Debunking myths about conflict in Ukraine

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SOUTH BEND, Ind.--As the Russian-Ukraine crisis continues to develop, it’s important to know what's actual information coming legitimate sources, and what’s Russian propaganda.

Russian president Vladimir Putin holds a lot of influence through social media, which is why it’s important to debunk any misinformation that’s spreading on sites coming from him or the region.

“It’s very important for people outside of this conflict to understand what is going on, because you know sometimes people just don’t know how to react because they don’t know the situation,” Assistant Marking Professor at Dominican University Elvira Kizilova said.

Elvira Kizilova is an Assistant Marketing Professor at the Brennan School of Business at Dominican University. She was born and raised in Russia, and moved to Crimea in the Ukraine when she was 10-years-old.

In the recent days, her lessons as a professor have surrounded around not just what’s happening, but also the history between the two countries and what is myth versus fact when it comes down to what Russian President Vladimir Putin has said about Ukraine.

“One of his recent speeches in their security council on February 25th, he said it is not Ukrainians, it’s not their army, it’s just a small group of nationalists that controls Ukraine. But you know, that’s not true,” Kizilova said.

In an article called “On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians” by Putin in 2021, when asked about the countries relations, he said “Russians and Ukrainians were one people, a single whole.”

Kizilova, however, says this isn’t the case at all.

“Yes, we had a lot of Kremlinologists in history, but part of this history basically Russian, again, occupying and invading different parts of Ukraine. And another part of this is the mentality. Ukraine has had to appeal to the Red Cross to ask for assistance. They (Russia) do not have this compassion to even the soldiers fighting in Ukraine. This is a huge difference between mentalities. This is a critical difference to understand why we are not a single, a whole nation.”

Putin also stated in 2021 that the United States and Europe quote “systemically and consistently pushed Ukraine to curtail and limit economic cooperation with Russia. Step by step, Ukraine was dragged into a dangerous geopolitical game aimed at turning Ukraine into a barrier between Europe and Russia, a springboard against Russia.”

“I worked in the government and I know this very well because were trying to adapt our legislation to the European norms, and to comply with the European norms. That’s not a new thing by the way. Same thing with NATO, we’ve had this document signed in 1994, if I’m not mistaken. Another thing that he mentions, again, he’s undermining our sovereignty, it’s not west. It’s not someone else, it was our decision to move towards West, to move away from what they call the ‘Russian World’ because we are trying to develop our country according to normal, human values. Not what they are doing, which is basically pushing Russia back into the 19th century,” Kizilova said.

In another claim from Vladimir Putin, he states that Ukraine is “entirely the product of the soviet era. We know and remember well that it was shaped, for a significant part, on the lands of historical Russia. One fact is clear: Russia was robbed indeed."

“There’s no evidence to what he is saying,” Kizilova said. “If we are going back to the previous times, of course we know there are lots evidence, lots of ancient old maps kept in the libraries in France, here in the United State and in the Library of Congress, and these maps prove that Ukraine existed way before the Soviet Union.”

Putin also has said that “They (Ukrainians) began to mythologize and rewrite history, edit out everything that United us, and refer to the period when Ukraine was part of the Russian empire and the Soviet Union as an occupation."

“Russia keeps their archives in secret. They do not reveal this information, they banned the only organization which was collecting the evidence of Stalin’s oppression, and Gulag and posted this in the media. They banned this organization because they named it a foreign agent. We do not do that. We are very open and again there is a lot of historic evidence that we did not rewrite history. There is a lot of documentation that supports that,” Kizilova said.

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