Spilnota Detector Media

Manipulation The UN allegedly recognized Ukrainian as a dialect of Russian

Propagandists are distributing an image on social networks that allegedly proves that the Ukrainian language is a “dialect” of Russian. In this they refer to various organizations, mentioning “UN decisions” and other “documents”. They also mention an article on the Russian Dzen platform on the same topic. However, this is manipulation.

Specialists from the StopFake project drew attention to it. They found out that an article on Dzen talks about how in 2018, People’s Deputy of Ukraine Andrii Teteruk discovered infographics on the official UN accounts on Facebook and then on Twitter that showed the development of languages. This image showed a branch with the inscription “Old Russian language”, which branched into “Russian language” and “Belarusian language”, and another branch branched off from the Russian branch - “Ukrainian language”. After the deputy addressed the UN with reproaches for anti-Ukrainian propaganda, the image was deleted from Facebook, but remained in a 2017 publication on Twitter.

However, the text of the publication did not note that the Ukrainian language is a dialect of Russian. The post informed that UNESCO had published an updated version of the atlas of endangered languages and most of the text was devoted to Russia and its language problems.

Previously, a mention of this image was found in the material of Petro Zolin on the website proza.ru dated August 26, 2008, where the author calls it a “scientific reconstruction”. However, there are many strange aspects in the image, such as the origin of the Moldovan language from French and Romanian from Spanish. Recognized historians in Russia itself consider Zolin’s ideas to be pseudoscience. Candidate of Historical Sciences Artur Chubur notes that under the guise of patriotism, which often turns into chauvinism, pseudo-historical publications and resources are actively promoted.

The hypothesis about the existence of a vast group of related languages of Europe, Asia and Africa was first put forward in 1903 by the Danish linguist Holger Pedersen. It was given a scientific form by Soviet scientists, but it is often criticized by Western linguists.

StopFake journalists did not find any “UN documents” proving that the Ukrainian language is a dialect of Russian. At the same time, UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay noted that the Russian language has been formed over the centuries, mixing various Slavic dialects, Church Slavonic and even Greek.

Propagandists spread such manipulations to justify Russia's actions and devalue Ukrainian national identity. So, she helps spread the conspiracy theory that Ukraine is not a real state.

Fake A Ukrainian woman allegedly demands that a deaf-mute taxi driver be fired “for refusing to speak Ukrainian”

Pro-Russian users spread the “news” that a taxi client in Zhytomyr was allegedly indignant because her driver did not speak to her in Ukrainian, although he is deaf and mute. As proof of this event, screenshots from the application of the taxi service in question are provided, as well as correspondence between the client and the support service in the application chat.

This information is false. It was investigated by the fact-checkers from the StopFake project. To create the fake, one of the screenshots from the site was used, where customers can leave their reviews. The fact that this is the same screenshot that the propagandists used is evidenced by the same time on the phone, phone data and the time when the client corresponded with the support service.

In addition, one of the first to spread this story was the telegram channel Digital Army of Russia, which gives the task to Russian volunteers to misinform Ukrainians or write mass complaints about Ukrainian accounts on social networks.

With this fake, Russian propaganda once again speculates on the topic of the Ukrainian language in order to sow discord among Ukrainian society. More rebuttals from the Detector Media on the topic of language can be found here.

Manipulation The language ombudsman allegedly confirmed that the Ukrainian Armed Forces shoot all Russian speakers

Propagandists spreading pro-Russian rhetoric on anonymous telegram channels and other social networks began to spread fake information that the Ukrainian language ombudsman Taras Kremin allegedly “admitted” that the Armed Forces of Ukraine were shooting at Russian-speaking citizens. They use a video with his quote, which is supposed to “confirm” such messages. After the dissemination of such information, StopFake decided to check this information. It is not true.

