‘Russian Propaganda – A Serious Challenge for Civilized World’ – Olha Skrypnyk

Russian propaganda with its calls for genocide is a serious threat that destroys the system of democracy. This was stated by Ms.Olha Skrypnyk, Chairperson of Crimean Human Rights Group board, a member of the Crimea Platform Expert Network, at the discussion panel within the framework of the first Parliamentary Summit of the Crimea Platform in Zagreb.

Ms.Skrypnyk reminded that preparations for a full-scale war of the Russian Federation against Ukraine had been also carried out in the humanitarian dimension. Therefore, since 2014, the curtailment of freedom of speech and expression of opinion has begun.

“Russia destroyed all Ukrainian media, then any uncontrolled media. The Russian authorities built a large-scale system of political persecution. The next step was to deprive Crimeans of access to information. Websites of Ukrainian news, human rights and non-governmental organizations are blocked in Crimea. Radio frequencies of Ukrainian radio are blocked, and controlled Crimean broadcasters are broadcasting on them,” the human rights activist said.

The member of the Crimea Platform Expert Network stated that the freedom of expression was immediately restricted and every year more and more restrictions came in force. After February 24, a new wave of persecution – for the anti-war position and support of Ukraine – has started backed with a new administrative article of ‘defamation of the Russian army’. The CHRG has documented at least 120 cases against the Crimeans under this article.

“Common reasons for persecution have become statements “NO WAR” or “I AM FOR PEACE” as well as single-person protests against the war. Likewise, performing the national anthem of Ukraine or pronouncing slogan “Glory to Ukraine!” (SLAVA UKRAYINI) or even listening to Ukrainian songs are grounds for persecution. It is enough to call the war a WAR for a person to be persecuted, or to talk about the crimes of the Russian army against civilians in Ukraine. All these years, the controlled media and officials have used hate speech. Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and Muslims have become the target of informational and psychological attacks by the media, which have been constantly spreading this hate speech,” Olha Skrypnyk says.

According to her, the next step was a preparation of the society to the opinion that Ukraine did not exist as National State. And then the Russian authorities started calling for genocide of Ukrainians.

‘Today, Russian journalists and public opinion leaders are not just propagandists, they are complicit in the international crime of incitement to genocide. Therefore, we call on democratic countries to support the investigation of these crimes and bring these people to justice. We suggest that human rights and media organizations join the collection of information about Russian citizens who have created content of a propagandistic nature and have called as well as are calling for the genocide of Ukrainians and the commission of international crimes, have been spreading such content, have been financing such activities. These propagandists are working now not only in Russia, but also in European countries and the USA,’ Ms.Skrypnyk says. ‘For years, they have been educating hatred for Ukrainian civilians, calling for our elimination. This is why the world now knows about the most terrible crimes against unarmed men, against women and children committed by the Russian army in Bucha, Izium, and Mariupol. The Russian propaganda that has transformed into incitement to genocide is a serious challenge for the entire civilized world today. This is a powerful weapon aimed at destroying the system of democratic values.’

The Crimea Platform is a new international consultation and coordination format initiated by Ukraine. The platform is aimed at increasing the effectiveness of the international response to the occupation of Crimea, responding to growing security threats, enhancing international pressure on the Kremlin, preventing further violations of human rights and protecting victims of the occupation regime as well as achieving the main goal of de-occupying Crimea and returning it to Ukraine peacefully.

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