The hyper-nationalist Ukrainian “Mirotvorets” (Peacekeeper) website is at it again, this time publishing the personal data of over 4,000 journalists that one time or another reported from Eastern Ukraine, including those from Reuters, the New York Times, and CNN. The organisation defended its actions as exposing people who it deemed had “collaborated with terrorists”, but the reality is that they were carrying out a very crude intimidation campaign aimed a muffling any remaining semblance of journalism in Ukraine.
“Peacekeeper” has already been linked to the killings of Oles Buzina and Oleg Kalashnikov, both of whom were murdered shortly after the website shared their home addresses, so it’s clear what they’re trying to do with their latest stunt.
The West has exploded in outrage at what the group did, fearing that its own journalists might now be targeted by the same Ukrainian Neo-Nazis that they had earlier refused to recognise even existed.
Of course, there was never any concern expressed for the safety of the anti-Maidan activists whose information was previously leaked, nor any sorrow shared after they were killed, but this just drives home the point of how “exceptional” the West has felt in relation to the Ukrainian Crisis that it originally helped provoke.
Now that its own journalists are facing very credible threats, the narrative has begun to turn against “Peacekeeper”, but it’s doubtful that this will have any impact on the group’s activities. Despite being closely aligned with Anton Gerashchenko, a parliamentarian and aide to the Interior Minister, as well as to the Interior Ministry itself and to the Security Service, “Peacekeeper” is “officially” a “non-state actor”, so it’s difficult for Ukraine’s “Western partners” to pressure it without resorting to targeted sanctions (which aren’t even being considered and would be ineffectual anyhow).
Also, because of its hybrid nature in being a “non-state actor” that receives considerable state support, “Peacekeeper” is highly flexible in how it presents itself. For example, it likely received the personal information about each of those journalists from state institutions because it’s essentially an undeclared arm of the government, though it reverted to marketing itself as an “independent organisation” after it leaked the data online because it wants to distance its state sponsors from any violence that occurs in the aftermath. And that’s another thing, too, because it’s plain to see that violence and intimidation is the real purpose of this stunt, just as it was when Buzina’s and Kalashnikov’s personal details were released online too.
What’s happening in Ukraine right now is merely another stage of what’s been going on since the very beginning of the crisis, which is that ultra-extreme nationalists and outright Neo-Nazis are committing violence against anyone who they even suspect of working with Russia (which is what they conflate the Eastern Ukrainian rebels with). In the event that Western journalists are harmed or even killed because of the “Peacekeeper” leaks, the West only has itself to blame after having cultivated “Ukrainian nationalism” for decades through its army of NGOs and other collaborators ever since the end of the Cold War.
The immediate consequence of the EuroMaidan spate of urban terrorism, which was also orchestrated by the West, has been to spark an uncontrollable frenzy of anti-Russian hate, which is now being directed towards anything that the Neo-Nazis can even remotely link to Russia in their paranoid minds, such as pro-Kiev Western “journalists” who have previously reported from Eastern Ukraine. Many of these “journalists” sincerely believed in the EuroMaidan cause and adamantly refused to listen to Russian warnings about the explosion of Neo-Nazi movements in its wake, believing instead that the real “terrorists” were the anti-Maidan rebels.
Ironically, they’re only now beginning to realise that they were horribly wrong in their beliefs after some of them have already been threatened by the same Neo-Nazis that they earlier claimed were just a fake invention of “Russian propaganda”. As uncomfortable as it is to write this, it looks like it might take a few of them getting hurt in order for Western civil society to take this issue seriously, and even then, it’s unlikely that this would result in their respective governments pulling out their support for Kiev, despite official Ukrainian state organs assisting “Peacekeeper” with its activities.
To add an element of disbelief to everything that’s going on, at the same time as Kiev is working through ‘plausibly deniable’ “NGOs” such as “Peacekeeper” to silence Western “journalists” and perhaps even get some of them killed, the US and its Eurocrat henchmen are telling their people that Ukraine is on the “road to democracy” and ready to be accepted into the “Western community of nations”. There is an element of truth to that, though, since the West does often work to silence free speech and intimidate foreign journalists (especially abroad), but it’s just that it’s never done as openly as Ukraine is currently doing within its own borders.
In a sense, then, Ukraine is a ‘perfect fit’ for Europe as it hurls itself towards full-on dystopia amidst the Immigrant Crisis, since the Eastern European country represents every social standard that the EU seems to be aiming for: State suppression? Check. Domestic destabilisation? Check. Extra-judicial killings? Double check.
George Orwell warned about a future where “war is peace”, and Ukraine is unabashedly showing the world how a “Peacekeeper” can wage war and instantly silence the free speech that Europe used to be known for. Sometimes, fiction actually does foreshadow the future
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.