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Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Pro-Russia Rallies Poorly Attended In East Ukraine
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RIA Novosti, the recently-restructured Russian state-owned "news" outlet has this to say about pro-Russian rallies held today in eastern Ukraine:

Eastern Ukraine has been swept by rallies since last month. Federalization supporters in Kharkiv, Luhansk, Donetsk, Gorlovka, Slaviansk and Kramatorsk have refused to recognize the legitimacy of the current Ukrainian government and are urging interim authorities to hold referendums similar to the one held in Crimea last month, which led to the republic’s reunification with Russia.

In response, Ukrainian authorities started a special operation to crack down on pro-federalization activists in eastern regions of the country, a move that Moscow strongly condemned.

Ukraine underwent a regime change resembling a military coup on February 22. The country’s parliament ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, changed the constitution and scheduled an early presidential election for May 25. Moscow has repeatedly questioned the actions.

Their picture of the Donetsk rally: 


The problem? It seems that the most exciting thing to happen in Donetsk in the last weekend has been sleeping dogs (and very few protesters):

And a guy playing piano:

So while Russian state-media reports hundreds of protesters, there were only perhaps a dozen visible at each of these rallies, as far as one can tell from the visual evidence. But what about today's huge protest in Kharkiv, billed as the main event for pro-Russian rallies in the east? Pro-Russian accounts on VK are circulating this picture, reportedly showing 2000 people in attendance. First of all, Kharkiv is a very large city, so 2000 would be a very small crowd. Also, there's no real evidence that the number is accurate, as we have not seen any pictures of more than perhaps a few hundred people.