Russian web sites are eagerly disseminating a story about the Veneto regional council voting to recognize the Ukrainian Crimean peninsula annexed by Moscow in 2014 as part of the Russian Federation and to lift EU sanctions imposed against Russia.

The Russian newspaper Izvestia initially published this story and was soon followed by other Russian publications such as Gazeta.ru, Vzglyad, TVC, Life.ru, RBK, Lenta.ru and others.

Website screenshot izvestia.ru

Website screenshot izvestia.ru

Website screenshot vz.ru

Website screenshot vz.ru

None of these sites mention the fact that the Veneto regional council has no authority over Italy’s foreign policy and the resolution on Crimea is not binding. Russian blogger Anton Nossik explains that Veneto’s regional council is not a parliament and has limited capacity in terms of political influence. “Even if we call this council a parliament, it has no right to make foreign policy decisions and is busy with municipal issues” writes Nossik.

Website screenshot du blogue dolboeb.livejournal.com

Website screenshot du blogue dolboeb.livejournal.com

Italy’s conservative daily newspaper Secolo d’italia writes that the resolution, even if approved “is simply advisory in nature”. Even Stefano Valdegamberi, the resolution’s Christian Democratic author, who recently returned from an economic forum held in Yalta, admits that the regional council’s vote has no binding power and merely reflects the regional council’s desire, however the resolution “ has value because Venice is suffering greatly from the effects of the European policy” of sanctions.

Website screenshot secoloditalia.it

Website screenshot secoloditalia.it

Valdegamberi frequently travels to Crimea and to Russia. In 2013 he introduced a bill calling for a referendum on Veneto’s independence, which the Veneto regional Council passed in 2014. Italy’s Constitution Court however,  ruled that this decision was contrary to the country’s Constitution.

Website screenshot Facebook

Screenshot of Stefano Valdegamberi Facebook page