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Disclosure What Medvedchuk said on Belarusian television: key pro-Russian messages

Accused of high treason, Viktor Medvedchuk, a former people's deputy from the pro-Russian OPZZh (Opposition platform — for life) party, gave his first interview after a full-scale invasion. More precisely, he joined the show via Skype on the Belarusian state channel STV. The host Nadiia Sass, a former journalist of his TV channels, who in 2020 ran for the Dnipropetrovsk regional council on behalf of the Opposition Platform - for Life, spoke with Medvedchuk.

In his speech, Medvedchuk said that he was returning to the big game, launching a new political project, “The other Ukraine”, and would try to “demonopolize the right of President Zelenskyi to represent Ukraine at the international level”. Detector Media collected five key points from Medvedchuk's speech. All of them are in tune with the rhetoric of Russian propaganda, which during the year of the war spread dozens of disinformation messages to different audiences.

1. Ukraine constantly failed in peace negotiations, and tried to “get rid” of Donbas. Here, Medvedchuk resorts to a classic reflection technique, a tactic that involves accusing Ukraine and the West of accusations that were once made against Russia. A typical attempt to turn everything upside down and make the victim of aggression guilty of the attack. This mantra was heard on the air of Medvedchuk's channels for years. In particular, the audience was convinced that Ukraine was “bombing the Donbas” and that it itself did not want the reintegration of this territory, because, they say, without this region, Ukraine would vote the way the authorities needed. According to Medvedchuk, it is his participation that is needed in the negotiations to achieve peace between the two countries. Despite this, he disclaims responsibility for the allegedly failed Minsk agreements, because he was an intermediary and did not influence its implementation. In fact, any peace agreements with Russia do not work not because of the fault of Ukraine, but precisely because Russia violates them.

2. The West was interested in destabilizing the situation near the borders of Russia. The event did not put pressure on Kyiv to comply with the Minsk agreements. The purpose of this thesis is to remove any accusations from Russia for unleashing a war in eastern Ukraine and shift the blame to the ephemeral “West”. According to Medvedchuk, it is not the Russian army that is destabilizing the situation in the East of Ukraine, but the “West” is destabilizing the situation near the borders of Russia in order to harm it. This is a typical Russian accusation against Ukraine and Western states. Thus, Russian propagandists are trying to justify the war that Russia unleashed. They say that the peace agreements were not implemented through the fault of Ukraine and the Western countries, and if Russia had not intervened and started a war, everything would have been even worse.

3. Ukraine is a failed state because it has lost its sovereignty, independence and democracy. This is one of the common narratives about Ukraine that Russian propaganda has shared. Propagandists regularly nourish it with messages that Ukraine is not a real state, because it does not have its own history and culture; that Ukraine was created by Lenin; that the Ukrainian government failed to build a normal system; that corruption is widespread in Ukraine, etc. By spreading such messages, Russia also justifies itself and seeks to create the appearance that the ongoing war on the territory of Ukraine is justified. Like, Russia is fighting for the lands that have always belonged to it. However, the failed state has dispersed basic power functions and an atrophied ability to implement collective decisions. Over the past year, Ukraine has effectively resisted the aggressor and gradually liberated the occupied territories. By the way, amid the escalation, more and more political scientists are talking about Russia as a failed state.

4. Ukraine underestimated Belarus and did not thank Lukashenko for assistance in the peaceful settlement of the Donbas issue. Like, Ukraine did not appreciate Lukashenko's efforts to provide a platform for dialogue between Ukraine and Russia. In fact, Belarus does not support Ukraine in the conditions of war with Russia. On the contrary, the self-proclaimed president of Belarus, Oleksandr Lukashenko, admitted that Belarus is participating in the war on the side of Russia and has repeatedly repeated Russian propaganda messages that it is Ukraine that is the aggressor. There were also theses that Ukraine was allegedly preparing an attack on Belarus. Thus, Lukashenko is trying to justify his support for Russia and the fact that Belarus has actually become a springboard for the Russian army. In particular, part of the Russian missiles that hit Ukrainian cities and villages are launched from the territory of Belarus. That is why the attitude towards Belarus and its self-proclaimed leader in Ukraine is ambiguous.

However, because of such messages, it seems that Ukraine is not ready to negotiate with Russia, because it did not appreciate Lukashenko's efforts in organizing a platform for this. However, the Ukrainian authorities have repeatedly stressed that they are not ready to negotiate with Russia on its terms, which provide for the annexation of the occupied territories and a neutral status.

5. Ex-deputies of the Opposition Platform - for Life who fled to Russia are launching the political project “The other Ukraine”, so that President Zelenskyi would not represent Ukraine abroad, but Medvedchuk. According to Viktor Medvedchuk, there are millions of Ukrainians who want friendship with Russia (according to the results of a sociological survey, now only 3% of Ukrainians have a positive attitude towards Russians). It is their interests that he is ready to represent with his team. The name of the new political force “The other Ukraine” is associated with the political project of the Russian national bolshevik Eduard Limonov “The Other Russia”. The organization was in opposition to Putin, for which it was recognized as extremist. In addition, this name contains the idea of a split and division of Ukraine and Ukrainians into sorts, however, this “has already happened”. For example, it was Russian propaganda that divided Ukrainians into Russian-speaking and Ukrainian-speaking, into Western and Eastern, etc. Viktor Medvedchuk himself is deprived of Ukrainian citizenship and is in Russia. That is, he cannot lead any political organization in Ukraine. Therefore, they are probably talking about the creation of a Russian organization with the word “Ukraine” in the title.

A month ago, Medvedchuk already tried to signal his political ambitions: in the Russian media “Izvestia” (News), he published an article about the alleged “anatomy” of the modern military confrontation between Ukraine and Russia, as well as about the role of the West in this war. We have already analyzed it in detail.

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