Web Summit invites pro-Kremlin propagandists as speakers. They spread fakes and justify the war in Ukraine
On November 1-4, the leading tech conference Web Summit 2022 will be held in Lisbon. Each year it gathers thousands of professionals, founders, top managers of tech companies, and investors from all around the world. This year is not an exception.
“The biggest names in tech will meet at Web Summit this November”, the page with speakers said. But, and there is a big BUT as for 2022, the agenda includes the panels led by pro-Kremlin propagandists as speakers — journalist Max Blumenthal and philosopher Noam Chomsky.
UPD: After Ukrainians sent an official letter to the Web Summit, signed by Ukraine’s Embassy in Portugal, the Ministry of Digital Transformation, and the Ukrainian delegation to the conference, Web Summit has withdrawn an invitation for Max Blumenthal and another the Grayzone’s representative, Aaron Mate. At the same time, Noam Chomsky will participate in the event, but online.
Blumenthal is an editor-in-chief of The Grayzone, a media that positions itself as “news website producing original investigative journalism”. Moreover, he has almost 350,000 followers on Twitter, where he spread his “investigations” adopting pro-Kremlin rhetoric. In particular, he wrote that the destruction and shelling of Mariupol Drama Theater by Russians’ airstrike on March 16, where hundreds of civilians had been sheltering, is a fake. Just to be clear — about 300 people were killed during this attack.
“While the Russian military operation in Ukraine has triggered a humanitarian crisis in Mariupol, it is clear that Russia gained nothing by targeting the theater, and virtually guaranteed itself another public relations blow by targeting a building filled with civilians – including ethnic Russians.
Azov, on the other hand, stood to benefit from a dramatic and grisly attack blamed on Russia. In full retreat all around Mariupol and facing the possibility of brutal treatment at the hands of a Russian military hellbent on “de-Nazification,” its fighters’ only hope seemed to lie in triggering direct NATO intervention,”he wrote in his “investigation”.
Interestingly, that Max Blumenthal was disappeared from Web Summit agenda a few days after the co-founder of Preply Dmytro Voloshyn, the reporter and researcher Jane Lytvynenko, as well as Ukrainian PR specialist Orysia Khimiak paid attention to this on their social media. But screenshots don’t burn.
Noam Chomsky supports the war in Ukraine. He justifies, rationalizes, and whitewashes Putin’s actions towards the “goal of Russia’s special military operation” in Ukraine, which is about “demilitarization” and “denazification” of Ukraine. Chomsky also denies Ukraine’s sovereignty and, repeating the Kremlin rhetoric, says that NATO threatened Russia.
Ukrainians tech community actively appeal to the Web Summit organizers to remove Chomsky from the list of speakers, but the organizers don’t respond.
So do such people really deserve to be among “the biggest names” on the top world’s tech conference in 2022, when Russians wage war both on the ground and online? Here is an answer: they definitely don’t. The war leaves no space for compromises.