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Leonid Bershidsky

Russian Propaganda Can't Beat Awkward Honesty

Canada's foreign minister would do better to answer questions about her ancestry directly.
Questions about her grandfather.

Questions about her grandfather.

Photographer: Cole Burston/Bloomberg

Last week, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland opened a can of worms by dismissing references to her family's World War II history as Russian disinformation. That wasn't entirely true, and in the current climate, history is politics.

Freeland, a prominent journalist turned politician, was banned from entering Russia for her fiercely pro-Ukraine stand. When she became foreign minister in January, Moscow refused to lift the ban. Soon, the story of her maternal grandfather, Michael (Mykhailo) Chomiak, was circulating on pro-Russian websites.