Khodorkovsky’s Group To Support Media Startups

Mikhail Khodorkovsky file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – September 29, 2016) A pro-democracy group founded by exiled Kremlin critic and former oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky has launched a project to fund online media startups. Open Russia said on September 29 that the goal of the project was “to create communication channels within the part of the Russian society that considers itself independent from the government’s […]

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The terror against Ukraine’s journalists is fueled by political elites

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

The inaction of law-enforcement institutions and unrestricted hate speech by top officials is enabling further violence against Ukrainian journalists. (opendemocracy.net – Maxim Eristavi – September 6, 2016) Maxim Eristavi is a Ukrainian journalist, writer and civil rights advocate. He is a co-founder of Hromadske International, foreign news desk for the region’s biggest independent broadcaster. Watching a video of journalists running […]

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NEWSWATCH: Andrew S. Weiss/@andrewsweiss: “Nicely done esp Assange’s little-noted parroting of Russian narrative on #Ukraine, proxy attacks on Moscow’s rivals” [re: New York Times: “How Russia often benefits when Julian Assange reveals the West’s secrets”]

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

Andrew S. Weiss [Vice President for Studies, Carnegie Endowment, Russia and Eurasia Program], on twitter at @andrewsweiss, “retweets” the New York Times article “How Russia often benefits when Julian Assange reveals the West’s secrets,” commenting: “Nicely done esp Assange’s little-noted parroting of Russian narrative on #Ukraine, proxy attacks on Moscow’s rivals” The “tweet” should appear below, although it might take […]

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NEWSWATCH Strobe Talbott/@strobetalbott: “Hitler invented “the big lie” that would be widely believed because no one “could distort the truth so infamously.” [Re: New York Times: A Powerful #Russian Weapon: The Spread of False Stories]

Satellite Dishes

Strobe Talbott of The Brookings Institution comments on twitter about Russia’s information war, forwarding a link from a New York Times article. His “tweet” should appear below, yet it might take some time to load for some users. You can also click here to go directly to the “tweet:” twitter.com/strobetalbott/status/770368906531901440 Hitler invented “the big lie” that would be widely believed […]

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NEWSWATCH: “A Powerful Russian Weapon: The Spread of False Stories” – New York Times

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

The New York Times addresses concerns about Russian disinformation campaigns, including Russia’s reputed involvement with a rash of misleading material on social media disrupting NATO-related debate in Sweden. With a vigorous national debate underway on whether Sweden should enter a military partnership with NATO, officials in Stockholm suddenly encountered an unsettling problem: a flood of distorted and outright false information on […]

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NEWSWATCH Anne Applebaum/@anneapplebaum: “finally – finally! – Russia’s extraordinary disinformation campaign is creeping towards the front pages”

Satellite Dishes

[Anne Applebaum, on twitter at @anneapplebaum, comments upon Russian disinformation and links to a story from the New York Times, “A Powerful Russian Weapon: The Spread of False Stories;” her tweet should be embedded below, yet it might take some time to load for some users; her tweet also can be accessed through this link: twitter.com/anneapplebaum/status/769960717877383168] finally – finally! – […]

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NEWSWATCH: Russia Today/RT: “Communications Ministry mulls total control over Russian sector of the web – reports”

File Photo of Little Girl at Computer Next to Globe

Kremlin-backed Russia Today/RT announced that the Rusian government is contemplating a takeover of Russian portions of the internet: The Communications Ministry has prepared a bill that formally defines critical digital infrastructure and allows only Russian companies to own the hardware and databases that control the .ru and .рф domains of the internet, mass media report. Russian business newspaper Vedomosti reported […]

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Subject: Recommending JRL

Satellite Dishes

Subject: Recommending JRL Date:     Wed, 27 Jul 2016 From:     An American professor expert on Russia I’ve been a JRL fan for many years, and have recommended it to students and friends as the best way to follow commentary on Russia. At times, however, JRL seems to tilt toward non-substantive pro-Russian propaganda articles.  Today’s post (#139) led with articles claiming that […]

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Putin Propaganda Based on Rejection of Possibility of Rational Thought, Shekhtman Says

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 19, 2016) Vladimir Putin’s propaganda is intended to destroy “all the rules of rational thought” just as those who support pseudo-science do, Pavel Shekhtman argues on the Kasparov portal today; but it does so in exactly the opposite way that the supporters of religious fundamentalism attack rationality. Religious fundamentalists reject doubt […]

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In Ukraine, not only heroes deserve justice; A Ukrainian blogger sentenced for his scandalous views on the conflict in the Donbas has just been released. Whatever his shortcomings, Ruslan Kotsaba deserved our solidarity.

