Editor’s Note: This feature separates Ukraine’s friends from its enemies. The Order of Yaroslav the Wise has been given since 1995 for distinguished service to the nation. It is named after the Kyivan Rus leader from 1019-1054, when the medieval empire reached its zenith. The Order of Lenin was the highest decoration bestowed by the Soviet Union, whose demise Russian President Vladimir Putin mourns. It is named after Vladimir Lenin, whose corpse still rots on the Kremlin’s Red Square, more than 100 years after the October Revolution he led.
Friend: Ivars Abolins
The Latvian chairs the National Electronic Mass Media Council which on June 30, 2020, banned the distribution of seven RT (formerly known as Russia Today ) group programs in Latvia.
Latvian security authorities consider to be them to be the most influential Russian propaganda channels in the West and the ban followed sanctions imposed by the Council of the European Union
The council found that the Kremlin networks are effectively under the control of propagandist Dmitry Kiselyev, who is subject to EU sanctions for undermining the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.
Moreover, the council is pushing for an EU-wide ban.
“The evidence we have obtained is very strong and we will call on regulators in all EU countries to follow our example and ban RT on their territory. There is no place for such programs either in Latvia or in the European Union,” said Abolins.
The decision will enter into force upon notification and will remain in force until Kiselyev is removed from the EU sanctions list.
Last year, the media watchdog banned 10 other Russian television channels for “systematic hate speech and warmongering against Ukraine, including open calls to kill Ukrainian citizens.”
In May 2020, Latvia’s most important intelligence service, the Constitution Protection Bureau, named Russia as one of the top cyber threats to NATO and the EU.
Stamping out war-mongering Kremlin propaganda, which has nothing to do with real journalism or free speech, is something that the West – and Ukraine – have been way too lax about.
For the council’s brave act of solidarity with Ukraine and free-speech loving democrats all over the world, we award the Order of Yaroslav the Wise to its leader.
Foe: Connie Mack
American corruption is so easy to spot. Politicians run for office, get elected, then leave office, trade on their inside connections, and make millions of dollars – and sometimes in the sleaziest of ways.
Such is the case with Connie Mack, a former Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives, from 2005-2013, who went on to make millions of dollars lobbying for Hungarian dictator Viktor Orban.
Orban is one of Ukraine’s nastier neighbors, a European Union nation without any of the bloc’s espoused democratic values. Orban, instead, does the Kremlin’s bidding, which includes thwarting Ukraine’s closer integration with the NATO military alliance.
Mack, a truly repugnant sleazeball, made his way into the news again in a recent profile by The New Yorker magazine of Fiona Hill, who served until last July as U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s top adviser on Europe and Russia on the U.S. National Security Council led by John Bolton.
Mack in 2017 was angling for a meeting between Trump and Orban in the White House, which would run counter to U.S. President Barack Obama’s policy of shunning the Hungarian strongman.
As The New Yorker writes: “Mack discovered that Hill had worked with organizations that had ties to the Budapest-born financier George Soros, who is a frequent target of right-wing groups. Mack told Pence’s advisers that he believed that Hill was responsible for the holdup. According to an official who heard that conversation, Mack accused Hill of doing Soros’s bidding.”
One thing led to another and Roger Stone, the convicted operative and longtime friend of Trump, started media interviews accusing Hill of being planted in the national-security apparatus by Soros. In June, according to the New Yorker, Mack began circulating a memo, titled “Fiona Hill Backgrounder,” to former congressional colleagues, documenting what he described as Hill’s purported links to “the Soros network.” Soon, one of Mack’s contacts told him that the memo was “in Trump’s hands,” according to the magazine.
For having no ethics, for being a living disgrace to the democratic values of the United States of America, Mack is most deserving of the Order of Lenin. Recipients like Mack don’t care about the truth, or how much they damage they cause, if they can earn millions of dollars for unsavory clients.