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Ukrainian Leader says Half of Ukraine is Mentally Retarded

Svoboda party member Farion says Russian speaking Ukrainians are retards

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A leader of the Ukrainian Svoboda Party Irina Farion declared that Russian-speakers in Ukraine are mentally retarded, and the biggest problem for Ukraine. The monumental stupidy of her claim, is that it insults not only roughly half of Ukrainians who speak Russian, but it also insults her fellow Ukrainian nationalists, including President Petro Poroshenko himself.

This map shows a trend, generally accurate, but  such maps should be tools of perception, not precision

Her speech is not worth anyone’s attention for any purpose other than to document the insanity plaguing Ukraine, but I would like to demonstrate how her words are not only racist, but demonstrate a profound ignorance of the Ukrainian reality, bordering on a desire to genocidally change it. Four years ago to this day, fascists of a similar mindset as her, killed hundreds of people in Odessa. Some were burned alive, some were strangled including a pregnant woman, as documented in this article – be warned, the photos are very graphic. Make no mistake, this is indicative of a fascist crisis in the heart of Europe.

As a result, I will briefly summarize her statement, however, a full translation into English can be found here at this website documenting the tragic events in Ukraine. I will be relying on the Ukrainian version of her ridiculous speech, rather than the Russian version. This is not so much to capture her original words most accurately, as Russian and Ukrainian are close enough languages that there is almost no such thing as lost in translation, between these two eastern Slavic languages. Rather, it would be amusing to make the point that speaking a certain language – in this case, Ukrainian – does not dictate political views.

Her speech begins by asking why Ukrainians live in Ukraine but speak the “occupiers language”, and she begins to blame the war in Ukraine on Russian-speaking citizens. It is very telling that she is NOT speaking exclusively about Ethnic Russians in Ukraine, but any Ukrainians who speak Russian. As we will later explain, this is a large percentage of the country.

She says the War in Ukraine is happening where there is the Russian Church, which is factually untrue. The “Russian Church”, officially called the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) is the only canonical (internationally recognized) Orthodox Church in Ukraine. It is located everywhere – not just in East Ukraine but even in the West, and controls the most important religious sites, even if the churches are often seized by radicals.

Pochaiv Lavra, a fortress of Russian Orthodoxy in Western Ukraine

The leader of the Ukrainian Church, His Beatitude Onufry of Kiev is a strong Ukrainian speaker from Western Ukraine, yet he is the Primate of the “Russian Church”. Metropolitan Onufry is one of the strongest voices advocating for an end to violence in Ukraine, and is born in one of the most Ukrainianized regions of the country. This alone demonstrates her idea of Russian Church, Russian speakers – enemies of Ukraine – is false.

She also blames Russian culture (of which Ukrainian can be considered a part of), and most telling, she says the war in Ukraine is wherever there are “російськомовні громадяни” meaning Russian-speaking citizens.

Some may infer she means citizens of the Russian Federation, but she then clearly states in her warped view: Російськомовні українці – найбільша проблема України “Russian-speaking Ukrainians – the greatest problem of Ukraine” – the word українці can only properly refer to “Ethnic Ukrainians”.

As a result, it is clear that she considers any Ukrainian who speaks Russian to be in her words, mental retards, and traitors. This is not surprising, considering that her party, Svoboda, is basically the Neo-Nazi light party.

Svoboda Party Leader Oleg Tyahniboh

The purpose of this article, however, is to explain how she is essentially targetting half the country.

How much of Ukraine is Russian or Russian-speaking?

I began this article by saying half of Ukraine speaks Russian, and at this point, in order to prove that, we have to deal with a major problem facing Ukraine – reliable statistics. Someone could easily produce a map of Ukraine with statistics showing 30% are Russian speakers, and I could likewise produce one saying at least 80% (like this Gallup poll). Why the difference? Well aside from the fact that some people have been known to openly lie, as this article reveals, the lines between Russians and Ukrainians have never exactly been clear.

