of Ukraine want to be free and do not want to live in a dictatorship under Putin.

        • Vol Ya

          I have been to Ukraine many times, maybe even more than you. And I have spent a lot of time in Ukraine. So your attempt to dismiss my credibility has failed. I may have even spent more time in Ukraine than you. And I have family in the far east Kharkiv and in the far west Lviv. So don’t try to divide Ukrainians based on language because that Putin trick won’t work here. All people of Ukraine are united, against Putin and for a strong Ukraine. In fact Putin’s invasion has totally backfired on him. He has united the people of Ukraine like never before.
          You are lying when you say you want Ukraine to be free. This is the most free that Ukraine has ever been and yet you are not supporting it. It shows you are not a Ukrainian. The people of Ukraine have spoken, and they want to be free, they want to be truly free of Russian control.
          You must be a Yanukovich supporter. He sold out Ukraine to Putin. He was a bandit, everyone in Ukraine, even in Donbas called him a bandit.
          You are not a Ukrainian, or else you would be supportive of Ukraine’s efforts to become free and independent and democratic.
          In fact you are one of those ruskies inside Ukraine who are constantly try to sabotage all the good efforts of the people in Ukraine to build a decent country. In fact everything you say goes to show that you are trying to destroy and discredit Ukraine.
          It doesn’t matter where you were born.
          Why don’t you go to Russia and take your fascist and soviet communist views with you.
          Because you are not a Ukrainian at heart and you are not a Canadian at heart.

        • Dignity

          Ivan, my relatives had to flee Crimea after annexation worried for their life. I am sure there would be jubilation by some, but we will never how many would vote at the referendum, if in fact a legal referendum would have been conducted like the one in Quebec. You say you are in Canada, then you should know well how strong separatism movement was in Quebec, yet it was not enough for people to vote against Canada. Crimea never had such separatism movement, in fact the group that Putin was riding on had less than 4% of support during past election to the legislature of Crimea. Crimea is going back to authoritarian era: persecution of opposition, suspension of independent media, ongoing abuse of human rights. They even stopped electronic transaction in banks and went with many operations on paper. Even few of my relatives who did vote, have to admit they might have to move to mainland of Ukraine, as they see nothing of what was promised by Putin and economy is going down the drain.

          • puttypants

            Sevastopol…is a disgrace..this is what the Ukrainian cossacks fought for and won from the Ottamon empire so much ukrainian blood was spilled and now it’s Russian??? Disgusting…Ukraine should not give an inch on this one.

          • puttypants

            Actually, legally Ukraine has never been part of Russia. The cossacks simply asked Russia to be a protectoret..they never wanted to give up the independence of the country. Through traitors Russia took more and more priviledge with the country. With poor leadership and interfighting between the cossacks they weakened the country to fall under Russian protection…haha…

    • Vol Ya

      Ivan – For your information several members of my family in Ukraine were killed by those communist Russian swine. So don’t you lecture to me about the history of Ukraine you lying piece of shit. You conveniently twist the facts. Am I supposed to weep tears over your grandfather when you conveniently forgot to mention the 6 million Ukrainians that were killed by Stalin and his russian comrades from Moscow. Ukraine has been brutalized by Russia for a century now and it is time to put an end to that.

      • Vol Ya

        Ivan you can stop with you your constant lies and trying to confuse people with misinformation. Your trick of trying to create animosity between Ukraine and Poland won’t work. Putin has already tried to play that ethnic race card and create hatred between Ukraine and Poland but it didn’t work. Ukraine and Poland have put the past behind them and they realize that they need each, especially to defend against Putin’s aggression. As for Crimea, Ukraine has probably lost it. So be it. I will never spend another dime visiting Crimea and supporting Putin’s fascist regime. Putin invaded Crimea and now he has to support. Do you remember that Crimea gets its water and electricity from Ukraine. Maybe Ukraine should shut off the water supply just like Putin did to Ukraine with gas. How would you feel about that asshole. You are not a Ukrainian, regardless of what language you speak. You are a traitor, you don’t have Ukraine’s best interest at heart. Go back to Crimea and stay there. You will love the fascist environment there. No freedom of speech or freedom of the press there. Only Putin’s propaganda 24/7. You will fit right in.

