One Year on from my Interview with a Ukrainian Terrorist

Almost exactly one year since this interview, after which I received thousands, really thousands of messages, comments, threats, death threats, a bounty put out to kill me, by Ukrainian government-backed Mirotvorets. It was shown to committees, governments, and more. What a fuss!

For me then, as now – simply a standard interview with a Ukrainian terrorist.
 

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.

My Interview with Ukrainian Terrorist Vladimir Zhemchugov: My Statement

Because I see this video coming up, used ‘against me’ all the time, will give my statement on it here:

With terrorists, as here this Ukrainian terrorist Vladimir Zhemchugov, September 2016, you have to take a tough line. I’d do it exactly the same again. And I’d add to that, that despite a robust approach, I kept within reasonable boundaries here.

And that’s that. Graham

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. 

Avdeevka Shelling: Who Did It? The Real Story

Avdeevka is a town of around 35,000, pre-war population, held by Ukrainian forces, some 5km northwest of the city of Donetsk (city limits), held by DPR.

Yesterday, Ukrainian, and pro-Ukrainian media started making a massive storm about it having been shelled ‘by separatist forces’, with 4 civilians killed. Just some sources here –

http://korrespondent.net/ukraine/3850468-polytsyia-pokazala-foto-obstreliannoi-avdeevky

http://fakty.ictv.ua/ru/ukraine/20170513-avdiyivka-nakryta-vognem-bojovykiv-bagato-zagyblyh/

http://gordonua.com/news/war/v-avdeevke-v-rezultate-obstrela-boevikov-pogibli-chetyre-mestnyh-zhitelya-zhebrivskiy-188032.html

On the evening of Eurovision, it generated mass attention, with Ukraine’s president Poroshenko loudly then announcing that he was cancelling his visit to the song contest final in Kiev, due to the shelling – which made international news –

https://www.ukrinform.net/rubric-politics/2227433-president-poroshenko-not-to-attend-esc-grand-final-due-to-shelling-of-avdiivka.html

https://sputniknews.com/europe/201705141053593390-poroshenko-skips-eurovision/

http://gordonua.com/news/politics/poroshenko-evrovidenie-omrachilo-uzhasnoe-ubiystvo-mirnyh-zhiteley-avdeevki-no-eto-cena-kotoruyu-platyat-ukraincy-za-rossiyskuyu-agressiyu-188091.html

https://www.rbc.ua/rus/news/poroshenko-otmenil-poseshchenie-finala-evrovideniya-1494702759.html

The Donetsk People’s Republic responded today:

“It is another provocation ordered by the commander of the Donetsk operations and tactical group with involvement of the 72nd separate mechanized brigade, the Right Sector (a far right group banned in Russia), Ukraine’s National Guard along with foreign media outlets in the run-up to the Minsk talks,” the Donetsk news agency quoted the spokesperson as saying.

The DPR explained how the provocation was staged.

“The 72nd brigade opens fire on the DPR position, whereas the Right Sector is shelling Avdeyevka and foreign media are recording,” he said.

Meanwhile, well-known blogger Colonel Cassad analysed the photos of the shelling, concluding that it had actually come from the Ukraine-held settlement of Vodyane, around 5km from Avdeevka –

Now of course, shelling damage can be analysed in different ways, to suit different needs. So, a wider context must also be assessed. Who did this shelling suit?

The DPR had just enjoyed perhaps one of the most successful, high-profile weeks of their 3-year existence, with both a mass Victory Day celebration, and a huge Republic Day festival.  So, to believe it’s the Donetsk People’s Republic, you have to believe that, off the back of this, they’ve decided to shell a civilian area of Avdeevka, full well knowing how much they would be hammered in the media for that.

There have been no recent DPR attempts to capture the town of Adveevka, nor any sign that that’s the case. So why would they, as Ukraine wants us to believe, arbitrarily decide to shell the settlement, with the predictable, and of course tragic, loss of life – 4 deaths reported?

Meanwhile, on the Ukraine side, it’s a different story. Poroshenko can take the moral high ground by not attending Eurovision, due to his loudly-announced ‘grief’. Not attending a Eurovision it was pretty clear something embarrassing was going to happen at, and it duly did, with Ukrainian prankster Vitaliy Sedyuk mounting the stage to bear his bottom. 

There’s also the bonus for Ukraine of, in a week when all events in the DPR had passed off successfully, without a hitch, another opportunity to attack the ‘evil separatists’, Putin, and so on. 

And, be sure, Ukraine’s PR-machine – which has seen Poroshenko turn up to UN Meetings, World Economic Forums, and more, bearing items of wreckage he claims were the result of ‘separatist, Russian-backed shelling‘, etc – will only just be starting on this.

So, if you ask the question, who gains from the shelling of Avdeevka, there’s only one answer, Ukraine. As to who did it, well, it’s not too much of a leap to come to that conclusion.

3 Reasons Never to Trust the Kyiv Post…

When living in Kiev (2011, to early 2013), I used to read the Kyiv Post, the longest-established English-language newspaper, in fact the only one of real note in all that time (I worked at magazine What’s On, but that bit the dust after Euromaidan, and I’d long left by then anyhow). I even wrote some articles for them, in 2012. 

Pre-Euromaidan, the paper had its issues, but it was generally a good source of English-language news out of Ukraine. Euromaidan time, the publication went full-on pro-Euromaidan, and it’s been propaganda ever since. But, don’t take my word for it, here’s 3 reasons never to trust the Kyiv Post:

  1. The Kyiv Post does not care who it employs, as long as they write pro-Ukraine propaganda. Their Donbass correspondent for over a year, was Dutchman Stefan Huijboom – now convicted as a conman, serving time in a Dutch jail. He was engaged in this activity throughout his Kyiv Post time – they turned a blind eye at that time, and haven’t issued any statement since his 2016 conviction.
  2. They employ former members of the Ukrainian armed forces, active supporters of the Ukrainian military, to write for them as journalists, click here for more on that – https://twitter.com/GrahamWP_UK/status/853876800132448256
  3. When they are not employing conmen or soldiers to write for them, the Kyiv Post write about Donbass on the authority of never having been there during the conflict. Check out this tweet by editor Euan MacDonald – making excuses for not having been, but still writing about it all the time – https://twitter.com/Euan_MacDonald/status/701717517350338560 

    Euan, of course, happy to lie and falsify about Donbass to make Ukrainian, western propaganda. 

    The list could go on, but those 3 are enough in themselves. The Kyiv Post is never to be trusted. It’s fake news.