The world's main liar

The world’s main liar

Photo: / Wirestock
22 February 2022

The truth often loses the battle with lies. The truth is more complicated, it cannot be turned to your advantage. The truth is not interesting. But we believe that the truth will win the wars. Maybe not quickly, maybe not now. And certainly not alone. But it will get the upper hand.

On February 21, 2022, Putin made a statement justifying Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine. On February 21 and now, on February 22, Russian troops are occupying parts of Ukraine.

We will defend ourselves by any means necessary. And one of them is the truth.

This article is another injection of truth. Another nail in the coffin of Russian lies. And Russia.

All quotes from Putin:

“According to experts’ estimates, confirmed by simple calculations of prices for our energy commodities, preferential loans, economic and trade preferences that Russia provided to Ukraine, the total benefits for Ukraine’s budget from 1991 to 2013 amounted to about USD 250 billion.”

Putin is lying.

Ukraine lost between $33 billion and $46 billion in energy trade and “preferences” with Russia alone.

In 2009, Ukraine and Russia signed gas purchase, sale, and transit agreements.

The purchase contract included the take-or-pay provision – since 2010, Ukraine has had to buy 52 billion cubic meters or more of gas from Russia. If it purchased less than that, at least 41.6 billion cubic meters of gas was still paid for annually. Moreover, re-export of this gas was banned, and the base price was set at $450.

Due to such “preferences” since 2010, Ukraine had paid much more for gas than Europe and overpaid Gazprom for gas supplies from USD 16.8 billion to  USD 28.8 billion.

Moreover, contract rates contained in the gas transit agreement were too low, and Ukraine fell short of about USD 17 billion for transit from Gazprom.

We don’t know exactly what mythical calculations Putin uses, but even the issue of energy commodities and so-called “preferences” already speaks volumes. It is also important to distinguish between Ukraine, as a state and citizens of Ukraine, often with ties to the government, which really benefited from the non-market conditions of cooperation for their own (and not the state’s) benefit.

“By the end of 1991, debt obligations of the USSR to foreign states and international funds were about USD 100 billion. It had been initially assumed that these loans would be repaid by all the republics of the former USSR on the basis of solidarity, proportionate to their economic potential. However, Russia took it on itself to repay the total Soviet debt, and it completely paid it off. It completed this process in 2017. In return, the newly independent states were supposed to give up their portions of Soviet foreign assets, and such a deal was struck with Ukraine in December 1994. However, Kyiv did not ratify these agreements and later simply refused to implement them, advancing claims to the diamond fund, FX reserves, as well property and other assets of the former USSR abroad.”

Putin is lying.

Russia undertook to pay the debts of the Soviet Union not out of kindness. In October-November 1991, the successor states of the USSR and the creditors met in Moscow to work out a decision on repaying Soviet debts. As a result of the negotiations, a Memorandum of Understanding on the Debt to Foreign Creditors of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and its Succession of October 28, 1991, and a communiqué of November 24, 1991, were drafted setting out the basic principles of debt repayment.

Provisions of the Vienna Convention were used to determine the fair share of debt for each successor state. Therefore, the preamble to the agreement on legal succession concerning external public debt and assets of the USSR of December 4, 1991, read that the countries take into account the principles of international law and the Vienna Convention on Succession of States in Respect of State Property, Archives, and Debts.

In practice, this meant that the shares of all parties to the contract were determined based on a single aggregate indicator calculated based on factor analysis. Four indicators were used: the countries’ share in exports, imports, national income, and population for 1986-1990. Thus, Russia’s share was 61.34%, Ukraine’s 16.37%, Belarus’s 4.13%, Uzbekistan’s 3.27%, and Kazakhstan’s 3.86%. Other countries’ shares amounted to less than 2%.

The total debt was estimated at USD 81 billion to 96.6 billion. We will take the maximum amount of USD 96.6 billion to calculate it. At the time, Russia’s share in these debts was USD 59.25 billion, and Ukraine’s share was only USD 15.81 billion (16.37% of the share).

