Telling the truth when it matters most

Telling the truth
when it matters most

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Episode 1

Who is Volodymyr Zelenskyy?

The first episode profiles Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his transformation from actor to war-time president. It does so by contrasting the saintly, celebrity image that western countries have promoted to the dark and deadly reality of Ukrainian life under his rule.

He is one of the most famous people on the planet. Not just a world leader but a military leader. And the face, we are told of “democracy.”

I’m investigative journalist Ben Swann.

He is unmistakable, as Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Vo-lo-dee-meer Zeh-len-skiy )is always wearing olive green. Whether sweatsuits, or some kind of military uniform… mostly it’s just green. A uniform he wears all the time, no matter the event.  Whether speaking before a joint session of the United States Congress or at a black-tie gala or ringing the bell of the New York Stock Exchange… he is always dressed for battle. People the world over know exactly who he is, the moment they see him, but how many know anything about the man?

Just who is Volodymyr Zelenskyy? We’re told he’s an aggrieved, selfless servant of the Ukrainian people who is bravely defending his democratic nation against the cruel invasion of his bully neighbor. This neighbor, we’re told, is the exact opposite of our fearless warrior-hero.

Vladimir Putin (Vla-dee-meer Putin) is Darth Vader to Zelenskyy’s Luke Skywalker. And like a young Jedi, our hero has boyish good looks and humble origins.

We’ve been handed a laughably simple narrative. It’s easy to digest and makes for a cut and dry case of good versus evil. But experience tells us that although simple narratives are useful for things like…selling a war, they’re not so great at telling the whole story. In this 12-part series, Zelensky Unmasked, we’ll reveal another side to not just the leader of Ukraine, but to the entire war effort itself. Why has the United States and Western Europe pushed so hard for war in Ukraine? Is Ukraine a bastion of Jeffersonian democracy, but actually run a tyrannical regime?  And why are U.S. taxpayers continuing to send billions of dollars to a war-effort that seems more like a money laundering scheme?

Here at Truth in Media we have been looking into this story for over a year… researching, digging, and following the fact where others won’t.  The question’s I just laid out for you… we will answer.   Our first question today… who is Volodymyr Zelenskyy?

Ritter: He’s a total creation of the West.

Iversen: He was selected to act in this role, and he’s doing a fantastic job as an actor, quite frankly. This is a role of a lifetime and he’s killing it.

Black: He has a voice in Ukraine. However, ultimately the United States directs the most important things within Ukraine.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy was born in 1978 in Kryvyi Rih, an industrial city in the south of Ukraine.

Like most others in the region, Zelenskyy grew up speaking Russian and wasn’t fluent in Ukrainian until he took a crash-course on the language while running for President. Zelenskyy studied law in college and graduated in 2000.

Zelenskyy was active in one of his college’s theatre groups, called Quarter 95. He got his big break when his group found success on a popular Ukrainian improv comedy show. And in 2003, Zelensky started his own production company, named after his improv group.

In 2012, he and his company joined Ukrainian network 1+1, owned by one of Ukraine’s most notorious oligarchs-slash-gangsters, Ihor Kolomoisky (Ee-gor Koh-loh-moi-skiy). Kolomoisky has been accused of a number of crimes ranging from embezzlement to murder.

McGregor: Yes. I think that Zelenskyy was picked by this oligarch Kolomoisky. He’s also the same man that funded Azov…which to me makes no sense… because this oligarch is Jewish.

Three years after Zelenskyy joined Kolomoisky’s company, he starred in that network’s hit-series called The Servant of the People.

It was about a teacher who unwittingly becomes a viral sensation for being caught ranting on camera about corruption in Ukraine. A few years later, Zelenskyy’s production company registered a political party called Servant of the People, just like their hit show.

Zelenskyy became the front runner in the 2019 election as soon as he announced his candidacy. The announcement was made during a special broadcast aired on Kolomoisky’s network.

During this time, war had been raging in the Donbass region of Ukraine since 2014.

In that year, a coup ousted the democratically-elected government of Viktor Yanukovych (Vik-tor Yah-nu-koh-vich), a Russian ally.

