Trump campaign misrepresents photo from Ukrainian revolution to illustrate ‘chaos’

In an ad published on Facebook, the re-election campaign of U.S. President Donald J. Trump has mistakenly used footage of a scuffle between protesters and police during Ukraine’s 2013-2014 EuroMaidan Revolution to represent “chaos & violence” in the United States.

The photo appears to have been taken from the Wikipedia page for the EuroMaidan Revolution.

The Trump campaign used the photo to express opposition to recent protests against racism, which have rocked the U.S since the killing of George Floyd, an African-American man, on May 25. 

Protesters have vandalized government buildings, toppled monuments to historical figures they deem racist and, at times, looted shops. U.S. law enforcement has responded to the protests with physical force, often cracking down violently on peaceful demonstrators. 

The ad, which ran on July 21–22, depicts Trump and his officials as representing “public safety,” whereas the image of violence on the streets of Kyiv is used to represent “chaos and violence.”

The photo was originally taken by Ukrainian photographer Mstyslav Chernov, now a journalist for U.S. news agency Associated Press.

“Unfortunately, photography has always been used to manipulate public opinion,” Chernov told the Kyiv Post. “With the development of social networks, and the wave of populism around the world, this is happening even more.”

According to him, the Trump ad does not infringe on the photo’s copyright because the image was published on online encyclopedia Wikipedia under a Creative Commons license, which allows anyone to use it. 

The campaign ad featuring the image, promoted on Facebook for around $100 a day, reached around 1,000 people. It was used to promote Evangelicals for Trump, a campaign aiming to encourage the Evangelical Christian community to support Trump on a “pro-life” and “religious freedom” platform.

Trump relies heavily on support from the evangelical community. A recent poll by Pew Research Center suggests that Trump’s approval rating among evangelicals recently slipped. Nevertheless, 82% of evangelicals still plan to vote for him again in the upcoming 2020 presidential election.

Chernov shot the EuroMaidan Revolution, and his images have been seen worldwide. He also reported from the Syrian Civil War and from eastern Ukraine about the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.

Chernov’s work has been featured exclusively on CNN, the BBC, the New York Times and the Washington Post. He also won several Royal Television Society awards in the U.K., whose organizers praised Mstyslav for his “exceptional eye for detail.”

He does not plan to take any legal action against the misrepresentation of the photo. 

The Trump campaign’s misuse of Chernov’s work is particularly odd given Trump’s turbulent relationship with Ukraine. 

In his recently published memoir, former U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton alleged that Trump said he did not “want to have any fucking thing to do with Ukraine.”

“They fucking attacked me. I can’t understand why… They tried to fuck me. They’re corrupt. I’m not fucking with them,” Trump said, according to Bolton.

(c) KyivPost


  1. Trump managed to drag Ukraine into another situation that has nothing to do with them. If Trump wants an image of chaos, I suggest he sticks his head out of the WH window and take a few images.

  2. In spring this disease will be over, a few weeks from now…… will be gone, like a miracle…………..!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Doctor Trump is my favorite TV-doctor!

  3. It’s deliberate. No doubt whatsoever. Trumpoids all hate Ukraine. It puts people like me in a difficult position because I support Ukraine, yet don’t want a pinko Biden administration because it will be very, very bad for the UK/US trade negotiations. The Dems are and always have been crawling with IRA scum and Biden is one. Pelosi is even worse. Between them they will do their best to fuck the UK. Ironic : Trump lies that Ukraine wants to fuck him over and the Marx-Dems really do want to fuck Britain over.

    • Just they hypocrisy gets me. The US is on fire from coast to coast with rioting, yet they use an image of a struggle for democracy to promote themselves.

      • It’s a subliminal message. ‘If you support Trump, you must, like him and his followers, hate Ukraine.’
        Of course the GOP’s great hope to run in 2024: Tucker Carlson, has gone one step further: staggeringly he is actually ‘rooting’ for putlerstan. Can it get worse?

  4. I doubt Trump designs his campaign ads himself. Some putinist scum in his team did this on purpose to hurt Ukraine and Trump alike.

  5. That image is a cheap shot, used by morons who are so “educated” that they probably think that Mexico is a US state. I’ve met such intellectual peewees here and there in my life.
    A look at the US during the past several weeks would have offered more than enough examples of chaos, unfortunately.

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