    • Vol Ya

      One more thing Ivan, you soviet sympathizer. Since you want to bring up that your grandfather was in the Red Army and he was killed in the war, then why don’t you comment on the brutality of the Red Army toward the people of Ukraine. The Red Army killed thousands of people and raped and tortured many more.
      So your grandfather who served in the Red Army, may he burn in hell for his crimes against the people of Ukraine.

    • Vol Ya

      Mr Grod does not support Nazis. He supports people who fought for their freedom and for the independence of Ukraine. They fought against the soviet red army which had invaded Ukraine. That makes them heroes of Ukraine. .And it makes your a lying piece of shit who is trying to distort the truth. Why would anyone want to distort history. Is it because history make them look bad. Putin is also trying to distort history by trying to rehabilitate Stalin. Imagine that, rehabilitate Stalin, a man who killed millions of people. How pathetic. And you are also trying to rewrite history. Now you know why you are labelled a russian troll. Because a Russian troll never speaks the truth and always spreads lies and misinformation and tries to confuse the public.There hasn’t been one word of truth in all of your posts. You are a lying piece of shit. May you and all of your ruskie and soviet and communist and red army buddies burn in hell. You deserve it.

      • Vol Ya

        Ivan Chernoval-I am going to keep calling you a lying piece of shit because that is what you are. I am going to keep calling out your filthy lies. I know that you Russian propagandists don’t like to be called out as liars because speaking the truth is not something you do. With all your lies, you still have not been able to over turn any of the facts that I have presented here because i am writing the truth about what is happening in Ukraine today. You on the other hand want to distort the history of Ukraine to try to justify Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. How pathetic is that. You must definitely be working for Putin and his propaganda machine. One thing you and Putin don’t realize, is that in this modern age of technology and communication, it is easy to rebuke your lies and misinformation. Go to hell you filthy russian swine. You will have lots of company there.

        • puttypants

          Ivan is a paid troll. Notice how he continues bringing up Ukraine and Hitler. Notice how he changes the conversation. It’s obvious that Ivan is a communist. They were the ones who spread lies about the Ukrainian independence movement to keep them from going indpendent both in the revolution and in WW2. Those were all communist lies they spread all over the world. This is not the first time that commies spread lies against Ukraine. They have been doing it from the beginning of the communist era. We Ukrainians need to continue telling the Ukrainian truth. My and family were all Ukrainians from Kharkiv who were starved to death by the communists in 1932-33. I lost my entire family except for my mother and father who lived to tell me the truth about what happened in Ukraine since they lived thru the revolution, thru the starvation and thru WW2. Ukraine lost over 20 million people in WW over the course of the communist takeover of Ukraine. Shame on the trolls for the truth is gradually coming out. Our parents didn’t have the strength after so much trauma to fight you but we their children will show you for what evil creature you are. How much people in Ukraine have suffered because of you. NO MORE …WE WILL NOT FORGIVE AND WE WILL NOT FORGET!!!

      • Vol Ya

        Instead of trying to rewrite history and twist the truth regarding Mr Grod, why don’t you speak out about the genocide that is occurring right now in Crimea. Putin is exterminating the Tatar and Ukrainian population there. That is a fact. But of course you russian trolls don’t like to deal in facts because it makes you and putin look very bad. You would rather spread lies and misinformation and try to distort the truth and rewrite history. How come you are so silent about what is happening in Crimea today. Surely you must know what is going on in Crimea today if you really do have relatives there. I am going to continue speaking the truth about what is going on in Ukraine today. You can keep trying to distort the truth about what Mr Grod said or didn’t say. What you write is not important. Nobody cares about you. I am more concerned about what is really happening today in Crimea and the rest of Ukraine than you are. You are simply irrelevant. So go away you russian troll. Nobody will miss you.

