War propaganda not covered by freedom of speech: EU Court rejects complaint by Kiselev

Head of the Kremlin's RT (Russia Today) news agency Dmitry Kiselyov projecting the image of a nuclear mushroom cloud and boasting Russia's ability to turn US "into radioactive dust." RT is the Kremlin's soapbox to promote its policies, denigrate the West and propagate conspiracy theories, as well as attack the political opposition to Putin. (Image: screen capture)

Head of the Kremlin's Rossiya Segodnya news agency Dmitry Kiselyov projecting the image of a nuclear mushroom cloud and boasting Russia's ability to turn US "into radioactive dust." (Image: screen capture) 

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The General Court of the EU has rejected an appeal of Dmitry Kiselev, the head of the Kremlin’s state news agency Rossiya Segodnya, to annul EU sanctions against him, a statement of the Court from 15 June 2017 reads.

The EU imposed a travel ban and an asset freeze on Kiselev on March 21, 2014. According to the court ruling, Kiselev challenged the repeated extension of the restrictive measures’ application in March 2015, September 2015 and March 2016, and argued that the Council’s decisions were made in violation of law, claiming that they infringe his freedom of expression as a journalist and breach the Partnership Agreement between Russia and the EU.

The Court ruled that the imposed restrictive measures were lawful and that the EU’s Russia sanctions do not breach the EU-Russia Partnership Agreement because Russia’s actions in Ukraine fall within the exceptions for “war or serious international tension constituting threat of war” and that they are regarded as obligations the EU has accepted for the “purpose of maintaining peace and international security.”

The Court decided that “it may be considered that the actions of the Russian Federation constitute ‘war or serious international tension constituting threat of war’” in Ukraine and that the EU the Council considered that Kiselev, by his management role in Rossiya Segodya and by his statements as a journalist, had “engaged in propaganda supporting the military actions of the Russian Federation in Ukraine and was therefore one of the persons actively supporting actions or policies undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.”

The EU Court underlined the significant role that Kiselev’s propaganda played in Russia’s war against Ukraine, stating that although Kiselev himself wasn’t responsible for the actions and policies of the Russian Government, he provided “active support” for the Russian Government’s actions in Ukraine in a form that is significant enough to “contribute to the continuance of” Russia’s “actions and policies destabilising Ukraine.”

Regarding Kiselev’s complaint against the limitations of his freedom of expression, the Court replied that the applicant is a central figure of the propaganda actively supporting the Russian Government’s policy in Ukraine, which is substantiated by several pieces of reliable evidence. Namely, the Court took into account the decisions of Latvia and Lithuania to suspend the broadcasting of Vesti Nedeli programs which Kiselev hosted. In particular, Latvia considered that “those programs contained war propaganda justifying the Russian military intervention in Ukraine and comparing defenders of Ukrainian democracy to Nazis, sending the message that, if those defenders of democracy were in power, they would repeat the crimes committed by the Nazis.”

Therefore, the Court considered the sanctions the EU Council slapped on Kiselev to be justified and proportionate, as he “had given active support by portraying events in Ukraine in a light favorable to the Russian Government.”

Less restrictive measures would not have been as effective in pursuing the aim of “bringing pressure to bear on Russia’s decision-makers responsible for the situation in Ukraine,” the decision reads.

Dmitry Kiselev (sometimes transcribed as “Kiselyov”) is well-known to the Ukrainian audience for the outrageous fakes concerning the situation in Ukraine, including claims that Ukraine is burning veterans alive and a fake Ukrainian diplomat detailing “horrors of Euromaidan.” But Kiselev’s shows touch upon Western countries as well. One of Kiselev’s most famous episodes is a thinly-veiled threat to turn the U.S. into “radioactive dust.” In January 2017, Dmitry Kiselev’s popular news show falsely claimed that German Chancellor Angela Merkel sought “Lebensraum” in Eastern Europe like the Nazi regime. Also, Kiselev recently became famous in France. The TV channel Canal+ debunked a show that he anchored on Vesti, where street protests in France were explained as euroskeptics rioting against migrants. In fact, the protests caused by new labor laws and had nothing to do with euroskepticism.

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  • Tony

    Of course, free speech is a sincere opinion that is subjected to change. There is nothing sincere about a propaganda and the propagandist’s aren’t paid to change their “opinions”.

    • Rafael Hernandez

      Indeed, Ukraine banning Yandex shows that even though Ukraine has “labelled Russian media as lies, they ban it. If Russian media were lies, why not show it to the Ukrainian people?? Or is Kiev afraid that Ukrainians would know what really is going on

      • zorbatheturk

        Bogov.

  • zorbatheturk

    Speaking of lebensraum, the RuSSkiys have 17 million square kilometers of it going to waste. Much of it has been environmentally trashed, of course. The Soviets never liked nature. They preferred factories belching out clouds of thick noxious gasses and radioactive waste dumps. Too bad those factories never made anything worth buying…

    • Sania

      bastardje, how is ur piggy?

      • zorbatheturk

        SYM.

    • Rafael Hernandez

      Speaking of lebensraum, hadn’t it been for Russia defending Moscow and Stalingrad, Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, the baltic states and moldova wouldn’t exist today. Think about thay before you spout out your usual russophobic krap

      • zorbatheturk

        Soviets turned eastern Europe into a craphole, tovarisch.

      • Mick Servian

        Dude…
        These guys would have been completely fine with it if Hitler had won.

  • Scradje

    Kiselev is worse than his and pootler’s hero, Goebbells. Total slime.

    • Sania

      crudje, u are second after gebbels,
      but u can kill neighbors for money, coz u are filth troll of filth ds…

      • veth

        Killing Russian soldiers is no crime, 5000 dead already in Donbass.

        • Andrew Chmile

          PRAISE GOD!

        • Sania

          gitler said the same…
          where is gitler?
          only in the mind of last ukra fasci.
          Yes, in thoughts of ds,too…
          Pecez for west and its tails.

          • veth

            Your fascist nazzi president Putler downed MH17, you Russians smile.

          • Sania

            MH 17 downed by ukra Buk command , one from three, which were near Zaroshchensjkoe in full equipment and ready.
            Each Buk command needs six big trucks machines.

          • veth

            Russia downed M17 as proven by investigation. The buk TRUCK RETURNED AFTER THE DOWNING BACK TO RUSSIA. The Kursk Brigade was awarded for this crime.

          • Sania

            u are stupid, or troll, or crazy…

          • veth

            You are a stupid Russian child, happy with Putin war in Ukraine.

          • Sania

            baran, I did grow in ukra, most of my money I did pay in ukra Crimea,
            I was happy in train from Moscow to Simferopol,passing Kharkov, Zaporoje,etc. ur troll chump do not believe-I had one way by suburban train from

        • Mick Servian

          Killing your orthodox neighbors and calling them Russians…is.

          • veth

            Russian Army invaded, whole Russia support this war!

          • Mick Servian

            Russia might support it. But its a civil war.
            No spin is going to change that.

          • veth

            Sounds funny with 5000 Russian Army soldiers killed in Donbass. 600 Russian Army tanks, 160 GRAD systems, 120 BUK systems from the Russian Army. Its no civil war. Its full Russian Ukrainian war. And in october America will sent at last more weapons to kill more Russian soldiers.