On November 21, Taras Kremin actually made a comment on the Ukrainian service of Radio Svoboda (Liberty), where he spoke about language problems within Ukraine. On this broadcast, the resource’s journalist spoke about the discussion that arose in Ukrainian society. According to it, one part of the population says that it does not matter what language one speaks if a person is a patriot of Ukraine, and the second part says that communicating in Ukrainian is still very important. It was these two opinions that the journalist asked the language ombudsman to comment on. To which Kremen replied that “with the beginning of a full-scale invasion, the factor of language is not only a factor of freedom, but also the security of our identity and culture, and this is a marker of “friend or foe”. According to him, soldiers from the front line have repeatedly said that where one hears the Russian language, the first reaction is a shot. Propagandists used this to make it look like they were targeting all Russian speakers, especially civilians.

However, if you look more closely at the quote, you can hear that we are talking only about identifying a person as “friend or foe” precisely on the front line. There was no talk about shooting at Russian-speaking civilians in the interview.

Propagandists spread such manipulations to strengthen their own myth about the oppression of the Russian-speaking population. They say that “protecting” this category of people is one of the goals of launching a full-scale invasion. However, it was Russia that turned the language issue into a political instrument. In addition, it attacks civilians in mostly Russian-speaking cities, which undermines the narrative of “protecting” civilians who communicate in Russian.

Message Russian is older than Ukrainian which generally comes from Polish

This thesis was spread in social networks, including in the Russian segment of social networks. The reports say that the Russian language is 400 years older than Ukrainian, which generally arose in the 16th-17th centuries under the influence of the Polish language.

This case was considered by the fact-checkers of the Myth Detector project, who explained that such a thesis is unfounded. The Ukrainian language comes from the Proto-Slavic language, which originated on the territory of Kyiv Rus. Although the development of the Ukrainian language was hampered until the 18th century, its foundations were laid a very long time ago - the East Slavic language group was formed in the 13th century after the collapse of Kyiv Rus. That is, after the collapse of Kyiv Rus, there was a division into Ukrainian, Belarusian and Russian languages. They formed about the same time.

The Polish language belongs to the West Slavic linguistic group, and Ukrainian cannot be derived from it. Of course, for some period the Ukrainian language did not have much space for development, since it was always politically dependent on others (Russia, Rzeczpospolita). Both Polish and Russian have had a significant impact on Ukrainian.

This is not the first time Russian propaganda has hinted at the “artificiality” of the Ukrainian language, which allegedly comes from Russian or Polish, or is generally a “dialect”. Thus, Moscow seeks to mentally unite Ukrainians with Russians, they say, we have a common language, traditions and customs, so everyone is almost “blood brothers and sisters”.

Fake Ukrainians created a website that “invents” the Ukrainian language

Such information was disseminated in social networks, in particular, on telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric. The reports say that the Ukrainians have created a “special website” “Slovotvir” (Word formation), where they come up with new lexemes for the Ukrainian language. The authors of the messages say that this is evidence of how Ukrainians are “inventing an artificial language”. A screenshot is added to the publication, where you can see “examples of fictitious lexemes”.

The case was investigated by the fact-checkers of the VoxCheck project, who found out that the Slovotvir (Word formation) project selects proper Ukrainian equivalents for words of foreign origin, and does not “invent” them. The project website states: “Slovotvir is a platform for searching, discussing and choosing accurate matches to borrowed words”. It allows people to find or suggest a Ukrainian approach to these words. Users can vote for the option they like or comment on certain matches.

The authors of the telegram channel chose the word “lemon”. Users have indeed picked up a few answers that can be used in place of the borrowed one: kyslyna, tsytryna, alomyi, kydra, kydro (a lemon). However, the propagandists decided that these were fictitious words and began to assert the existence of “artificial speech”.

The modern Ukrainian language has gone through a long process of formation and development, and is not artificially invented and imposed on Ukrainians. For example, the first three parts of the “Eneida” by Ivan Kotliarevskyi in 1798 were the first work written entirely in modern Ukrainian colloquial language. However, even by that time the Ukrainian language had already been formed. This made it possible to use it to write a full-fledged work.