Not So Fast

Russian media accidentally published essay celebrating restoration of USSR

Russia learned just how undervalued fact-checkers are within the media landscape.


Despite an initial round of discussions between Ukrainian and Russian leaders today, the ongoing geopolitical disaster overseas doesn’t show signs of calming anytime soon. That sad fact made it even more surreal to see a number of Russian state news outlets over the weekend briefly run a stunningly brazen op-ed exuberantly praising the nation “restoring its unity” via Vladimir Putin’s military invasion of the former Soviet satellite country.

“A new world is being born before our eyes,” begins the essay purportedly written by Valentyn Ogirenko. “Russia is restoring its historical fullness, gathering the Russian world, the Russian people together — in its entirety of Great Russians, Belarusians, and Little Russians.”

There’s only one minor correction to the article that required addressing: Russia hasn’t reunited anything. In fact, its deadly attempt at ousting the pro-Western Ukrainian government isn’t going quite as planned for Putin. Although Russian editors quickly pulled the piece, the internet never forgets.

Writing the quiet part in all-bold font — It’s not an understatement to say the scrapped essay is a wild, wild ride into the mind of a Russia’s most adamant chauvinists (aka Vladimir Putin). Describing the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union as both a “tragedy” and a “terrible catastrophe,” the prewritten, accidentally-published, op-ed goes on to say that this injustice “has been overcome.” “Vladimir Putin has assumed, without a drop of exaggeration, a historic responsibility by deciding not to leave the solution to the Ukrainian question to future generations,” the essay later celebrates. Things only pick up speed from there.

A peak into the regime’s mind — As investigative journalist, Christo Grozev, explained on Twitter, it would be easy to assume this was a simple editorial mistake caught early by a publication, except for the fact that the Ogirenko essay was showcased near simultaneously across multiple state-run channels, including Sputnik. This can only mean that the arguments made in the piece were wholly endorsed by the government itself.

Knowing this, it seems pretty clear that Russia would view the Ukrainian campaign as an emboldening move to further rock the existing geopolitical order. “No one believes that the West leads the world order, much less sets the rules of the game. Russia has not only challenged the West, it has shown that the era of Western global domination can be considered completely and finally over.”

A broken clock is right twice — Thankfully, Ukraine is (for the present) still very much holding its own against the incursion, and perhaps the first round of peace talks between the nation and Russia will amount to something. It’s true that the U.S. has a long history of influencing the world for the worse, whether through violence or economic power, but there has to be a less horrific way to foster a fair distribution of geopolitical say-so while also dismantling colonialism.