    • Inna

      If you think I am intelligent, why then I would ever write to someone who manipulates, deliberately whitewashes the facts, misinforms, spreads lies and on the top of that tries to attack me personally.

      If you have ever been to Canada, you will know that Associations are normally funded through memberships and individual and foundations donations. Very rarely grants are from government. Btw, Soviet government paid for my secondary and university education, as education was fully funded. So what? Your rhetoric of “paying-repaying-benefiting” is rather misconceived, since your mind can’t process that I don’t want Ukraine or other country to be subjected to a totalitarian regime that persecutes opposition, bans independent media, abuses human rights and robs own people. Don’t you think people in Ukraine and Russia deserve to be treated better and live like Canada does where rule of law prevails, where people have rights and opportunities. Donbass and Crimea are Ukraine, and they will not be turning into “Mordor” that Russia wants to turn those places into.

      What is it “like, not like Svoboda argument”? You have no interest in hearing any facts. Similarly I have no interest in talking to people who deliberately refuse to see the facts and Lisitsa tweets. Do your home work and read her tweets, it is all over net.

      • puttypants

        I have read Mr. Rudlings works. He’s is so very obviously paid pro-Russian. He really has no more evidence than I do about the Ukrainian nationalists or Ukrainian history. They were independence fighters to some and criminals to others. Because 3 or 4 people in the nationalist movement are anti-everyone Ukrainian doesn’t mean all of Ukraine is. If you lived in Ukraine you know that Ukraine is a multi-cultural country and everyone seems to get on very well. Neither the govnment in Ukraine nor it’s people harrass people of other religions or other nationalities as they do in Russia. We are not intolerant people. Some western Ukrainains get irritated with Ukrainians speaking Russian but it’s only because a sovereign country official language should be Ukrainian not Russian. We all hope that eventually by starting to teach youngsters Ukrainian will be their first language. they can over come this russification which was forced upon Ukrainians for centuries both by the tsars as well as the communist. There has been much falsication about Ukraine by communist Russia and by Tsarist Russia. Without Ukraine there is no Russian empire or else why would Putin be fighting so hard to keep or destroy Ukraine. I have read over 365 history and survivor books in addition to what my parents told me. The books were written by Germans, Russians, Poles and very few Ukrainians. I feel I’ve been able to string together some sense of Ukrainian history. Unfortunately, what I’ve found is how much Russia has stolen from Ukraine. Yes, Poland and Ukraine had a bad history together….Ukrainians were slaves on their own land for the Polish aritocrats for centuries that’s why both Petliura and Bandera’s people took on Poland..However, to paint Bandera in anyway would be like painting Simon Weisanthal as a Nazi since both were in the same labor camp for a period of time. Mr Weisanthal however had to make the horrible choice of which jews were sent to concentration camps and killed… He has been forgiven so why aren’t Ukrainians be forgiven like all other nationalities were for what happened in WW2? Everyone had lots of blood on their hands to simply say Ukraine was the worst is a damn lie…tell me what other countries fought on the Nazi’s side…? Italy, France, Hungary, Romania etc., etc., etc..So why have the Ukrainians been painted in the worst light? …Stalin once said the Ukrainians are a troublesome people I would deport them all if I had enough trains. He decided to starve anywhere from 3 million to 10 million ukrainians and replace those areas with ethnic Russians (eastern, Southeastern Ukraine. I could go on and on about the history of Ukraine but not enough room and I don’t remember all the facts in my head.

