Friday, November 28, 2014

Anti-trolling guide

Be aware that message boards are swarming with pro-Kremlin contributors, very likely paid in organised trolling operations. They will spread disinformation which denies the following facts:

-Russia has invaded Ukraine using undeclared, hybrid war

-Ukraine was peaceful for 23 years before this operation began-repeat:there was no war, regardless of whether there was a pro-western or pro-Russian government.

-a majority across Ukraine supported Ukraine's independence and unity before the invasion (now even more do!). This majority includes millions of Russian-speakers who do not want Putin's 'protection'.

-Russia staged a 'referendum at gunpoint' in Crimea, and similar 'elections' recently in Donbas and Luhansk. These lack any democratic legtimacy whatsoever (in any case, what sense is there in a vote to join a country that's not a democracy?)

-since the annexation, Crimean Tatar activists have been tortured and sometimes killed, the Crimean Tatar leader has been exiled from his homeland, and Russians there have even held Nazi-style book burnings of Ukrainian books.

-Euromaidan was, over a period of several weeks, a peaceful demonstration which did, at its fringes, turn violent (long after Yanukovych had already resorted to violence). The protests were visibly home grown-you only had to visit the makeshift camp to see that there was no sophisticated CIA covert op at work.

-America, far from promoting 'regime change' in Ukraine, has pursued over several years an appeasement policy towards Russia, including the 'reset' policy, scrapping the missile defence shield in Poland and the Czech Republic, and failing to respond robustly to the Russian aggression on Georgian territory in 2008 that untimately lead to the Russia-Georgia war. The EU has done little to encourage Ukraine's European ambitions since the Orange Revolution in 2004, refusing to consider any prospect of EU membership for Ukraine, so the idea that Ukraine's revolution was a 'western-backed coup' doesn't stack up.

-Ukraine's coup was in 2010. Although, President Yanukovych was democratically elected, he proceeded to unconstitutionally take control of Ukraine's parliament by paying deputies to switch sides, and taking control of other state organs such as the Constitutional Court and judiciary in general (hence the Tymoshenko imprisonment). By late 2013, Ukraine's political system had been thoroughly hollowed out and there was little democracy left to speak of.

-It was Yanukovych who started killing his own citizens by shooting 100 dead on Instytutska St. in February this year. There's is a body of evidence that Russia was directly involved in it. A visit to Instytutska St. and a quick inspection of the bullet holes shows that the shots were fired from government buildings. Putin also is responsible for the deaths of his own Russian citizens on Ukrainian soil-estimates of Russian military casualties in Russia's hybrid war on Ukraine number in excess of 4000.

-If Russia left now, the war ends. Simple as that.
Not to say that the Ukrainians are angels. We all know about the record of corruption over Ukraine's 23 year history but, unlike in Russia, Ukrainian society is taking action to at least try to do something about it. The far right in Ukraine is vocal but small, as evidenced by the recent elections which saw barely half a dozen far right deputies elected to parliament, a lot less than in many European countries at the moment. The issue of civilian casualties must be discussed, but put in the context that Russia's proxies position themselves in residential areas precisely to paint this picture. As stated, if Russia pulls the plug on this operation, the fighting will soon stop.

If most of the comments down here aren't worth reading, these examples might give you an idea why:
Fake Ukrainian news sites are being run out of the same office as where the Russians who flood comments section work.
Someone in Russian Foreign Ministry spends his time editing Wikipedia articles about Eastern Ukraine
Monday last week French paper Le Figaro declined to publish the results of a survey on whether to deliver the Mistral ships to Russia, citing massive automated trolling originating in Russia. Number for yes rose from 60% to 78% overnight...

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