Thursday, August 25, 2016


Pro-Russian Separatist Supporters Seek Western Support On Social Media

The pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine are attempting to refine their message to English-speaking audiences.
The pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine are attempting to refine their message to English-speaking audiences.

Over news agency footage of a signing ceremony in Brussels a narrator speaking in English reports drily that Ukraine has agreed to a series of trade agreements with the European Union.

The voice, heavily accented in Russian, then adds a point of context seemingly apropos of nothing:  "Recall you that the Palestinian Authority has signed the Association Agreement with the EU in 1997."

It is one clip in a daily video news roundup created by "South Front," a group supporting pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. The video, which begins with an unsubstantiated claim that "mass murder of civilians [by the Ukrainian Army] continues," is part of a growing effort by separatist supporters to expand their reach beyond Russian-speakers.

Since mass pro-EU protests began last December in Kyiv, supporters of the pro-Western Euromaidan movement have used English-language social media to spread their message. The @EuromaidanPR English-language Twitter account has over 34,500 followers and several English Facebook pages supporting the movement have tens of thousands.

The pro-Russian point of view in English has largely been left to RT, Russia's state-run foreign-language news channel, which is also known as Russia Today.

Recent social-media efforts, though, show expanded reliance on campaigns meant to draw greater grassroots appeal. Since early June, tens of thousands of people -- largely separatist supporters -- have tweeted using the #savedonbasspeople hashtag. The tweets often come with photos of children holding handwritten signs in English that blame the Ukrainian Army for violence in eastern Ukraine.

Since April, when armed pro-Russian separatists began occupying buildings in Donetsk and Luhansk, over 400 people -- including military personnel, separatist fighters, and civilians -- have died in fighting between Ukrainian government forces and rebels, according to UN estimates.

The English-language Facebook page for South Front, which has slightly more than 11,500 subscribers, is a mix of carefully selected "news" from the region -- usually from sources like LifeNews, a video news outlet believed to have ties to Russia's security services -- and anti-Ukrainian and anti-Western memes.

The post below, which seems to imply that the Ukrainian Army only targets schools, factories, homes, old women, and children, had been shared 283 times at writing.

The South Front page is also used as a tool to organize sympathetic volunteers from outside Russia and Ukraine.

Content is currently translated into at least three other languages, including Polish, Hungarian, and German. And a recent call for help drew offers from social-media users to provide pro-Russian translations in Slovak, Czech, French, Spanish, Italian, Lithuanian, and Norwegian.

It is not clear who runs the group or whether it receives outside funding. Administrators did not reply to an RFE/RL reporter's requests for comment sent through Facebook and Twitter.

Supporters who comment on the page appear to be largely based in Europe and have a radically anti-EU bent.

Moscow has publicly courted fringe Euroskeptic and far-right parties. And several, including France's National Front and Hungary's Jobbik, have defended Russia's actions in Ukraine.

In one page thread, anti-Semitic language is rife when users from Serbia, Slovenia, Italy, Germany, and Hungary discuss their support for Russia and disdain for the EU.

"I am from Europe, but I don,t love europe [sic]" writes Nikolo Lovric, who says his real love is for Russia and the self-proclaimed separatist republic of "Novorossia."  He then warns users not to trust Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who he claims is a "cionistic [sic] player" for Israel and the United States.

But in a message to RFE/RL, a user from France who had earlier volunteered to provide French translations, said he had become convinced of accusations from Moscow that it is Ukraine that "relies on many fascists."

"So I am not pretending that west of Ukraine is evil and east is good guys," said the 29-year-old teacher, who asked that his name not be provided. "But that is certainly closer to the truth than what I hear in western medias."

-- Glenn Kates

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Anonymous
June 29, 2014 23:18
well . . .
And ?!?!

