Just How Silly is the Ukrainian Government? Name a Place…

Just how silly is the Ukrainian government? Well, with the country mired – miring Poroshenkoitself – in ongoing war with Donbass, and stricken economy beset by high-level corruption, and looting, you would think they would be engaging all of their efforts to tackle these, and the many more problems (healthcare, plunging population, etc…) afflicting the country.

But yet … in the midst of all of this, Ukraine has somehow found the time to, seemingly randomly, rename places in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. Republics which will clearly never return to Ukraine, as even most Ukrainians now accept. 

Here’s look at just a few: 

Torez, DPR – renamed to Chistyakovo.

where 1Krasnodon, LPR – renamed to Sorokino

Sverdlovsk, LPR – renamed to Dolzhansky

Kirovskoe, DPR renamed to Krestnaya

Stakhanov, LPR renamed to Kadievka.

And this list goes on, to 150 places renamed in the Donetsk, and Lugansk people’s republics – and Crimea. 

So, let’s make some points here – 

Absolutely no one who actually lives in these places calls them by their ‘Ukrainian names’.

Although lists were circulated, the renaming has hardly caught the public imagination, even in Ukraine, where the former names are still mainly. This Ukrainian ‘ATO’ resource, recently referring to Stakhanov, among other ‘Ukraine-renamed’ places, in a war dispatch.

However, some Ukrainians do use the Ukrainian names. So, fighting a war against places you’ve renamed yourself, some on the same side call them this, some call them the other … no one’s quite sure. Yeah, that’s a masterstroke, surely.

And if we’re speaking of maps, by the way, the maps printed out will all be in the previous place names. So what have Ukraine’s soldiers done? Tippexed out and filled in with biro? Or still using the names of the hated ‘occupiers’ (i.e. those people who actually live and are from the places)?

where.jpgBy the way – a Facebook comment when I mentioned this – Do you know how much money it costs to rename a street? You have to get all of the title documents changed on all of the paperwork for all of the residential and commercial areas. Then you need to update the cadastral plans, the city development plans and submit to the federal government for ratification. It is a logical and economic nightmare. Also, anytime there is this volume of paperwork there are bound to be errors. This means court cases, adjudication and all of the rest of that. Ridiculous.

More, it’s almost a form of self-trolling. How much more ridiculous can you get? Renaming places random names which they will never really be called? Causing untold expense, and confusion for yourself in the process…. is it some sort of new Ukrainian ‘victory’, if you can’t capture a place, just rename it? I mean, come on, this is supposed to be a serious country, we’re told, right? 

Oh, Ukraine, it’s just too silly….

My 3-Year Ban from Ukraine Has Now Expired: Statement

My 3-year- ban from Ukraine has now expired, and I’m legally free to enter Ukraine again.

I have no current plans to do this, the radicals and terrorists there are unlikely to pay much heed to my having served the ban, and even obeyed it – I did not once go into Ukrainian territory in this time.

However, it can’t be used to ‘discredit’ my work from Donbass any more by the BBC, other propagandists.

I am now not banned from Ukraine, and work in Donbass just like any other journalist.

BBC Hit Piece, My Response To It …

I’ve been pretty vocal over the last week after becoming aware of the BBC’s intention to do a piece on me, and what that would be (given it’s the BBC):

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/07/17/bbc-its-fake-news-and-always-no-from-me/

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/07/21/why-the-bbc-have-come-after-me/

Here’s the piece, and my comments in bold. I’ll deal with the part of the article (by Sam Bright) about myself, Texas and Patrick are more than capable of answering for themselves, and have done just that. Texas here. Patrick here. Photos added for reference.

Bentley isn’t a one-off. Other Westerners have been using online crowdfunding to finance their activities in eastern Ukraine since the conflict started.
Among them is 38-year-old Graham Phillips from Nottingham. Since November 2013, Phillips has been covering the conflict, broadcasting amateur videos from Donbass, often in the midst of tearing bullets and toppling buildings. His daredevil style has drawn the attention of audiences, and he boasts 86,000 subscribers on YouTube. From 2014 to 2015, Phillips was employed by Zvezda – a media channel run by the Russian Ministry of Defence, and he also freelanced for the state-operated TV channel RT.