Languages of Ukraine

The reality is – any Ukrainian can switch languages, and sadly, some can even switch identities, as easily as other people change their clothes. Switching back and forth between Ukrainian and Russian, even midsentence, is effortless, common, and very fun if you speak both…and to some friends and family who don’t…annoying. It’s called Surzhik, and we will later explore this. Generally speaking, there are four languages/dialects spoken in Ukraine, and a language is essentially a dialect with an army and navy. They are listed as spoken from West to East

  1. Western Ukrainian: while not technically different than literary Ukrainian, the accent and terminology are heavily Polish. Here are two examples of Western Ukrainian style speech, the latter being what some consider a separate language – Carpatho-Russian. Foreign western tourists have noted that Western Ukraine is the only part of Ukraine where Ukrainian language is by far dominant, but found the people still speak Russian if asked by a non-Ukrainian speaker.
  2. Standard Literary Ukrainian: common, especially in central and northern Ukraine, used most prevalently in print, and by politicians and universities. For an example of the differences between Literary Ukrainian and the Western dialect in song, here are two versions of the classic Polish song Hej Sokoly in Ukrainian. The first is in literary standard Ukrainian, and the second is in Western Ukrainian dialect – note the use of the word Hen’ to mean “there” in place of Tam, the word used in both standard Ukrainian and Russian.
  3. Surzhik: A mix of Russian and Ukrainian, ranging from throwing Russian words into Ukrainian sentences, to completely ignoring the norms of grammar for both languages. Arguably the most common language spoken in the typical Ukrainian countryside, especially East-Central, and South, associated with rural villagers and industrial workers. This letter from the great Russian-speaking Ukrainian writer Gogol is written in what some could consider 19th-century Surzhik. Surzhik can also be heard in Cossack songs, a good example being “Yihav Kozak za Dunai” where the Russian style word Lusche (better) is used in place of standard Ukrainian Krasche. Several versions of Halya Molodaya (Young Halya) interchange the word Lusche with Krasche. The glorious Cossack song Harni Kozak Harni also says “Nasha Slava Kozatskaya ne na paperi pisana” (Our Cossack Glory is Not Written in Paper) – the feminine ending of the adjective Kozatskaya is Russian. Ukrainian would have ended without the “ya” at the end i.e. Nasha Slava KozatskaAnother modern example of Surzhik is this video by a Ukrainian youtuber, though she is slightly exaggerating her expressions for humorous effect.
  4. Standard Russian: Russian as spoken in Russia, possibly with a Ukrainian accent, stereotypically on the G (which become like an English H). Mostly spoken in East Ukraine, and also in major cities such as Kiev and Odessa.

Those are the four types of speech you will hear in Ukraine. The areas where these languages are spoken correspond logically with the historical evolution of Ukraine. That being said, as a general rule, all Ukrainians can speak Russian as well as Ukrainian.

While Ukrainian controversially dominates as the only official language, government papers, university work, and signs are written in Ukrainian, some form of Russian remains the lingua franka, as well as the native language of many Ukrainians. Russian particularly dominates in television and media, where the government is actively taking steps to promote Ukrainian, due to Russian being far more common on TV – the main source of Ukrainian news.

Russian is so dominant in Ukrainian TV, that the comedy show Varyaty advertises as being “the first Ukrainian-language humor show”. If one takes a look at their website, they can see their city schedule is all western Ukrainian. This is why Ukrainian attempts to prevent Russian from becoming an “official language” is ridiculous and unpopular – as it’s still a main language of everyday life.

Ukraine’s top court rules Russian language ‘unconstitutional’

This is why the Ukrainian politician who called Russian-speakers mentally retarded, is simply out of touch with reality. She herself is almost certainly a Russian-speaker, if defined as someone who understands fluent Russian, even if she chooses to speak exclusively Ukrainian. Most of Ukraine is Russian speaking.