        • puttypants

          Putin and Russia have never been ” out of the picture in Ukraine”. As you probably know eastern/southeastern Ukraine including Kharkiv are economically dependent on Russian business. That’s real problem,hopefully, the Ukrainian government can work this out. I always say follow the money!! Hopefully, everyone will come to their senses and make peace. It will be very, very difficult. Putin should not have accused Ukraine with such lies. It was stupid and cruel. Russians should not have bought all of this anti-Ukrainian stuff. It’s insane they’ve lived next to Ukraine for thousands of years they’ve intermarried and they still don’t know Ukrainians? Now you have the two people hating each other and families not talking to each other. That’s so wrong. If Putin had not invaded and annexed Crimea…if He hadn’t fomented unrest and supported the pro-Russian seperatist this whole thing would have blown over. Yes, Ukraine would have still tried to join the Eu but they probably would have also gone with the eurasain union too when they figured out that the EU wasn’t so excited to have them join.. Putin acted irresponsibly and has hurt Ukraine terribly and for what? Ukraine and Russia needed a divorce but it should have been amicable. I don’t know if it will work out but I hope it will. Ukraine has survived for thousands of years. It’s been devastated many times before and somehow or another it’s managed to survive. I also think the young people that stay will have opportunities like never before. Ukraine can’t be in any worse condition than it is now and the country is still breathing. People in Ukraine are intelligent, civilized, decent and for the most part honest. They will survive! I will just keep hoping!

          • puttypants

            No Ukraine was a country even during Soviet period. It was a colony of Russia. You’re right Ukraine has none. If they say Fuck you to Europe and America what will they do? They need financial help. I’ve said the same thing get away from both but it’s not realistic until they can get on their feet. The current government needs to have a chance to work. If they don’t do what’s right for the country and it’s people..They’ll be out and it will become a failed state unless there is a savior waiting to take over. Young will leave if they can…I pray for the elderly and those too illiterate and young orphans. If Ukraine becomes a failed state it will become a dangerous state in Europe. I don’t think that would service anyone in europe or USA. So Germany has got to start acting better towards them. They seem to think if Putin is allowed to take over all will be well…they’re being extremely naive after what’s happened with Russia the war will spill over into other countries. USA,Canada and Europe would be smarter to give Ukraine defensive weapons and do more to help them get on their feet finiancially.

          • puttypants

            Ivan I know how difficult western countries are for immigrants. My father worked 2 low paying manual labor jobs all his life and he was a trained engineer. my brothers started working at age 13 and 15 to help the family. I started at 14. I was the 2nd. hand rose never saw a new thing until I got my job. But I was lucky.. my life has been extraordinarily good with the help of a husband who was a good bread winner. When I lived in Moscow in Kiev…the average persons education, lifestyle could not compare to the middle class persons lifestyle in America. Our welfare recipients lived better, could get a better education for free than your middle-class. By the way my brothers who were older when they came here did not fair as well as I. Lots of prejudice against us. We were called stupid foreigners and made fun of in so many different way. My parents and brothers sacrificed for my sister and I so we could have a better life. I think you are right people in the west don’t give a shit about what’s happening in Ukraine. The media and our politicians have controlled that story. If USA was so involved with what happened in Ukraine wouldn’t they have made sure there was more anti-Russian propaganda in the States? That hasn’t been the case. Obama doesnt give a shit about Ukraine. Most Americans know practically nothing about Ukraine nor are they interested. Additionally, Americans are tired of paying for wars. If you ever read the NYT…they have been selling Russian travel, russian artists etc., etc., Even some of the ex-politicians have become lobbyists for Russia. However, I believe USA would have been more supportive if they saw W. europe was especially Germany. Germany and western europe are the real culprits here.

          • puttypants

            I dated a jewish boy in highschool. When his parents found out I was Ukrainian they made him stop seeing me…just like that. My father was hauled in by the FBI first for being a communist spy and 4 years later for being a nazi collaborator…We too had a much more difficult experience than most…only because we were Ukrainians. Jewish people especially have hated Ukrainians. Just last year I was at a boutique hotel in NY soho..Met a beatiful girl asked where she was from she said Ukraine and I said I’m Ukrainian too. She said OMG my mother and I hate Ukrainians. I asked why and she said that they were so anti-semitic. They came to the state in the 70s or 80s…that’s what we’re been dealing with all these years and that’s because of communist propaganda agains Ukraine for its want of independence.
            Mila Kunis born in the USA came here in the 80s also said the same thing even thou she never had a personal experience with it??? These are preconceived notions that have cursed Ukrainians unfairly as long as I can remember. Ukrainians have never fought back and when they tried to no one would listen. 60 minutes years ago did a bit on Ukrainian anti-semitism…NYT has done great damage from being of the revolution to Ukraine and they’re still doing it. Unfair and untrue but what the hell can we do about it?

