Supporting Ukraine, Canada is getting visible for the Russian audience
More than a week has passed since a ten-minute-long TV report on a Ukrainian lobby in Canada was put on the air on TV channel Russia 1 on January 13, 2019, but it is still the subject of wide speculation in Canada and Ukraine.
CBC responded on the Russian report with their own two-minute-long analysis on January 15. The Canadian broadcaster defined it as a propaganda material prepared by a well-known journalist Dmitry Kiselev who, in turn, appears to be the only Russian journalist sanctioned by Canada in accordance with the Magnitsky Act. However, the logic and the main facts enlisted in Kiselev’s story were presented on CBC where the entire picture was framed as a Moscow allegation that “Nazi-loving Ukrainians are running Canada’s government and shaping anti-Russian policies.”
“Now with Ukrainian elections just over the corner, the Kremlin’s propaganda machine is maybe turning its focus to Ukraine’s strongest allies,” concludes CBC journalist Chris Brown.
The next day, in answer to the above-mentioned CBC segment, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress CEO Ihor Michalchyshyn issued a statement, depicting the CBC report like the one echoing Moscow disinformation campaign against Canada and Ukrainian Canadians. According to him, the fact that Canada remains one of Ukraine’s strongest allies is perceived by the Kremlin as a threat, and Russia will continue to attack countries supporting Ukraine. Thus, the Congress called the Canadian Government to check their strategies on dealing with a possible Russian interference in the upcoming federal election campaign in Canada.
On January 22, 2019, a Ukrainian project StopFake published their comment on the original Russian broadcast, stating that not Canada but Ukraine was aimed at Kiselev’s propaganda. As reported by the portal, the segment was a part of Russian government’s internal disinformation policy directed at Russians within the country to justify “military aggression” against Ukraine; to blame Russian critics in irrational “Russophobia” and escalate anti-Ukrainian rhetoric. This analysis also reveals one of the techniques widely used by Russian media to back up their line, i.e. expert opinion or popular cry. In this particular news piece, Irina Bronnikova who was presented as just a Russian resident of Toronto turned out to be a director of the Russian Congress of Canada – a group described by CBC as a very pro-Putin.