Anyone who hears the word separatism in the Ukraine conflict will most likely immediately think of Crimea and Donbass. But when the peninsula, and then the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, broke away from Ukraine after Kiev’s change of power, these were not the first separatist operations around the conflict.
In fact, in January and February 2014, during the Maidan, large parts of the western half of the country had already left Kiev. But while German leading media later reported extensively and ultra-critically on the uprisings and deposition movements of Crimea and parts of eastern Ukraine, the previous de facto secession of Western Ukraine in the media mainstream did not take place.
Group of thugs storm government buildings in western Ukraine
As early as the beginning of December 2013, insurgents attacked public buildings not only in Kiev but also in several western Ukrainian cities, and partially brought them under their control. Another much larger wave of storms occurred at the end of January 2014, when nine of the ten oblasts west of Kiev forcibly occupied the central administrative buildings and governor’s seats.
Hooligans and right-wing radicals attacked the numerically inferior policemen who tried to protect the buildings. Videos from southwestern Ukrainian Chernivzi on January 24, 2014 or From Vinnytsya on January 25, and many more prove the defensive struggles.
This map from the Ukraine analyses of the University of Bremen, issue No. 126, page 12, shows where regional administrations were stormed until 27 January.
After the violent conquest, political steps followed. The governors of the Oblast were forced to resign by insurgents , such as Alexander Bashkalenko in Luzk, who was beaten up on February 19, poured with cold water and chained on a stage. As soon as the governors were disempowered, the Maidan parties, which dominate the western part of Ukraine, proclaimed new political institutions such as “People’s Councils” and rejected any further legislative competence of the national parliament and the elected leadership.
Self-proclaimed civic forces took over the police’s monopoly on violence. Barracks and border crossings were blocked, and some of the judiciary and administration stopped work. For example, the mayor of Lviv declared on 22 January 2014 that no one in his city would implement the legislative changes adopted six days earlier in Kiev.
Western Ukrainians ban ruling party
After the Maidan had already arbitrarily proclaimed an alternative national parliament and a transitional government, the regional parliaments of Lviv, Volhynia and Ternopils recognized these institutions. The driving force in the parliaments was again the far-right Swoboda. On 26 January 2014, the regional parliaments in Ivano-Frankivsk, Chmelnizky, Poltava and Ternopil even banned the ruling Party of Regions and the Communist Party of Ukraine. A very reportable process, one should think. What would the media do if four state parliaments in Germany declared the CDU an illegal organisation overnight?
In February 2014, there were numerous other storms, which now concerned police stations, military weapons depots and facilities of the domestic intelligence service SBU. According to the then SBU chief Alexander Jakimenko, the insurgents are said to have brought around 1,500 rifles and 100,000 rounds of ammunition under their control. On February 19, 2014, the “National Parliament” in Lviv even proclaimed autonomy and insurgents placed anti-tank guns on the streets.
For the German media, however, both these coordinated waves of attacks and the subsequent takeovers and secessionist tendencies were, at best, marginal notes. What was the reason for this? Were the western Ukrainian places too unimportant? Hard to believe, because on the one hand the loss of Kiev took place nationwide. An entire half of the country was affected. On the other hand, months later, ARD was not too bad to report in the main news about the occupation of a police station in the eastern Ukrainian provincial city of Horlivka. But the stormers were not “Maidan revolutionaries”, but eastern Ukrainian insurgents.
“While names such as ‘pro-Russian mob’ made it into the news broadcasts, ‘pro-European’ or ‘pro-Ukrainian mobs’ did not happen,” criticises media scientist Verena Bläser.
How different the treatment of the insurgents in the west and east of the country was can be seen when one compares the very rare contributions to the situation in western Ukraine in their tone with the later reporting from eastern Ukraine:
While Golineh Atai in this Tagesschau report the violence “pro-Russian separatists” — not “eastern Ukrainian insurgents”! — months earlier, the West Ukrainian actors did not focus on their violence, but above all on their fear of a counter-attack or their anger at Yanukovych.
According to German media, “self-appointed mayors” and separatist mobs “destabilized” Crimea and eastern Ukraine, “guaranteed” the “self-defense force” in western Ukraine for calm and order.
Coup turns into revolution
From 18 to 22 February 2014, the Maidan conflict escalated completely. The situation turned completely. Several highly explosive events suggest that an illegal change of power has taken place in recent days, a coup in Ukraine.
