Letters to the Editor
Piece on Russian disinformation campaign practicing what it preaches against, says letter writer
Re: “Canada is a target of Russia’s disinformation. Let’s be ready,” (The Hill Times, Jan. 30, p. 10). In this article, Alexandra Chyczij, the national president of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, misrepresents the information contained in a report on the Ukrainian Canadian diaspora broadcast by the Russian national TV channel, Russia 1, on Jan. 13, and also paints a false picture that Canada is under attack from “Russian propaganda.”
Ms. Chyzhij follows in the steps of Moscow CBC correspondent Chris Brown whose report about the Russia 1 broadcast was aired on CBC on Jan. 15. She repeats Mr. Brown’s claim that the broadcast asserted that the Canadian government is manipulated from within by “Nazi-loving Ukrainians.” In fact, there is nothing in the Russian broadcast that says this. The report does indeed mention and show several Canadian Members of Parliament who are of Ukrainian descent and proudly display it in public. But it is a fact that Ukrainian Canadians are present in Canadian politics and have a certain power and influence as lawmakers. The fact that the prime minister of Canada wears an embroidered Ukrainian shirt is an illustration of this influence.
Ms. Chyzhij suggests that the Russia 1 broadcast is part of a campaign of Russian “propaganda” designed to “muddy, obfuscate, and confuse.” In fact, all the information provided in the broadcast is truthful and can be easily fact-checked. For instance, the Ukrainians who are buried in the Ukrainian cemetery near Oakville were indeed soldiers of the 14 Waffen SS Ukrainian Division Galicia. These Ukrainians were accused of being Nazi allies, unlike millions of other Ukrainians who fought against the Nazis shoulder-to-shoulder with Russians, Belorussians, Kazakhs, Uzbeks, and other nationalities of the Soviet Union.
None of this, therefore, is, as Ms. Chyzhij claims, “disinformation.” In her article, Ms.Chyzhij references a recent report by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute (MLI) about the alleged threat from Russian “disinformation” and says that Canada needs to be “countering this insidious propaganda campaign.” Yet the MLI report contains numerous misleading claims about the RCC and other institutions and individuals, and has already twice been republished with corrections. This is decidedly not a reliable source.
In effect, Ms. Chyzhij does precisely what she accuses Russia of doing, namely spreading disinformation. The loud antiRussian rhetoric of the Ukrainian diaspora has a very negative effect on Canada’s foreign policy and thwarts effort to understand the other and engage in dialogue. It is regrettable that The Hill Times, by publishing her article, has contributed to this.
Member of the Russian Congress of Canada