But that was just the beginning. After all, there were still assets. And it was because of them that on April 2, 1993, the Russian government announced it would take on the obligations to repay debts if the other successors renounced their share in the USSR’s foreign assets.

Ukraine agreed to ratify such an agreement only under some conditions. The most important of those was a very logical one:  Russia had to disclose complete information about the book and market value of the former Soviet Union’s assets abroad for each object confirmed by international audit, FX reserves, and the diamond fund as of December 1, 1991, the balance sheets of Soviet banks owned by the former USSR as of December 1, 1991, and resuming negotiations to divide it.

Russia is still hiding this information.

But even the most moderate estimates suggest that the USSR’s assets amounted to USD 300-400 billion. Suppose we take the average of USD 350 billion. Then, Ukraine’s share (16.37%) is USD 57.3 billion. After deducting the debt share (USD 15.81 billion), Russia should return about USD 41 billion to Ukraine. We emphasize that this is according to the most moderate calculations. The real amount can be much higher.

In fact, Russia has deceived and stolen money from every signatory to the Soviet Union’s succession treaty, and Putin is now using manipulation, arguing that Russia paid off everyone’s debts.

“Corruption, which undoubtedly is a challenge and a problem for many countries, including Russia, acquired some extraordinary character in Ukraine. It has literally permeated, eaten Ukrainian statehood, the whole system, all branches of government.”

Putin is lying. 

The world uses a variety of ratings, including CPI rankings to understand corruption levels. The Index’s key indicator is the number of points: the minimum score (0 points) means that a country is entirely corrupt, and the maximum (100 points) means virtually no corruption.

According to the rankings, Ukraine scored 32 points out of 100 in 2021. That is not a good figure, but Ukraine’s performance has improved significantly since 2012, and it is among the 25 countries for which statistically significant growth has been recorded over ten years. This improvement is due to the changes immediately after the Revolution of Dignity.

In addition, it is important to understand that the Index is not perfect as it measures perception, not the actual levels of corruption in the public sector.

However, interestingly, Russia has even worse results, scoring only 29 points out of 100 possible.

“There’s simply no independent court in Ukraine. As requested by the West, Kyiv authorities gave representatives of international organizations the priority right to select members of the higher judicial bodies – the Council of Justice and Qualifications Commission of Judges. In addition, the US Embassy directly controls the National Agency on Corruption Prevention, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, and the Specialized Anti-Corruption Court. All this is done using a glib excuse to enhance the corruption fight’s efficiency.”

Putin is lying.

Regarding the National Anti-Corruption Bureau. 

NABU is a law enforcement organization for the detection and detection of corruption crimes whose main tasks are to prevent, detect, stop, investigate and detect corruption offenses committed by high-ranking officials. In fact, NABU has to fight against VIP-corrupt officials – deputies, deputies, judges, prosecutors, heads of government and local self-government.

On October 19, the Verkhovna Rada voted in favor of Bill 5459-1, enshrining NABU’s independence from the government. It prohibits the government from interfering with this body’s activities, repealing NABU acts, issuing orders or instructions regarding the Bureau’s activities, etc.

There is also a change in the procedure for appointing the NABU Director: they will be elected in fair competition, and international experts will have a casting vote. The competition committee will be comprised of six members. Three committee members will be nominated by the government itself and three more by the government but based on proposals from international and foreign organizations. Putin calls  this “external governance” – engaging unbiased international experts who cannot be influenced.

Regarding the High Council of Justice.

It is a question of establishing the Ethical Council at the High Council of Justice (HCJ). The HCJ is an independent judicial body that can hold judges accountable and purge the judiciary. The Ethics Council is a body designed to monitor the integrity of the High Council of Justice (HCJ) members.

The Ethics Council should comprise six members: three elected by the Council of Judges of Ukraine and three more by international organizations that assist Ukraine with judicial reform. Their participation in the process is the reason for Putin’s manipulation of “external governance,” loss of sovereignty, and subordinating the judiciary to foreigners.