No mention of my ending my own contract with Zvezda, and my oft-mentioned grievance with RT over how they cut me off in Poland, after 2nd deportation, nor actually, that at the start of the conflict, before I realised what they were like, I even did some freelance work for … the BBC.

Actually I wrote for the New Statesman, Politico, Newsweek – before coming to similar conclusions about them.

Not that it’s even an issue, working for Russian media – they allowed me to report the story the BBC don’t want you to hear, and not one thing I ever reported while working for Russian media was disproven, but working for Russian media represents way, way the minority of my output as a journalist.

Phillips is highly critical of the Ukrainian government and appears to back the break-up of the country. Speaking on camera to Bentley in September 2015, Phillips accuses the Ukrainian government of “lies and propaganda”, before adding: “I absolutely believe that we’ll win in the end.”

The old trick of taken out of context. This was clearly said in the context of the ‘fight for truth’ winning. And one line, taken from the thousands of things I’ve said … and, taken out of context. As for the rest, of course I’m critical of the Ukrainian government, how can one not criticise a government which has set about shelling civilians? Not that the BBC article makes any mention of that at all, of course, and in any case most of my reportage is actually letting people in Donbass speak for themselves. 

Since May 2014, Phillips has been forbidden from entering Ukraine, on the grounds of “national security”. The Ukrainian government even took the unusual step of issuing an open letter to UK authorities, condemning Phillips’ actions.

This is technically factual, to point. However, there are two sides, and no attempt to balance the negative about me with another side. Nor mention that this attempt by the Ukrainian government was dismissed by the UK government. 

Phillips says that he’s an independent journalist and claims that he has financed his activities entirely through crowdfunding from January 2016 onwards – although existing records indicate he’s raised less than £7,500 through crowdfunding campaigns during that time.

I’ve raised a bit more than that, as I also crowdfund using Paypal, and my Russian card. But, yeah, it’s tough to cover costs as an independent journalist, contribute if you can!

https://www.paypal.me/grahamwphillips

A screenshot from Graham Phillips’ latest crowdfunding campaign. Phillips is currently crowdfunding for a new period of reporting in eastern EuropeImage copyright.

That’s actually not true, this campaign closed a couple of weeks ago, and there are none currently active.

At least three of his campaigns have been created to fund work in Donbass, and despite being banned from the country, he’s travelled to the region frequently since May 2014. On his blog, he says he enters the region via Russia, although travelling to the area via separatist controlled border crossings is currently illegal under Ukrainian law.

And that’s Ukrainian law. So really, so what? Hundreds of Europeans, people from across the world have entered, enter the DPR and LPR that way...

Because of his actions, the crowdfunding website JustGiving removed one of Phillips’ appeals in July 2015. After the company was notified that Phillips was unable to legally re-enter the region, JustGiving refused to release the £2,000 that Phillips had raised through his campaign.

Actually this is really pretty disingenuous. The campaign on JustGiving was purely for humanitarian aid, for Donbass, and not for my work at all. No mention of this whatsoever, by the BBC

Although Phillips also declined to speak to BBC Trending, he has disputed the company’s actions, and his campaigns remain active on Indiegogo.

I actually had quite a lot to say to the BBC in my replies to Sam, see here:

Unlike Bentley, Phillips has not engaged in combat, although he has been filmed navigating a drone with the help of soldiers in Donbass and has interviewed Ukrainian prisoners of war.

Pre-empting what the BBC would write (along with the narrative, etc), I already dealt with this point here – https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/07/21/why-the-bbc-have-come-after-me/


Graham Phillips on Twitter, saying that he chose not to apply the Geneva Convention to his workImage copyright@GRAHAMWP_UK

Out of my over 47,000 tweets, encompassing all themes, Sam chose this. Ok, as he wishes, I don’t have a problem with it. I know that I always work with good faith, sincerity, integrity. And there are plenty of tweets stating this, again, not of interest to the BBC. 