This includes even Russian-hating Nazis, one of whom sings anti-Russian songs…in Russian. By calling Russian speakers retards, she is calling a good chunk of the country, including her President Poroshenko retarted. Despite his anti-Russian nationalism, he famously forgot how to say “wallet” in Ukrainian (he remembered in Russian), and had to ask for help.

Poroshenko’s language mix up is a hilarious microcosm of the Ukrainian language situation, and perhaps the only thing he ever did that made him remotely relatable. Although he always tries to speak in very proper literary Ukrainian, it is obvious that he is perhaps stronger in Russian. When his own children congratulate him on his birthday, his son speaks Russian, unlike his Ukrainian speaking sister. This mix of languages even within one family is totally normal for Ukrainians. That is not even considered mixing languages within the same sentence.

Surzhik – Russian-Ukrainian mix

Due to its non-standardized colloquial nature, there are no statistics as to what population of the country speaks in Surzhik, but anyone who knows Ukraine can say it’s not a small minority. Surzhik can take many forms, but most commonly, it involves throwing Russian or Russified words into mostly Ukrainian sentences.

Think in Ukrainian – write in Russian – the only rule of Surzhik

The prevalence of Surzhik, as well as the influence on Ukrainian speech, essentially means that Ukraine is a state of organic diglossia – a place where two languages are spoken side by side. There are often two possible words or phrases for the same thing in Ukrainian, one more Russian influenced, and one pure Ukrainian, and as a result, Ukrainian speech can appear closer or more distant to Russian depending on the speaker. Here are some examples:

To say in Ukrainian “I speak Ukrainian” one can say: Я розмовляю українською мовою (Ya rozmovlyayu Ukrayiins’kuyu movoyu)

In Russian, the same phrase is: Я говорю по-украински (Ya gavaryu po Ukrainsky)

As a result, on the surface, they seem very different.

But one can just as easily say in Ukrainian: Я говорю по-українськи (Ya hovoryu po po Ukrayinssky).

The latter sounds very close to Russian, and is perfectly understandable, and it can be mixed up in several varieties. This video is made by anti-Kremlin Ukrainians, advocating for speaking Ukrainian, and while they used the instrumental case українською мовою, the word говорю is more Russian compared to розмовляю. That still makes it Ukrainian, and does not make the speakers Pro-Russian. There are plenty more examples of Surzhik in Ukraine:

Yak Dela (similar to Russian Kak Dela) as opposed to Ukrainian Yak Spravi. Do tsih pir (close to Russian Do tsikh por) instead of Dosi. Teper, like the Russian form instead of Zaraz.

As a result, seeing as most of Ukraine is truly and natively bilingual, it is clear that language alone is not the basis of what is causing the difference between Russians and Ukrainians. We have even seen examples of Russian-hating Ukrainians speaking Russian – even literary Russian as opposed to Surzhik, which is common in Kiev.

Whether a person is Russian or Ukrainian, or both, is largely based on their political views, region, religion, culture, language choice, and identity, rather than on clear ethnic or genetic grounds. If one changed their political party, for example, they could easily change from Russian to Ukrainian or Ukrainian to Russian.

That being said, the differences between literary Russian and Literary Ukrainian – not the mixed dialects but the pure “languages” are not so severe. Some say that Russian and Ukrainian have 60% of their words in common, so while they aren’t 100% mutually intelligible, they seem closer than Spanish and Italian for example.

The people are too similar to be completely different, sharing a common history, faith, and ethnogenesis (national origin), but of course, if they were 100% the same, we would not be talking about this at all.

In order to understand why this is, and then explain why the світогляд (worldview) of this politician is warped and totally insane with regards to the reality of Ukraine, we must understand from whence the Russian and Ukrainian lands and people had their origin. In order to understand what is happening in Ukraine, and what caused the language divide, understanding the history is a must.

