Friday, August 26, 2016

Ukraine Unspun

Russian State TV Adds Its Own Twist To RFE/RL Video

RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service filmed the disgruntled soldier last week.
RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service filmed the disgruntled soldier last week.
Russian state-television is suddenly broadcasting RFE/RL videos -- albeit unattributed. 

On June 19, Rossia 24 broadcast segments of two separate videos shot in eastern Ukraine by RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service. Contrasting the state broadcaster's angle with the on-the-ground reporting by our reporters provides a useful case study in how a video's context can be shifted to represent one particular point of view. 

Video 1: The Disgruntled Soldier

The first video features a Ukrainian national guardsman who is brutal in his criticism of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. 

"Comrade Poroshenko, please establish order if you're a real president and a man of your word," he said. "All of us are beginning to think that we're being used as cannon fodder."

He went on to complain about a lack of apparent strategy, backup support, and food rations.

Rossia 24 aired these complaints, including a threat to turn around and go to Kyiv, here.  

The channel also claimed, wrongly, that the video was posted on the Internet by members of the Ukrainian National Guard. 

What Rossia 24 omits, however, is the soldier's account of why he is in the east in the first place. 

Referring to armed separatists who have been engaged in fighting with Ukraine's military forces since occupying buildings in April, the soldier appealed to Poroshenko to "bring together qualified, reasonable army professionals who can defeat the [separatist] monster that has emerged here."

He added that "We are defending our country absolutely for free." 
Ukrainian National Guard Soldier: 'We're Used As Cannon Fodder'i
|| 0:00:00
June 18, 2014
A member of Ukraine's National Guard has complained about a lack of proper military planning as troops fight the separatist insurgency in the country's east. The unidentified soldier, whose voice has been altered for this video, pleaded with the government to provide more professional support for Ukrainian military operations. (RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service)

So, Rossia -- a channel that has provided a steady flow of coverage in support of the separatist cause -- is content to air the grievances toward Kyiv of a disgruntled Ukrainian volunteer without also showing how he feels about pro-Russian militiamen. 

Video 2: Slovyansk Shelling

In the aftermath of two Rossia 24 journalists being killed earlier this week when Ukrainian troops attacked a separatist checkpoint in Luhansk, Rossia 24 used another RFE/RL video -- of Ukrainian National Guardsmen shelling in a Slovyansk suburb --  to imply that the deaths may not have been a mistake made in the fog of war. 

"They take aim carefully, choosing their targets," a Rossia 24 reporter said over the footage of the shelling. "Fighters of the National Guard are performing an execution in a suburb of Slovyansk. They brag that they can hit a person from several kilometers away. But after the demise of our colleagues, many said Ukrainian soldiers didn't see who they were firing at."

The Rossia 24 report then used audio from the RFE/RL Ukrainian Service report:

"Is it possible to hit [the target] from such a distance?" the RFE/RL journalist asks.

"It is possible," the soldier answers. "With good aim, it's possible to hit the target." 

The Rossia 24 version of the video, however, omits the claim by the same soldier -- included in the original RFE/RL video -- that civilians had left the village they were shelling two to three weeks ago.

RFE/RL cannot independently confirm the soldier's claim.  

-- RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service/Glenn Kates
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: jackrac from: new hampshire
June 21, 2014 11:26
I'm not sure how RFE/RL can claim, with a straight face, any idignation over "news being changed to support one's view" given it's own tendencies shown over and over again.

I don't see how the Russian tv video contradicts what was said. They air his complaints about the organisation,supplies and tactics but never at all question whether he believes in his cause- this is a misleading article.

The russian tv channel doesn't have to air the bit where he says civilians were evacuated 2 weeks ago...the video shows the group of people killed there were visibly not rebels..and there is no reason why that village would have been "totally evacuated" when others more in harms way haven't.
In Response

by: Andrew from: Auckland
June 21, 2014 16:08
Jackrac, another Russian troll.
In Response

by: Derry from: England
June 22, 2014 10:40
Media is supposed to be unbiased. Ukraine should sue all Russian media in court for libel, slander and defamation.

Jackrac, you clearly choose not to see, hear or understand hence you are a Russian troll or just a fool.
In Response

by: Asehpe from: The Netherlands
June 24, 2014 01:28
They would have to publish the full context if they care about the truth. Left as they aired it, the video obviously suggests anti-Kyiv feelings, when in fact the stronger feelings are anti-Russian and anti-separatist. The edition changes the message.

If you don't see this... well, there's a bridge in San Francisco I'd like to sell...

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
June 21, 2014 14:31
It is a total lie of bloody Russian empire
By parasitic Varag-Prussak, a montage.
Soldier answered question whether fire
can be that accurate for few kilometers,
He agreed - so what? Less equipment?