There have been heavy street battles, with dozens of deaths starting on February 18. On 20 February, a massacre of maid fighters and harmless helpers as well as policemen, which is still largely unknown to the unknown. An agreement , negotiated under European pressure on 21 February 2014 , was broken by the Maidan revolutionaries.
After all, the incumbent president was unconstitutionally disempowered, the country’s highest court was dissolved illegally, and former Prime Minister Asarov was assassinated. However, all these aspects either did not appear at all in German reporting or only embedded in the usual good-and-evil narrative.
Snipers firing from ZDF room? Not so important!
To this day, it remains highly questionable why the public broadcasters did not report either on 20 February or on the following days that Maidan fighters had also fired from a ZDF hotel room.
The target of the snipers was precisely the death zone on Institutska Street, where about 30 Maidan fighters were shot. It remains unclear who exactly the gunmen fired at the hotel, whether police or their own people. In any case, the ZDF team did not even try to ask. “The press should not be dragged in,” correspondent Britta Hilpert said at the time. And “the press” stuck to it.
“One can only marvel that there was no twitching of the will to research by the journalists when shooters showed up and fired. Where to go? Who was that? The famous W-questions. It’s wrong not to feel this impulse,” criticizes media scientist Sabine Schiffer when asked.
“The omission of what does not fit into the frame cannot be explained with unconscious reflex — these are active decisions and which mean that one submits to a narrative that one has accepted as right. This is worrying.”
The perpetrator was immediately identified
Leading media did not question who was responsible for the mass killings at this crucial stage. Again they took over the narrative of the Maid leaders: Yanukovych was it! Spiegel author Benjamin Bidder, for example, wrote that the president had “hunted” SBU snipers on demonstrators.
Not a single one of the correspondents informed the audience at even one of the numerous live broadcasts what had happened in the ZDF room. Are these still “No News” or “Fake News”?
Only two weeks later, ZDF showed a few seconds of the explosive footage in a broadcast. Correspondent Britta Hilpert gives the impression that she does not understand in the slightest the explosiveness of these images.
Further footage shows that there were more Maidan fighters armed with rifles at the Hotel Ukraina. Once again, the BBC argued that reports of this did not have to be taboo for Western broadcasters. Weeks later, even a team from the ARD Monitor editorial team researched the case. Result: Death shooters shot Maidan fighters in the back from the Hotel Ukraina.
But that remained the theme. The Monitor post remained the exception. The study of the massacre by the Canadian-Ukrainian political scientist Ivan Katchanovski was completely ignored by the mainstream.
Directly addressed to the gunmen in the hotel, ARD correspondents still react with high intoxicatingness and with a blatant denial of reality. Maidan trailerased as a death shooter? No news.
Legal, illegal, shitgal
When the mass murder took place, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, his Polish counterpart Radoslaw Sikorski and the then German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier had just arrived in Kiev.
In negotiations with the state and opposition, they reached an agreement to resolve the conflict on 21 February 2014. However, this was not respected by the Maidan politicians. As the police left, the Maidan Army remained on the scene armed. The last hope for a peaceful outcome had died. For German media: No News.
The radicalized Maidan, including the right-wing sector and armed groups around Volodymyr Parasiuk, continued to demand Yanukovych’s resignation and threatened to storm the now unguarded presidential seat. Viktor Yanukovych fled to Kharkiv and was removed from office in the Ukrainian parliament the following day.
The fact that not a single step of the deposition procedure prescribed by the Constitution was observed was not worth reporting for the local mainstream at that time. Only weeks later there were interviews with experts on the legality of the Crimean secession. The lawyers also casually confirmed the illegal removal.
The media was even less interested in the fact that the vote not only missed the three-quarters majority needed to remove it, but was also manipulated. There were manipulations in at least two respects: on the one hand, pro-Yanukovych parliamentarians were intimidated by Maidan fighters in front of the Rada, and some were also beaten up.
On the other hand, many parliamentarians voted twice. According to the verkhovna Rada minutes, only 248 Members were present in Parliament that day. Nevertheless, 328 votes were cast at the electronic voting desks.
A case for Amnesty International
During the Maidan, German media were repeatedly outraged by human rights violations by the Ukrainian police. Massive human rights violations by the Maidan fighters against policemen or political opponents, on the other hand, have not been scandalized.
