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Monday, May 26, 2014

Russian TV Announces Neo Nazi Candidate in the Lead

Russian state TV reported (after the polls closed) that controversial far-right politician Dmytro Yarosh was leading Ukraine's May 25 presidential election; even though by all indications he wasn't even close. Displaying figures purportedly from Ukraine's official election website, Channel One announced that Right Sector leader Yarosh was comfortably ahead in the race, with more than 37 percent of the vote. The report was backed by a screen shot of the Ukraine electoral commission web site showing Yarosh’s substantial lead. The announcer acknowledged that the figures were radically different from exit poll data by four pollsters, which showed Poroshenko with an absolute majority.

Perhaps the strangest thing is how such obviously questionable figures could be broadcast on Russian national television. Yarosh ended up with one percent of the vote.

Ukrainian media reported shortly before the vote that the Central Election Commission website had been targeted by a cyber attack. Interfax news agency quoted Ukrainian officials as saying on May 26 the information about Yarosh's alleged lead "was prepared in advance" by hackers, and was "stored on Russian Internet resources." 

The Channel 1 report was wishful thinking. Yarosh has been vilified as the crazed Neo Nazi who controls the Kiev government. The Putin propagandists had hoped for a strong showing to prove Kiev’s radicalization. No such luck.

Maybe Channel 1 had no been clued in to the cyber attack.

A lesson for those who listen to Russian TV news: Don’t trust what you hear.

For the whole story, see Radio Liberty, Russian TV Announces Right Sector Leader Led Ukraine Polls, May 26.

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