Phillips is not the only Brit who has travelled to the Ukraine conflict region. Earlier this month, Benjamin Stimson, from Oldham, Greater Manchester, was sentenced by Manchester Crown Court to five years and four months in prison for assisting separatist forces in Donbass.

So, an attempt to tie me in with the recently imprisoned Ben Stimson, that’s clear then.

And a question for the BBC, why did the article start out under this headline: Westerners crowdfunding for the break-up of Ukraine – 

To this, shortly later: The communist soldier using charity sites to fund his war (Texas)…

The adventures of an American in Donbass perhaps not of the greatest interest to a British reader? I have my own view, that the BBC tried to come for me, I saw them coming, called them, and they’ve ended up going a bit soft. One-sided, propagandistic, deceitful – of course, it’s the BBC, but, flaccid. The article they wanted to write, which would give the government the excuse to stop me leaving the country, didn’t happen. It was a clumsy, half-cocked hatchet job.

Gallingly, I, like everyone else in the UK, have to pay for this shit… 

A Graham Newsletter (#31) Russophobes at Cambridge – Fake Research, Buzzfeed – Fake News – Mariupol Adventures, and More!

Ever wonder why the mood, on an official level, from the UK is so entrenched, endemic anti-Russian? Could it be that public figures in the UK are being conditioned, from a young age? Have a look at my new video!

And here on the Truth Speaker – 

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/07/03/cambridge-university-fake-research-rory-finnin-anti-russia-propaganda/

But it’s not all bad news from the UK, British photographer Dean O-Brien recently visited the city of Mariupol, and did a good job of work there – read more about that here –

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/07/07/the-adventures-of-a-british-freelance-photographer-in-mariupol/

Mariupol still shows signs of anti pro-Ukrainian feelings amongst the population

A post shared by Dean O'Brien (@deanobeano1) on

Speaking of visits, a French delegation recently visited Donetsk, I covered that, here – 

And here – 

With more, plus encore, to come, on that!

I was pleased to present my new film from Donbass, with full English subtitles!

And having earlier had a look at fake research, from Cambridge, here a look at fake news, from Buzzfeed –

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/07/04/mariupol-myself-and-buzzfeed-fake-news/

To real news, I brought you breaking updates from Donbass, with video – 

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/07/07/terrorist-attacks-strike-lugansk-today-full-details/

And special reportage from the war-torn village of Nikishino – 

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/07/03/nikishino-special-reportage-from-a-donbass-forgotten-village/

And more real news, debunking of fake news, coming up soon! Thanks for being with me, Graham

Mariupol, Myself and Buzzfeed Fake News

In May of 2014, Buzzfeed wrote an article about me – https://www.buzzfeed.com/maxseddon/how-a-british-blogger-became-an-unlikely-star-of-the-ukraine?utm_term=.fcpgVZ7AD#.myRGd7Yyk – I wrote about my reaction to it here, in early 2015 – because basically, I’d been done over.

However, there were a few factors to take into account at the time – I was extremely busy working, on the scene, in Donbass, and the article was just ‘one of these things’, one of a number of articles written to try to take me down.

Also, a strong reaction from my side would have simply seen Buzzfeed go for me more, and I actually felt that the long phone calls I’d had with Max Seddon has somewhat taken the edge off what Buzzfeed really wanted to do – a full takedown. (Photo from article, here)

However, it’s an article people, who want to have a go at me, bring up even now as a first offering to ‘slap me down’. It shows up high in the google rankings. So, here, in a few points, I’ll go through what was clear fake news by Buzzfeed, before people even really used that term.

Mariupol, May 2014 (after shooting on May 9th)

Buzzfeed fake: But how many people were killed? Local news reported two deaths. Ukraine’s interior minister said 21 people died in the fighting. Human Rights Watch could only confirm seven deaths after visiting all four hospitals where the wounded were taken.