An ultra-nationalist Ukrainian regime took over and the ethnic Russian region of the Donbass refused to recognize the coup government. An intense civil war broke out and thousands were killed. A civil war that raged from 2014 until 2022.

Five years after the start of that civil war, and on the campaign trail, Candidate Zelenskyy made peace his top priority.

Andreii: I just support him because he wanted peace in Ukraine. And that was the main thing why people in Ukraine supporting. 70, more than 70% of people wanted peace, peace with the Russians.

Ruslan (In Russian): I voted for him as a person that very convincingly said that “I am a bird of peace, why shoot, we need to stop shooting.” People basically voted for him, including Donbas, because he was a person who put himself into the party of peace that opposed the party of war.

The party of war during those elections was Poroshenko.


To go to war? I personally am against it: I’m not such a person. Maybe I’m a tough leader in the Quarter, but here I believe that this whole topic, all these pieces of land – are all about human life. And I would put human life first: “Our goal is to save people.” Therefore, I sweep away any option “we’ll go there as an army” right away.

McGregor: He promised, I will talk to President Putin. I will meet with the Russians. We will end this war. And once he became president, he seems to have done a 180-degree change and has been the obedient servant of Washington.

So Zelenskyy won office as a pro-peace candidate… but once elected, his tone changed. No longer an advocate for peace, the new President of Ukraine began arguing that his country needed to join NATO, even though Russia had long considered that to be a red line.

This red line exists because Russia is surrounded by NATO from virtually all angles.


As soon as all Ukrainians are ready, we will definitely ask that question in a referendum, and Ukraine will definitely be in NATO.

Although Zelenskyy is a native Russian speaker, he jumped on ultra-nationalist campaigns to curtail the use of his mother tongue.

Right before Zelenskyy took office in 2019, Ukraine passed a law, making Ukrainian the mandatory language of use for government officials, thus curbing the use of Russian.

What many in the West fail to understand is that this is a problem because 22 percent of Ukrainians speak Russian as their native language. The law also outlawed teaching in Russian and required that everyone in the country learn Ukrainian.

Under Zelenskyy’s watch, in January of 2021, the 2019 law expanded, requiring service industry employees to talk to customers in Ukrainian first. According to the law, they could switch languages only if customers asked to switch.

The following year, another law was passed, which required domestic media to print in Ukrainian.

In June of 2022, Zelenskyy signed another discriminatory decree; this one restricting the availability of Russian books and music.

Laws seeking the eradication of Russian culture and language are indicative of how radical nationalism has entered the mainstream of Ukrainian society.

Soroka: If we remember the time period of 2014 ‘til 2020, we can say that ideology of Nazism was fragmented.

Mainly embodied into the system of those battalions. After 2020 with the help of the United States and the help of European countries.

This help just let this ideology of Nazism go beyond the Nazi nationalistic battalions and make very deep roots into Ukrainian society.

BENTLEY: And, you know, and really, you know, it’s amazing to see, you know, and I think that, you know, eight years ago, there was a lot less pro Nazi anti Russian sentiment than there is today, and they just really pumped up the propaganda and, and a lot of people that didn’t used to believe it are now believing that.

After reversing earlier positions on language, Zelenskyy’s image was further tarnished with the release of 2021’s Pandora Papers.

According to leaked documents, Zelenskyy and his inner-circle held 10 off-shore shadow companies, which did business with Zelensky’s old boss, the oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky.

Kolomoisky was accused of stealing 5.5 billion dollars from investors in a pyramid scheme he orchestrated through his bank. This led to accusations that Zelenskyy was getting rich off Kolomoisky’s crimes.

Through these shell companies, Zelenskyy and his partners reportedly purchased about eight million dollars’ worth of real estate in London.

By October of 2021, Zelenskyy, who was elected with 73% of the vote, under promises to bring peace to the Donbass and reign in corruption in Ukraine, had failed to deliver on his promises. He had, in fact, done the opposite. And his approval rating hovered at around 27 percent. But then, just four months later, the story surrounding Volodymyr Zelenskyy dramatically changed. Russia crossed Ukraine’s border with soldiers and tanks, in what the Russian government called a “Special Military Operation.”

