AFP propaganda on Donetsk

I came across this video on YouTube by accident. Of course, not in fact by accident. Google has routines which determine which videos to show me. They know I am located in Russia. Perhaps it is not a coincidence that they should be feeding me Western media propaganda on Donbass just at this time when there is a crisis between Russia and the West over Donbass. (At the time of Navalny’s return to Russia in January 2021 they fed me a lot of material in support of Navalny).

This piece is by AFP. AFP is part owned by the French state. Oh. “State media”. (Of course they never tell people that when they use AFP content in the Western media*).

The piece is titled “Ukraine: Donetsk residents have their say on US-Russia talks”. 4 people are interviewed. One expresses a thoughtful observation that the talks have significance for peace in Europe. The second, a middle-aged man, says that it is time for Donbass to stop sitting on the fence and choose. He hopes they choose to reunify with Ukraine. Then there are two young people who express typical young person views – they would like the conflict to end so they can get on with their lives and do normal things like walk in the park at night and travel. The young woman suggests that travel would become possible if they can either be recognised “as part of a country”, (she doesn’t say which country), or failing that as an “independent republic”. It seems that her main concern is to be able to travel and she doesn’t really mind how the political problem is resolved.

So – the only person who actually expresses a definite positive political view is for “reunification” with Ukraine. Uncritical viewers watching this piece will therefore be left with the impression that the mood in Donetsk is tired of war and if anything looking to ‘reunify’ with Ukraine (just possibly be independent).

I very much doubt this is representative of the mood in Donetsk. The implication is that the mood is tired of war and if anything would prefer to “reunify” with Ukraine (outlying view – be independent). My impression is that a lot of people in the contested regions want to join Russia. (I have one friend from the region; this is what she wants. I have seen documentaries in which people express a desire to join Russia; I’m satisfied not under duress. Many citizens of the LNR and DNR have taken up the offer from Russia and now hold Russian passports). [1]

My guess is that this AFP (French state media) clip is artfully produced to create an impression. They are not stupid enough to put up 4 people who all say they want to “reunify” with Ukraine. They put up different views – including one who mentions the possibility of being an “independent republic” – as a second choice. But absent entirely is anyone who openly supports linking Donbass with Russia.

This looks to me like very artful propaganda. If it was Russia it would be called “misinformation”.

* To avoid misunderstanding of course the point about ‘state media’ is itself a smokescreen. The Western media is mostly owned by free-flowing finance capital and sings to its tune. Not being ‘state media’ does not mean ‘independent media’.



Author: justinwyllie

EFL Teacher and Photographer