Thursday, 16 February 2017

Dutch Art Restitution Dancing to the Kremlin's Tune

Russians were involved in an effort to influence a Dutch referendum last year on a trade agreement with Ukraine. (Andrew Higginsfer, 'Fake News, Fake Ukrainians: How Russians Tilted a Dutch Vote' Feb 16th, 2017)
They attended public meetings, appeared on television and used social media to denounce Ukraine’s pro-Western government as a bloodthirsty kleptocracy, unworthy of Dutch support. [...] The Dutch referendum, held last April, became a battering ram aimed at the European Union. With turnout low, Dutch voters rejected the trade agreement between the European Union and Ukraine, delighting Moscow, emboldening pro-Russia populists around Europe and leaving political elites aghast.
We remember another element in the rhetoric depicting Ukraine as a kleptocracy were the accusations, never justified or proven, by Arthur brand and the museum curator Ad Geerdink, that Ukrainian politicians were directly involved in the affair. it turned out that neither of them were able to determine whether they were dealing with Ukrainian or Russian sources. Shame on them. They need to apologise for their amateurish blundering.

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