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(OpenDemocracy – opendemocracy.net – Maxim Edwards and Thomas Rowley – July 17, 2016) Maxim Edwards is Commissioning Editor at oDR. Tom Rowley is Lead Editor at oDR. He is currently finishing a PhD on Soviet dissent at the University of Cambridge. Last Thursday, Ruslan Kotsaba addressed journalists in a west Ukrainian courthouse, tears running down his face. “This is a […]

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Russian ‘Gun-For-Hire’ Rinat Akhmetshin Lurks In Shadows Of Washington’s Lobbying World

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Mike Eckel – WASHINGTON – July 17, 2016) The hoots and jeers began the minute the movie ended and the lights went up on the seventh floor of the Newseum, a Washington museum dedicated to the free press. The film was a semifictionalized look at the story of Sergei Magnitsky, the Russian lawyer who helped uncover […]

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Kremlin Propaganda Exploiting Five American Vulnerabilities, Kirillova Says

Satellite Dishes

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 13, 2016) Lenin said that Marxism was powerful because it was true; his successors in the Kremlin have been as successful with their propaganda as they have been because they carefully tailor their messages and techniques to whatever audiences they hope to influence. One of the most damning indications of this […]

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PRESS RELEASE: Jamestown Launches ‘Russia in Decline’ Project

Kremlin and River

(Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – July 14, 2016) JAMESTOWN LAUNCHES ‘RUSSIA IN DECLINE’ PROJECT The Jamestown Foundation is proud to officially unveil a special project, Russia in Decline, which seeks to shed light on the possible futures facing the Russian Federation based on currently observable trends of a country trapped on a downward trajectory. This project is headed by longtime […]

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What Russia’s New Draconian Data Laws Mean for Users

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – July 14, 2016) After three years of relative silence, NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden spoke up: “[President Vladimir] Putin has signed a repressive new law that violates not only human rights, but common sense. Dark day for Russia.” For the man who fled to Russia after blowing the lid off the NSA’s unprecedented […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Russian ‘Firehose of Falsehood’ Propaganda Model. Why It Might Work and Options to Counter It.” – The RAND Corporation

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

… there has been a remarkable evolution in Russia’s approach to propaganda … [with] new dissemination channels and messages in support of its 2014 annexation of the Crimean peninsula, its ongoing involvement in the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, and its antagonism of NATO …. high-volume and multichannel, … it disseminates messages without regard for the truth. … rapid, continuous, […]

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Billionaire Tycoon Prokhorov to Sell All Russian Assets

Mikhail Prokohrov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 4, 2016) Billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov is to sell all of his Russian assets, the Vedomosti business daily reported Monday. Prokhorov’s ONEXIM investment group has various assets in mining, finance, energetics, development and the media. Its larger assets include a 20 percent stake at Russian company Uralkali, the world’s largest producer of potassium, and a […]

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Five Rules for Living Through and Looking Beyond the Putin Stagnation

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 20, 2016) Those who lived through the Brezhnev stagnation, commentator Dmitry Gubin says, know that “when the chances for change for the better don’t exist, one must particularly carefully filter information and choose one’s strategy of behavior.” Now, Russia is in another such period, and to help them, he offers five […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with heads of international news agencies

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Kremlin.ru – June 17, 2016) Vladimir Putin had a meeting with heads of leading international news agencies. The meeting was attended by representatives of news agencies from France, Spain, the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Germany, China, Japan, India and Italy. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, I have delivered so many speeches today that I […]

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Russia ranks among top 30 countries worldwide in terms of soft power

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A British agency has given Russia high marks for its engagement in the resolution of global problems, its culture and influence in the media. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – OLEG YEGOROV, RBTH – June 15, 2016) Russia has made its debut on the ranking of the world’s 30 most influential countries in terms of soft power, as compiled […]

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RBTH: How Finland became a battleground in the Russia-NATO information war

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

From internet ‘trolls’ to strategic communication: RBTH investigates how competing narratives from Russia and NATO are manipulating the information space and public debate in Finland to influence the country’s policy of neutrality. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – NIKOLAI SHEVCHENKO, RBTH – June 10, 2016) As mounting tensions over Ukraine continue to divide Europe into two camps, Russia and […]

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Life after facts: how Russian state media defines itself through negation

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The image of “Russian propaganda” as a powerful machine where all cogs and wheels work in harmony is not entirely accurate – and here’s why. (opendemocracy.net – Alexey Kovalev – June 13, 2016) Alexey Kovalev is a journalist and translator. He has previously worked for many Russian and foreign media, including as correspondent for Snob. He was the editor-in-chief at […]

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How the reporting of the British media changed during the Marseille cashes

Rotating Soccer Ball

Subject: How the reporting of the British media changed during the Marseille cashes Date: Tue, 14 Jun 2016 ) From: Antony Penaud <antonypenaud@yahoo.fr> Being French, having lived in England for half of my life, and being Russophile, I followed the Marseille streetfight events and the way they were reported in the British press with a special interest. In the France […]

