Tuesday, May 31, 2016


Ukraine Unspun

Ukraine Unspun: Chechnya War Pic Passed Off As Ukraine Atrocity By Hackers, Russian TV

This photo -- showing a Russian soldiers inspecting bodies of civilians in a mass grave in Chechnya in 1995 -- was used by Russia's state-owned Channel One television to highlight recent Ukrainian suffering.This photo -- showing a Russian soldiers inspecting bodies of civilians in a mass grave in Chechnya in 1995 -- was used by Russia's state-owned Channel One television to highlight recent Ukrainian suffering.
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This photo -- showing a Russian soldiers inspecting bodies of civilians in a mass grave in Chechnya in 1995 -- was used by Russia's state-owned Channel One television to highlight recent Ukrainian suffering.
This photo -- showing a Russian soldiers inspecting bodies of civilians in a mass grave in Chechnya in 1995 -- was used by Russia's state-owned Channel One television to highlight recent Ukrainian suffering.

A day before the October 26 parliamentary elections in Ukraine, hackers accessed electronic billboards in Kyiv and broadcast gruesome images of what they portrayed as civilian carnage wrought by Ukrainian forces battling pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country.

Russian state-owned Channel One television then aired a report on the stunt, describing the photographs as “horrifying images of the events in Donbas,” a reference to the Donetsk and Luhansk areas where separatists control of swaths of land.

At least one of these images, however, pre-dates the Ukraine conflict by nearly two decades. It originally showed a Russian soldier standing over mass graves of civilians in Chechnya in 1995 during Russia's own bloody battle with separatists in the restive North Caucasus republic.

The image was snapped by photographer Alexander Nemenov on March 31, 1995, at an Orthodox cemetery in Chechnya's capital, Grozny, according to the AFP photo archive. The bodies were those of civilians "killed in winter fighting" that were "exhumed for identification," according to AFP.

The soldier was cropped out of the image broadcast October 25 on the Kyiv billboards. Only the dozens of decaying bodies sprawled out in a shallow ditch were shown from the original photograph.

A capture of the Russian Channel One report, in which the Russian troop seen in the original photo (above) has been cropped out.A capture of the Russian Channel One report, in which the Russian troop seen in the original photo (above) has been cropped out.
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A capture of the Russian Channel One report, in which the Russian troop seen in the original photo (above) has been cropped out.
A capture of the Russian Channel One report, in which the Russian troop seen in the original photo (above) has been cropped out.

A group calling itself "Cyber Berkut" took credit for the billboard cyberattack.

It was not the first time that disturbing images of violence in the North Caucasus have been passed off as evidence of atrocities by Ukraine’s government in the conflict.

In May, state-owned Russian broadcaster Rossiya-1 used video material aired 18 months earlier in a report on an antiterrorist operation in the Russian republic of Kabardino-Balkaria. The footage was used to suggest that Kyiv forces murdered a civilian to intimidate separatists in the Donetsk region.

Kremlin-appointed media boss Dmitry Kiselyov later called the broadcast "an error" but "in no way a manipulation." He said that "young, nymph video technicians" were responsible.

Footage of the hijacked electronic billboards aired by Channel One included the image of the mass grave in Chechnya.

The hackers’ montage flashed other photographs of the dead and maimed as well, alternating these images with headshots of Ukrainian politicians, including Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, whose People’s Front Party was running neck and neck with President Petro Poroshenko's bloc to win the election, according to partial results as of October 27.

Each politician’s photograph in the video was embossed with a red stamp reading, "War Criminal."

The United Nations has accused both the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatists of abuses in the seven-month-old conflict, while rights group like Amnesty International charge that both sides have engaged in torture, shelling of civilian areas, and summary executions.

John Dalhuisen, the Europe and Central Asia director at Amnesty, singled out the Russian media last week for its reporting on atrocities, saying that "some of the more shocking cases" it has reported "have been hugely exaggerated."

Cyber Berkut takes its name from the disbanded Berkut riot-police force, which has been implicated in the February killing of 100 protesters in Kyiv during street protests against then-President Viktor Yanukovych.

The group claimed responsibility for cyberattacks on NATO websites earlier this year.

-- Carl Schreck

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: eric d from: if id usa
October 28, 2014 20:48
Russian civilians? Or Chechen civilians?
In Response

by: te from: te
October 29, 2014 12:39
>Orthodox cemetery

Most likely ethnic Russian locals.
In Response

by: Ingush from: Nassare, Gelia
November 02, 2014 14:59
Riiiiight, because Russian war criminals never twist the history. Katyn massacre one of the examples. "Germans did it" right rusnyak-christian terrorist?

by: Ingush from: Nassare, Gelia
October 28, 2014 21:55
Quit lying RFERL these are Chechen civilians, not russian.
In Response

by: Kris from: VT
October 29, 2014 12:22
They never once say that the citizens are Russian. They actually never assign a nationality to them at all, though Chechen is assumed due to the locale of the graves. Try reading a little closer before you accuse people of lying.
In Response

by: eric d from: if id usa
October 29, 2014 21:28
The reference to "Russian civilians" isn't it the article, it's in the tag-in to the article. It's possible they are ethnic Russian locals. The Orthodox cemetery is a clue. But it's also possible they are casualties of Russia's "dirty war" in Chechnya. Would Russians throw ethnic Russian corpses into a shallow ditch for burial? Da nyet! But if they were Chechens (Muslims?), they would... It makes a difference, of course, which is why I asked. Where's RFE/RL to settle this little dispute?
In Response

by: Ingush from: Nassare, Gelia
November 02, 2014 15:16
Suuure!
Look at RFERL address christian terrorist apologist, find the picture and tell me what you read below it and if you see any "orthodox cemetery" there or rusnyak photographer Alexander Nemenov the one who supposedly "took" the picture:
http://www.rferl.org/content/Identifying_Chechen_Dead/1350872.html

In Chechnya rusnyaks dug out graves with military excavators loaded Chechen civilians and executed them point blank:

http://thisischechnya.wordpress.com/2014/09/09/war-crimes/

http://thisischechnya.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/chechnya-russia-war-chechen-men-north-caucasus-chechen-rebels.jpg?w=380

http://thisischechnya.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/chechnya-men-russian-soldiers.jpg?w=803

http://thenorthcaucasus.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/father-sons-north-caucasus-mass-grave-grozny-chechnya-russia-war-crimes-atrocities-russian-soldiers-chechen-people-rebels.jpg?w=599&h=397

http://www.ovguide.com/mass-graves-in-chechnya-9202a8c04000641f80000000045d9b96

About #UkraineUnspun

The information war is in full swing in the tense standoff between Ukraine and Russia. In an attempt to present a clearer picture, #UkraineUnspun will unravel information coming from Russian and Ukrainian media, politicians and activists. Written by Glenn Kates and contributors from RFE/RL.

Follow the hashtag #UkraineUnspun on Twitter and let us know what we should be covering -- or to weigh in on any of our stories. Or write us at webteam@rferl.org
 

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