2 March 2014, 14:36

German media making U-turn on Ukrainian tug-o'-war?

Crowds rally in front of the Crimea's regional parliament in Simferopol, Ukraine

Crowds rally in front of the Crimea's regional parliament in Simferopol, Ukraine

Crowds rally in front of the Crimea's regional parliament in Simferopol, Ukraine

Radio listeners across Germany have reportedly woken up to a surprise turnaround in the media coverage of the escalating Ukrainian crisis, following the February regime change and the ensuing uprising of Ukraine's Russia-leaning east and south.

German blogosphere and social networks are abuzz with the new stance of several state-run radio stations that have opted – in a moment of truth-seeking – to go against the massive tide of pro-West reporting and get to the root of the crisis that is tearing the ex-Soviet republic in two.

Bloggers are discussing the recent shows aired by the Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), a member of German ARD consortium, which is now explaining to its German audience the difference between Ukraine's western and eastern populations.

According to on-the-ground reports, a slew of WDR services – WDR Eins Life, WDR 2, WDR 4 – and live news channel N24 have revised their take on the Ukrainian crisis overnight, going from the Ukraine-under-Russian-siege rhetoric to detailed coverage of pro-Russian protests that have fanned out across Crimea and scuffles between rival groups in the country's east.

Germany's mainstream channels still cling on to the black-and-white story of alleged Russian invasion in the autonomous Crimean peninsula in a US-driven bid to pressure Russia into giving up on the country in its “backyard”.

Meanwhile, comments that appear on the websites of Germany's most influential online magazines seem to disagree with the country's official stand, with Spiegel readers talking about evident illegitimacy of Ukraine's new self-proclaimed rulers and Russia's intrinsic right to defend its military facilities in Crimea, which serves as the home base of its Black Sea Fleet.

Many commentators pointed out that the Turchynov regime should put the status of Crimea to a referendum, while others were apparently anxious about neo-Nazi sentiment taking hold in Ukraine.

Many Germans underscored that calls for non-intervention sounded hypocritical, to say the least, when coming from the United States leadership, considered a string of invasions in Cuba, Iraq, Libya and its recent attempts to attack Syria.

Anti-regime protests are meanwhile spreading across the east and south of the country. In several cities, pro-Russia activists entered parliament buildings and raised the Russian flag.

According to Germany's largest daily Sueddeutschezeitung, residents in Kharkiv threw pro-regime forces out of the regional government's headquarters shouting “Krakhiv and Russia!” Police did not interfere. Similar protests have engulfed the coal mining city of Donetsk.

Voice of Russia, Sueddeutschezeitung

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