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Jailed for a repost: The definition of extremism in Russia gets ever looser

Kremlin and River

Russia has seen a dramatic rise in criminal prosecutions on charges of internet extremism over the last few months. Yet most of these cases concern not the creation of extremist content but retweeting, liking or reposting it. RBTH found out more. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA SINELSCHIKOVA, RBTH – June 7, 2016) On Feb. 20, Yekaterina Vologzhenova, […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Visit to Rossiya Segodnya

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Kremlin.ru – June 7, 2016) Vladimir Putin visited the Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency to congratulate journalists on the agency’s 75th anniversary and speak at the New Era of Journalism: Farewell to Mainstream international media forum. The President also attended the presentation of German journalist Hubert Seipel’s book, Putin. Inside View of Power, at Rossiya Segodnya and spoke with the […]

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Moscow Times: Putin Urges Global Authorities to Ensure Freedom Of Information

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anastasia Bazenkova – June 8, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged governments around the world to protect the freedom of the press, the TASS news agency reported Tuesday. “There can’t be a situation where some governments talk about freedom information when they like what they are hearing, yet immediately decry information they don’t like […]

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Boycott Russia Today facebook page: “BRT reading list of critical online articles about RT, 2010-2016”

Kremlin and St. Basil's file photo

(Facebook – Boycott Russia Today facebook page – reused with permission) Bullough, Oliver (2013) Inside Russia Today: counterweight to the mainstream media, or Putin’s mouthpiece?: http://www.newstatesman.com/world-affairs/world-affairs/2013/05/inside-russia-today-counterweight-mainstream-media-or-putins-mou Fitzpatrick, Catherine (2010) More Moral Equivalency from Vadim Nikitin: http://3dblogger.typepad.com/minding_russia/2010/04/more-moral-equivalency-from-vadim-nikitin.html Gray, Rosie (2014) How The Truth Is Made At Russia Today: http://www.buzzfeed.com/rosiegray/how-the-truth-is-made-at-russia-today Ioffe, Julia (2010) What Is Russia Today? http://www.cjr.org/feature/what_is_russia_today.php?page=all Kincaid, Cliff (2011) Russian […]

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Critical thinking at (the) stake: Ukraine’s witch hunt against journalism

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

In the two years since Ukraine’s Maidan protests, Ukrainian society has become increasingly politically active – with unintended consequences. (opendemocracy.net – Oles Petik and Halyna Herasym – June 3, 2016) Oles Petik is an anarchist volunteering as an editor and translator at a Kyiv-based grassroots publishing cooperative. Halyna Herasym holds an MA in media and communications at Ukrainian Catholic University […]

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Boycott Russia Today: “BRT reading list of critical online articles about RT, 2010-2016”

Satellite Dishes

The facebook page “Boycott Russia Today” has compiled an updated BRT reading list of critical online articles about RT, 2010-2016 at https://www.facebook.com/notes/boycott-russia-today/brt-reading-list-of-critical-online-articles-about-rt-2010-2016-updated-4-june-2/815909395145453 [featured image is file photo]

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Why does Russia want to ban officials from using WhatsApp and Skype?

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

Russian legislators are even worried about encrypted communication systems, since IT security experts believe they may contain backdoors to which secret services may have access. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA SINELSCHIKOVA, RBTH – June 6, 2016) Russian deputies, ministers and members of the armed forces may soon find they are unable to use popular instant messaging services […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine Declares War on Journalism” – New York Times/IAN BATESON

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

…. We were collectively labeled “terrorist collaborators” for gaining accreditation from the separatists. The list’s publishers claimed not to know what the consequences would be of releasing this information, but it seemed clear that the intent was to encourage people to take action against the journalists on their own. * * * trying to encourage ‘patriotic’ journalism, in which the […]

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In Estonia, we should be careful not to overstate the impact of the information war

Map of Baltics and Environs, Including Kaliningrad

The Baltic States are now seen as the next frontline in Russia’s hybrid war. But the political preferences of ethnic Russian communities are more complicated than meets the eye. (opendemocracy.net – Vassilis Petsinis – May 30, 2016) Vassilis Petsinis is a political analyst at the European Commission’s representation in Greece. His specialisation is european politics and ethnopolitics with a regional […]

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Russian liberal radio station sees off “censorship” move

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Interfax – May 27, 2016) A dispute about freedom of speech at the Ekho Moskvy radio station in Moscow seems to be resolved to the satisfaction of the journalists and with the editor-in-chief’s authority enhanced. New contract and “censorship” The argument began when talk show presenter Yevgenia Albats refused to sign a new contract that she said amounted to censorship. […]

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RBTH: Medvedev: Global community must work together to regulate internet; The Russian prime minister has urged the international community to act together in addressing global challenges.

