‘Useful Idiots’ Help Kremlin Propaganda to Rock Situation
As you know, freedom of speech imposes different criteria on citizens and agents of the State. The former, when speaking their mind free, may be wrong, mistaken, show extreme emotions and even urge to disobedience. In other words, they can say anything unless it is forbidden by the Constitution (see articles 32, 34-35) and law.
The agents of the State cannot enjoy such a luxury. They are obliged to say only the things allowed or required by the law. But this is the rule with one exception: the people’s deputies. They can say even the things forbidden to their electorate. And manipulate, lie and threaten. It is supposed that the citizens will punish them for the nonsense and irresponsible speeches at the election.
Meanwhile the propagandists of the neighboring country watch, record and use against Ukraine any nonsense dropped by Ukrainian politicians and civil servants. Last year we noted the same persons playing up – involuntarily or deliberately – to the Russian propaganda (Oleh Liashko, Ihor Mosiychuk, Dmytro Yarosh, Yuriy Boyko). Vladimir Lenin called such personages ‘useful idiots’ that may and should be used for political purposes. However we observe developments where one irresponsible comment sets the pitch of the whole information campaign.
This is about the coverage by Russian TV-channels of the disturbances in Konstantinovka after the death of a 8-year old girl in the road accident caused by a serviceman, a driver of armored vehicle.
The casualty itself and the tragic death of a child in the ATO zone through the fault of a drunk driver – serviceman – is a sufficient pretext to bring again the ‘crimes of military’ in the already known context of ‘fascist’ and ‘occupation’ regime in Donbas. Some of the used methods: making ‘false associations’ between the tragedy and other accidents involving military, ‘juggling with facts’ and interviewing of ‘eye-witnesses’ alleging the deliberate nature of such crimes.
At the same time, the analysis of Russian TV-channels content in the first fortnight of March shows that the coverage of road accidents involving security officers is an element of the campaign launched by Vladimir Putin personally. The situation on the roads and the murder of Nemtsov are of the same magnitude for Putin. We have counted seven stories about road accidents involving security officers, four of them were caused by drunken law enforcement officers. But nobody dared to make ‘political conclusions’. None of the political forces claimed the violation of rights of Russian citizens by law enforcement agents.
So in this case we can be positive that Russian media and politicians applied the so called ‘double standards’ to Ukraine. With such methods and evaluations applied to road accidents with law enforcement officers, one may also point to ‘occupation regime’ in Russia.
But we believe that the most destructive element about the Konstantinovka road accident and further response of locals was the use of the words of Anton Geraschenko, the people’s deputy of ‘People’s Front’ party and the counselor of Minister of Interior, in the evening on 16 March in the interview to ‘112’ TV-channel. Answering the question about possible actions of militia, Geraschenko said that if the firearms were going to be used the MIA agents would shoot to kill. Though, at first he underlined that the separatists had wanted to take advantage of the tragedy to destabilize the situation in Konstantinovka, but it is under control now.
Anyway, such a tough statement that the militia can shoot was used against the authority itself. Of course, the deputy’s words were taken out of context. But nobody made Geraschenko talk on behalf of the ministry.
Morning of March 17, all stories about Konstantinovka by the RF channels were citing Geraschenko as a MIA representative. Some of them claimed the readiness of MIA to shoot the citizens though neither the head of Donetsk militia Abroskin nor another MIA representative confirmed the words of Geraschenko.
It resulted in a virtual image: militia shoots civilians protesting against the crimes of servicemen.
Observing the changes in Konstantinovka’s information presentation by Channel One since morning is quite interesting. The information was being stirred-up all day long. But when it became evident that the ‘disturbances’ had not developed into the ‘riot’, the channel’s interest evaporated by 18 March.
Channel One, NEWS, 17.03.2015, 09:00
The servicemen that had caused the accident were lucky to be taken away: the crowd was ready to lynch them. The military heads promised to have a thorough investigation and strictest punishment. Though the reaction of the region’s administration (in pursuance of the decree of Petro Poroshenko, Donetsk oblast is not governed by regular administrations but by civil-military authorities*) is noteworthy: firstly, they reported about establishing of an organizer of disturbances. That is to say that quite logical indignation of locals was explained by the external action. Moreover, Konstantinovka locals were made to understand that they will be dealt shortly: the counselor of Minister of Interior on the air of channel ‘112’ said that local militia was allowed to shoot people.