To give a brief history, Russia and Ukraine are the children of the same state, Kievan Rus’ from their birth until 1240 when Rus’ was divided by invasions. Rus’ was the first East Slavic state, from which Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus’ take their origin from, and it existed on the territory of what is now those three countries. Ukrainian nationalists claim they are the true people of Rus’, whereas Russians have no connection to Rus’.

By 1360, all of Belarus, and much (but not all) of the territory of what is now Ukraine (mostly north central, and especially western), was ruled by Poland and Lithuania until Bogan’s Khmelnitsky’s uprising in 1654.

Polish occupied territories before 1654 included parts of Russia

Khmelnitsky succeeded in uniting most of Ukraine with Russia, when they had been apart for around 300 years, however in that time some differences emerged. The Western part of Ukraine, west of the River Dnipro, but especially west of the river Buh would still be ruled by Poland and later Austro-Hungary for longer.

Poles and later Austro-Hungarians would encourage these differences, and push Catholic-Uniate religion on the people, and eventually, they imposed the idea of Ukrainianization upon what is now Ukraine, causing the people to think of themselves as different than Russians. At the same time, Coosccaks, would help Russia capture the south and east of what is now Ukraine from the Turks and Tatars. This land including Odessa and Donbass, was called New Russia because it was not before a core part of Rus’.

The people of new Russia were not subject to Ukrainizaition to the same level as others, and remains more russian speaking.

While other Ukrainians who underwent Ukrainizaition, still considered themselves the children of Rus’, they felt Russia was not Rus. You could say simplistically, Ukrainian nationalists want to be Rusian but not Russian, though it is obvious from a study of history, that Rus’ and Russia are natural evolutions, and the differences in Ukraine were caused by foreign empires occupying and brainwashing the people.

When talking about Ukraine, its imperative to accept the reality that we are essentially talking about (at least) two different countries merged into one. In simplistic terms, you can divide Ukraine into East and West by the River Dnipro, and say the East is (generally speaking) Russified and Orthodox, and the West is (very generally speaking) Catholic-Uniate and Ukrainianized. Almost any map of modern Ukraine will show a major divide in Ukraine based on this simplistic module.

Note: this is a map of Modern Ukraine, the borders do NOT reflect historical borders. This map and other maps are also older than 2014, and so Crimea is shown as part of Ukraine. After 2014, the people of Crimea exercised their democratic right to self-determination and choose to join the Russian Federation.

As a result, the difference between a Ukrainian and a Russian can be seen as being more philosophical, political, and religious, than purely ethnic. The differences largely emerged from Modern Ukraine being a conglomeration of various historical territories. The ethnogenesis of Ukrainian people, along with Russians and Belarussians is worthy of its own scholarly and national studies.

It is the political division in modern Ukraine, which has caused hatred to poison the blood between normal Ukrainians and Russians. This hatred exists even towards other Ukrainians, as we witnessed with the example of that deranged politican who hates Russian-language speakers. It is clear from an examination of history that Russians and Ukrainians are a brotherly people with a common origin.

It is clear from the monumental works of legendary authors like Russian-speaking Ukrainian Nikolai Gogol, and the wisdom of Saints like Lavrentry of Chernigov (who by modern standards is a Ukrainian, but who considered himself Russian), that the divide between the peoples is artificial. Saint Lavrenty went as far as to say it was imposed by non-Orthodox foreign powers and Uniates to destroy Orthodox Rus’. It is clear even from a secular point of view, that this violence and division which has killed tens of thousands in Donbass, and brought ruin to Ukraine serves neither the Russian nor Ukrainian people.

The hatred in Ukraine is not the product of native East Slavs, but has been perniciously fostered by foreign powers for centuries, who fear the unity of the old lands of Rus’. The only solution is to lay aside the hatred and remember common roots far more ancient. This reaffirms the ancient words “Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, together we are Holy Rus.”

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Trump Demands Tribute from NATO Vassals

The one thing that we should all understand, and which Trump perfectly and clearly understands, is that the members of NATO are a captive audience.

