Location Ukraine Ukraine

German media on Ukraine: fear of the truth

Ukrainian opposition blogger Dmytriy Kovalevich has posted on Facebook a rough translation from German Heise.de on the situation in Ukraine. The article was recently published by Ulrich Heyden.

The German elite has made Ukraine a holy place, where there are mistakes, but the new system is on the right path and nothing really demolishing democracy happens.
Whenever a critical journalist or dissident is attacked or killed by right-wing extremists or ultra-nationalists in Ukraine, when the editorial offices of critical websites such as Strana.ua or the Internet portal Timer in Odessa are searched by intelligence officials when Ukrainian journalists are arrested for treason, as on May 15 Kirill Wischinski , the office manager of the state Russian news agency RIA Novosti in Kiev, and in front of him – in August 2017 – the Ukrainian journalist Vasily Muravitsky, the great German media are silent or reported only marginally.
But on May 30, 2018 suddenly broke out in the major German media. In big headlines, they reported the murder plot on the journalist and sharp Putin critic Arkady Babchenko. Hours later it turned out that Babtschenko lives and the “murder” was a staging of the Ukrainian intelligence service, in which the journalist had played (The shock strategy ).
Where did the sudden interest in dead journalists come from?
What was behind the sudden interest of German media for dead journalists in Ukraine? Was it the concern for the lives of critical journalists? I do not think so. The main reason was that again Russia could be put into focus as alleged secret mastermind.
This rating may seem daring to some. But where were the headlines in the German media when, in April 2015, the Russia-friendly journalist Oles Busina was gunned down in Kiev right in front of his house – presumably by right-wing extremists? Where were the headlines in Germany when in July 2016 the liberal Kiev journalist Pavel Sheremet was killed with a car bomb? Both murders have not been solved until today.
Why did the big German media not or only marginally report when the critical Ukrainian television channels NewsOne and Inter 2016 and 2017 were besieged for days by Ukrainian ultra-nationalists? At the Russia-friendly channel Inter, the ultranationalists even torched off a complete editorial space. If there had been such a thing in Russia, then the German media would surely have reported widely.
Which big German newspaper reports about the case Kotsaba? Not a single. Which big German medium reported that the massacres on the Maidan and in Odessa in 2014 still not cleared up and still nobody was condemned? Which great German medium reports about my movie “Wildfire” about the fire attacks on the Odessa trade union center. Not a single. It is the only German-language film that illuminates the political background of the arson attack.
Germany has something to hide. The German elite is secretly associated with the government in Kiev. You do not want to hurt her by negative reports. Otherwise, I can’t explain this already four years of silence.
This silence has catastrophic consequences for the credibility of German democracy. And just this silence is one of the reasons why the popular parties in Germany have lost massive confidence.
If the German media adhered to journalistic standards, they would also let the Ukrainian government critics and critical Ukrainian journalists have their say. These report on the violent riots of right-wing and nationalist forces attacking retirees wearing the Russian St. George’s Band, they report how ultra-nationalists occupy Ukrainian courts, if they do not like judicial verdicts, so happened in November 2015 in Odessa.
The critical Ukrainian journalists also reported that ultranationalists of the “National Vigilante” occupied the city parliament in the southern city of Cherkasy in January 2018. The incident reminded me of the terror of the SA and the NDSDAP against social democrats, communists and other opponents before Hitler’s accession to power.
Fear for the existence of the lying building
When the journalist and Putin critic Arkady Babchenko came alive in front of the television cameras the day after his officially announced death, panic ensued in German editorial offices. For four years they had faithfully and faithfully quoted the press releases of the Ukrainian government and issued as the opinion of the Ukrainians. And now, with a provocative perplexity to the world, the Ukrainian government had destroyed its credibility and the credibility of its neighbors in the West.
The despair of journalists in the major German media was clearly felt. And the desperation was again directed in meaningless attacks against Russia. Sabine Adler of Deutschland funk accused the Ukrainian government of “Russian methods”. Wordy, German commentators warned that the fake murder in Kiev benefits Moscow.
The beautiful image of a Ukraine, which is following a popular revolution of the democratic community in Europe, gets more and more cracks. What was still impossible in 2014 that the critical Ukrainian video blogger Anatoli Shari is mentioned in German media without abuse, shows that the blind Kiev-borrowing in the German media begins to shake. Sharia had revealed that a consul in the Ukrainian consulate in Hamburg on his Facebook page for a long time propagated fascist ideas. Kiev was forced to recall the top official.
But a change of course towards fair journalism in Germany, which gives both sides a voice in Ukraine, rulers and critics, is not in sight. Too much is at stake. The post-Maidan government in Kiev with its anti-Russian policy is still a desirable partner for Germany. It is indeed reported that this government is highly corrupt, but when it comes to securing Ukraine, which has just been taken from the Russian sphere of influence, people do not want to bother with trivial matters, according to the unspoken motto of the German political class.
Culture destruction in Ukraine
The German elite has made Ukraine a holy place, where there are mistakes, but the new system is on the right path and nothing really demolishing democracy happens. That the Ukrainian government bans Russian social networks with millions of Ukrainian users, forbids peace marches of Russian Orthodox believers through Kiev, gives Russian singers a ban on performing, and bans writers Tolstoy and Dostoevsky from “imperial points of view” schools Ukrainian curriculum in schools from the 4th grade is only to be taught in Ukrainian – although 40 percent of the population are Russian-speaking – is not an issue for the major German media.
One has to read the Austrian daily Der Standard to read a critical account of the displacement of the Russian language from Ukraine.