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
June 30, 2014 03:38
Russian invaders, KGB-GRU-Spatcnaz and their Quislings,
former occupiers and Hooligans forge pathologic lies.
They are invading Varag-Prusak bandit Russians.
What is: - "U.S. and EU hands Off of Ukraine?"
Opposite, US don't interfere, EU scared of you!
What is - "Ukraine kills Civilians" and "Violated
a cease-fire" and "many thousands refugees"?
There many Ukrainian refugees, in main Ukraine,
also Russian-Speaking, including Ukrainians, go
as can escape being robbed or used by terrorists,
Ukrainians also harassed, kidnapped or vanished.
What is "Save Donbas people from Ukraine army"?
Typical "naipodleishaya" Varaga, they invaded parts
of Ukraine, blame Ukrainian army attacking own parts
that Russia didn't invade yet, only preparing to do so!
"Naipodleishi" than Gebbels! What is - "Ukrainian army
target schools, factories, homes, old women, children"?
What is the women on the drawing above have in hand?
Is it partying and sex that Russia offer to new "brigants"?
Or is it blood of Ukrainian Citizens to drink, Russia offer?
Russians also have since old USSR republics as Ukraine
Non-Lethal Weapons, telepaths, provoking hooligans and
a lot of sleepers, many at times don't know what they say.
Great Ukrainian poet, Taras Shevchenko, was destroyed -
using same tactic by the "naipodleishaya" Imperial Russia.
He went first time to Russian publishing house, in Ukraine,
were Ukrainian language was forbidden. Russia's writers,
some famous as Nekrasov, befriended him as evil snakes
and invited to a club of free-thinking Russians, saying him
that sufferings of Ukrainian and Russian people were fault
of mother of the Czar, "German bitch", than they made him
drunk and invited make a speech. He read some his poetry
And got agitated, added it's Czar's mother fault, "a German
bitch", under hypnosis of the Russian occupants-specialists.
He was arrested and made for 25 years army’s slave soldier,
threatened be killed by "shpitcrutens" to paint free paintings
for Russian superiors and write poetry, plagiarized by a two
swine, Tutchev and a German poet.
Today on Maidan was a provocateur, or another hypnotized
"Taras", which loudly screamed that Merkel' "German bitch".
It is how "naipodleisha" Russia destroy every "naisviateisha"!

In Response

by: Steve from: USA
July 02, 2014 05:06
Your comment is full of garbage. None of this in Ukraine would happened if the EU and USA didn't interfere with Ukrainian affairs. Secondly, it is US diplomats on the ground on Maiden Square taking sides that has absolutely nothing to do with the USA. People died! You see a pattern committed by the USA...every where American representatives shows up, people die!

Let's get some facts down, in the last 20 years, WHAT has the EU and the USA done for Ukraine? NOTHING, they didn't buy anything, they didn't provide medical aid or nothing. WHY all of sudden after 20 years, the West feel they need to help Ukraine? Russia has been their biggest supplier, buyer, and the one who fed the Ukrainian economy. Again, WHAT has the USA done for Ukraine? NOTHING. Those Eastern Ukrainians are right, "Hands off UKRAINE USA", any man with a brain don't want anything from the USA. Look at Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt. Why would anyone want USA in their country? Why would anyone want to join the EU...the rioting in Greece, Spain, Italy, and Portugal doesn't mean anything? The EU and the USA is going to turn Ukraine into a slave state. You know damn right that's the truth. If the WEST actually care about Ukrainians...then they let Ukrainians travel to USA and EU "VISA FREE". But hell no. Nobody in the west gives a damn about Ukrainians and certainly don't want to deal with their personal issues on their own backyard.
Are you blind for the matter? The leaders in Kiev, who are they shooting at? Who are they bombing? Certainly not Russians, Muslims, or anyone...they're shooting at Ukrainians who have a disagreement in politics. Love to see Barack Obama try to shoot and kill who disagree with him in the USA. It wouldn't last an hour. So to you Konstantin, what makes you think it is ok in Ukraine? You think it's ok for a Government to bomb towns and cities simply because they disagree with the Govt?

Then you claim Russia invade Ukraine, many Ukrainians died from the hands of Russian people compared to Ukrainian Govt? God Bless Russia for protecting millions in Crimea. Those people have a right to decide who should lead their region.

And now you consider those "Ukrainians" in Donetsk and Lugansk as terrorist? You serious? Anyone who grabs a gun to protect their family from a rogue government a terrorist? Are you drunk? As an American, if any Government tries to kill my family with guns or bombs simply because I don't like Obama...they for sure will see me fire back at them. And the stupid statement you made about Ukrainian refugees. WHERE are those refugees running to? I tell you, they running by the bus loads to RUSSIA. Question: If Russia is the "bad guy", then why would anyone go to Russia from Ukraine? The real question is, why won't Kiev stop the bombings of their own citizens so nobody have to become a refugee?

And it's odd that you speak of Ukraine history, yet deny Russia saved Ukraine from German forces. And today you still deny the uprising of Neo-Nazis in Ukraine. Do you even understand what the Nazi did to Ukrainians? Killed them by the Millions, yet young Ukrainians today who bear the SS symbol wave the SS flag in the center of Kiev where thousands of Ukrainians died from the SS. And your ignorant self think Russia is the enemy. What a fool. Your nothing more than an ignorant American.
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
July 02, 2014 18:12
Steve, you must be new on this forum if you just discovered that Consti's comments are full of garbage. Just in the case you did not know: Konstantin is a Soviet time Georgian dissident who moved to SF at some point and - judging by his comments - literally went nuts there. So, do not bother anwering to his comments: the next thing he will do will be blaming YOU for having killed HIS mother. No kidding man.