None of that seemed right to Graham Phillips, a roving Ukraine-based British blogger who films guerrilla field reports from the conflict’s hot spots for his own YouTube channel and has become a growing star on Kremlin-owned media. So he set out to investigate in the way that has made him a cult micro-celebrity in east Ukraine’s crisis: by interviewing angry people on the street for 90 seconds at a time.

Some people told him that more than 100 people had died in the fighting.

Reality: Actually, I was committed to finding out how many people had really been killed on May 9th. Indeed, I interviewed some locals who told me that the figure was 100 – and I put those interviews up unedited, as with all my interviews –

And what issue do Buzzfeed have with putting up unedited interviews with locals, from the scene? In any case, this was just a part of my Mariupol reportage, I wanted to cover every side, even interviewing Ukrainian soldiers about what happened –

I explored all over the police station, at the centre of events on May 9th, just 2 of those videos here –

I interviewed people on the scene there – 

More, from a local I obtained real, first-hand events on May 9th – just some of those videos here – 

More, I visited city morgues, several times, to confirm the number – 

I questioned those who had told me the figure of ‘100’ – 

So, to another, Buzzfeed fake:  In Phillips’ version of events, Ukraine’s army was eager to cover up the massacre and so it bypassed morgues and hospitals and hid the bodies in the woods. Relatives of the dead were too terrified of reprisals to claim them missing, he said. Phillips’ interlocutors, whom he described as “well-informed local sources,” provided no evidence for these claims. He has yet to corroborate them. Nonetheless, Phillips soon appeared on Russian television promoting the unverified figure of 100 dead.

Reality: This was never my ‘version of events’. I simply uploaded videos of what people on the scene had said. And as for my ‘going on Russian television to promote the unverified figure‘, that’s just an outright lie. Here you can see me on RT at the time – 

From 1:27, I say ‘The official figure killed is 9, the Ukrainian figure is 21, some say much more.’

What happened next? I continued going to Mariupol to confirm figures – here, just one morgue confirmed 11 dead –

I carried on investigating in Mariupol until Ukrainian forces seized me, and deported me from there, on May 20th, 2014 –

And that’s reality for you, versus Buzzfeed fake news. 

Cambridge University, Fake Research, Rory Finnin, Anti-Russia Propaganda

Ever wonder why the mood in the UK is so entrenched, endemic, anti-Russian? Well, where are a huge number of politicians, business leaders and more, educated?

Fake News
is now in the zeigeist, and a number of media outlets have been accused of producing fake news over the last year. However it looks like even that mighty bastion, Cambridge University – 2nd oldest university in the English-speaking world, along with Oxford arguably the most famous, has been implicated in a Fake News spin-off – Fake Research.

Dr Rory Finnin, is the Head of Slavonic Studies at Cambridge University. Actual biographical details of Finnin are not readily available. In a world of biographies laid out with full details, Finnin’s gives only the scantest of details, but an internet search shows he has been at Cambridge in a senior departmental capacity since at least 2010.

Finnin is not one to even make an attempt to be impartial as an academic, here he is, on Al Jazeera in 2014, accusing Putin of ‘flat untruths, really bad strategic policy‘. Finnin entirely defends the coup power put in place by Euromaidan, making no reference at all to the terrorism behind that coup. Finnin goes on to accuse Yanukovych of shooting ‘at least 94’ of ‘his own people’ – something so preposterous even the BBC had to debunk it. Watch the interview with Finnin here –

01:47 – “The Ukrainian people legally took power.” Ok, I was at Euromaidan, and filmed there. This is the ‘Ukrainian people legally taking power‘, then…

Finnin rounds off by stating that Russia has ‘invaded’ Ukraine – it’s ‘as simple as that’. If you are, as Finnin clearly is, a pathological Russophone, then it probably is ‘as simple as that‘. However, for the rest of us, it’s really not, and surely, particularly, the finest minds of the UK at Cambridge should not be being taught by a man who believes a deeply nuanced crisis can be summarised by ‘as simple as that’, on a presumably paid-for tv appearance… no mention of the far-right, ultra-nationalist, neo-Nazi forces behind Euromaidan which caused Crimea, and the former east of Ukraine to take up against the unelected coup power they put in place so strongly? From Finnin, nothing of the sort…

