Michael Barry, Ph.D., is a professor of economics and law at Mount St. Mary's University. He just returned from Moscow, Russia, after presenting research at an economic conference on Ukraine, and lecturing at Moscow State University and the Russian School of Economics. Dr. Barry shared his thoughts as he watched the crisis in Ukraine and Russia unfold.
Like you, I am following the events in Ukraine with interest. I read the online versions of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, The Frederick News Post, and other papers. I see the same news most Americans are probably reading, and I am saddened by the Russian incursion into an independent neighbor. I believe it is a violation of international law.
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-- ("The USA is to Blame for the Uprising in Ukraine!" -- Nezavisimaya Gazeta, March 2, 2014)
Because U.S. news outlets are available to everyone, I thought I'd share some headlines and perspective from the Russian media. As most might suspect, Russia presents the news from a very different lens - unilaterally claiming Ukraine is the victim of a U.S.-sponsored insurrection, and in need of a Russian rescue. Here are some headlines and quotes I translated from Russian news outlets such as Pravda, Izvestia, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Moskovski Komsomolets, Channel 1 TV, and other sources:
- "The U.S. is the cause of the Ukraine crisis, and is intent on pushing Ukraine to a revolt."
- "The US is Preparing a War Against Russia"
- "The Protests in Kiev Were Financed by American Agents"
- "American CIA-Sponsored Revolutions: Iran 1953, Guatemala 1954, Vietnam 1963, Greece 1967, Chile 1973. Is Ukraine Next?"
- "The U.S. plan is the destabilization of Russia and the negation of Putin's successful diplomacy in preventing American military attacks against Syria and Iran."
- "The American mass media is a ministry of propaganda, controlling the government and corporations. It helps Washington drag Russia through the mud. The American media shows what's happening in Russia as if it were a swirling flow of shameful, unprofessional, and politically provocative events."
- "The Secret Negotiations of the US over Ukraine."
- "Ukraine Threatens Russia with a Nuclear Bomb"
- "Ukraine Liberals and Fascists Demand an Attack on Russia"
- "The Crimea wants its freedom. It wants independence and association with Mother Russia."
"Russia must send military troops to the Crimea. Not to fight, but to scare off the scoundrels who have already spilled Ukrainian blood. Russia must protect the Ukrainians and prevent further bloodshed."
Certainly not all Russians support their government's version of events in Ukraine, especially the younger, educated class in large cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg. But because the government owns or controls all of the major TV channels, and much of mass media, this is the perspective most Russians are hearing.
The newspapers Pravda and Izvestia are translated as "Truth" and "News," respectively. However, Russians also remember the old Soviet saying: "there is no Pravda in Izvestia, and no Izvestia in Pravda."