Strategic Culture Foundation

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Authored by Tim Kirby via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Regardless of whether one loves or hates President Trump at least we can say that his presidency has a unique flavor and is full of surprises. Bush and Obama were horribly dull by comparison. Trump as a non-politician from the world of big (real estate) business and media has a different take on many issues including NATO.

Many, especially in Russia were hoping that “The Donald’s” campaign criticism of NATO would move towards finally putting an end to this anti-Russian alliance, which, after the fall of Communism really has no purpose, as any real traditional military threats to Europe have faded into history. However, Trump as President of the United States has to engage in the “realpolitik” of 21st century America and try to survive and since Trump seems rather willing to lie to get what he wants, who can really say which promises from his campaign were a shoot and which were a work.

So as it stands now Trump’s recent decision to maintain and build US/NATO bases across the world “and make country X pay for it” could mean anything from him trying to keep his campaign promises in some sort of skewed way, to an utter abandonment of them and submission to the swamp. Perhaps it could simply be his business instincts taking over in the face of “wasteful spending”. Making allies have to pay to have US/NATO forces on their territory is a massive policy shift that one could only predict coming from the unpredictable 45th President.

The one thing that we should all understand, and which Trump perfectly and clearly understands, is that the members of NATO (and other “allies”) are a captive audience, especially Germany, Japan and South Korea, which “coincidentally” are the first set of countries that will have to pay the “cost + 50%” to keep bases and US soldiers on their soil. Japan’s constitution, written primarily by American occupation forces forbids them from having a real military which is convenient for Trump’s plan. South Korea, although a very advanced and wealthy nation has no choice but to hide behind the US might because if it were to disappear overnight, then Gangnam would be filled with pictures of the Kim family within a few weeks.

In the past with regard to these three countries NATO has had to keep up the illusion of wanting to “help” them and work as “partners” for common defense as if nuclear and economic titan America needs countries like them to protect itself. Trump whether consciously or not is changing the dynamic of US/NATO occupation of these territories to be much more honest. His attitude seems to be that the US has the possibility to earn a lot of money from a worldwide mafia-style protection scam. Vassals have no choice but to pay the lord so Trump wants to drop the illusions and make the military industrial complex profitable again and God bless him for it. This level of honesty in politics is refreshing and it reflects the Orange Man’s pro-business and “America will never be a socialist country” attitude. It is blunt and ideologically consistent with his worldview.

On the other hand, one could look at this development as a possible move not to turn NATO into a profitable protection scam but as a means to covertly destroy it. Lies and illusion in politics are very important, people who believe they are free will not rebel even if they have no freedom whatsoever. If people are sure their local leaders are responsible for their nation they will blame them for its failings rather than any foreign influence that may actually be pulling the real strings.

Even if everyone in Germany, Japan and South Korea in their subconscious knows they are basically occupied by US forces it is much harder to take action, than if the “lord” directly demands yearly tribute. The fact that up to this point US maintains its bases on its own dime sure adds to the illusion of help and friendship. This illusion is strong enough for local politicians to just let the status quo slide on further and further into the future. Nothing is burning at their feet to make them act… having to pay cost + 50% could light that fire.

Forcing the locals to pay for these bases changes the dynamic in the subconscious and may force people’s brains to contemplate why after multiple-generations the former Axis nations still have to be occupied. Once occupation becomes expensive and uncomfortable, this drops the illusion of friendship and cooperation making said occupation much harder to maintain.

South Korea knows it needs the US to keep out the North but when being forced to pay for it this may push them towards developing the ability to actually defend themselves. Trump’s intellectual “honesty” in regards to NATO could very well plant the necessary intellectual seeds to not just change public opinion but make public action against US/NATO bases in foreign countries. Japan has had many protests over the years against US bases surging into the tens of thousands. This new open vassal status for the proud Japanese could be the straw to break the camel’s back.