The Ukrainian government makes the decision on appointing all Anti-Corruption Court judges, the HCJC, and HCJ members. The President appoints judges, the finalized list of members of the High Qualifications Commission is approved by the High Council of Justice, and members of the High Council of Justice are appointed by the Ukrainian Congresses of Judges, Prosecutors, Lawyers, Scholars, Lawyers, the President, and the Verkhovna Rada.

“The de-Russification and forced assimilation policies are in full swing. The Verkhovna Rada incessantly adopts new discriminatory acts; the so-called law on indigenous peoples is already in force. Those who consider themselves Russian and would like to preserve their identity, language, and culture were directly given to understand that they are strangers in Ukraine.”

Putin is lying.

There are from 370 to 500 million indigenous people in 90 countries. Indigenous peoples are one of the most vulnerable groups: they are more likely to be discriminated against, have low incomes and relatively low life expectancy. That is why they receive attention at the legislative level globally. Ukraine is no exception. Nor is Russia, which has a law “on guaranteeing the rights of indigenous peoples of the Russian Federation“ of 1999. By the way, the list of indigenous peoples does not include Ukrainian and Belarusian “brethren”. But it includes peoples of the North, Siberia, and the Far East, whose rights are still violated.

What is this Ukrainian law really about? It defines an indigenous people as an indigenous ethnic community formed on the territory of Ukraine, which maintains its original language, culture, and traditional, social, cultural, or representative bodies and which is self-aware as an indigenous people of Ukraine, an ethnic minority within its population and without a state of its own outside of Ukraine. Among indigenous peoples, the law includes the peoples formed in Crimea, i.e., Crimean Tatars, Karaites, and Krymchaks.

It makes no mention of Russians because they have not formed a group on the territory of Ukraine. They do not have their statehood or identify themselves as a separate community in Ukraine. Therefore, they have no problem integrating into Ukrainian society. In particular, you can look in any “press” in Kyiv or in a bookstore and see the availability of publications in Russian – that is, the issue of prohibitions and restrictions, especially in the minds of Putin himself and his advisers.

You can read the law to make sure Putin lied about it on.

“In March 2021, Ukraine adopted a new military strategy. This document is practically entirely dedicated to confrontation with Russia, aiming to draw foreign states into a conflict with our country. In fact, the Strategy suggests that terrorist underground be organized in Russian Crimea and Donbas. It also contains contours of an expected war which should, in the mind of today’s Kyiv strategists, end “with the help of the international community on favorable terms for Ukraine [quote].” And also, the way they put it in Kyiv today, here I’m using another quote, please listen carefully: “with the military support from the international community in the geopolitical confrontation with the Russian Federation. In essence, that’s nothing but preparation for combat actions against our country – against Russia.”

Here, nearly every word uttered by Putin is a lie.

Putin: “This document is practically entirely dedicated to confrontation with Russia.”

The Strategy does not mention confrontation but defense against aggression. Not surprisingly, the document mentions Russia. Since Ukraine’s independence, the only military threat to the country has been Russia, which has occupied Crimea and parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, regularly waging hostilities against Ukraine. All international observers have confirmed this.

Putin: “In fact, the Strategy suggests that terrorist underground be organized in Russian Crimea and Donbas.”

That is a pure lie designed to ensure no one will read the document that does not have such or even remotely similar plans.

Putin: “And it should end, in the mind of today’s Kyiv strategists, “with the help of the international community on favorable conditions  for Ukraine [quote]”. And also, the way they put it in Kyiv today, here I’m using another quote here, please listen carefully: “with the military support from the international community in the geopolitical confrontation with the Russian Federation.”

These are not direct quotations but their distorted versions. Here are the exact quotes from the Military Strategy that everyone can check out themselves.

