Ukrainian NGO framed as a kill-list by Russian propaganda


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Ukrainian NGO framed as a kill-list by Russian propaganda

In the aftermath of Tucker Carlson’s recent interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin, controversial American conspiracy theorist and staunch Trump supporter Alex Jones has stirred the pot with unsubstantiated allegations. Jones claimed in a tweet that Carlson has found himself on a Ukrainian “kill list” Myrotvorets. Later, this narrative was amplified by large MAGA accounts.  

This article by Propastop examines the accusations against Myrotvorets, delving into how the organization is portrayed in Russian propaganda and exploring additional information available about Myrotvorets.

What is Mirotvorets, and how does Russian propaganda portray it?

Established in 2014 in the aftermath of the annexation of Crimea and the Russian invasion of Donbas, the “Myrotvorets” (Peacemaker) Center in Ukraine is led by a group of independent scientists, journalists, and specialists. This non-governmental organization is dedicated to supporting executive authorities in promoting peace by identifying and addressing “separatist and terrorist activities” on Ukrainian soil.

The site states that using publicly accessible materials from various sources, such as print, social networks, web publications, and television, the Myrotvorets Center conducts ongoing scientific research. It supports the use of its information by key entities like the Security Council, Ministry of Internal Affairs, State Border Guard Service, and Armed Forces of Ukraine for operational and search activities. In 2022, its founder, George Tuka, denied that the project is managed by the SSU or that it receives state funding. While lacking official recognition, the website is routinely referenced at checkpoints for the integration of government information systems. Tuka asserts that since the site’s inception, it has played a pivotal role in the apprehension of 1,000 individuals. According to him, this includes numerous collaborators and individuals associated with the Federal Security Service who would otherwise remain absent from official government databases.

After the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, the website launched the “SeaKrime” initiative to monitor the theft and resale of Ukrainian grain, particularly through the Sevastopol port. The initiative successfully traced 200,000 tons of stolen wheat from Russian-occupied territories between March and April 2022. Using SeaKrime data, investigations by France Info and Le Monde identified some of the stolen grain in Syria after a ship was denied entry to Egypt.

Russian TASS has labeled Myrotvorets as 

“Ukraine’s extremist website controlled by the West.” 

These assertions once again reject Ukraine’s autonomy and suggest a denial of the country’s ability to set its own agenda. Such statements underscore the ongoing narrative that attempts to diminish Ukraine’s sovereignty by attributing its actions to external influences, particularly those from the West. 

Russian political analyst Alexey Martynov, Director of the Institute of Modern States, believes that 

“Myrotvorets” is a place for settling scores with individuals who are unfavorable to the Ukrainian regime. Inclusion in the database often poses a threat to one’s life, as it serves as an implicit guide for various nationalist-minded Ukrainians to take action.

The Russian Foundation to Battle Injustice, led by Mira Terada, accuses Myrotvorets of engaging in blackmail, kidnapping, and orchestrating assassinations of individuals targeted by the ‘Kyiv regime.’ The foundation claims that Myrotvorets provides a detailed scheme for executing attacks but offers no supporting evidence.

However, Terada, also known as Russian national Oksana Vovk, has a controversial past, including previous incarceration in the United States on money laundering charges. She made a deal with prosecutors to avoid drug-related charges. Terada, identified as the personal propagandist for Prigozhin, heads the self-proclaimed ‘Foundation to Battle Injustice,’ established by the former leader of the Wagner Group.

How is Tucker Carlson listed on Myrotvorets? 

The website features a comprehensive classifier comprising 30 entries, commencing with an individual labelled as a betrayer of the country and concluding with a designation for someone who has experienced psychological violence and has been exposed to Russian terrorist propaganda.

Tucker Carlson has the following classifications:

  • Collaborator of Russian occupiers and terrorists.
  • Anti-Ukrainian propagandist.
  • War propaganda. Public support for Russian aggression and the killing of Ukrainian citizens.
  • Attempt against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
  • Participation in anti-Ukrainian propaganda events organized by Russia (aggressor country) against Ukraine.
  • Involvement in acts of humanitarian aggression against Ukraine.

Contrary to Alex Jones’ assertions and certain Russian news sites, Tucker Carlson was not included in the Myrotvorets database following the interview with Putin. The record dates back to an earlier entry on June 8, 2023, as indicated on his card. 

The disclaimer on the website’s About page explicitly states that it refrains from advocating violence and emphasizes that

“The Peacemaker Center conducts its operations in strict adherence to the prevailing laws of Ukraine and international legal agreements ratified by our country.”

Major Russian media outlets concurrently cover the fact that Tucker Carlson was added to Myrotvorets, although this occurred months ago.

Contrary to the assertions, the listing on the site does not contain any incitement to violence, revenge, or murder. Instead, it explicitly urges authorities to investigate the individuals in question. The disclaimer clarifies, 

“The Peacemaker Center requests law enforcement agencies to view this publication on the website as a notification highlighting this citizen’s intentional actions against Ukraine’s national security, peace, global security, international law, and order, as well as other offenses.”

Referring to Myrotvorets as a “kill list” is not only misleading but also serves various propaganda objectives, including depicting Ukraine as a totalitarian state.

Aivo Peterson on Myrotvorets list

On March 1, 2023, Aivo Peterson, an Estonian national and the leader of the Koos movement was included in the list with the following classification:

  • Attempt on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
  • Collaborator with terrorists and Russian occupiers.
  • Deliberate violation of Ukraine’s state border to infiltrate the territory of Ukraine in Donbas, occupied by Russian-backed terrorist formations. Collaboration with pro-Russian terrorist organizations.
  • Participation in propaganda activities against Ukraine by Russia (the aggressor country).
  • Participation in propaganda activities against Estonia by Russia (the aggressor country). 

The listing is a result of Aivo Peterson’s activities on February 25th, during which he conducted a livestream against the backdrop of a Donetsk city sign and from Mariupol. Presently, both cities are under Russian occupation, and obtaining access, even for a journalist, requires special permission from the occupying authorities. Additionally, Aivo Peterson had previously appeared as a guest on Solovyov LIVE.

On March 10, 2023, Aivo Peterson was apprehended on suspicion of establishing connections that were deemed detrimental to the Republic of Estonia.

What is Behind Russia’s Narrative on Myrotvorets?

By framing Myrotvorets as a tool for political persecution, a “kill list” and the Ukrainian state as an oppressive regime, Russia aims to undermine the credibility of Ukraine’s government. This narrative suggests that Ukraine is not a democratic state that respects human rights and the rule of law, but rather an authoritarian entity that suppresses dissent. The portrayal of Ukraine as a dictatorship that engages in extrajudicial measures against its citizens could be an attempt to sway international opinion against Ukraine. This narrative seeks to create skepticism among the global community, potentially eroding support for Ukraine in its geopolitical struggles, especially if there are concerns about human rights abuses. By focusing on alleged human rights abuses in Ukraine, Russia may be attempting to divert attention from its actions or policies. 

This framing aligns with broader Russian efforts to diminish Ukraine’s sovereignty and present it as a pawn in the geopolitical struggles involving Western powers.

The images used are screenshots from the referenced pages.

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