Due to a lack of actual evidence (i.e. photos, videos, something, anything) to show that some 1,000 to 50,000 Russian troops have invaded Ukraine some 37 plus times and counting…Forbes has just said screw it, and is now printing anything they find on the web that says Russian military is operating in Ukraine.
Forum posts, tweets, blog comments, post-it notes…anything to try and garner support for the magazine’s MIC sponsors. More weapon sales means more money for the rich 1% Forbes guys.
Calling on their trusted Russophobe scaremonger contributor Paul R. Gregory to provide some “Russian aggression” goodies, the Kiev consultant and Hoover Institute sponsored “academic” came up with a suspicious, little known web site, owned by a shell company in Ukraine, printing a fake Russian military casualty story…no sources, no research, no fact checking, no google search…nada – nothing.
The story is so badly doctored that the fake “Russian” news site called “Delovaya Zhizn” (translated as Business Life) even misspelled the word Ukraine! Even a Bloomberg journalist called the story BS…
That “Business Life” report of Russia’s Ukraine casualties is a fake. Bs-life.ru — come on, are you serious? (Plus the “в Украине” slip)
We also point Gregory and his poor, gullible readers to this link (use Google translate to get an English version): http://ruslanleviev.livejournal.com/37331.html
— Leonid Bershidsky (@Bershidsky) August 28, 2015
For his part, Gregory could not care less. He has been spitting out (for lack of a better word) stupid articles on how much he hates Russia and Putin (what Putin did to him, one can only guess) for years now.
Looking at Paul R. Gregory’s bio, gives us a clear indication which neocon team he supports.
So while Gregory continues to search for invisible Russian troops, like he probably also once searched for Iraq WMDs, we leave you with some of his greatest
mis hits, and how RT demolished his amateurish reporting.
Paul R. Gregory’s is a Research Fellow, Hoover Institution
Cullen Professor of Economics, University of Houston. He is also a research professor at the German Institute for Economic Research in Berlin. He is chair of the International Advisory Board of the Kiev School of Economics. He serves as co-editor of the Yale-Hoover Series on Stalin, Stalinism, and Cold War. He has co-edited archival publications, such as the seven volume History of Stalin’s Gulag (2004) and the three-volume Stenograms of Meetings of the Politburo (2008). Gregory is the organizer of the Hoover Sino-Soviet Archives Workshop that takes place in the summer at the Hoover Institution.
His recent publications include Lenin’s Brain and Other Tales from the Secret Soviet Archives (Hoover 2004) and Terror by Quota (Yale, 2009).
Gregory’s greatest “I hate Putin” posts (full list here):
- One Year After The MH17 Crash, Russia Still Hasn’t Changed Its Story
- Residents Of Donbass Tell Separatists To Leave: A Glimmer Of Hope?
- Deconstructing Putin’s Approval Ratings: One Thousand Casualties For Every Point
- And my personal favorite from someone calls the game “soccer”… Sanction FIFA And Putin At The Same Time: Take The 2018 World Cup From Russia
RT professional investigation of the story below.
Was not too hard to get to the truth…a google search, a phone call, and some basic fact checking (and logic) would have saved Gregory lots of embarrassment.
Russia’s own KIA figures of Russian military dead in Ukraine apparently (accidentally) revealed http://t.co/Aqa9UCJ5fo
— Daniel Baer (@danbbaer) August 26, 2015
A Forbes contributor, Paul Roderick Gregory, published an article on Wednesday citing a Russian web source called “Delovaya Zhizn” (translated as Business Life), which was said to reveal “official figures on the number of Russian soldiers killed or made invalids in eastern Ukraine.”
The report, dated March 2015 and entitled “Increases in Pay for Military in 2015,” was altered, with the relevant information being removed, after the Forbes publication came out. However, the original copy was webcached by Google.
The cache shows that the website, which has articles on Russian finance, markets and leisure, claimed that the Russian government had paid monetary compensation to Russian soldiers who “took part in military actions in Eastern Ukraine.”
Without citing a source, the article claimed that as of February 1, more than 2,000 families of soldiers killed in Ukraine had received compensation of 3 million rubles (about $50,000) and those crippled during military action – a half million rubles (about $25,000). It added that another 3,200 soldiers wounded in battle had received compensation of 1,800 rubles for every day they were in the conflict zone.
The Forbes contributor accused “Russian censors” for “quickly removing the offending material.”
The Forbes report was picked up by Western media and independent journalists. The International Business Times reported that the Russian article had “accidentally published the leaked figures.”
An article by The Independent on Wednesday called Delovaya Zhizn a “respected news site in Russia,” and cited the head of the Russia and Eurasia Programme at Chatham House, James Nixey, who said that the report is a “nail in the coffin” in proving Russia is engaged in military action.
Another media outlet piling on was was Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), which claimed it had received a response from some Anatoly Kravchenko from Delovaya Zhizn, who said the website had “received the casualty figures from relatives of dead servicemen as well as ‘insider information’ from the Russian Defense Ministry.” However, they added that the website’s representative had “declined to identify any specific sources.”
Western officials, including two former US ambassadors to Russia and to Ukraine and the US ambassador to OSCE, also retweeted the report.
However, at a certain point the media storm came to a halt. Bloomberg’s Leonid Bershidsky concluded that the initial Delovaya Zhizn report was fake, questioning the URL, Bs-life.ru, and exposing a grammatical error (“v Ukraine” instead of “na Ukraine”).
@Bershidsky also Ukraine lost a lot less. For what reason could they be losing so many more?
— Jo Sh (@sharonisefi) August 27, 2015
— RT (@RT_com) August 28, 2015
the ease of spreading rumors in the digital world is astonishing. — Nataliya Vasilyeva (@NatVasilyevaAP) August 27, 2015
The main problem here is, of course, where was the Forbes online editor when the story was published, why nobody bothered to check sources?
— Nataliya Vasilyeva (@NatVasilyevaAP) August 27, 2015
More via RT…
RT attempted to contact the publication by phone numbers collected through open sources on the web, but received no answer by phone.
RT’s Ilya Petrenko also visited a Moscow address for Delovaya Zhizn that he found online, but there was no sign of the obscure website’s office there.
However, after sending a request via an online form, RT got a reply from someone called Anatoly Kravchenko – the same name as was used in Western media reports – introducing himself as “representing” Delovaya Zhizn.
The statement said that the original story in question had not contained the part about “[Russian] servicemen in Ukraine” nor had it been edited by any of the site’s staff until August 23.
“On August 23 the editorial staff received emails requesting clarification of the information contained in the article, in its last part. This is how we discovered that the site had been hacked… and an editor removed the part of the text added by the perpetrators to the story,” the email said.
It added that the site had been hacked on August 22, allegedly from a Kiev-registered IP address.
The statement stressed that the news site “does not have any political orientation and does not support any political power in the RF [Russian Federation].”
RT could not immediately confirm the identity of the contact – something which apparently did not stop Western news outlets from citing the claims.
This is not the sole example of unverified information related to the Ukrainian conflict appearing on the web. However, few such “leaks” make it to big media.
In one of the instances, US ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt was caught posting unverified images on his Twitter feed in September 2014. The photos, which he said showed US-Kiev military exercises in Ukraine, had already been published in July 2014 and in October 2013.
In another case in April, Pyatt claimed that Russia’s military was continuing to expand its presence in eastern Ukraine. As proof, he posted a picture of a Buk-M2 missile defense system that he said was stationed in Ukraine. However, it turned out to be a two-year-old photo from an air show near Moscow.