Additionally: an interesting article from German media that says that Iraq is rebuilding its military aviation with the help of Russia, Belarus and Iran -
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
July 02, 2014 19:19
You both are garbage full of lies,
It is how you attack, as gang of spies.
If you have nothing to offer, you just slime.

Maidan happened because Putin ultimate Ukraine,
Yanukovich betrayed, and Putin, luring Belorussia and
Kazakhstan into Custom Union, said that all property of
such nations would be confiscated by Russian leaders,
Miller-Putin, thus end of dispossessed Ukrainian people!
As for your lies, prepared since 1947 and 1954-56
Russian occupant's KGB proxies in non-Russian
Republics - Russia immediately pulled strings and
activated them, to create impression that in the West
Nazi-"Banderas" taking over (didn't work) and in the East
people are Russians and want go to Russia (didn't work).
So, Russian Army invaded Crimea and Eastern Ukraine,
trying annex it and split with Germans - by 1954 pact.

by: Ryclanah from: WI
June 30, 2014 05:42
Russian propaganda adults brainwashed and using the children to play on Western sentiments. I hope Westerns will recognizes Moscow's action and signature behind it.
In Response

by: Steve from: USA
July 02, 2014 05:20
The propaganda is filthy in the USA. Most Americans, INCLUDING members of Congress don't even know where Ukraine is, but all of sudden knows what is best for Ukraine?

All Americans are fed is 1960s USSR garbage. It is no different and US Politicians spoke of how evil Saddam Hussein was, yet more Iraqi's died from the hands of USA Govt than Saddam, completely defeats the purpose.

So what's the new fear mongering? Russia? Americans are so gullible. Maybe they will worship Obama as if he is a god, some already deemed him as a Messiah.

by: norah from: London
June 30, 2014 06:28
The west is an open society,which can see through Russia's lies.Don't worry Ukrainian pple,we are together with you and hope this nightmare ends.
I would like to know how I can channel my funding towards drones to protect the borders.It's a very clever idea ad it minimizes the death of soldiers.
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
June 30, 2014 17:31
:-))) And what are you going to do for the "Ukrainian pple"??? Remember how you also were "with" the "Syrian pple"? And today Baschar has defeated all your friends in this country and they have to relocate to Iraq.
And in "Ukraine" it will end absolutely the same way: you and your friends will lose, while you will be posting nonsensical messages on this kind of internet fora, while your fascist friends will be rotting in their graves - just look at Syria.

by: Jack from: US
June 30, 2014 19:18
this article is a classic example not so subtle propaganda which RFERL is doing on behest of US government

by: Slava from: Atlanta, Ga.
June 30, 2014 19:22
Now I understand why all the intellectuals are leaving Russia and emigrating to Ukraine! They are trying to get away from the ignorance that has consumed their Moskol mentality. As far as Russia pretending to be Christian, there is nothing Christian about invading and killing off your neighbor who just wants to live peacefully. Instead the pro-Russians are embracing the will of Lucifer. Putin is perfectly possessed (as was Stalin and Hitler) and even several exorcisms can not save him now.
In Response

by: Ben from: France
July 03, 2014 15:46
Are you saying that pro-Russians are invading their neighbours ? Kiev is invading Donbass, Donbass is defending their home, how could this be the will of Lucifer ? I bet you were supporting hard Georges W Bush in his holy war with that kind of words.

Oh you will say this is propaganda from Moscow, the difference with US propaganda is that here you have real photos, videos and testifys from local population. US propaganda is only made with important people giving their opinion. Not a single proof of Russian soldiers in Donbass so far, only words. If you think Russia can produce so many videos, pictures and testifys, I think you clearly have a problem.

by: Vera
July 04, 2014 14:32
What Ukrainian army is doing is a mere example of fascism. If you don't think so, tell me what fascism is. Here is Stanitsa Luhanskaya, the place where my mother was born. Watch what they have done there! 2.07.2014 There are english subs. Pay attantion to what people say about Putin. They ask a question: Why Putin is keeping silence? Why isn't he helping? What is he waiting for?
In Response

by: Joe from: USA
July 08, 2014 19:44
Haven't you figured it out, dear? Putin, like any bully, was all for showing off his strength when he wasn't challenged by anyone. But now he's afraid if he runs to help his "Raashian pipples" he'll personally get nailed with western sanctions. When it comes down to his assets or his "pipples," guess who loses, Vera?

As with every Russian leader, when the useful idiots are no longer useful, they will be allowed to rot and die. The terrorists from Russia and Chechnya have outlived their use by date.

Sorry, but Vova isn't risking his own bank account to save those scumbags. There's your Putin that you all worship and adore. Keep bowing before him.

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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