        • puttypants

          About Mr. Pinter…brilliant passionate man who was very much a marxists and extremely anti-American. America is far from perfect but they didn’t go into any war where they weren’t asked for help. In fact, I tend to be a dove. I was not for any of those wars. what he said about America he could have replaced the word Russia and their behavior in Putin’s time. This video was obviously put out by Russia to cause more anti-Americanism in the world. However, I have to ask you why do all the immigrants continue coming to USA if it was so horrible? America has also done lots of good in the world. Maybe, I think it’s done more good for there own citizens than bad. He’s reasoning about America’s actions are very simplistic as if America is the only bad guy in the world. Not fair. I could also go on more about the good that America has done but it would take too long. I can only say that all war is evil!!! If he went back and judged every country including Russia, Italy, China, Japan, Sweden, Rome etc., etc., all the same things could have been said about them. There are many things I can agree on with him but, I am not an idealogue. The politicians on both sides of a conflict lie. In fact, I don’t like politicians very much in any country. They all try to keep their power…So basically he was very anti-American because america is a little more captalistic than most countries. Although, they have many socialistic programs: Social security and medicare for the elderly,Welfare for the poor, thousands of programs for the poor…In fact, like every other country they are being weighted down by huge government programs for the poor. The middle-class is being overly burdened by taxes and resenting it. The 1% make way too much money…

          • puttypants

            Ivan I still don’t know if you are a private citizen and not being paid by Putin’s propaganda machine..I would give you my email but I’m afraid you might be and my computer would get infected or worse. Yes, Iraqi’s were much involved with pushing us for help. Honestly, I don’t remember what happened in Libya.

    • Vol Ya

      Inna – Do not send your real name to this Russian troll or Russian spy, whoever he/she is. If they get your private contact information they will harass or worse threaten you. That is the typical russian way. They can never have a debate or discussion based on the facts or truth or reason. They must get their way and they will use violence to do it. That is the typical russian way. That is the way they staged an election in Crimea. It was voting at gun point. Furthermore there is no benefit t discussing anything with this russia propaganda machine since he has an agenda and telling the truth is not part of it.
      He has already printed massive lies about Ukraine. He is just interested in spreading more lies and misinformation and confusing the public. That is the rulebook of the russian trolls. I have seen one of their training manuals. They are to lie, misinform and spread confusion so that the public doesn’t know what to believe. It is very important that we have such a forum so that we can immediately rebuke the lies of such russian trolls.

  • Vol Ya

    This woman should not be allowed into Canada. She supports neo fascists in Russia and she advocates for violence against Ukrainians. There is no place for garbage like her in Canada. Let her take her hateful views to Russia. She will fit right in with al the fascists in Russia. Just last moth there was a world forum of fascists and ultranationalists and Nazi supporters in Russia.

  • Inna

    Thank you everyone for reading and for your comments! It is clear the article was needed and we can clearly see propaganda machine at work even at this discussion board. Sincerely, Inna Platonova

  • Vol Ya

    To Ivan the russian troll on this website. Not one word that you wrote here can be substantiated by any facts. You continuously selectively pick facts and try to use them against Ukraine. You say that you don’t like the direction Ukraine is headed in . Oh really. What don’t you like. The fact that they have a new government and it consists of ukrainians, russians, jews, foreigners. It is hard to beat that for diversity. You won’t find that diversity in the government of Crimea or Russia. Or is it the fact that Ukraine has a truly democratically elected president parliament. You probably don’t appreciate that since you don’t respect democracy, you prefer election at gunpoint, the way it was held in Crimea. That must be your idea of a free and fair election, when the outcome is predetermined in advance.
    The fact is that you don’t uphold any of the values that Canada stands for. Why don’t you go back to Crimea where you belong. You will fit right in with the closed minded violent people there. And you can take that Valentina Lisista with you. You both deserve one another. You are both lying hypocrites. You take advantage of the freedoms in Canada to spread your fascist views and hatred towards Ukraine and Ukrainians. Shame on you. You have been exposed for the fraud that you are.

