Youtube calls English translation of Sergei Lavrov “Hate Speech” .

Dr. Brett Harris (Ph.D.)
4 min readDec 16, 2022

I recently uploaded a Russian language video from the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov from late March from Youtube, adding English subtitles using YouTube’s own machine translation tools.

Two days later I received an email from Youtube, informing me that my video contained “hate speech”, it had been taken down, and I had a strike and a one week suspension.

I exercised my right to appeal, and asked for their reason for the ban. The response can back almost instantaneously, no explanation. This is intimidation, without any explanation how am I to post videos in the future.

My Appeal to Youtube:

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with French TV channel TF1, Moscow, May 29, 2022

(Note: This Russian language video has not been flagged for “Hate-Speech”.

Transcript in English

My only guess why this was called “Hate Speech” that I can tell is the use of the word “Nazi”.

He never called any members of a protected group “nazi”, never used slurs, never incited violence, and certainly didn’t call the Ukrainian people “Nazis”.

Lavrov was referring to the real neo-nazi extremist groups who have been absorbed into the Ukrainian armed forces, and other militia groups.

The existence of these groups is demonstrated in supporting articles in the text.

“Unlike our Western colleagues, we are not chasing after the external effects. Nor do we regard the international actions we take as aimed at winning someone’s approval or achieving success, as you said. We are doing what we are forced to do. We are defending people and the Russian language, which has been exposed to direct discrimination and aggression by the Poroshenko and Zelensky regimes in Ukraine. We are defending Ukraine from nazification, which has persisted there for years, with the West’s direct connivance. “

Lavrov never said that the Ukrainian people are nazis, he correctly says that the extremist ideology has persisted among some groups in the country. That is not hate speech.

“We have only one demand, which President of Russia Vladimir Putin has expressed since the very start of the special military operation. We demand that the Kiev regime stop killing civilians in Donbass, as it has been doing for eight long years since the 2014 coup, and despite the signing of the Minsk agreements, and with support from Paris and Berlin.

We have goals: to demilitarise Ukraine (there should be no weapons threatening Russia on its territory); to restore the rights of the Russian people in line with the Constitution of Ukraine (the Kiev regime violated it by adopting anti-Russia laws) and the conventions (in which Ukraine takes part); and to denazify Ukraine.

“Nazi and neo-Nazi theory and practice have deeply permeated daily life in Ukraine and are codified in its laws.”

Lavrov has chosen his words carefully. He does not name any protected group to be nazis, just that the the ideology “has deeply permeated daily life in Ukraine and are codified in its laws.”

He criticised the extremist policies by the Ukrainian regime such as banning the use of the Russian language by ethnic Russians who are citizens of Ukraine. He did not call for violence, he did not call all Ukrainians nazis, he did not use racial slurs.

“Yes, people are dying. But the operation is taking so much time mainly because the Russian military has been ordered to avoid any attacks or strikes at civilian facilities. They can only attack military installations and concentrations of manpower and combat hardware. This is why we are proceeding differently from the Ukrainian army and neo-Nazi battalions that are using civilians as human shields. If you visited these places, you must have seen (or heard) that these battalions are deploying heavy weapons in residential areas, close to schools, hospitals and kindergartens. They regularly shell Donetsk, causing damage to civilians. Our clear goal is to push the Ukrainian army and the battalions beyond the limits of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics.”

Again Lavrov only referred to “neo-Nazi battalions” which certainly exist, and he was speaking truthfully about the use of human shields by such militias.

“As for other territories with people who do not want to break ties with Russia, these people can decide this issue themselves. I don’t think they would want to return to the neo-Nazi regime that has made its Russophobic attitudes very clear. The people themselves should decide.”

Any regime which has proven neo-Nazi battalions in its armed forces, and racist policies against an ethnic group, could be characterised as a “neo-Nazi” regime. That is not hate speech.

Lavrov never said anything that could be called incitement to hate, or incitement to violence against any group.

Given this I do not see any “Hate Speech” intended against Ukrainian people, he simply pointed out the truth that there are extremist groups and Ukrainian government policies which discriminate against ethnic Russians and Russian speakers. He reported the establish fact of certain battalions have violated the laws against using civilians as human shields, as reported by Amnesty International.

Further, the original video, from the Russian Foreign Ministry channel remains on Youtube. How does simply adding English subtitles make it hate speech? That is absurd.

I would point out I had a previous video incorrectly labeled hate-speech, after also adding English subtitles to a video from Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova. The appeal was upheld.

One might even speculate that there is vexatious reporting by those who do not wish English speakers to hear the Russian perspective, which is in itself discriminatory.

For all these reasons, I contend this video does not contain hate speech, and ask for the video to be reinstated.

Still waiting Youtube…