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Some time ago, a Kharkiv-based site hosted a typical Kremlin propaganda piece featuring an ultimatum to the Bulgarian government – either you agree and secure free passage for Turk Stream, ignoring EU and US reservations, or Gazprom will shut off natural gas supply, and Bulgarians will freeze next winter. Such provocative language blended with ultimatums is hardly what the Russian government can afford, at least at the formal level. Neither Maria Zaharova, nor Peskov, nor Putin, nor Lavrov would openly threaten a nuclear first strike. This is where the hybrid Russian “scaremongering” machine comes into play – the radical loose-talk politicians like Zhirinovsky, or media makers like Kiseljov, or the cloak and dagger “knights” like Leonid Reshetnikov. Working in the shade and in halftones, they seek to
We live in a world of post-truth. Everyone has his own “facts,” his own truth. After the annexation of Crimea, Russia annexed the ‘truth’ for the Russian public and proxies around the world. Adding the Crimean Peninsula meant new borders, new territorial waters and new conflicts. Closing the Kerch Strait by building the bridge connecting continental Russia with its new territory meant that large ships are disallowed, effectively imposing illegal control of traffic, blocking access to and from the Ukrainian coast of the Sea of Azov, including the towns of Mariupol and Berdyansk. The EU and U.S. are looking closely and pondering how to respond – from a safe distance, as usual. They will not interfere – except with sedative lecturing. Chancellor Merkel cherishes Nord Stream-2 more than Ukraine as a shield of