Ukrainian Media Reacts to Kremlin Historical Essay
July 16 – An essay by Russian President Vladimir Putin (published on July 12), claiming Russians and Ukrainians have always shared a collective history and that Ukraine can only be stable and prosperous if it maintains friendly ties with Russia, has been widely critiqued in the Ukrainian media and on social media. Ukraine’s Minister of Culture and Information policy, Oleksandr Tkachenko, commented on Telegram that readers of this article, which was published in Russian and Ukrainian, “should switch on critical thinking and remember about the real actions taken by Russia against Ukraine – war, hostility, fakes and propaganda.”
On July 16, the Center for Strategic Communication and Information Security published an article on Ukrinform analyzing the key three false narratives that the Russian government relies on when describing Ukrainian history:
- Russia is the sole successor to Kyiv Rus;
- Ukrainians are really Russians; and
- Crimea is the cradle of Christian Rus and the land from which Russian Christianity spread throughout Russia.
The Weekly Mirror published an article by Oleksiy Reznikov, Ukraine`s Minister of Temporarily Occupied Areas and Reintegration: “Analyzing Putin’s Article: about Bankruptcy and Horrors of Empire.” Reznikov said the essay is nothing more than “an abstract from the training manual of the Soviet lecturer-agitator, which lists the most common myths, clichés, fairy tales and distortions about Ukraine and its history.”
On June 16, VoxUkraine published a report fact-checking the essay and found that there was not a single factual quotation in it.
Detector Media published an article by Dmytro Zolotukhin, media expert and former deputy minister of information policy in which he recommended that Ukrainians not respond to Putin`s article as “its purpose is not communication to resolve the conflict, but manipulation to win it.”
The BBC Ukrainian Service, Meduza, Deutsche Welle, and Liga.net asked reputable historians, both Ukrainian and Russian, to comment on the article. Most said that politicians usually employ history as a means to reach their political goals, while the real historical truth may differ greatly. Acclaimed Ukrainian historian Yaroslav Hrytsak, in an interview with Liga.net reporter Vladyslav Serdiuk, said the article might either be seen as a threat to Ukraine or as a sign of Russia turning to “soft power” by appealing to Ukrainians in their own language.
More on Detector Media in Ukrainian.
Photo: Markus Winkler on Unsplash