Predicting the future is impossible. But it is clear that, changing the fundamental dynamic by which the US maintains foreign bases in a way that will make locals financially motivated to have them removed, shall significantly affect the operations of US forces outside the borders of the 50 States and make maintaining a global presence even more difficult, but perhaps this is exactly what the Orange Man wants or is just too blind to see.

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High-ranking Ukrainian official reports on US interference in Ukraine

It is not usually the case that an American media outlet tells the truth about Ukraine, but it appears to have happened here.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The Hill committed what may well have been a random act of journalism when it reported that Ukrainian Prosecutor General, Yuriy Lutsenko, told Hill.tv’s reporter John Solomon that the American ambassador to that country, Marie Yovanovitch, gave him a “do not prosecute” list at their first meeting.

Normally, all things Russia are covered by the American press as “bad”, and all things Ukraine are covered by the same as “good.” Yet this report reveals quite a bit about the nature of the deeply embedded US interests that are involved in Ukraine, and which also attempt to control and manipulate policy in the former Soviet republic.

The Hill’s piece continues (with our added emphases):

“Unfortunately, from the first meeting with the U.S. ambassador in Kiev, [Yovanovitch] gave me a list of people whom we should not prosecute,” Lutsenko, who took his post in 2016, told Hill.TV last week.

“My response of that is it is inadmissible. Nobody in this country, neither our president nor our parliament nor our ambassador, will stop me from prosecuting whether there is a crime,” he continued.

Indeed, the Prosecutor General appears to be a man of some principles. When this report was brought to the attention of the US State Department, the response was predictable:

The State Department called Lutsenko’s claim of receiving a do not prosecute list, “an outright fabrication.” 

“We have seen reports of the allegations,” a department spokesperson told Hill.TV. “The United States is not currently providing any assistance to the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO), but did previously attempt to support fundamental justice sector reform, including in the PGO, in the aftermath of the 2014 Revolution of Dignity. When the political will for genuine reform by successive Prosecutors General proved lacking, we exercised our fiduciary responsibility to the American taxpayer and redirected assistance to more productive projects.”

This is an amazing statement in itself. “Our fiduciary responsibility to the American taxpayer”? Are Americans even aware that their country is spending their tax dollars in an effort to manipulate a foreign government in what can probably well be called a low-grade proxy war with the Russian Federation? Again, this appears to be a slip, as most American media do a fair job of maintaining the narrative that Ukraine is completely independent and that its actions regarding the United States and Russia are taken in complete freedom.

Hill.TV has reached out to the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine for comment.

Lutsenko also said that he has not received funds amounting to nearly $4 million that the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine was supposed to allocate to his office, saying that “the situation was actually rather strange” and pointing to the fact that the funds were designated, but “never received.”

“At that time we had a case for the embezzlement of the U.S. government technical assistance worth 4 million U.S. dollars, and in that regard, we had this dialogue,” he said. “At that time, [Yovanovitch] thought that our interviews of Ukrainian citizens, of Ukrainian civil servants, who were frequent visitors of the U.S. Embassy put a shadow on that anti-corruption policy.”

“Actually, we got the letter from the U.S. Embassy, from the ambassador, that the money that we are speaking about [was] under full control of the U.S. Embassy, and that the U.S. Embassy did not require our legal assessment of these facts,” he said. “The situation was actually rather strange because the funds we are talking about were designated for the prosecutor general’s office also and we told [them] we have never seen those, and the U.S. Embassy replied there was no problem.”

“The portion of the funds, namely 4.4 million U.S. dollars were designated and were foreseen for the recipient Prosecutor General’s office. But we have never received it,” he said.

Yovanovitch previously served as the U.S. ambassador to Armenia under former presidents Obama and George W. Bush, as well as ambassador to Kyrgyzstan under Bush. She also served as ambassador to Ukraine under Obama.

Former Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), who was at the time House Rules Committee chairman, voiced concerns about Yovanovitch in a letter to the State Department last year in which he said he had proof the ambassador had spoken of her “disdain” for the Trump administration.