Zelenskyy traded in his suit and tie for olive green… well everything… and overnight became a darling of western media. The timing was perfect… maybe too perfect.

So he’s put forward as a you know, it’s the traditional Marvel Comics hero villain scenario. He’s a hero. He’s a good guy, stands for everything good. And he’s attacked by the equivalent of Lex Luthor in a Superman movie, which would be Vladimir the evil Vladimir Putin. And they’ve been, you know, pretty successful with that in the United States simply because that’s the only story that’s allowed to get out.

Zelenskyy was made into a hero and Russia was labelled the aggressor, wanting only to rebuild the old Soviet Union. But the truth is that the 2022 invasion was far from unprovoked.

Russia had spent decades warning of dire consequences if NATO continued to expand and months urging the United States and NATO to formally declare that Ukraine would not join their military alliance.

Only months after Russia’s 2022 invasion, there were signs that the conflict would be a short-lived one.

Reports came out that Ukraine and Russia were coming to a peace agreement.

Foreign Affairs stated that “According to multiple former senior U.S. officials we spoke with, in April 2022, Russian and Ukrainian negotiators appeared to have tentatively agreed on the outlines of a negotiated interim settlement: Russia would withdraw to its position on February 23, when it controlled part of the Donbas region and all of Crimea, and in exchange, Ukraine would promise not to seek NATO membership and instead receive security guarantees from a number of countries.”

Black: When Russia began this special military operation, when they crossed the border within two months, Ukraine and Moscow were in very serious talks. And they had almost arrived at a peace agreement that would settle all of the issues between them in a way that was satisfactory to both sides. In fact, Ukraine was already touting that, okay, we’ve almost got agreement, we have this and that it’s not quite agreed.

And then the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Boris Johnson, came flying into Kyiv unannounced and he had a sit down with Zelensky and told him in no uncertain terms, you’re going to get back to war, you know, cut out this business a talking peace. We put a lot of money into Ukraine, and we want a return on the dollar or an on the pound. And so he broke up the peace talk.

Here’s former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett discussing the Ukraine/Russia peace deal, which he says was sabotaged.

Bennett (B) (In Hebrew with English captions): I was under the impression that both sides very much want a ceasefire. And as I said at that meeting, Putin made two big concessions after the original demands, he renounced disarmament and denazification, and I saw to myself ‘wow, this is a huge shift.’

Host: So he’s not gung ho to fight at all costs?

Bennet. No.

Host: He has goals to achieve.

B: That’s the impression I got.

H: Yes.

B: My position at the time in this regard, it’s not a national Israeli interest. Unlike the consulate or Iran. When I’m concerned about Israel, I stand firm – Yes. Here, I don’t have a say, I’m just the mediator but I turn to America in this regard, I don’t do as I please. Anything I did was coordinated down to the last detail with the US, Germany, and France.

H: So they blocked it?

B: Basically, yes. They blocked it. And I thought they’re wrong.

Had the United States and Great Britain not intervened at that moment. Had the peace talks been allowed, this war would have ended with some minor boundary changes, of course.

Crimea would have gone back to Russia where it’s always belonged. Portions of the Donbass would have would have gone to Russia, but for the most part, stability would have been restored.

And the casualties would have been just minor, the property damage would have been very minor, and Ukraine and Russia could have gone back to doing business like they’d always done. They were great trading partners.

But the United States dominates NATO. NATO does not act independently of the United States. And so when the United States decides that we’re going to take this position, that there will be no peace, then there will be no peace.

As long as the United States persists in the idea that the war will continue. The war will continue.

After it was declared that peace was not an option, the deaths mounted, and repression escalated.

Ruslan: Right now I am applying for political asylum, because in all American documents, in the human rights reports, State Department and the UN mission I am mentioned as a politically-persecuted journalist. I am the chairman of the Ukrainian pacifist community, so I don’t think that I will have any problems with gaining asylum.

Ruslan Kotsaba was forced out of his country and into exile. He isn’t alone.