1) …The Strategy aims to achieve the following objectives of state policy in the military sphere, defense, and military construction:

sufficient defense capacity of the state, which in combination with consolidated international pressure on the Russian Federation can ensure the deterrence of further escalation of armed aggression against Ukraine and the restoration of its territorial integrity within the state border of Ukraine;

2) …in the third wave of repelling and deterring armed aggression against Ukraine, using additional military units formed at the expense of mobilization resources and mobilization reserves; cessation with the assistance of the international community of armed aggression on favorable terms for Ukraine;

In both cases, it is about protecting Ukraine from aggression and ending it with the help of international pressure, such as sanctions or economic aid.

Putin: In essence, that’s nothing but preparation for combat actions against our country – against Russia.”

That is a lie. Almost every point of the Strategy is about defense. Moreover, the Strategy states that Ukraine is moving towards the possibility of defense and deterrence, and not even towards military parity:

“…Ukraine’s comprehensive defense program is not aimed at achieving military parity with the Russian Federation, which would lead to excessive militarization of the state and, accordingly, the depletion of the national economy.”

The military strategy is freely available, and anyone can read it here.

The only thing Putin did not lie about is the date of adopting Ukraine’s Military Security Strategy – March 25, 2021.

“We can see very well how insistently the military pumping of Kyiv is being carried out. The United States alone, since 2014, has provided billions of dollars for these purposes, including supplying weapons, equipment, and training specialists. In the latter months, western weapons come to Ukraine in a continuous stream, demonstratively, in front of the whole world.”

Putin is lying.

Arms supplies (primarily defense) have begun to be made by the United States and other countries of the world immediately after the information about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine appeared. And this information was confirmed. On February 22, 2022, Putin violated the Minsk agreements’ international agreements and introduced Russian troops into Ukraine.

“A law’s already been passed to allow other states’ armed forces to come to the territory in 2022 Ukraine to participate in multinational exercises. It’s clear that we’re talking about NATO troops in the first place. And, at least ten such joint maneuvers are planned for this year. Obviously, such events serve to cover for the fast build-up of military NATO groups on the territory of Ukraine.”

Putin is lying.

First off, it is a formal bill the Ukrainian government adopts nearly every year, for example, in 2019 and 2018. Moreover, there were similar laws and decrees before 2014. For instance, ones signed by Yanukovych in 2013 or 2012.

Secondly, this is not a law, but a bill because it has not yet been signed into law by the President of Ukraine.

Thirdly, this is training (taking place annually), confirmed by the fact that the participation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine troops is planned in 16 multinational exercises outside Ukraine.

And last but not least, Putin built troops on the border with Ukraine, calling it an exercise, and then invaded Ukraine. That is, he expects from other countries the same lies as his own. But unlike him, Ukraine does not break its word and public promises.

“Especially that the network of airfields modernized with the help of Americans – Boryspil, Ivano-Frankivsk, Chuhyuev, Odesa, etc. – is capable of rapidly deploying military troops.”

Putin is lying.

The Americans did not help Ukraine modernize airports. Moreover, in most cases, Ukrainian airports need reconstruction. For example, the Ivano-Frankivsk airport has not been repaired for many years and is one of the worst in Ukraine.

In addition, airports are a means to travel, not transfer troops for Ukraine – a country that does not take aggressive action. Only a person blinded by militaristic views can conclude about hostilities.

“I’d like to note that Article 17 of the Constitution Ukraine does not allow for deploying foreign military bases on its territory. But it turns out to be just a formality that can be easily overlooked. NATO countries have deployed training missions in Ukraine. This already means foreign military bases. They just called the base a “mission,” and that’s that. “

Putin is lying. And he cynically omits facts that are inconvenient for him.

Deploying foreign military bases on the territory of Ukraine is prohibited in line with the provisions of Part 7 of Article 17 of the Constitution, and Ukraine has strictly adhered to this.

During the whole period of Ukraine’s independence, only one exception was made for Russia. Speaking of the Black Sea Fleet, Ukraine and Russia signed an agreement in 1997 to deploy Russian military bases in Crimea and Sevastopol for 20 years.

