Various

Disinformation by Korkotashvili and Russian Media about Ukrainian Police Allegedly Refusing to Protect LGBT Community

28 June, 2018

Georgian tabloid Alia released in its June 11-17 issue an interview with Gia Korkotashvili, leader of the Georgian Mission party and one of the supporters of an ultranationalist movement, Georgian March, in which he spoke about how police arrested him and his associates on May 17, International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO). Korkotashvili said that police officers fulfilled orders for the sake of getting salaries, detaining those people, whom they sympathize, whereas in Europe, particularly in Ukraine, police officers refused to protect LGBT community.

Gia Korkotashvili, Georgian Mission: “Police officers who think otherwise fulfill orders for the sake of getting salaries, detaining those people whom they sympathize… Look at what is happening in Europe; Ukrainian police officers made it clear that they would not protect LGBT community; look at what is happening in Poland, Greece.”
 Alia, June 11-17

False information about Ukrainian police officers allegedly refusing to protect LGBT community was disseminated in June 2016 by Russian and Ukrainian media outlets. The story refers to two former officers of a special purpose regiment Kiev as the primary source. The two men said at an impromptu press conference outside the Kiev Police Department that they would not protect a gay pride parade scheduled for June 12, 2016 and would quit their jobs. But actually, the both were dismissed in May 2016 as a result of a workplace investigation. It should also be noted that the regiment Kiev does not perform patrol police duties in the city.

According to Крым.Реалии project of RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service, on June 7, 2016, Russian and Ukrainian media, as well as social networks disseminated a story about police officers from Kiev allegedly refusing to protect the participants of a pride parade scheduled for June 12, 2016 that reportedly resulted in mass dismissals of Ukrainian police officers.

Some media outlets, among them Риа Новости,  Lenta.ru, Piter.TV, sevastopol.SU, vesti.ru referred to the Facebook post of All-Ukrainian Union of Veterans ATO (Всеукраинский союз ветеранов АТО) as their primary source, in which several persons claimed that they refused to fulfill the criminal orders of Ukraine’s national police administration and to protect the participants of a pride parade.

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Later, the two men held an impromptu press conference outside the Kiev Police Department, saying that they were representatives of a special purpose regiment Kiev and that they would quit Ukrainian police, because they were strongly against holding a pride parade in Kiev on June 12.   

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Later on the same day, commander of Kiev regiment, Vitaliy Satarenko said that Andrey Vatolkin and Maxim Mikhailov, the two men, who convened the press conference, were not police officers. He also noted that as a result of workplace investigation, Vatolkin was dismissed on May 11, 2016 and Mikhailov later on May 17. Previously, the both men served in St. Mary subdivision and later in Kiev regiment. Satarenko also emphasized that the Kiev regiment does not perform patrol police duties in the city.  

Khatia Dekanoidze, head of Ukrainian National Police, said that reports about mass dismissals of employees from Ukrainian police are not true.

About 5000 Ukrainian police officers and soldiers were deployed to protect public order and ensure participants’ safety during the gay pride parade in Kiev on June 17, 2018. Police arrested about 56 far-right activists after they tried to disrupt a gay pride march, blocking the planned route of the march. Some members of reactionary groups threw gas canisters at riot police. Five officers had to see medical treatment after police moved in to clear the street.

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Photo: Reuters


Prepared by Dali Kurdadze and Lasha Nonikashvili
 Myth Detector Laboratory