Maidan Community Sector, Lviv Information Digest
May 06, 2014
6 – Switzerland’s
federal prosecutor has confirmed freezing 170 million francs of assets
belonging to former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych
and people close to him.
May 6 – Security
Service of Ukraine (SSU) has warned State Security Administration that Yulia Tymoshenko’s life is in danger. Former Prime-Minister is
currently visiting Mykolaiv oblast.
May 6 – The faction of the Communist Party wasn’t
allowed to participate in a closed session of the Supreme Council of Ukraine
dedicated to the progress of anti-terrorist operation (ATO). Communist Party of
Ukraine is actively involved in the separatist revolt in Donbas.
May 6 – Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO
Allied Command Operations General Philip Breedlove said that no regular Russian
troops would enter Ukraine,
could achieve its goals through other forces by stirring up trouble. In eastern
Ukraine Russian special units are acting familiar to how they acted in Crimea before its annexation, said Breedlove.
May 6 – 250 Russian provocateurs and saboteurs have
been transferred to Ukraine
from Transnistria in the last 3 days. Separatists,
aiming to destabilize the situation in Odesa oblast,
have been arriving from Crimea, informs Dmytro Tymchuk, head of
“Information Resistance” group. Previously, the terrorists from Russia were arriving in Transnistria
under the leadership of Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation...
Ukrainian intelligence agencies are acting to neutralize these groups of
May 6 – Acting Deputy Head of Presidential
Administration Andriy Senchenko
doesn’t rule out terrorist attacks on May 9th in Ukraine. Senchenko
says that Ukrainian government is informed about the intent to smuggle large
quantities of drugs to Ukraine
from Transnistria and via borders in Lugansk and Donetsk oblasts: “More
specifically, they plan to flood our country with these drugs”.
May 6 – Terrorists are preparing to seize one of
the military units (internal troops) in Donetsk. They plan to give out
automatic weapons to local residents. A large number of weapons, dating back to
Soviet times, are located in the above-mentioned military unit. The weapons are
also being distributed in Luhansk. This has caused a
sharp increase in organized crime. Separatists are engaged in racketeering at
the roadblocks (checkpoints) in Luhansk oblast.
Maidan Community Sector, Lviv:
By annexing Crimea, Russia has carried out an act of aggression
Currently Russia is
transferring terrorist and sabotage groups to Eastern
aims to prevent legitimate presidential elections from happening. Everyday life
in Eastern Ukraine has turned into a continuous nightmare in the middle of Europe. Our country is being destroyed right before our
eyes. We therefore take the courage to inform you about current events in Ukraine. This
is just another point of view. We will do our best to remain objective.
P.S.: Please spread this appeal as much as
The readers' editor on… pro-Russia trolling below
the line on Ukraine stories
Guardian moderators, who deal with 40,000 comments
a day, believe there is an orchestrated pro-Kremlin campaign
Rally of the pro-Kremlin youth movement Nashi in Moscow, 2011. Flags show the face of Dmitry Medvedev (now Russia's prime
minister). Photograph: Yuri Kochetkov/EPA
Trolling covers a multitude of sins but a
particularly nasty strain has emerged in the midst of the armed conflict in
Ukraine, which infests comment threads on the Guardian and elsewhere, despite
the best efforts of moderators. Readers and reporters alike are concerned that
these are from those paid to troll, and to denigrate in abusive terms anyone criticising Russia
or President Vladimir Putin.
One complaint came to the readers' editor's office
on 6 March. "In the past weeks [I] have become incredibly frustrated and
disillusioned by your inability to effectively police the waves of Nashibot trolls who've been relentlessly posting pro-Putin propaganda in the comments on Ukraine v Russia
"... the quantity of
pro-Kremlin trolling on this topic … which has been documented extensively
since 2012 as a real and insidious threat to online communities of idea and
debate, has rendered commenting on these articles all but meaningless, and a
worthless exercise in futility and frustration for anyone not already being
mind-controlled by the Kremlin."
On 23 April the writer complained again: "One
need only pick a Ukraine article at random, pick any point in the comments at
random, and they will find themselves in a sea of incredibly aggressive and
hostile users (the most obvious have accounts created since February 2014 … but
there also exist those who registered with the Guardian before the high point
of the crisis) who post the most biased, inciteful
[sic] pro-Kremlin, anti-western propaganda that seems as if it's taken from a
template, so repetitive are the statements. Furthermore, these comments are
consistently capturing inordinate numbers of 'recommends', sometimes on the
order of 10 to 12 times what pro-Ukrainian comments receive."
Luke Harding, the Guardian's highly experienced
correspondent, who was expelled in 2011, is in no doubt about the nature of the
campaign and how damaging it is to debate in the threads. From Ukraine, he said: "It's a well-attested
phenomenon in Russia."
On 7 February 2012 the Guardian reported: "A
pro-Kremlin group runs a network of internet trolls, seeks to buy flattering
coverage of Vladimir Putin and hatches plans to
discredit opposition activists and media, according to private emails allegedly
hacked by a group calling itself theRussian arm of
"The group has uploaded hundreds of emails it
says are to, from and between Vasily Yakemenko, the first leader of the youth group Nashi [and] now head of the Kremlin's Federal Youth Agency,
its spokeswoman, Kristina Potupchik, and other
activists. The emails detail payments to journalists and bloggers,
the group alleges."
At the time no one from the group was prepared to
confirm or deny the veracity of the emails, which were sent between November
2010 and December 2011. Harding said that it was obvious the trolling on
Ukraine-related issues was organised, as the trolls
"are given talking points" and certain phrases were used again and
again. The complainant to the Guardian said: "They still post only
extremely biased, offensive, trolling commentary – including insulting your
correspondent, Luke Harding, whom they libel as a 'Russian hater' and mock as
One comment read: "Yes, sir. You are certainly
correct. Sometimes I wonder how many of the top people in the new rightwing
pro-Nato Guardian are
privately educated. I imagine that Russian-hater Luke Happyman
was but do get some state-educated sxcum [sic] as
well. Still, if anyone knows, please inform us before the censorious moderators
get to work again (again)."
In fairness there is no conclusive evidence about
who is behind the trolling, although Guardian moderators, who deal with 40,000
comments a day, believe there is an orchestrated campaign. Harding, who is
inured to the abuse, would simply like better systems to deal with it, as would
the moderation and community teams.
A senior moderator said: "We can look at the
suspicious tone of certain users, combined with the date they signed up, the
time they post and the subjects they post on. Zealous pro-separatist comments
in broken English claiming to be from western counties are very common, and
there's a list of tropes we've learnt to look out for. These posts may be
suspicious but it's when the content of them breaks our community standards
that we will step in.
"A larger problem on these threads is users
accusing each other of being "bots", "trolls" or "astroturfers", usually wrongly. These accusations do
break the community standards (they're essentially abusive statements) and
moderators take a hand here. We will also, obviously, act against abusive
statements at the expense of our writers, of which Luke receives a substantial
number. Those are more likely to be the reason for us taking action on these
threads. It's only when an account crosses those lines that we step in."
Here are three Ukraine-related stories and the
numbers of comments listed and removed for reasons of abuse.
: 171 comments listed, real figure: 244 (74
• http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/27/ukraine-donetsk-pro-russian-forces-seize-tv-station-parade-captives: 2,149 listed, real figure: 2,310
• http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/27/ukraine-kidnapped-observers-slavyansk-vyacheslav-ponomarev: 2,004 listed, real figure 2,263
The final word goes to Luke Harding: "It is
not Comment is free, but rather Comment is paid for."