File Photo Dmitry Medvedev at Desk with Laptop Computer

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEI LOSSAN, RBTH – May 23, 2016) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has emphasized the importance of international cooperation on addressing new global challenges, including regulation of the internet, while admitting that the country has been feeling the pressure of Western sanctions. “Our companies and citizens have been subjected to pressure for two […]

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Could a union do anything to protect Russian journalists?

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Physical attacks and management interference have put Russian journalists’ safety – and their ability to work freely – back on the table. A new union will have to survive in an increasingly hostile environment. (opendemocracy.net – Nataliya Rostova – May 16, 2016) Nataliya Rostova is a visiting scholar at the Kennan Institute, senior correspondent for current affairs portal Slon.ru and […]

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Media Coverage of Governors More about Their Management of the Media than about Anything Else, New Study Says

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 12, 2016) Those who follow the media in Russia’s regions know that some governors are routinely attacked by media in their federal subjects while others are never criticized, and they often conclude that this is an important indicator of how well the governors are doing in running their oblasts, krays or […]

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Turning our backs on Ukraine

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

Two years after the tumultuous events of 2014, Ukraine is falling out of international media – with consequences for Ukraine’s democracy. (opendemocracy.org – Ian Bateson – May 11, 2016) Ian Bateson is a foreign correspondent living in Kiev, Ukraine. He has written for Reuters, the Guardian, the Daily Beast and AL Jazeera. He tweets as @ianbateson. Over the past year, […]

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Why are Russia’s journalists so prone to conspiracy theory?

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The popularity of conspiracy theory in Russia today isn’t about cultural mindsets. It’s about media ethics. (openedemocracy.net – Ilya Yablokov – May 9, 2016) Ilya Yablokov teaches Russian politics, history and media at the University of Leeds. His research interests include conspiracy theories, nation building and politics in post-Soviet Russia, the history of post-Soviet journalism and international broadcasting. His article […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The danger of Russian disinformation” – Washington Post/Anne Applebaum, Edward Lucas

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…authoritarian regimes, led by Russia but closely followed by China, have begun investing heavily in the production of alternatives. Because national media is often weak, it has become far easier for channels such as RT (formerly Russia Today) and Sputnik (a Russian “news” agency) to establish credibility in smaller European markets. … even in larger countries, the Russian use of […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Long Arm of Russian ‘Soft’ Power” – Atlantic Council/Orysia Lutsevych

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

Anxious about losing ground to Western influence in the post-Soviet space and the ousting of pro-Russia elites by popular electoral uprisings in the early 2000s, the Kremlin has developed a range of proxy groups in support of its foreign policy. This network of pro-Kremlin groups promotes the Russian World (Russkiy Mir), a flexible tool that justifies increasing Russian actions in […]

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NEWSLINK Russia Direct: “Divide in the Russian opposition, the return of Alexey Kudrin, and a new controversy in Crimea. Media Roundup: Russia’s journalists covered the comeback of former finance minister Alexey Kudrin and the split within the Russian opposition ahead of the 2016 parliamentary elections.”

Alexei Kudrin file photo » Read more

NEWSWATCH: “The West needs to stop panicking about Russia’s “hybrid” warfare” – Vox/Mark Galeotti

Map of Baltics and Environs, Including Kaliningrad

… The fact is that Russian security discussions are dominated by an awareness of the country’s vulnerabilities to a stronger, richer, larger, more advanced West. Up to now, though, we have not let ourselves acknowledge our strengths. The greatest risk for the West is, after all, not its weakness of means but a perception of its weakness of will, both […]

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“Johnson’s Russia List Want Ad” – The JRL Needs Your Support

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

Dear JRL recipient, I want and need your support. It’s obvious. Johnson’s Russia List is needed more than ever these days. No further elaboration or exhortation is required. Please do also check out the fabulous and lively JRL archive at russialist.org $50 is the normal annual contribution. Business-users should contribute more. A minimum contribution of $25 is suggested. HOW TO […]

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Interfax: Putin calls ‘media attacks’ a reaction to the consolidation of Russia

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Speaking At All-Russia Popular Front Gathering

(Interfax – April 25, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin believes that media attacks on Russia were the reaction to the country’s strengthening, its capability to protect own interest. “You are right, this is surely the reaction of our opponents (let’s call them this way) to the consolidation of the country. It’s just that such a player, who is independent, sovereign, […]

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BBC Accuses British, Russian Media Of Skewing MH17 Reporting

Ukraine Air Crash Scene with Uniformed Security Personnel, Flames, Smoke

(RFE/RL – Carl Schreck – April 25, 2016) The BBC has issued a rare defense of an upcoming documentary about the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine, accusing British media of distorting its report about a tragedy that killed 298 passengers and crew in July 2014. A report by Britain’s Sunday Express tabloid “misrepresented” the BBC program, […]

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