  • puttypants

    Does she live in Canada? If she doesn’t she shouldn’t be allowed in. I can’t believe that people in canada are so stupid as to believe such lies about Ukraine. They’re lies are so vile that I can’t believe anyone would believe them. Lisista should be deported to Russia.
    She should be tried at the Hague as a propagandist with the blood of Ukrainians on her hands.

  • puttypants

    Actually, I don’t think Lenin was as evil as Stalin. He was the mass murderer. He left a huge legacy of death and distruction behind him. As far as Bandera is concerned…his a piker compared to Stalin. He spent most of his time during WW2 in a labor camp and wasn’t let out until after the war. How could he have lead the group if they couldn’t get to him for information? There have been a lot of unfounded and unproven accusations against Bandera. How much damage could his group have done if they were only 20 thousand strong even during the war. Don’t you understand this anti-Bandera thing by Russia right now is just another ploy by them to color Ukrainians as nazi’s.
    The Jewish world honors King David. Have you read about King David’s and how he built Israel? Pretty brutal crazy guy right? The Jewish people continue to honor him despite that. why the double standards for Ukraine. Ukraine also needs it’s hero’s who fought for its independence. Name a builder of a country that wasn’t a nationalist, that didn’t spill blood to free their country???

  • Dignity

    Excellent commentary about bias in Canadian media regarding Lisitsa scandal. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4AbEtj84J4&feature=youtu.be

  • Dignity

    I think all people are worried about future as the country is attacked by a very big aggressor with lots of weapons and huge army in comparison to the Ukrainian and we obviously gave up nuclear weapons under the Budapest Memorandum where Russia, UK and US guaranteed territorial integrity of Ukraine. Russia viciously abused this agreement and is threatening with nuclear weapons the entire world.

    Shit disturber means – much noise, no influence – that is how Buzina was perceived in Ukraine. Obviously Putin supporters will try to elevate him so they could score on his death, most likely facilitated by Russia.

  • Dignity

    Russia brought sanctions upon itself. It was Russia who tore apart another country and occupy Crimea and brought death and destruction to Ukraine. Russia had a choice to develop into a civilized country instead it chose barbaric ways against own people and other countries. It is a shame.

  • Dignity

    How is that you support Ukraine that does not bow to the West or Russia if you promote Putin propaganda that is aimed to undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty? You are contradicting yourself. You are either absolutely delusional or working hard for the Putin propaganda machine.

  • Dignity

    What makes you believe that I would not be the one MP in Russian Duma who voted against illegal annexation and occupation of Crimea? I wish you were thinking a bit better about people, Ivan. Not everyone is selling their soul. I think to me your values scale is rather clear and that will determine how you read my CV or any other CV. Contrary to you, I am not hiding my identity and my CV. It is there for everyone to see that I traveled the world and saw how both European and North American countries live and what Ukraine can be as well.

  • Dignity

    I am not lecturing. Why should I? We just have a very different set of beliefs and values. I think there is more to Ukraine than just individual politicians. More could have been done since 1991, fully agree, but trying to build on a corrupt, communist dominated foundation with constant external interferences was not easy. There was the Orange Revolution and an attempt to change that. However, on a positive side Ukraine has never turned into a totalitarian system and so many freedoms are enjoyed there. Not surprising so many Russian activists and opposition are seeing political refugee status in Ukraine. After coming from Moscow to Kyiv, they all comment: it is such a drastic change and is an incredible breath of fresh air.

  • Dignity

    Please keep your vomit outside the discussion board. Thank you.

  • Dignity

    Lisitsa is cancelled in Toronto GTA. Nobody wants to be associated with hate and violence promoters. You will have to invite her to your backyard if you are such a fan.

  • Terry Washington

    Valentina Lisitsa may have been born in Kyiv but she is arguably no more “Ukrainian” than the late unlamented Vidkun Quisling was “Norwegian”!