“If anybody in Konstantinovka came out against the legitimate authority using this road accident as a pretext for clashes, agents would fire off one warning shot at first and then would shoot to kill. But if there were no time for warning, they may shoot to kill right away,” said Anton Geraschenko.
* By the way, the civil-military authorities are established by the law.
In the evening Channel One gives the same story but with another interpretation:
Moreover, Konstantinovka locals were made to understand that they will be dealt shortly. The counselor of Minister of Interior Anton Geraschenko on the air of channel ‘112’ said that local militia was allowed to shoot people.
“If anybody in Konstantinovka came out against the legitimate authority using this road accident as a pretext for clashes, agents would fire off one warning shot at first and then would shoot to kill. But if there were no time for warning, they may shoot to kill right away,” he said.
When a year ago the Maidan protesters were throwing Molotov cocktails at ‘Berkut’ agents and shooting law enforcement officers with riffles and guns, there should not have been any response or force against the protesters in return. And now they are ready to suppress the indignant, as it may seem, with any cruelty.
Channel One, NEWS, 18.03.2015, 07:00
Hundreds of Konstantinovka locals gathered yesterday at the spot where an armored vehicle of Ukrainian army had knocked down a 8-year old girl on Monday. The unauthorized protest action was demanding to withdraw troops from the town. The town is controlled by the Ukrainian forces that seem to feel masters there. The local militia called the action of locals to be an attempt to destabilize the situation.
NTV, Russia, LifeNews and Zvezda channels decided to use the Geraschenko’s words as an occasion to float rumors, unproved information referring to separatists’ sources. In particular, they brought ‘shockers’ about ‘Right Sector’ into play. It is symptomatic that the most unbelievable information about the situation in Konstantinovka was spread by Zvezda, an official ‘patriotic’ channel of the RF Ministry of Defense, referring to some ‘Aleksandr, representative of town’s vigilante group’. Such stories show that Russia is actually getting ready to war brainwashing the military.
We believe the TV-channels decided to use the method of ‘exaggeration’ of power of the already confabulated ‘Right Sector’ in order to explain their viewers why ‘Konstantinovka locals’ did not drive out the military from the city. It is possible that in the second half of March we will see the evidences of neo-nazi’s ‘reprisal’ of Konstantinovka residents.
NTV – News, 17.03.2015, 9:38
Street protests in Konstantinovka lasted until late night. They were caused by the accident when a 8-year old girl was crushed to death by an army vehicle. Dozens of protester blocked the street where the tragedy took place, attacked the military barrack and turned militia’s car over.
In its turn, MIA of Ukraine gave order to shoot to kill in case of escalation.
‘Russia’, VESTI, 17.03.2015, 20:30
Logic of occupants: Kyiv brought units of ‘Right Sector’ to Konstantinovka
Meanwhile the authorities report to the media that they have managed to suppress the disturbances. Obviously, making use of ‘Right Sector’ radicals. Its units, according to locals, arrived in the town on March 17.
‘This evening a helicopter with people left Kramatorsk and, respectively, fighters of ‘Right Sector’ – about 150 men – arrived directly in Konstantinovka. First arrests were undertaken today in Konstantinovka. Many of the locals say about home checking, identification of dissenters,’ explains Konstantin Knyryk, head of NewsFront agency.
‘Right Sector’ suppresses protesting locals of Konstantinovka
‘Right Sector’ fighters suppress the protesting locals of Konstantinovka. As RT reports referring to Aleksandr, a representative of town’s vigilante group.
According to him, rounds are being fired in the streets and ‘Right Sector’ is striking at the positions of protesters. But the locals hold the line so far.
Aleksandr says that when people came to school protesting the fighters started firing and then ‘captured three men’.
‘Residents of Konstantinovka want Novorossiya to bring troops to the town,’ he said.
While due to juggling with facts and spreading of rumors the fear of tragedy is being artificially instilled, any serious accident in ‘DPR’ is dealt with within a real ‘information blockade’ and limited coverage.
The cynical manipulation of a matter of life and death by the Russian TV came in full force on 4-8 March during the coverage of methane explosion at Zasiadko coal mine.