This last sentence may be a way to try to narrow the scope of American interference in Ukraine down to the shenanigans of just a single person with a personal agenda. However, many who have followed the story of Ukraine and its surge in anti-Russian rhetoric, neo-Naziism, ultra-nationalism, and the most recent events surrounding the creation of a pseudo-Orthodox “church” full of Ukrainian nationalists and atheists as a vehicle to import “Western values” into a still extremely traditional and Christian land, know that there are fingerprints of the United States “deep state” embeds all over this situation.

It is somewhat surprising that so much that reveals the problem showed up in just one report. It will be interesting to see if this gets any follow-up in the US press.

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President Putin’s anti-fake news law is brilliant, but the West makes more

Western media slams President Putin and his fake news law, accusing him of censorship, but an actual look at the law reveals some wisdom.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The TASS Russian News Agency reported on March 18th that Russian President Vladimir Putin signed off on a new law intended to block distorted or untrue information being reported as news. Promptly after he did so, Western news organizations began their attempt to “spin” this event as some sort of proof of “state censorship” in the oppressive sense of the old Soviet Union. In other words, a law designed to prevent fake news was used to create more fake news.

One of the lead publications is a news site that is itself ostensibly a “fake news” site. The Moscow Times tries to portray itself as a Russian publication that is conducted from within Russian borders. However, this site and paper is really a Western publication, run by a Dutch foundation located in the Netherlands. As such, the paper and the website associated have a distinctly pro-West slant in their reporting. Even Wikipedia noted this with this comment from their entry about the publication:

In the aftermath of the Ukrainian crisis, The Moscow Times was criticized by a number of journalists including Izvestia columnist Israel Shamir, who in December 2014 called it a “militant anti-Putin paper, a digest of the Western press with extreme bias in covering events in Russia”.[3] In October 2014 The Moscow Times made the decision to suspend online comments after an increase in offensive comments. The paper said it disabled comments for two reasons—it was an inconvenience for its readers as well as being a legal liability, because under Russian law websites are liable for all content, including user-generated content like comments.[14]

This bias is still notably present in what is left of the publication, which is now an online-only news source. This is some of what The Moscow Times had to say about the new fake news legislation:

The bills amending existing information laws overwhelmingly passed both chambers of Russian parliament in less than two months. Observers and some lawmakers have criticized the legislation for its vague language and potential to stifle free speech.

The legislation will establish punishments for spreading information that “exhibits blatant disrespect for the society, government, official government symbols, constitution or governmental bodies of Russia.”

Insulting state symbols and the authorities, including Putin, will carry a fine of up to 300,000 rubles and 15 days in jail for repeat offenses.

As is the case with other Russian laws, the fines are calculated based on whether the offender is a citizen, an official or a legal entity.

More than 100 journalists and public figures, including human rights activist Zoya Svetova and popular writer Lyudmila Ulitskaya, signed a petition opposing the laws, which they labeled “direct censorship.”

This piece does give a bit of explanation from Dmitry Peskov, showing that European countries also have strict laws governing fake news distribution. However, the Times made the point of pointing out the idea of “insulting governmental bodies of Russia… including Putin” to bolster their claim that this law amounts to real censorship of the press. It developed its point of view based on a very short article from Reuters which says even less about the legislation and how it works.

However, TASS goes into rather exhaustive detail about this law, and it also gives rather precise wording on the reason for the law’s passage, as well as how it is to be enforced. This law is brilliant, for it hits the would-be slanderer right where it counts – in the pocketbook.

We include most of this text here, with emphases added:

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law on blocking untrue and distorting information (fake news). The document was posted on the government’s legal information web portal.

The document supplements the list of information, the access to which may be restricted on the demand by Russia’s Prosecutor General or his deputies. In particular, it imposes a ban on “untrue publicly significant information disseminated in the media and in the Internet under the guise of true reports, which creates a threat to the life and (or) the health of citizens, property, a threat of the mass violation of public order and (or) public security, or the threat of impeding or halting the functioning of vital infrastructural facilities, transport or social infrastructure, credit institutions, energy, industrial or communications facilities.”

