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News & Insight

Russian Selfie Addict Makes International News For His Possibly Damning Instagram Feed

By Kishore Sawh on August 4th 2014


Oh the virtues of the selfie, and social media. This combination has spelled trouble for couples, singletons, celebrities, and criminals the world over. Most notably in recent times, it’s spelt a wee bit of trouble for Russia and its fearsome leader, Putin. 24 year old Sanya Sotkin’s Instagram feed is absolutely rife with selfies, which isn’t uncommon, sadly. Unusually, however, his images are geotagged within Ukrainian territory, and more precisely, inside areas seemingly under rebel control, and some are a skip away from the location of the Malaysian Airlines MH17 that was shot down some two weeks ago, taking with it all 298 souls onboard.

Why are his images so controversial? It seems Sotkin is part of the Russian Army, and Russia claims it is uninvolved in the current civil conflict in the Ukraine, and of course, no involvement with the downed airliner. This begs the question then, what is a Russian Army member, who has posted that he “still [doesn’t] understand what we’re doing here, so we’re continuing to go slightly crazy, listen to #swedishhousemafia and wait for new news from Ukraine!” doing there, and in those specific locations.

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Ukraine is the second largest country in Europe by area, and the history of the Crimean war is somewhat telling of what’s been going on these past months. Back then there was great fear by the European nations that Russia would expand its empire as the Ottoman Empire began to decline.Their sense of unity and the huge fight that ensued managed to defeat Russia, though the planet would be greeted by the first World War not long after. Then Ukraine had its fair share of civil fighting, mainly when Ukraine did become part of Russia, though that ended somewhat poorly under Stalin. Much of the troubles sort of began here, and extend to this day from this. Anyway, without a massive history lesson, suffice to say that these two countries have a long and varied warring history, and photos like this, can turn out to be quite damning – especially given the downing of MH17.

I should note here that there has been some speculation that Sotkin wasn’t in fact, as he stated, a communications man in the Russian Army, but a border guard. I don’t know enough about the ranking and uniforms to say, but it doesn’t seem to be negating the fact that this one young man’s Instagram feed is causing a stir from both sides and international media.




Source: The Drum, Images from Sanya Sotkin’s Instagram

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A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Artiom Wolf

    LOL! The author of this non-sense is so naive to ensure that those young men are fighting in the territory of “ukraine” when in no one of the pictures we see them carrying wear weapons. In the comments of to the pictures ( in Russian ) is clearly written the place is not located in the terrotory of “ukraine”. In one of the pictures is written that they are in a field practice (2014). Noteworthy is the bad knowledge about history of “ukraine” of the author. It would be for me even ridiculous to try to explain anything to him here. Please, read at least a full article on wikipedia before written trying to teach the world about… Two years after the coup de etat and the ruling of the new government, and after 25 years of independence, people in Ukraine live in more constrains thant ever before and the “ukrainiain” army continues attacking towns in the eastern region of Donbass, killing civils and destroying infrastructure..

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  2. Philip Zelikow

    People need to be cautious about what they believe – and *think* for themselves. Realize that the Ukraine situation at this point is very much a propaganda war which the PTB are hoping to turn into a “hot” war to help cover the accelerating economic degradation. Selfies with geotags are not evidence of Russian incursions into contested territory, and to consider them as such is irresponsible and/or ignorant. Two “key” pieces of social media “proof” of separatist aggression offered by the Western-backed Ukrainian government have already been thoroughly debunked as simplistic propaganda – and there’s no reason to suspect that they would be slowing down in this effort (specifically, the poorly faked video of the “rebel leader talking to a Russian officer about shooting down MH17” and the video of the supposed rebel AA missile launcher with the missing missile). Offering up an Instagram account as “proof” of anything this sensitive is highly suspect – and it’s really, really sad that it gets as much traction as it does. People have apparently lost their ability to process even the most basic logical thought.

    If you want to go to war, if you want to dump more of your hard-earned wealth and the lives of people on both sides into another grinding conflict that will enrich the bankers, military industrialists, and justify further government incursions into your life, well, then by all means press on believing everything you’re told. If this is NOT what you want, then I’d suggest that you begin to look at every situation you’re fed by the media through the lens of “Cui Bono” – or – “Who Benefits?” and realize that War is a tool used to force great social change on a population and a massive transfer of wealth and assets to a small group of people who will never see a battlefield or lose a loved one in the conflict. The best the average person can hope for is that they won’t be directly involved – but indirectly, no average person truly escapes the side effects.

    Be smart. Think for yourself. Don’t offer up your support of war based on pathetically weak propaganda. The World is depending on you.

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    • Sandra Shore

      Thank you Philip. With all my heart, thank you, for you are an intelligent human being, who does not bend under all this hysterical nonsense forced upon us by the media, by people who won’t see the truth even when it’s lying under their noses.

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    I have been following up with the situation in Ukraine and i feel so sad especially with the recent downing of the Malaysian plane… i think Russia should help with the peace efforts instead of hiding their occupation in Ukraine

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  4. Andy O’Dowd

    Could have been worse; he could have 4squared from a Burger King in Kiev.

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