Morning 4 March, ‘Russia’ underlined that ‘DPR’ as any functioning ‘state’, who would think, has its Emergencies Ministry (or a press-secretary of Emergencies Ministry at least) and its own rescuers who can deal with the accident without Kyiv’s help. And that the Kyiv authorities are doing their best to manipulate the miners’ death toll to discredit ‘DPR’. Moreover, Vesti opposed the words of PM Yatseniuk that ‘DPR’ did not allow 60 rescuers to the words of ‘DPR envoy’ Denis Pushilin that they had never received any proposals about rescuers.
‘Russia’, VESTI, 04.03.2015
“We have never received any official proposal from the Ukrainian side to second Ukrainian rescuers here,” ‘Interfax’ cites Pushilin. “Moreover, we have not turned to Ukraine or any other country. If we do need some help, we will ask Russia or LPR.”
In its turn, official representative of Emergencies Ministry Yuliana Bedilo stated that she knew nothing about Ukraine’s offer to second rescuers to DPR. ‘I have no information about any official communication of Ukrainian side in this respect,’ she said.
Prime-Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatseniuk said that DPR representatives did not allow 60 Ukrainian rescuers to Zasiadko coal mine in Donetsk. Yatseniuk urged Russia ‘to give instructions to allow Ukrainian rescuers to the site’.
Volodymyr Hroisman, Chairman of Verkhovna Rada, said that one man died at the coal mine and the fate of 32 miners is still unknown.
By the evening, Channel One stonewalls the information since they would have to announce about the death toll of 32 miners as had been previously claimed by Ukrainian side. Not a word about that. They start covering for ‘DPR’: as if its ‘Emergencies Ministry’ warned the ‘coal mine directors’ about the necessity to close the mine for safety reasons.
The next day, 5 March, the TV channels would inform that the head of the RF Emergencies Ministry sent a telegram to his Ukrainian colleague asking to let the Russian rescuers so needed at Zasiadko coal mine. And, of course, this is followed by the information that the response to the communication has never come. And again not a word that ‘DPR’ decided not to allow Ukrainian rescuers a day before.
Again 5 March, ‘Russia’ informs, referring to the press-secretary of the RF President Peskov that Vladimir Putin ‘ordered the Emergencies Ministry to work on the issue of targeted aid for the families of killed and injured miners’ whereas the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko ‘declared the 5 March the national day of mourning for the deceased miners. This day the whole Ukraine will have a minute of silence in honor of miners, the flags at public authorities, local self-government bodies, state-owned enterprises, establishments and organizations will be dipped. All entertainment event and sports contests will be cancelled, the TV and radio listings will be modified respectively.’
Thus, using the ‘contrast principle’ Vesti shows the viewer that Putin deals humbly with practical matters (money for the families of victims) whereas for Poroshenko the Donbas tragedy is another protocol ‘formality’ with no value for common people.
The coverage of the coal mine accident is completed on 9 March with a brief communication by ‘Russia’ that ‘Zasiadko coal mine director is detained for two months. He is suspected of violation of mining works rules, as the republic’s prosecutor’s office reported to Donetsk News Agency. Though the office did not give any details about the mine director saying that these data will be disclosed after bringing the charges.’
Though none of the Russian channels told that Zasiadko coal mine belongs to Efim Zviagilskii, deputy of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. The coal was extracted there for his benefit and on the nod of the ‘DPR’ heads. Only ‘Kommersant-FM’ tried the first day to peep into the backstage of arrangements between the heads of ‘insurgents’ and some representatives of ‘junta’.
A piece of interview of Igor Sychev, a journalist of ‘Donetskiy Kriazh’ news-paper, to Piotr Kosenko, a host of ‘Kommersant-FM’.
- Do I understand correctly that this coal mine is in the territory controlled by DPR?
- Yes, DPR.
- So the decision to continue or suspend the mine’s operation is taken by the DPR authorities?
- You see, this coal mine is not under direct control, it’s another story, a long story.
- Who defines the operation of this mine?
- It has its owners, and this story is not clear or settled either.
- Its owners are in Kyiv or Donetsk?
- Efim Zviagilskii is the mine’s head, he is a deputy of current Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, he may stay both in Donetsk and in Kyiv. It’s obvious that there should be many questions to him, because in 16 years starting from 1999 this is already the fifth major accident at Zasiadko mine. Every time it causes dozens and in November 2007 hundreds of casualties.
