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The Americans in the Ukraine

From RuNet Echo, a Global Voices project to interpret the Russian language internet:

"Tensions are high in eastern Ukraine, where the first bullets are flying in what could become a major armed conflict. The violence might be only starting, but an information war between Russia and the West has raged for months now. Clearly frustrated with Moscow’s actions in eastern Ukraine, the US State Department openly denounced Russian propaganda yesterday, April 13, 2014, listing ten “false claims about Ukraine” by the Kremlin. The American government published a similar list last month, on March 4, criticizing Russian claims about Crimea.

The biggest audience for “the Russian propaganda machine,” as the State Department calls it, is undoubtedly Russia's own population. US officials showed little interest in appealing to Russian speakers, however, publishing both lists in English only. There appears to be no official Russian translation of the press release, though several media outlets have summarized the text in Russian and Ukrainian. The US Russian embassy’s official Twitter account, which has over 21 thousand followers, did post a link to the “ten false claims,” though just 15 people retweeted it.

Unsurprisingly, given the document’s unavailability in Russian, the State Department’s myth-busting announcement got little reaction from Russians. While Russian newspapers’ summaries about the US press release have attracted some reposts on Twitter and other online networks, most original feedback from Russian bloggers is decidedly negative. Many objections focus on the State Department’s implication that “Russian agents” are active in Ukraine. In what has become a familiar practice in the dispute about combatants’ origins, bloggers endlessly dissect photographs of the armed men in Ukrainian cities, debating whether someone’s rifle, vest, helmet, or who-knows-what-else reveals his true identity.


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