Staunton, April 9 – Russia has dispatched a large number of marginal even extremist nationalists to Ukraine to whip up nationalist sentiment among ethnic Russians there, but these groups have succeeded only because of the destructive role that Russian television is playing among Russian speakers there and elsewhere, according to Nikolay Mitrokhin.
In almost every one of the former Soviet republics and formerly occupied Baltic states, there are a significant number of ethnic Russians and Russian speakers who get their news and often their views not from the media of the countries in which they live but from that of the Russian Federation.
Sometimes this leads to comic situations. When the ruble collapsed in 1998, ethnic Russians in northeastern Estonia, having watched Moscow rather than Tallinn television, assumed they had to use up as much of their money as possible before it was devalued to the point of uselessness.
Estonian television showed these ethnic Russians lining up to pay for food and other goods with the Estonian kroon, a hard currency that was in no danger of collapsing, because having watched Moscow television, they had come to the false conclusion that all currency was at risk.
But on other occasions, as Mitrokhin points out, the situation is anything but amusing. “The mass disorders in Tallinn and the current Ukrainian events demonstrate” not only “the destructive potential” of Russians sent in from the outside but of “Russian television” with its one-sided version of events (grani.ru/opinion/mitrokhin/m.227519.html