- Let’s put it another way to make it clear. The managers of the mine pay taxes to DPR or to Kyiv?
- The authorities of Donetsk republic declared that all mines, at least, are taken under external control; this decision supposes that the taxes should go to the republic’s fund. It’s another thing that the external control does not deal with clearly technical and production matters, and this coal extraction is a production matter, they strive for the coal and get deeper and deeper and this is very dangerous.
We believe the suppression of important details related to the Zasiadko mine accident has the overall objective to prevent the spread of any negative or controversial information about the incompetence or hypocrisy of separatist leaders. And, on the other hand, multiplication of plausible evidences of corruption and maladministration in Ukraine along with the communications about the ‘DPR’s’ military success at Debaltsevo must make an impression of coming collapse of ‘junta’. Unfortunately, like the case of Anton Geraschenko, representatives of Ukrainian authorities often make causes and facts for such conclusions. For instance, ‘Russia’ told how a ‘posh from Kyiv’ was appointed the vice-mayor of Slaviansk through pull of the deputy governor of Donetsk oblast.
‘Russia’, VESTI, 03.03.2015
Rathe-ripe: new vice-mayor of Slaviansk is 22 only
Slaviansk has got a new deputy mayor. His name is Yaroslav Sekirozh. He is 22 only. Internet-users, including Ukrainian ones, have already named the nouveau politician a ‘posh’ for his love for demonstrative good living, luxury cars, watches and women.
Yaroslav Sekirozh has got a salary of 10 000 USD, a car of 100 000 and a position of vice-mayor of Slaviansk. Anything else when you are 22? Meteoric career: loader in 17, and in 21 he is already the deputy of director general of engineering plant. People say this is because he was a diligent student at Kharkiv university. Days for studying, nights for unloading carriers. Though the early talent of new Kyiv authority cannot boast strong muscles. But this is not the case for his prosperity. Expensive watches, luxury cars are his hobby-horses as well as political ambitions. Before the appointment to the position of deputy mayor of Slaviansk, Yaroslav Sekirozh was a chair of Youth Union of Donbas. The then PM Azarov had noticed a dandified and arrogant member of Youth Council, the subordinate body to the Cabinet of Ministers, three years ago.
This was the start in the rise of his career: round-tables all over Donbas, connections in politics and business.
‘This is a young posh,’ Donetsk entrepreneur Dmitri Porosianko tells about the vice-mayor. ‘I’ve met different people in my live but he is the most pretentious one!”
Sekirozh was offered by the acting mayor of Slaviansk Oleg Zontov. Saying that they need new blood, fresh take and young mind.
Behind the scenes people say that Sekirozh is a protégé of deputy governor of Donetsk oblast Oleksandr Klymenko, and Zontov cannot stand up to him. All in all, members of city council clamored a bit and accepted eventually. The posh public officer came to the new place of work with his Chrysler and bodyguards.
The Kyiv child prodigy is taking the office of Slaviansk ex-mayor Nelia Shtepa. This infamous person is well-known to Donbas and Kyiv. By the way, she is kept under detention in Kharkiv. She is accused of establishment of terrorist group, cooperation with separatists. One of the accusations: when insurgents entered the town this lady in pink coat, as later reported by all media, invited them to a clean-up action – at 8.00 AM, without weapon but with rakes. Now she claims that insurgents were beating her and forcing to praise the free Donbas. And the mansion in Slaviansk that she was so willing to show to journalists when she was a mayor had been toiled. The insurgents liberated the town from such civil servants. Shtepa could not reject the proposal to resign the post after the budget check that had determined millions of deficit. Though, the new people’s mayor of Slaviansk Viachelav Ponomariov who had made that very proposal was shortly detained by order of the then DPR minister of defense Igor Strelkov for the formal reason: ‘for the misuse of municipal budget’.
Slaviansk has no luck with mayors. And now the position of deputy mayor is taken by the Kyiv posh. Yaroslav Sekirozh scarcely knows a thing or two about housing and utilities. But he definitely knows to spend budget money in his 22.
The monitoring is carried out by NGO “Тelekrytyka” supported by the ‘Internews Network’