Analysis of the News “UKRAINE DOES NOT EXIST ANYMORE! Ukrainian politician who escaped from the Nazis: I am grateful to the Russian authorities”

January  2023

As part of the Regional Initiative in Combating Disinformation “Western Balkans Anti-Disinformation Hub: Exposing Malign Influences through Watchdog Journalism”, we present you a new analysis of fake news and disinformation narratives.

UKRAINE DOES NOT EXIST ANYMORE! Ukrainian politician who escaped from the Nazis: I am grateful to the Russian authorities

The portal of the daily newspaper Alo published an interview of Ukrainian politician Viktor Medvedchuk, who spoke about the situation in Ukraine for the Russian television station Russia Today (RT). He claims that he is sure that “another Ukraine, which does not agree with the neo-Nazism policies led by Zelensky” exists, but that is Ukraine where he cannot express his opinion.

In the interview, Medvedchuk claims that today the Ukrainian people are united only in anti-Russian hysteria and “cave Russophobia”, but that there are many people living on the territory of Ukraine who have never supported the bad relations between Ukraine and Russia, “but they are afraid to speak about it publicly”.

“There are people who oppose Zelensky’s policy, it is the other Ukraine that must be heard. If people who believe in another Ukraine, could unite and say: yes, we left Ukraine, but we are Ukrainians and we want to think about the future of Ukrainians…None of these demands correspond to the status that Ukraine actually has today. It has ceased to be independent and sovereign, because since 2014 it has completely come under the foreign policy of the West, the USA and Britain. Today, it is not a country governed by the rule of law,” said Medvedchuk.

In a brief description of Medvedchuk’s biography, writes that he is one of the opponents of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky and the former president of the pro-Russian party “Opposition Platform – for Life”. The portal states that Medvedchuk spent six months in a Ukrainian prison until he was released in a prisoner exchange in September of last year. claims that he was arrested because of his views on the president and the politics of Ukraine, not mentioning his history of corruption affairs and connections with the Russian authorities. The newspaper presents this Ukrainian politician as a “victim of the Nazi regime in Ukraine”. Persons like him are often widely promoted in the Serbian media, because they fit into the narrative that Russia launched a “special military operation” in response to Nazism in Kiev. Coincidentally or not, Alo does not mention numerous corruption scandals, which is why this politician is actually a controversial figure in Ukraine.

He started his political career in the 1990s as a member of the Ukrainian parliament. At first he was a member of the Social Democratic Party of Ukraine. Throughout his career, he has been embroiled in various controversies, including allegations of corruption and ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Even before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in February 2021, he was sanctioned by the Ukrainian government for financing terrorism and supporting Russian military activities in Ukraine. The Ukrainian government found evidence that Viktor Medvedchuk was financing separatist rebels in the Donbas region, which he denied and called the government’s sanctions politically motivated. He has been accused of using his political and media influence to promote Russia’s interests in Ukraine. Evan in 2014, when Russia occupied Crimea, he strongly supported that move and stood for closer ties between the two countries. He was also a critic of Ukraine’s pro-Western policies and called for federalization of the country, which would give more power to the regions of the country.

Regarding the corruption, in 2005, he was accused of embezzling millions of dollars from the Ukrainian gas company “Naftogaz” while he was in charge. Also, in 2008, he was accused of illegal privatization of the state-owned oil refinery in Ukraine, which led the country to losses of over one billion dollars. The case was re-investigated in 2020, and Medvedchuk was also accused of using his media empire for personal gain and promotion of a political agenda. He owns several television channels and media outlets in Ukraine, which are considered to be biased reporting and promoting pro-Russian views.

Author: Sofija Popović