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The Kremlin doesn’t know what to do with Yanukovych’s letter

“Yanukovych Wanted” flyer from the Revolution of Dignity, Kyiv, 2014
The Kremlin doesn’t know what to do with Yanukovych’s letter
Article by: Vitaliy Portnikov
Translated by: Anna Mostovych

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova again tried to help former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych and to save him from charges of treason. Her assignment is challenging. She cannot deny that Viktor Yanukovych wrote a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin asking him to deploy troops to Ukraine. This letter was exhibited at a meeting of the UN Security Council by Russia’s former Permanent Representative to the UN Vitaly Churkin.

The presence of such a document was mentioned by Yanukovych himself. A copy of the letter was submitted to the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office by the UN Secretary General’s office. Can one say the letter never existed when it did?

churkin demo
Vitaly Churkin shows Yanukovych’s letter at the UN Security Council meeting, March 3, 2014

But when you are a Russian propagandist, you can do anything. Maria Zakharova, on her page on the Web (although private rather than official), claims that this is not a letter but a statement. How does a letter differ from a statement? By the fact that Yanukovych simply “stated” the need to send troops. In other words, he did not request anything from anyone, and did not appeal to anyone. This would mean this letter was nothing more than a cry of despair. It was not registered either in the Russian parliament nor in the administration of the Russian president — nowhere at all. The fact that after its appearance the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of Russia decided to allow President Putin to deploy troops to Ukraine is probably just a coincidence. Because neither Putin nor the senators had seen the letter. And they could not read it because it was not a letter but a statement. And, as Zakharova explains, Yanukovych wrote it and did not show it to anyone.

Then how did this letter get to Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Vitaly Churkin and why did he show it to the participants at the meeting of the UN Security Council? Vitaly Churkin himself could best answer that question. But after his death, it is much simpler for the representatives of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to create an alternate reality. Zakharova does not explain how a letter that was not registered in any official  Russian institution ended up in the possession of the Russian representative at the UN. However, she does note that Churkin read it as a demonstration — in other words, as information that had nothing to do with the daily agenda.

It’s a pity that Churkin himself did not inform his colleagues on the UN Security Council, on March 3, 2014, that Yanukovych’s letter had nothing to do with the daily agenda. On the contrary, he insisted that the document he displayed reinforced the legitimacy of the actions taken by the Russian Federation in Ukraine. Churkin also did not say anything regarding the idea that Yanukovych’s letter in which Yanukovych requested that troops be sent to Ukraine did not “really” contain such a request. Nor about the idea that no one in the Russian president’s administration nor in the Russian parliament knew anything about Yanukovych’s letter.

Yanukovych’s letter is direct proof of his treachery and of Russia’s aggression. Maria Zakharova says that anyone who explains this Russian manipulation to his audience is at a “catastrophically low” level. I will not blame the Russian propagandist of the same. I think Ms Zakharova knows she is lying. But why?

The representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry has reasons for her behavior. They are tied to the Ukrainian decision to try Yanukovych despite the fact that Russia is not going to turn over the former president. Moscow understands perfectly that Yanukovych’s letter, a copy of which was obtained from the Russian representative at the UN and turned over to Kyiv by international institutions, is direct proof of his treason. And direct confirmation of Russian aggression. And this cannot be denied because Russia itself had displayed this document. It displayed it because, on March 2014, the Kremlin considered the overthrow of the Ukrainian government and the return of the “legitimate president” Yanukovych to Kyiv on Russian bayonets a matter of several weeks.

But now the Russian officials have to say that there was no letter after saying that it existed and after showing it to the entire world! Therefore the letter has now become a “statement” and its display at the UN Security Council meeting is “information that has no relation to the daily agenda.” And those who speak about the existence of the document are distributors of misinformation who call black white and white black.

The fact that these distortions look ridiculous probably never even entered the mind of the Russian propagandists.

Translated by: Anna Mostovych
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