For example, on February 20, 2014, armed insurgents south of Kiev stopped several buses carrying Yanukovych supporters on their way home to Crimea from anti-Maidan demonstrations. The Maidan fighters forced the occupants to disembark, beat them up, demolished the buses and set fire to at least two of the vehicles. They humiliated and threatened the passengers, poured petrol on them, forced them to pick up shards of glass with their hands and vowed never to come to Kiev again. Actually a case for Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
Requests to Amnesty International were answered evasively, while Human Rights Watch did not even respond. But this organisation is just a reflection of Western opinion and there must be no disruption.
In Russia, the incident is known as the “Pogrom of Korsun”. While the German media mainstream repeatedly emphasized that the Maidan is fighting for human rights, democracy, tolerance and other “European values”, the pictures from Korsun show a completely different way of dealing with political opponents from his own own country. Country. In Germany, the incident was: “No News”. In Austria, after all, the journalist Jutta Sommerbauer played down the event in the newspaper “Die Presse” as a Russian myth.
But it is not only Sommerbauer himself who writes that the incident actually took place. But this also comes from footage, from newspaper reports from Ukrainian media such as Korrespondent.net or bigmir.net, both belonging to Petro Poroshenko’s media empire, and from statements by regional politician Vitali Illyashenko of the Klitschko party Udar out.
Their reports mention ‘Tituschki’ — that is, thugs — and Berkut policemen who would have sat on the buses and were disarmed by the Maidan’s ‘self-defense units’. Ukrainian media confirm that two buses burned out and that a total of eleven buses were hit. Bigmir.net speaks of a “people’s court for Tituschki” and that among the Maidan fighters there were also hunters with firearms. They also point to YouTube videos of the right-wing sector as sources.
Were there fatalities?
Numerous eyewitnesses among the Korsun victims also say that the Maidan fighters killed several of the passengers with knives, truncheons and firearms. A Russian-language documentary mentions seven deaths.
It is not verifiable from the available material whether there were actual deaths in the incident. At least none of them can be seen on the video footage. Neither Amnesty International nor Human Rights Watch responded to specific questions about the deaths.
German mainstream journalists have not investigated the allegations either, they have not even reported on the incident. During the Maidan, however, they had repeatedly set the mood against “herangekarrte counter-demonstrators”, although the majority of the Maidan demonstrators were also brought to Kiev by bus from other parts of the country.
During the Maidan, German media not only misreported or completely ignored some of the events — no, they did not ask many fundamental questions that interested observers were quite concerned about. For example, who actually financed this three-month continuous protest in sub-zero temperatures?
Or: How did it happen that in the first four days of Maidan, Spilno.TV, Espreso.TV and Hromdaske.TV started three “citizen broadcasters” financed from western countries, who reported on the protests around the clock?
Likewise, the mainstream made no significant attempts to capture Ukrainian voices outside the Maidan. Thus, German media users were given the false impression that the vast majority of the population in Ukraine was behind the uprising. Indeed, the mood in the country was divided, as this December poll in Ukraine showed:
The English-language Kiyv Post wrote at the end of 2013: “Half of Ukrainians do not support euromaidan”. But the Maidan opponents were rarely seen in the German media. The votes of the two political camps were sharply distorted.
At the University of Leipzig, media scientist Anna Mundt evaluated the number and length of the O-tones that pro-Maidan actors and Maidan opponents received in public evening news. Result: Maidan supporters received more than four times as much votes as their opponents in Tagesschau" and “Heute”.
“Five Years “Continue Like this!”
That should be enough. In two parts, the German media mainstream’s failures and blind spots on the subject of Maidan were highlighted. And that was far from all. Today, just over five years after the events in Ukraine, it is clear that the established media have not corrected most of these failures, but continue to write diligently about the myth of Maidan.
It is clear that at that time it was not a mistake that resulted from pure ignorance, sloppiness and too little research time. No, the media failure was intentional. The reasons for this may be manifold. But the diagnosis is clear.
Everyone who has eyes can see it. Many media users recognized the hypocrisy, the double standards and the information gaps during the Maidan. The great “crisis of confidence” that continues to this day began right there. And even if the media continue to create legends for another five years, they will hardly deceive anyone. Just yourself.
For sources see the original post