Ukraine and Russia: the perceptions and the reality (2)

What were the main objectives of Russian leader President Putin when he embarked on his support for pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine? Did they go beyond territory and aim to create - or increase - divisions between Western countries? And if so, has this strategy worked? NATO Review asks some leading security figures how they saw it.
Countries have increased their links in a smaller, globalised world. But reactions to Russia's actions in Ukraine mean that a brake has to be put on some of this interlinking. Has globalisation made it easier or more difficult to react? Has it made it impossible to punish Russia without suffering pain at home? And where next for the sanctions and counter-sanctions?
What's the difference between an annexation, a unification and an international border change? A lot, argues Dr Magnus Bjarnason. In this article, he illustrates how moves to change the map - such as in Russia's annexation of Crimea - have been carried out over recent decades. And he provides an analysis of the risks and rewards that these moves carry.
Cartoonist Rytis Daukantas provides another humorous sideways view of the latest developments in Russia and Ukraine.
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Have you ever heard of Liz Wahl? Or Sara Firth? How about Abby Martin? And what do they have to do with Russia’s information campaign in Ukraine?

The first two are journalists who resigned from the Moscow-funded Russia Today television channel. They said they could no longer work for a channel that unashamedly twisted stories to fit the Kremlin line.

Wahl resigned on air in March, stating that she could no longer be ‘part of a network that whitewashes the actions of Putin’. The channel had taken a particularly pro-Yanukovich line during the Maidan protests in Kiev, blaming protestors (or fascists as they were dubbed) for the ensuing deaths.

Firth resigned a few months later following RT’s coverage of the MH17 disaster when a civilian airplane was shot out of the sky, possibly by Russian-backed rebels. ‘I couldn’t do it anymore, we’re lying every single day,’ she said after resigning.

And what of the third name - Abby Martin? Some would say she is the star of the RT network. And in March, she finished her show by saying ‘What Russia did is wrong’ referring to events in Crimea. Within an hour, RT said she was being reassigned to cover the conflict in the Crimea. She refused to go and continued her show from the US. But one has to wonder if she would have been afforded the same leniency if she were a low profile Russian RT journalist based in Russia.

All this to say that whoever prevents opposition loses credibility. One of the finest examples of speaking truth to power in my opinion is the UK Parliament. Nobody, especially the country’s leader, is given an easy time by opposition parliamentarians.

This basic foundation of democracy was best expressed by Evelyn Beatrice Hall when she famously wrote: ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it.’ Perhaps it’s an idea that could be introduced into editorial meetings at RT?

Paul King