Monday, March 9, 2015

“Johanna Granville’s Presentation ‘Maidan and Beyond: The Media Blackout in Ukraine’” | The Vineyard of the Saker

by James L. Coffin, Ph.D.

The lack of any real debate in the Western media on Ukraine has irked me ever since the protests on Kiev’s Independence Square or Maidan Nezalezhnosti broke out in November 2013. The anti-Russian bias is so prevalent that perhaps average readers no longer detect it. In this post I would like to report on a very interesting presentation I heard and the disturbingly biased coverage of it in a Bulgarian student newspaper, which points to an alarming lack of critical thinking skills in today’s young adult population.

Media Blackout in Ukraine

Given the deafening drumbeat of condemnation of Russia, and specifically Putin, I found Johanna Granville’s multimedia presentations on November 10 (“Ukraine: Another Yugoslavia?”) and especially November 19 (“Beyond Maidan: The Media Blackout in Ukraine”) at the American University in Bulgaria (AUBG) both refreshing and informative. While much of the information is already familiar to members of the Vineyard of the Saker community, the presentation invites analysis of the negative trend of repeated false flags in 2014 ever since the “Euromaidan revolution,” which so many uninformed citizens gullibly championed.

Granville is the author of numerous scholarly articles, a book (The First Domino: International Decision Making During the Hungarian Crisis of 1956), and is the winner of two Fulbright lectureships in Russia and Hungary (see her website here: She was conducting research in Ukraine for her second book when the Maidan revolts began. After delighting the audience on November 19 with a three-minute introduction in Bulgarian, paying tribute to AUBG founding father John Dimitri Panitza, Dr. Granville noted the decline in press freedom around the world today. According to the Reporters Without Borders’ press freedom index for 2014, the United States ranks 46th, Ukraine 127th, and the Russian Federation 148th. (She cautioned that the Reporters Without Borders organization is itself supported by the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy). All too often “freedom of information is sacrificed in the name of national security,” she stated. “If you get nothing else out of my presentation, remember this: we must not swallow uncritically anything we read in any one country’s newspapers,” she said. “To get the truth these days, a thinking person must dig for real facts and evidence.” Dr. Granville, who was AUBG’s first Panitza Memorial Professor of Communist Studies, selected three events in 2014 by which to illustrate the Ukrainian media’s biased coverage: the snipers’ killings at Kiev’s Maidan (February 20), the Odessa massacre (May 2), and the shootdown of the Malaysian airline (July 17).

Hired to teach “East European History in the Twentieth Century,” which covered the period of Soviet communist domination over the “satellite” countries, Granville cannot be described as a Russophile. She is simply a diligent, impartial researcher. She prefaced her remarks by stating that her essay was exploratory and intended to encourage debate. Her sources included independently funded blogs by investigative journalists and analysts not subject to government or corporate censorship (like Vineyard of the Saker). When citing from the Russian press, she corroborated her findings with other independent sources.

Snipers’ Massacre on Maidan

We have heard it repeatedly: that former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych ordered Berkut anti-riot police to open fire on unarmed protesters, and that “Russian agents” participated in the killings. In his speech to the U.S. Congress on September 18, 2014, current Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko repeated this line, adding that the overthrow of the Yanukovych government resulted from mass peaceful protests against police violence. Granville presented some arguments that make me question this standard version.

First, take the Kiev regime’s cover-up and use of scapegoats. All recordings of live TV and internet broadcasts of the snipers’ massacre have been erased from Ukrainian websites. The results of ballistic, weapons, and medical examinations were declared classified. Even trees on Maidan with bullet holes were cut down. In her Power Point presentation, Granville showed photos of Dmytro Sadovnyk, the Berkut commander whom the Ukrainian Prosecutor General accused of killing 39 protesters at Maidan on February 20. There’s just one problem: Sadovnyk can’t shoot a gun very well. His right hand was blown off by a grenade six years earlier.

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