“Check what you hear, doubt what you see.”
This is the advice handed out by Ukrainian students to their Russian counterparts via YouTube, in a bid to tackle what they call rampant Kremlin propaganda.
Students from several Kiev universities collaborated on the video, which urges Moscow students not to believe state-controlled media reports about Ukraine or Ukrainians.
The video, uploaded yesterday, has already been watched 649,000 times and attracted over 11,000 comments.
Kiev student Yevheniy Melnik, the man behind the video, says Ukrainians are tired of the way Russian media portrays them as victimising Russian-speakers in Ukraine.
Russian media has previously accused Ukrainian soldiers of crucifying a three-year-old child and described pro-European protesters in Kiev as neo-Nazis.
“A war is going on in our country. Your soldiers and our soldiers are dying in our country, civilians are dying,” a clip from the video says.
“We call on you to lift the information curtain”
“We stand on opposite sides of the barricades, and between us lie kilometres of misunderstanding,” it continues.
“Between us lie tales about Nazis and Ukrainian nationalists.”
Melnik says the video is trying to challenge misconceptions which are further pitting the countries against each other as Kiev battles a pro-Russian insurgency in the east of Ukraine.
“These are ordinary students who are trying to somehow put an end to this information war,” Melnik told RFE/RL.
“It’s precisely this information war that is fuelling the situation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.”
Melnik says the four-minute message was not a government project but produced entirely by students.
It reflects their feelings as the “strength and the future” of the country, he added.
The video goes on to counter claims from Russian-state media that the Euromaidan protests in Kiev were a US funded coup.
Instead, they say, last year’s protests were held to denounce the “total corruption, complete rejection of European integration, media censorship, and police lawlessness” under then-president Viktor Yanukovych.
It also accuses pro-Russian separatists of forcing many in Crimea “at gunpoint” to vote in favour of joining Russia.
Finally, the Ukrainian students call on Russians to stop pointing their fingers at the west and take the future into their own hands:
“We – or, rather, the leaders of our countries – are the only ones to blame for our problems,” they say.
“Europe and America, where human life is the most important value, are simply upholding their principles and are not trying to bring anyone to their knees.”
Source: The Guardian