Ukrainian Ambassador to France Oleh SHAMSHUR recently posted a letter on Facebook, addressing http://www. lapressemagazine.fr/societe/groupe-valmonde, voicing the Ukrainian embassy’s outrage over Valeurs actuelles’ publications concerning Russia’s secrets. He stressed that some articles were biased, including facts and current events, and that there were historical and political inaccuracies.
First, the magazine reads that the illegal annexation of Crimea is “reintegration.” “That way one legitimizes Russia’s act that runs obviously contrary to international law instead of telling the truth that has been recognized by the international community and the United Nations – that what happened was [an act of] illegal occupation,” stressed Mr. Shamshur.
Second, this magazine quotes only French politicians who are known for their pro-Russian orientation and who, according to Mr. Shamshur have “repeatedly visited the Autonomous Republic of Crimea in Ukraine that was occupied by Russia, thus violating international law and Ukrainian legislation, demonstrating their contempt of official French and international community’s stand in the matter.”
Third, according to Mr. Shamshur, one of the features accuses the French as Russophobes: “Why should anyone’s negative attitude to Russia’s attempts to undermine European stability and contempt of international law be described as Russophobia?”
Fourth, Mr. Shamshur pointed to factual mistakes. Kyivan Rus’ that existed in the 8th-11th cc is described as “Russia.” “This interpretation is being deliberately used by Russia, in order to manipulate historical facts and acquire another country’s history,” he said, summing up that such false information, whether accidentally or deliberately provided by that magazine, is helping Russian propaganda in its effort to justify Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
The Day asked Ms. Galia ACKERMAN, head of the Russian Bureau, Politique internationale, Paris, for comment.
“Mr. Shamshur doesn’t specify the website. Valmonde is a big publishing company, including several magazines. One of them is entitled Valeurs actuelles. As all other such editions, it is known for the editors’ right wing Catholic stand. The copies are delivered to the subscribers on a confidential basis, so that practically no one can buy a copy at a street stand. This periodical runs a number of ‘Secrets’ series, including ‘The Secrets of the Holy Bible’ and ‘The Secrets of Russia.’ Considering the editors’ stand, their mention of Crimea’s ‘integration,’ rather than annexation, shouldn’t surprise anyone. This is further proof of their rightist, very reactionary Catholic worldview. This magazine and other publishers have always been known as hard-headed Russophiles. They still believe that [Eastern] Orthodoxy is helping to keep Russia in one piece.
“The Putin regime has been known as a conservative one, with religion, family, and nationalism being kept as the key values. All this sounds very positive, so the publication at issue is nothing unusual, considering the editors’ stand. I think that Mr. Shamshur was right to post that message on Facebook, considering that any attempt to distort the history of the annexation of Crimea or the history of Kyivan Rus’ should be countered. However, their editorial policy can’t be changed.
“Some may assume that Valmonde has something to do with Le Monde. Wrong. It’s just the owner’s name and Valeurs actuelles is an absolutely marginal French periodical. The most important thing is the public understanding of the existence of Russia’s active propagandizing these days. Regarding this magazine, it isn’t Russian but it is pro-Russian propaganda.
“This magazine adopted its editorial policy years back because it was in line with its ideology. For some reactionary right wing Catholics, Russia is an example of ideal governance. So they suppress human rights, so what? They persecute homosexuality and there are many religious believers. One of its features reads that Eastern Orthodoxy is predominant in Russia, that eight percent of people are practicing believers, compared to five percent in France. I don’t think that this makes a big difference. It further reads that Orthodoxy means more than practicing a religion, that it is a way of thinking and of conduct. This is what they would like to have in France, but this is impossible. Russia for them is nostalgia for something that will never happen in France. This is a very reactionary ideology. How to combat it? I believe that it will become extinct.”