Written by Maksym Kyiak, co-founder of Global Ukrainians
It is well-known that a lie, repeated many times, becomes a half-truth. These famous words have become rule during last few years. For example, if you continually repeat that the driver weighing 140 kilos is a foreign terrorist and saboteur, the likelihood is high that someone will believe you.
The recent story about the group of individuals from Ukraine who decided to “prepare terrorist acts” in Crimea is reminiscent of not even cheap science fiction, but of some low grade Russian TV action series. It looks like the Kremlin’s old myth about the cruel Ukrainian tormentors is about to be revived again. Who else is to be blamed if not them for the social and economic problems and for the reduction in the levels of support in your country? According to the Levada Centre, in comparison with the previous year, the level of support for Putin has decreased by 10%.
The timing for the launch of this fairy tale about Ukrainian soldiers is almost perfect. The world is busy with the Olympics in Rio, the USA with its presidential elections. At the same time, the European Union is weakened after Brexit, while Russia has implemented an effective foreign policy during the last few months. Moreover, in two weeks Ukrainians will celebrate the 25th anniversary of their country’s independence, which has always been questioned by the Kremlin.
Read more: Let It Go
Modern Russia customarily creates an external enemy on the eve of their elections. Russian parliamentary elections will take place this September. Accusing Ukrainian authorities of “terrorist practices” will serve as a good reason for the rapidly increasing militarization of Crimea, as well as provide an explanation for the failure of the tourist season there. Besides, it might be used as a tool to repudiate the Normandy format and to blame Ukraine for not implementing the Minsk agreements. According to some sources, Russian Federation authorities are even thinking about breaking off diplomatic relations with Ukraine, although it is difficult to break off anything which de facto has not existed for more than two years. Branding Ukraine as a terrorist country is part of a plan to discredit Ukraine and reduce its support in the West. This sounds very cynical, taking into account that fact that the world is suffering from so much terror.
August is probably the maddest month for the Kremlin. In August 1999 the second Chechen war started, which led Putin to power. The Russian-Georgian war took place during the Olympiad in Beijing in August 2008. And in August 2014 the battle near Ilovaisk in Donbas between Russian and Ukrainian troops has led to hundreds of casualties.