Finnin pops up again in 2014, on CNN, August, to accuse Russia, of ‘waging a war of aggression against the Ukrainian state’ and the ‘Russian ‘invasion’ of the ‘east of Ukraine’, ‘Russian troops’, ‘columns of tanks’, ‘regular Russian soldiers’… watch for yourself, from 2 minutes on –

Finnin continues with some bizarre faux-concern for these ‘Russian soldiers’, and the ‘backlash’ they supposedly face back home. There is a truly staggering moment after 5 minutes when he positions Mariupol as a ‘peaceful’, city where Russian-speakers had their rights enshrined, and ‘hundreds, if not thousands’, of citizens had protested Putin. No mention at all of Ukrainian forces storming into Mariupol in May, opening fire, and then firing on civilians marking Victory Day – just a couple of videos of that here –

Finnin clearly prides himself as an ‘esteemed academic’, and so forth. Actually his biography on the official Cambridge website states –

‘In 2015 Finnin won a Teaching Award for Outstanding Lecturer from the Cambridge University Students’ Union (CUSU), the representative body for all students at the University.’

But there’s no claim even that Finnin has ever done any of his own research on this situation. All his assertions are based on what Finnin has read, and seen, in the media. And given there’s no attempt whatsoever to present a balanced picture, it’s clear that Finnin has simply chosen media to suit his own polemic. As simple as that…

Finnin’s views expressed on his television appearances are exactly those which make it into his ‘academic research’, taught to students at Cambridge (pictured). So, to recap – entirely one-sided, biased, unrelated to facts and entirely dictated by Finnin’s transparent vendetta against Putin, and Russia. Finnin’s piece, with Dr Thomas T Grant (Faculty of Law), from August 2015 – published here on the official Cambridge University site – https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/discussion/dont-call-it-a-civil-war-ukraines-conflict-is-an-act-of-russian-aggression

Don’t call it a civil war – Ukraine’s conflict is an act of Russian aggression

A few extracts of that here –

As Ukraine marks 24 years since its independence from the Soviet Union, it is embroiled in the most dangerous armed conflict in Europe – against the Russian Federation.

Wrong. Ukraine is waging a war of self-defence against an international aggressor – the Russian Federation.

Then there’s the matter of Ukraine’s right to self-defence, which of course is a right of all states. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is just about the only case where a UN member state has seized and in effect sliced off whole regions of another UN member state.

Perhaps eedless to say, there’s no attempt to balance any of this with an alternative view to Finnin’s diatribe. So, let’s come to the nub of it – what is Finnin there for, what does he want? Have a look here again – from 7 mins 30 on…

He wants Ukraine to be in NATO, have access to NATO arms. And here – 

It’s not as if the signs aren’t clear. Recent weeks have seen another intense spike in fighting in eastern Ukraine. Given all the prior sabre-rattling, nuclear threats and general rhetorical brinksmanship, it takes little imagination to see the conflict expanding beyond Ukraine’s borders into EU member states.

Rory Finnin is within the hallowed walls of Cambridge, with a role in shaping the minds of future key players in the UK. And be sure, he’s there to shape them entirely against Russia, position Russia as a ‘threat’ in the strongest way possible, incite and cement anti-Russian sentiment, warmonger even.

It’s time to face reality. The continued escalation of the war in Ukraine poses a serious challenge to international public order. Journalists have risked everything to report events from this war, and we need to stop watering down their reports with euphemism and understatement. We need to call this what it is: a war of self-defence against an international aggressor.

So, that’s Cambridge University. Fake Research, feeding into Fake News. Fake Doctors. However a very real answer to the question about why there is so much anti-Russian sentiment in the UK. Some people are making sure it’s kept like that. And be sure, Finnin is far from the only one.

