Russia organized an event at the UN to blame Ukraine and the West for the ongoing conflict.
On September 9, in the midst of the 27th session of Human Rights Council, the Russian UN Mission, the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation, and the Russian Peace Foundation held a parallel meeting on the conflict in Ukraine. This meeting specifically focused on the human rights dimension.
The meeting opened with strong patriotic sentiments from the Russian panelists. Regarding the Ukrainian refugees in Russia, Anatoly Salutsky, from the Russian Peace Foundation who moderated the panel, said he was happy to see them “coming home, which is completely understandable.” He was followed by Andrey Nikiforov, a Russian diplomat. Nikiforov focused on the peaceful measures the Russians are taking to alleviate the situation in Ukraine. He first drew attention to the deteriorating conditions of social infrastructure in the conflict zone, arguing that “humanitarian supplies from Russia have eased the situation but not enough to deal with the crisis.” He added, “the recently proposed peace plan supported by President Putin contains 7 points that will make it possible to resolve the Russo-Ukrainian conflict. In this context, it is paramount to follow the conclusion of Geneva declaration, including the language rights of the Russian-speaking minority. We continue to call upon Kiev to follow up with their end of the deal.”
In a similar vein, the panelists didn’t hold back on anti-Western, anti-US language. Andrey Nikiforov accused the western media of distorting the truth while addressing the state of the investigation on the downing of MH17. He said, “Investigations of the Malaysian airliner have not produced any results. One is getting the impression that some would want this issue to go unresolved. It was not the rebels and, certainly, the Russians are not to blame. The western media is deliberately distorting the information to advance their political agenda.”
Anatoly Salutsky, further put emphasis on the importance of information and its consequences on Russia. He said, “In the West, even less info is available. The information war is going on. This war is taking a heavy toll on the Russian press. They are actually being haunted down and being killed by the Ukrainian authorities. The other side does not wish the world to see.” Furthermore, Georgy Fedorov, a member of the Russian Civic Chamber and Citizens Control Association on the panel, emphasized the exclusivity of the information he was sharing with the meeting: pictures of civilian victims of Ukrainian anti-terrorist bombings.
Meanwhile, the meeting was not without factual irregularities. Throughout the session, the panelists expressed much concern over the neonazi and ultranationalist ideologies in Ukraine. According to Nikiforov, “hate speech is rampant. Ultranationalists and neo-Nazis…are operating freely in Ukraine.” Another panelist, Ms. Orlenko, added, “The war in the southeastern region of Ukraine is by the ultranationalists and fascists.” However, one of the questions directed at the panelists challenged this rhetoric by saying that in the recent presidential election, the ultranationalist candidate only received 2% of the votes.
A historian amongst the panel, Alexander Dyukov, compared the political turmoil in Ukraine to the massive political abuse of the Nazis and Stalin. He further cited American sociologist, Michael Mann to call attention to “the evolution of the regime” that came to power in February in Ukraine: “Michael Mann, US sociologist, said that unstable democratic regimes are more prone to persecute its political enemies than non democratic regimes. The regime in Kiev is not any more democratic and maybe even less democratic than the former Yanukovych regime.”