Sure, all former USSR and East Europe
Were saturated with Russian occupants,
Even in Hungary Influx of Russian breed.
The contingencies included provocateurs
Of any kind, "Molotov cocktail", hooligans.

One, maybe same one through in Odessa
Fire-bomb in front of camera into doorway,
Another did the same in Russian Embassy.
Yanukovich and others - old nomenclature,
Plundered and almost enslaved Ukrainians.

They installed since 1947-49, than 1954-56
To transfer land and property to Russia elite,
Repopulate non-Russian nations by serfdom
Of Russia, killing and sending to camps most,
Leave only useful slaves with damaged brain.

With such powerful control, they hate healthy,
Even Klichko, or Ukrainian mountain dwellers,
Threat to superiority for Russian "domination".
If Russia Varag-Prussak aren't bloodsackers,
Why not accept Security offer by Poroshenko?

Even if Putin got any Human fiber, why Sechin
Hypnotizing him, as they did to paralyze Eltcin?
They are the real control of Russia, resurrecting
Colonial empire of worst genocidal repopulation,
They initiating fifth column - stealing-sabotaging.

Third Force trying bring secret armies, but lately,
Les and less non-Russian "Anychars" are willing
Be remnants of desecrated tribes, by the Empire,
Crawl to a monument "nerukoytvornyiy" of killers,
Alone with "drug stepey Kalmyk" of Russian Czar.

As for Ukrainian soldiers, they defending Ukraine,
As in 1941, when Russia was disarming, to stand
For freedom and right to exist, while "fifth" disarm.
What also can they do? New army of Nazi "Reigh"
Of Putin-Miller about to invade, Ukraine took arms.

Not withstanding the stubborn imperial expansions,
Ukraine avoid Civilian's and even terrorist's killings,
Population leaves mostly from using them for cover
Terrorists. Those that leave, specially non-Russians
Are hated by Russians and Cossacks, hoses striped.

It's why shown houses has no roofing, as roof beams
Look intact, holes probably done by terrorists as well.
It should be stopped, however the boll with Russians,
They encourage terrorists - propaganda and inaction,
"Third Force" using, Hypnotizing Putin Reigh pushing.

Maybe Ukraine have to make more clear declaration,
Maintaining Global Security with EU and with Russia,
Without transferring all its property be own by Russia,
As did Belorussia, Kazakhstan and some others - but:

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
June 22, 2014 00:03

Putin say he agree with Poroshenko's proposal,
but not practical side of it and both sides have
It is also not practical, unless Putin meant only
practical side of the cease-fire, not negotiating
Russian annexation.
Indeed, if several thousands special forces and
local occupiers of soviet times grabbed government
buildings, intimidating into hiding majority of population,
including ethnic Russians - why talk to them about
their right to conquer?
They did it in Abkhazia - Russian secret armies,
accompanied by battalions of Bagramyan, Vostok
and Zapad, in name of Adygas from South Russia,
betrayed cease-fire and unleashed genocide against

by: American Kulak from: USSA
June 22, 2014 04:55
You guys must be filtering out a crapload of comments from US IP addresses you laughably insist are the 'paid army of Kremlin trolls'. RFE/RL is crap, and I feel sorry for this idiot who went to war for $200 a month in soon to be worthless hyrvnia because he was told everybody he'd be fighting were 'Russian terrorists' -- with the help of RFE/RL hiding Kiev media's biggest lies:

1) Yanukovich snipers inexplicably shot their own side's Berkut riot police in Kiev -- just because, or perhaps to get them to fight the Maidanists, while shooting down the 'heavenly hundred'. Nevermind if Yanukovich had seriously wanted to stop the Maidan he could've just had the snipers open up with machine guns or sent a truck bomb right into the barricades at Maidan and blown the whole place sky high. No snipers shooting both sides is the hallmark of a false flag, and the only party that benefitted and also disposed of the evidence, as German TV reported, was the pro-Maidan side. The nurse activist who passed the rumors that both sides were being shot to the Estonian foreign envoy could be threatened into shutting up about it.

2) Odessa pro-Russians burned themselves alive, and the whole incident was started by Russian provocateurs who conveniently got away. No one on the Ukrainian side should be indicted for rioting or murder as if Ukraine were a normal EU country with the rule of law because they were 'heroes' 'defending Ukraine' while 'roasting Colorado beetles'. What happened to those guys with red armbands wearing St. George's ribbons? Why did all the pro-Kiev sources and RFE/RL shut up about them shortly thereafter? Because they know those were not pro-Russians but Kiev thugs bussed in to commit a preplanned pogrom that thus far, has accomplished its mission of intimidating all anti-Kiev protesters in Odessa.

