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Kiev's US Embassy pushes Ukrainian propaganda outfit on 'World Press Freedom Day'

Bryan MacDonald
Bryan MacDonald
Bryan MacDonald is an Irish journalist based in Russia.
Kiev's US Embassy pushes Ukrainian propaganda outfit on 'World Press Freedom Day'
By promoting the founder of the notorious "StopFake," US diplomats in Ukraine seemed to confuse "World Press Freedom Day" with "April Fool's Day."

Yevhen Fedchenko heads the Western-sponsored "Infowars" operation, which attempts to whitewash pretty much all of Ukraine's sins as distortions amplified by "Russian disinformation." And he's become so discredited that even US/UK journalists covering Ukraine have made him a figure of fun at this point.

If the US Embassy had limited Fedchenko to describing "the difference between journalism and propaganda," it wouldn't have been a bad interview. Because, after all, perhaps a propagandist is the best person to describe the variance between the two concepts.

However, when the ditsy diplomats decided to also air the "StopFake" supremo's opinion on "freedom of speech" and "[the] principles of good journalism," they opened themselves up to ridicule.

Let's cut to the chase here. The US/UK media has been telling porkies about"StopFake" for years. The outfit's purpose isn't some gallant effort to battle "disinformation." Instead, it functions as a propaganda arm of the Ukrainian government. Initially it was focused on what Kiev perceives as its "information war" with Russia, but recently its efforts seem to be increasingly domestic-focused.

What's even more funny is how they've managed to get foreigners to pay for it, with funding coming from Hungarian billionaire George Soros, the Swedish heiress Sigrid Rausing, and the governments of Czechia and the United Kingdom.  This appears to back up the notion that there's one born every minute.

"StopFake" seems to have one basic rule. Any criticism of Ukraine's government is "misinformation," in its view – a point noted by none other than Tetiana Popova, Ukraine's former deputy minister of information policy. And, yes, that title is as Orwellian as it sounds.

The closeness between the unit and the Kiev authorities is pretty much hiding in plain sight. For instance, one-time "StopFake News"host Nina Jankowicz boasts on her LinkedIn profile about how she "advised the Spokesperson of the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs" and "liaised with foreign policy advisors across the Ukrainian government… [to] begin a rebranding campaign for Ukraine," as well as training Ukrainian diplomats. And all this was done while on a US government-funded jolly in Kiev.

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Meanwhile, another presenter, Marko Suprun, is married to Ukraine's US-born-and-raised health minister, Ulana Suprun. And he's also friendly with neo-Nazis, who according to "StopFake" don't exist in Ukraine. Instead, reports of their activities are dismissed as false "Kremlin propaganda."

Making the video efforts of both the aforementioned more bizarre is how they are focused on Russian news channels, which are banned in Ukraine, suggesting the clips are more aimed at keeping the Western cash-flow coming than anything else.

During this year's Ukrainian election campaign, "StopFake" strongly supported the present government, with Fedchenko's team openly hostile to the eventual winner, Vladimir Zelensky. At one point, Jonah Fisher of British state-broadcaster BBC, even called them out on their bias. Of course, they evaded the point by playing the "Russia card."

The exchange came after Fedchenko had shared a video which purported to show Zelensky's campaign team promoting an interview in which controversial Russian MP Natalia Poklonskaya praised the now-president elect. Poklonskaya is a toxic figure in Ukraine, given that she's a former Ukrainian citizen who, very openly, "defected" to Russia when Moscow reabsorbed Crimea in 2014. The clip was doctored and the Zelensky logo was a fabrication.

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Those of us who watch Ukraine closely know that US officials, think-tankers and activists care not a jot for the country, instead viewing it as a handy geopolitical tool to "contain" and agitate Russia. However, they usually manage to massage that truth with well-meaning rhetoric about "values" and the like. But, occasionally, the mask slips. And this is a good example.

The fact that the American embassy chose to publicly amplify Fedchenko as an expert on the "principles of good journalism" speaks volumes. And, frankly, very few people, even erstwhile cheerleaders of the 2013/14 Maidan, are buying the baloney anymore.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.