Pursuant to the document, in case of finding such materials in Internet resources registered in accordance with the Russian law on the mass media as an online media resource, Russia’s Prosecutor General or his deputies will request the media watchdog Roskomnadzor to restrict access to the corresponding websites.

Based on this request, Roskomnadzor will immediately notify the editorial board of the online media resource, which is in violation of the legislation, about the need to remove untrue information and the media resource will be required to delete such materials immediately. If the editorial board fails to take the necessary measures, Roskomnadzor will send communications operators “a demand to take measures to restrict access to the online resource.”

In case of deleting such untrue information, the website owner will notify Roskomnadzor thereof, following which the media watchdog will “hold a check into the authenticity of this notice” and immediately inform the communications operator about the resumption of the access to the information resource.
The conditions for the law are very specific, as are the penalties for breaking it. TASS continued:

Liability for breaching the law

Simultaneously, the Federation Council approved the associated law with amendments to Russia’s Code of Administrative Offences, which stipulates liability in the form of penalties of up to 1.5 million rubles (around $23,000) for the spread of untrue and distorting information.

The Code’s new article, “The Abuse of the Freedom of Mass Information,” stipulates liability for disseminating “deliberately untrue publicly significant information” in the media or in the Internet. The penalty will range from 30,000 rubles ($450) to 100,000 rubles ($1,520) for citizens, from 60,000 rubles ($915) to 200,000 rubles ($3,040) for officials and from 200,000 rubles to 500,000 rubles ($7,620) for corporate entities with the possible confiscation of the subject of the administrative offence.

Another element of offence imposes tighter liability for the cases when the publication of false publicly significant information has resulted in the deaths of people, has caused damage to the health or property, prompted the mass violation of public order and security or has caused disruption to the functioning of transport or social infrastructure facilities, communications, energy and industrial facilities and banks. In such instances, the fines will range from 300,000 rubles to 400,000 rubles ($6,090) for citizens, from 600,000 rubles to 900,000 rubles ($13,720) for officials, and from 1 million rubles to 1.5 million rubles for corporate entities.

While this legislation can be spun (and is) in the West as anti-free speech, one may also consider the damage that has taken place in the American government through a relentless attack of fake news from most US news outlets against President Trump. One of the most notable effects of this barrage has been to further degrade and destroy the US’ relationship with the Russian Federation, because even the Helsinki Summit was attacked so badly that the two leaders have not been able to get a second summit together.

While it is certainly a valued right of the American press to be unfettered by Congress, and while it is also certainly vital to criticize improper practices by government officials, the American news agencies have gone far past that, to deliberately dishonest attacks, based in innuendo and everything possible that was formerly only the province of gossip tabloid publications. The effort has been to defame the President, not to give proper or due criticism to his policies, nor credit. It can be properly stated that the American press has abused its freedom of late.

This level of abuse drew a very unusual comment from the US president, who wondered on Twitter about the possibility of creating a state-run media center in the US to counter fake news:

Politically correct for US audiences? No. But an astute point?

Definitely.

Freedom in anything also presumes that those with that freedom respect it, and further, that they respect and apply the principle that slandering people and institutions for one’s own personal, business or political gain is wrong. Implied in the US Constitution’s protection of the press is the notion that the press itself, as the rest of the country, is accountable to a much Higher Authority than the State. But when that Authority is rejected, as so much present evidence suggests, then freedom becomes the freedom to misbehave and to agitate. It appears largely within this context that the Russian law exists, based on the text given.

Further, by hitting dishonest media outlets in their pocketbook, rather than prison sentences, the law appears to be very smart in its message: “Do not lie. If you do, you will suffer where it counts most.”

Considering that news media’s purpose is to make money, this may actually be a very smart piece of legislation.

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