What is a Ukrop?

You can’t have been following the conflict in Donbass without hearing the word ‘Ukrop’. And perhaps you’ve taken it literally, in which case:

Ukrop
Literally, dill. And muddying the waters further is the UKROP political party in Ukraine, Ukrainian Association of Patriots. However, neither of those are what Ukrop stands for, in the vernacular.

Is it a pejorative term? Perhaps, despite the Ukrainian attemps to reclaim the word. However I also believe it’s a valid one, because I still believe that most Ukrainians are good, decent people, and wouldn’t want to offend them by lumping them in with Ukrops. A Ukrop isn’t even necessarily a Ukrainian. So, what exactly is a Ukrop? I say this from years, and tens of thousands of comments, of experience:

A Ukrop is: 

Someone who supported Euromaidan – the violent overthrow of a democratically elected president, and government in Ukraine, replacing them with far-right radicals. And they are surprised to this day that didn’t end well for them….

1Euromaidan27
Blame Russia.pngMoreover, Ukrops don’t blame Euromaidan, or the ensuing chaos in Ukraine as radicals and the far-right took power, for any of the problems. They blame Putin, and Russian. Again, and again, and again…..

For a Ukrop, nothing is their fault, if something goes wrong, it’s always Russia’s fault, and Putin. A typical Ukrop will spend much of their time showering the internet with various diatribes against both of the former.

Even when a Ukrop does admit to something, it’s never their fault. The shelling of civilian areas of Donbass, and killing of civilians, is being done by Ukrainian forces. The more intelligent Ukrop will know this – however as an ‘intelligent Ukrop’ is the original oxymoron, they will still find a way to blame Russia ‘Russian World’, ‘Putin’, and so on. The less intelligent Ukrop exists in a state of believing that, in the case of the shelling of Donbass, Russia is guilty, because Russia has done it all.

Screenshot (2346).pngA Ukrop thinks that every journalist who doesn’t report the Kiev version of events is a propagandist. More specifically, a ‘Russian propagandist’, a ‘Kremlin agent’, etc. Myself, for example – I’m a British journalist, no connection with any Russian media for years, work entirely through crowdfunding (see below).

Yet, Ukrops believe I’m some sort of ‘evil Kremlin propagandist’, because I don’t report the news they want to hear. Oh, and when I do report the news they want to hear, it’s a ‘misake’ on my part, rather than objective coverage (because of the fore-mentioned ‘Kremlin propagandist’ tag).

A Ukrop will often tell you how European they are, how European Ukraine is, etc. They will then proceed to spray death threats across the internet directed at anyone they don’t like, journalists whose journalism doesn’t conform to their views. 

Death threat

A Ukrop likes to watch YouTube videos of life in the DPR and LPR, and if they notice something they perceive bad, or someone complaining, they will write comments like ‘and you see it was much better in Ukraine‘ etc….

Ukrops fail to realise that because of the Euromaidan coup they so enthusiastically supported, support, that that Ukraine is gone forever, consigned to history. But it’s not their fault, of course, it’s all Russia’s fault, and Putin’s fault, and poor Ukraine is the victim of ‘Russian aggression’ and hashtag #RussiainvadedUkraine etc etc

Anatoliy ShariyUkrops believe that all Russian media is propaganda, all ‘fake news’, and believe their own media, despite Ukrainian media being so dishonest that a man, Ukrainian even, Anatoliy Shariy, (right) has practically based his entire, and extremely prolific, career, on debunking it. Further, Ukrops will frequently accuse Russia of having a hugely sophisicated propaganda machine, producing elaborate propaganda. Ukrops believe this, because they are told so by their own hugely sophisticated propaganda machine, producing elaborate propaganda.

Finally, a Ukrop is someone who often insults the breakaway regions of Donbass, DPR, and LPR, in the strongest terms. They don’t like the president of Ukraine, Poroshenko. Yet they are willing to do everything in their power for these regions of Donbass they so dislike to be under the control of a president they despise.

And that, is a Ukrop.