Telizhenko: I had to flee Ukraine in last year, not because of the Russians, but because I was threatened, I had death threats to my life…I had to flee Ukraine…because I wanted peace. And because I was sanctioned by the US as a Russian agent, apparently they thought that’s the rulebook of the world if you were sanctioned by the United States.

Gonzalo Lira was a popular Chilean-American blogger who died as a political prisoner in Ukraine. His alleged crime? He voiced opinions online that differed from that of the Ukrainian government. Lira granted us an exclusive interview, a year after he was detained for the first time. Here’s what he said to us when we asked about the possibility of false flag operations being conducted by Ukraine’s military.

Lira: Here in Kharkov they arrested me, they interrogated me. And I was, you know, released, you know. And but the fact is that I’m gonna put this carefully. I don’t want to create the conditions or the excuse to lose my liberty at this time. And so I’m going to have to decline. After this conflict is over I’m happy to tell you exactly incidents that I think were not what they were claimed to be, incidents that I think were very clearly created artificially to shore up the Zelenskyy regime’s appeal for money and weapons from the west. But at this time, I don’t want to discuss this for the reasons I mentioned.

Soon after this interview, Lira was arrested and imprisoned.

In messages posted to his Twitter account after he was released on bail, Lira claimed he was beaten and tortured while in custody. He recorded this message on July 31, 2023 – just three months after our interview.

So either I will cross the border into Hungary in the next couple of hours or I will be arrested again and God knows what will happen to me.

Lira didn’t make it to Hungary. He was re-arrested for breaching the terms of his bail. And he died while imprisoned just months after he recorded this message.

Lira is not alone in facing persecution for voicing criticism toward Kiev. Opposition political parties and politicians have been banned in Ukraine, and Ukraine’s Parliament has even voted to shut down the Orthodox Church.

The Ukrainian Church had been under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church since its inception.

In 2019, however, the Ukrainian Church split in two because one faction wanted to leave the jurisdiction of Moscow.

In December of 2022, Ukraine passed a law forbidding religious organizations from having ties with Russia.

In the aftermath of this law’s passage, several priests were arrested and 50 people were interrogated. In March of 2023, Ukraine’s most historic monastery –the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra (Kee-yev Peh-cher-sk Lahv-rah )– was raided and parts of it were shut down.

Metropolitan Pavel Lebed (Pah-vehl Leh-bed’) is the head of the Orthodox Church in Kiev. He granted us an interview two days before he was arrested.

Lebed: They asked me when I saw Putin. I answered them: “I saw him when you did, when Putin came to Kyiv.” You were the ones who communicated, I do not communicate and have no relationship with him. “When did you communicate with Patriarch Kirill?” I told them: “The same time as you did, when he came to Ukraine. You stood in line to get his blessing.

In March of 2023, Ukraine’s most historic monastery –the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra– was raided and parts of it were shut down.

Nearly a year into Russia’s war with Ukraine, and now most analysts are quietly admitting that Ukraine has no chance. Despite the massive numbers of weapons, tanks, defense systems and over 160 Billion dollars poured in by the United States and Western Europe.

Russia has control over most of the Donbass region and Ukraine’s much-hyped counteroffensive has been an utter failure.

This isn’t a surprise. Many analysts, who didn’t make it onto mainstream media outlets, predicted Ukraine’s loss as soon as the conflict started.

Given this stalemate, territorial control is currently divided on lines that had been previously agreed to by Ukraine and Russia. So why is the war still going on?

Lira: Well, it seems very obvious that they didn’t shell out all that cash to Zelenskyy in like big bags or something. Right. Most of it is going to the American military industrial complex. Just like you know, the whole pandemic thing was a big payday for Big Pharma.

Lebed: Unfortunately, today there are no politicians, but policies that earn money on deaths, on war, you know this very well, it’s not for me to tell you that this is being done today. How money is being written off for food, for weapons…

Everything falls on the shoulders of people, ordinary people.

Those, who are striving for power, they do it all, they are responsible and will answer before God for everything.

They will answer to God for everything. So, who are They… the “They” who created the cult of Ukraine’s wartime President.  We’ll investigate and give you details no one else will, in our next episode, as we promise to leave Zelenskyy Unmasked.

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