3) Pro-Kiev side laughably insisted the eight civilians murdered by a deliberate air strike in downtown Lugansk died because a rebel shot a MANPAD at an air conditioner, and RFE/RL either repeated the lie or never bothered to question it for days.

I could go on and on, but I really don't see how you people at the Prague Palace sleep at night. You work for my taxpayer dollars and I despise you all as lying propagandists for a fascist Kiev regime that praises Nazi collaborators. Check my English and IP, they're both American. You people are either low grade morons like the Russian lady who accused Ron Paul and the tea party of being 'Stalin's offspring', or you're evil lying hacks.
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
June 22, 2014 10:49
American Kulak?
In very name of yours is your membership card,
Khrushchev's expanding Russia lies anti-CIS,
Anti-"Stalin's Ofsptings" Evtushenko's art.
Stalin saved from Russians the Kulaks.

Khrushchev lied Stalin killed the Kulaks.
He was told they live - as privet farmers.
Khrushchev sent KGB, to bust their lack,
They forced them be Government slaves.

Are you Kulak? If real one, you misguided
By Russian propaganda. Ukrainian people
Were for Three Centuries only persecuted,
Worse than Kulaks, dying in their own land
As slaves of invaded Varaga-Prussaka evil.

Ukraine try stay free, giving Russia security,
Mutually beneficial trade, traditional projects
And trust, Russia betray again, with impunity,
As they did to many nations, like in Abkhazia,
Expel majority in name of Russia-Pechenegy.
In Response

by: Ron Clayton from: Odessa, Ukraine
June 22, 2014 10:56
Kulak, as I read through your rehash of Kremlin talking points, I wondered, "how did this guy become so misinformed?" Then in the last sentence you answered the question when you indicated you are a Paulbot. Will you guys just go away, please? Ron Paul is a lunatic.. No further debate needed. Wants open borders, now drug laws, no protecting the extensive international interests of American, hate's the Fed, says the dollar is worthless and we caused 9/11.
Now, he parrots the propaganda out of the Kremlin as if it's his own thinking. Hell, he doesn't even know it's just "Ukraine" not "the Ukraine."

Since I live in Odessa, I want to address your second point because you seem to be unclear about what happened on May 2nd downtown and then at Kolekovo Field. That is an event that was of great concern to all of us living here I sat will my Ukrainian neighbor for hours studying the abundance of videos taken that day and here were our observations:

First, the march from Soborna Square to the Chernomorets football stadium had become a ritual unity march by the fans of opposing teams. The fans of the visiting Kharkiv Metalist team and the Odessa team planned to march together to the stadium.
However, a few days before, the separatists, who had occupied the, Trade Unions building at Kolekovo Field, put out word that pro-Russia separatists should show up at Aleksandrovsky Prospect near the starting point of the fans march to confront and disrupt the pro-Ukraine unity march.

And let me add here, that despite claims in Russian media and some of their useful idiots in the US, there had been no attacks on Jews or Russian speakers here in Odessa (or anywhere in Ukraine for that matter). These claims were the pretense Putin manufactured for his domestic audience and perhaps other audiences outside Ukraine. Russian speaking Ukrainians knew such things were not taking place, nor could they. When everyone speaks Russian, how do you attack Russian speakers? How do you even know who might have Russian heritage. Odessa considers itself almost a state unto itself with residents from all over the globe.

After studying the videos and hearing first hand from people who were at the locations involved, it becomes quite evident that the whole massacre was planned and staged by somebody. Neither side disputes this, the only remaining question is who planned it? Was it Kyiv or Moscow. Well, let's ask this question: who has a history of staging propaganda events? And who is using the event to further their overall narrative. When you understand the obvious answers to those two questions, you will understand who was responsible.
In Response

by: Asehpe from: The Netherlands
June 24, 2014 01:38
You could go on and on, and so could your opponents. You're missing the main point: which is basically that you're repeating the talking points from one side, whereas your opponents repeat the talking points from the other. You don't look like you're very interested in knowing the truth: rather, you seem to assume you ALREADY know all the truth, there being no need for any further research.

That is what is so sad. Your very style, the kind of information you give -- it's just EXACTLY like the style of the people you criticize. You are just like them, you just shout different shouts and claim as truth different fabrications, but basically you're doing the same thing. Participating in a shouting match. You're no better than those you criticize -- and that is so sad, you won't even understand how sad it is.

Where, oh where are the people who care about what really is going on? Where are those who know how to think? Where are they hiding? I know they are somewhere, but nobody gives them a microphone...

by: Anonymous
June 22, 2014 09:08
Try watching Daily Show or Colbert Report. Those guys have been making shows for years making fun of news channels cutting out pieces. This is nothing new. Standard practice everywhere in the world.

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

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