Germany likes to see itself as a country that has worked its own dictatorial past and is proud of its great cultural achievements. The silence on the suppression of Russian culture in Ukraine does not fit into the picture. It awakens bad memories of the German Reich, which after the First World War ever tried unsuccessfully to wrest Ukraine from the Russian sphere of influence.
The behavior of Germany towards Ukraine is fraudulent. First of all, the Ukrainian population has been hoped for an improvement in life with a huge deployment of politicians and media if Ukraine joins the EU. When, after the Maidan, it became clear that people’s lives were deteriorating and nationalist hordes were forcibly suppressing every protest on the streets, the German media simply did not report on it and pretended that it did not exist. In doubt, it was “Russian propaganda”. The prospect of joining the EU soon after, leading Western politicians retreated shortly after the Maidan.
Anti-Semitism, Roma persecution and “racial science”
Germany is the most powerful state in Europe. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko frequently visits Angela Merkel. It is not necessary to hope that the Chancellor will respond to the persecution of dissidents in Ukraine in meetings with Poroshenko. If at least the German media would make the breaking of human rights and the intimidation of journalists in Ukraine a topic, that would be a great support for the dissidents in Ukraine. But reality teaches us that we can not hope for that either. The guideline in the German editors-in-chief is apparently: Unconditional solidarity with the government in Kiev.
While German media and politicians against German critics of the Ukrainian government with the charge of anti-Semitism are quickly at hand, for the major German media, the growing anti-Semitism in Ukraine is not an issue.
Why were the German media silent when in April 2017 in Kiev, the Bel’etage Theater, located right next to the synagogue, brought the play “Holocaust Cabaret” to the stage? The play is about the Ukrainian concentration camp guard John Demjanjuk, who was allegedly convicted of questionable allegations. The Supreme Rabbi of Ukraine, Mos Asman, protested. The German media were silent when this year Hitler’s birthday, right-wing radicals burned a Roma settlement in a park in Kiev.
In November 2016, Ukrainian Minister of Education Yevgeny Nizuk said on a television talk show that certain areas in central and eastern Ukraine were “genetically unclean”. This refers to the areas with a high proportion of Russian-speaking population. After protests Nizuk apologized. He was misunderstood. No German media reported about it.
In April 2017, Oleg Skripka, singer of the well-known Ukrainian rock group Wopli Widopljasowa, said that all people who can’t learn Ukrainian because of “a lower intelligence quotient” should be “locked in a ghetto” because these people are “socially dangerous “. After protests, the singer apologized. His statement was meant “ironically”. Again the German media remained silent.
Entry bans for Western journalists
Expulsions from Ukraine, affect not only Russian journalists but also journalists from the EU. Not a single government in the EU protested against this obvious censorship. Brussels was silent, too.
I myself received a five-year entry ban at the Odessa airport on 30 April 2016. I would have visited Donetsk from Russia.
The Berlin journalist and former editor-in-chief of the magazine “Europa Express” Saadi Isakov got a five-year entry ban at the airport of Odessa in April 2016. Isakov had visited neither Donetsk nor the Crimea. However, he had written critical articles about the change of power in Ukraine and the massacre in Odessa. Despite several requests from Isakov, the German Foreign Ministry refused to support him. The only “help” was that the German Foreign Office sent the journalist a list of Kiev lawyers, to whom he could turn.
The solidarity of journalists’ associations has enabled the lifting of the three-year entry ban imposed on the Spanish journalists Antonio Pampliega and Angel Sastre on 24 August 2017 at Borispol airport in Kiev. The Ukrainian intelligence service said the two journalists write “false stories” claiming “the Ukrainian army is shooting at peaceful Ukrainian towns and villages.” The two journalists are known in Spain because they spent a year in the captivity of terrorists from the Al Nusra Front.
On 1 May 2018, two journalists at the airports of Odessa and Kiev-Borispol received a five-year entry ban: Italian international photojournalist Giorgio Bianchi, who had taken photojournalism in Donbass, and Czech journalist Jan Richetski, a critic from Lugansk Odessa and Transcarpathia. Richetski wrote to me: “It’s funny that Ukraine wants to become a member of the EU, Ukrainians do not need a visa for the EU today, but I can not go to Ukraine, so I feel like a second-class EU citizen, and why? Because I do my work. ”
Germany stands aside
The most important mass medium – the film – is particularly affected in Germany by the tacit information blockade over Ukraine. Critical films about the Odessa massacre and the 100 dead shot dead by snipers on the Maidan are not shown on German television or in German cinemas.
There are works by well-known directors. In the USA there is the film by Oliver Stone “Ukraine on Fire”, which deserves at least one place in the German television night program.
In Italy, Channel 5 showed the film “Guerra in Ucraina” (War in Ukraine), in which alleged snipers from Georgia report on their use on the Maidan.
In France, the Channel + showed the film “Les masques de la révolution” (The masks of the revolution). The theme of the film is the role of Nazis and ultra-nationalists in the Maidan and the fire in the Odessa trade union center.
Only in Germany, which declared after the electoral victory of Donald Trump, the torchbearer of democracy and freedom worldwide, the TV stations want to show no partout films for sniper deployment on the Maidan and the massacre in Odessa.
The role of alternative media
The film “Wildfire”, which I made in 2015 together with the Berlin-based video collective “Leftvision”, was hushed up by the big German media. The film was shown on many small events in Germany, Russia and other European countries. On the Internet, the donated film, which we translated into four languages, had very good traffic.
The more the government in Kiev suppresses the critical media in their own country, the more the critical public in Europe must support alternative information portals, critical film projects as well as journalists and dissidents in Ukraine.

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