Specifically for this purpose, the Transitional Provisions of the Constitution included clause 14 permitting “foreign countries to temporarily lease pre-existing military bases on Ukrainian territory for stationing their military personnel in the manner prescribed by international treaties of Ukraine.” 

This provision has now been canceled. To deploy NATO or other countries’ military bases on the territory of Ukraine, it is necessary to amend Article 17 of the Constitution, which is possible only based on the results of an all-Ukrainian referendum.

Training bases are not military bases. Their participants are instructors who only train the Ukrainian military.

Moreover, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has stated that the Alliance will provide support, not deploy combat troops to Ukraine.

“Yet they’re constantly trying to convince us that NATO is a peaceful and purely defensive alliance. Like there’s no threat to Russia. They suggest we take their words at face value. But we know the real price of such words very well. As for the question of unifying Germany in 1990, the Soviet government received promises from the US side that jurisdiction or NATO’s presence would not move an inch in the east direction. And that Germany’s unification wouldn’t lead to NATO’s military expansion in the East. That’s a quote.”

Putin is lying.

Such agreements have never been concluded. No such promises were made. It was just the opposite.

1) The Warsaw Pact was in force until 1991, so there was no idea of NATO’s expansion beyond a united Germany. Mikhail Gorbachev confirmed this in an interview in 2014: “The issue of “NATO enlargement “in those years was not discussed at all, it never arose. I say this with all responsibility. No Eastern European country raised it, including since the 1991 Warsaw Pact ceased. It was not raised by Western leaders either.”

2) Declassified White House transcripts show that in 1997, Bill Clinton consistently rejected Boris Yeltsin’s proposal to conclude a “gentleman agreement” that none of the former Soviet republics would join NATO.

3) During a visit to the Netherlands in 2005, Putin said: “We do not see NATO as a hostile organization. We are developing cooperation with it.”

And this was not his only statement in support of cooperation with NATO.

“How much longer can this tragedy go on? How much longer can this be tolerated? Russia’s done everything to preserve the territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

Putin is lying. Cynically.

Here is evidence of Russia’s invasion from around the world since 2014.

1) The Council of Europe recognized the presence of Russian troops in Donbas and called on the Kremlin to withdraw them from Ukraine in 2014.

2) The United Nations has spoken of the presence of Russian troops since 2014. Furthermore, even Russia’s representative to the UN in 2020 acknowledged that the war in Donbas is not an internal conflict but a political conflict between Russia and Ukraine. 

3) OSCE representatives acknowledged Russia’s presence in Donbas. The OSCE mission recorded individuals with rank insignia of the Russian Federation in Donbas. Later, according to the information published on the website of the US Mission to the OSCE in January 2020, the OSCE recorded the transfer of military equipment from Russian territory to Ukraine.

4) Russia’s involvement in Donbas has also been recorded in NATO. In August 2014, the largest invasion of the Russian armed forces took place, with columns of equipment entering the territory of Ukraine. NATO confirmed this. At the time of the invasion, the Russian Armed Forces comprised nine battalion tactical groups numbering up to 3,500 personnel, 60 tanks, 320 BMDs, 60 guns, 45 mortars, and five anti-tank missile systems.

5) the participants in the Russian intervention in eastern Ukraine confirmed it many times. Russia’s participation in seizing Donbas was reported by former Russian officer Igor Strelkov-Girkin, one of the organizers of the separatist rallies Pavel Gubarev, head of Special Forces of the so-called “DPR” Dmitry Sapozhnikov and others, Donbas.Realii wrote.  

6) Bellingcat investigators have repeatedly emphasized the presence of Russian troops in eastern Ukraine. For instance, in 2014-2015, thousands of Russian soldiers took part in hostilities in eastern Ukraine and were awarded medals for their actions during these operations. The data show that between 3,000 and 10,000 Russian servicemen took part in the aggression against Ukraine. And on January 24, 2015, nine Russian commanders and officers participated in the artillery strike on Mariupol.



The authors do not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and have no relevant affiliations