Why your local conspiracy theorist is wrong about the Russian Invasion
No, when I talk about the local "conspiracy theorist", I am not talking about the pandemic, which seems to be thankfully over. Unfortunately, it`s about a topic that is still current: the invasion of the Russian terrorist state in Ukraine.
There are many aspects to write about that must be addressed. Today, however, I want to address something that the mainstream media hasn`t really done yet. Its about the nonsense from some people on social media. Led by politicians who are currently more supportive of the Russians than one would expect from a Swiss politician. The problem with these politicians is not that they address the war topic. The problem is the clueless nonsense they spread and sell as facts and then repeated by these town gossips.
In this article I am going to write about it from the Swiss view. But you can easily adapt it to Germany or Austria as well.
Who are these Politicians I am talking about?
Where the new love for the Russians is located can easily be guessed. There is currently only one major party that does not fully recognize that a state is currently attacking another.
Which party could this be? You guessed it: the SVP! – The Swiss Peoples Party who once swore to fight for freedom and democracy. It is my former party, from which I happily resigned 2 years ago.
And who is the head of the Swiss-Russian propaganda machine? Roger Köppel – a Swiss Parliament Member and Journalist.
He is the guy who now comes up with various things almost daily to discredit the West and Ukraine. Last week you read from him that Switzerland should immediately lift all sanctions against the Russians - "to maintain Swiss neutrality". This week he tweets that "poor" Russians and Serbs are discriminated against in Switzerland. It is of course not really credible since he has been inciting against all other foreigners in recent years.
So what is his real motive? Exactly, his goal is to continue spreading his nonsense russian propaganda. Also, we have not seen a single negative tweet from him about Russia and its leaders in recent times. This is just a couple of snippets of what he`s saying lately. This is exactly where the problem lies. The average SVP member just swallows this whole."Everyone else is evil and only wants the worst, so what Köppel says must be true!”. And then it gets shared around and one or another person will adapt these arguments.
The problem in the SVP and JSVP (The youth branch) is that the members keep pushing each other to extremes. This has been the case even when I was still a member. Everyone tried to be more extreme and radical than the other. This is probably also due to the wrong people being elected to leadership positions. The best example of this is the leadership of the JSVP, which has now adopted Köppel`s rhetoric and suddenly wants to get rid of the WEF (World Economic Forum) from Switzerland because of “war propaganda”. Köppel is not the only politician, but he`s certainly the one who seems to have nothing better to do all day than to praise the Russians. I would like to shed light on who the others are in a separate article, as there is also a connection to the new initiative, which allegedly concerns the preservation of neutrality.
What are now the things the local conspiracy theorist is wrong about?
To get back to the main topic. I have been hearing the same absurd arguments lately regarding this war and also regarding refugees from Ukraine. I would like to provide some arguments as to why their claims are not true.
"Only luxury cars from Ukraine are seen in Switzerland!"
Indeed, cars from Ukraine can also be seen in Switzerland, which can be considered as middle or upper class. This is due to Ukraine's proximity to Western Europe, and some might even consider it to be part of Western Europe. Many Ukrainians had regular jobs, normal lives, and routines before the war, just like the Swiss. They have homes, furnishings, and cars. There are both poorer people and people with money.
Since the outbreak of the war, many people have had to flee because the daily attacks by the Russians destroy both people and housing, including entire villages. Cars are something mobile, and they are something that can quickly be used for escape. That is why it is only logical that we now see more cars with "UA" license plates. I have had the opportunity to meet some refugees from Ukraine and a car is often the last remaining possession they have. According to the logic of pro-Russian people, only the poor should come from Ukraine - and preferably barefoot.
"Zelenskyi doesn`t want to negotiate with Putin"
The argument that "Zelenskyi doesn`t want to negotiate with Putin" is partially true today. At the very beginning of the Russian invasion, there were still attempts to negotiate. However, the Russians rejected the offer as their declared goal was to annex certain areas in Ukraine and install a puppet regime in Kyiv. Russians and their fans here in Switzerland say "Ukrainians and the Zelenskyi government are Nazis"- It`s absurd as Zelenskyi has Jewish roots and I haven`t met a single Ukrainian who is a Nazi. Also, I personally think the term "Nazi" is thrown around too easily. Furthermore, the question arises as to why negotiations should even take place now? The list of Russian war crimes is long, and as long as Putin does not fully withdraw his troops from Ukraine, there is nothing to negotiate. Imagine if the French tomorrow march into the Valais and Geneva, destroy villages, kill people indiscriminately, and say that the government in Bern must be overthrown. Would Köppel also say that we should now negotiate with the French and give up part of Geneva and Valais? I hardly think so!
"Russians in Donetsk and Lugansk are discriminated against by Ukrainians!"
This is not entirely accurate. The issue is that since 2014, these regions have been occupied by Russian separatists. Most of the Ukrainians living there do not want this, as they want to belong to Ukraine. Even in the days of the Soviet Union, they saw themselves as Ukrainians. So, it`s understandable that some anger arises, and they try to insult or exclude these occupiers. These Russian separatists have no business being there, just as they have no business being in Crimea. By the way, Donezk has been occupied by these separatists since 2014. A strict regime prevails, where any anti-Russia rhetoric is harshly punished. And nothing has been rebuilt since then! What was bombed by the
separatists remains in ruins to this day. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine, including Crimea, has been a sovereign state, where the Russians have no presence as a state entity. This needs to be acknowledged.
"Supplying Ukraine with arms makes it worse!”
I see this as pure propaganda. The weapons create balance. Without Western assistance, Ukraine`s self-defense would be much more difficult. The result would be a years-long war with even more death and destruction, and in the end, we would have the Russians even closer to the center of Western freedom. The current weapons deliveries are therefore fully justified and hopefully create the desirable effect of being able to drive the Russians out of Ukraine.
These arguments are currently the most prominent statements that I came across. But it`s just the tip of the iceberg. There are even more absurd statements, but I will not address them for now, since it would be a waste of time going after every insane statement made by Russian propagandists. People should always be aware about such statements that you have read above. Do not always take everything as it gets to you on the internet. Even politicians are not always a credible source.
I will probably capture a 2nd part on this topic soon, where I will go into more detail about some other well-known politicians (who will run for parliament this year) that drive the propaganda machine.
By Sandro Wächter
Sandro Wächter, IT Specialist and Freelance writer from Switzerland. The freedom of Ukraine is a personal matter to him, that is why he is doing his part. Words can be a strong weapon too.