Ukrainian cities after occupation: people are scared of the return of Russian fascism

Ukrainian cities after occupation: people are scared of the return of Russian fascismTwo months I spent in Severodonetsk, shooting documentary of the current events in Donbas. The city was liberated from the so-called 'fighters' last summer and since then it is controlled by the Ukrainian authorities. I am willing to share my impressions with the readers'. - writes Roman Nazarenko for 'The Geopolitics' (Lithuania).There have been no major battles as in Slavyansk. Several multi-stored houses have been damaged: the North has easily survived the occupation by the 'Russian world'. It can be explained that by this time Russia was not able to supply so-called 'fighters' heavy artillery yet and they only had mortars. Volunteers are active in the city. In cafe and the shops they made collecting points of the warm cloth and food for soldiers. A car that arrives is getting fully loaded and then it goes to the front. Those citizens of Severodonetsk for whom occupation turned into a personal tragedy are helping army as much as they can. The only thought over the return of 'the Russian world' makes them scared. They bring cans, bakery, honey, vegetables, and fruit.I noticed one pensioner who brought to the caf? a freshly baked cake. He was reading to his friends the poems of Vladimir Sosura in Ukrainian language that was born in Debaltsevo and in 1918 he took part in civil war in Donbas supporting Ukraine. I asked my new acquaintance to read poems in order to record it. First he agreed. But the last moment he said that he is afraid. Shooting of this scene did not happen.This example shows well what kind of atmosphere prevails among Ukrainians in Donbas who did not support Russian fascism. This people who have their own firm opinion are scared deep inside that ‘fighters’ might come back. In this case everyone who supported Ukraine openly will be exposed to the terror. Many Severodonetsk volunteers were imprisoned by the ‘fighters’ and saw with the 'Russian world' face to face. Soon it will be a year as the city was liberated, but people still are afraid to say openly that they support Ukraine. Is not it an answer to the question why there are so few demonstrations in support of Ukraine in Donbas?We asked a question to a few strangers on how to stop the war? Every third-fourth person knows well what should be done for this. 'Till the moment when Putin withdraws his troops from Donbas, the war will not be over, - shares his view of the situation a fitness club instructor. - But please you do not film me on camera - it is not safe now.'One part of the local inhabitants supports the position 'we stand for peace'. But to be fair, this people do not care where to live - in Ukraine or quasi-republic - the most important there should be work, stable salary and the shops should work. Bloody war is a result of indifference of population of Ukraine. How come so many people are without principles not relating themselves to Ukraine? An answer to this question is the disastrous failure of the humanities policy in Donbas during Independence years. It is a pity that Viktor Yushchenko, the third President, does not feel his fault in what is happening now in Donbas. He said it in the interview to the TV channel 'Dozhd' on 04th of March. Apparently, other presidents of Ukraine do not feel their fault either. Ministries of Culture and Education led by people who were appointed there based on the remaining principle and have always been a result of the 'backstage agreements'. During the Independence years in Ukraine 14 Ministries of Culture and 9 Ministries of Education have been replaced. Who today can be questioned concretely why still there is no strategy in the humanity policy? Which strategy can we talk about if the Minister of Education during Viktor Yanukovich power has been Ukraine hater Dmitrii Tabachnik? In 2007-2008 he published series of his articles in the newspaper '2000' where he most seriously called Ukrainians fascists only for the fact that they speak their own language.In a few kilometres from Severodonetsk Kremenskoy region begins. There are 21 secondary schools where approximately 3000 children study. All schools are Ukrainian. The 'Russian world' did not reach it and Kremenna had no war. Undoubtedly, in the city there are pensioners who are nostalgic over the return of the USSR and dreaming of living in Russia. But the vast majority of people there connect themselves with Ukraine. Is not it a best example how it would be possible to stand today's war with Russia in a painless way and with the least losses for the country?Every person not having own opinion, not identifying himself as Ukrainian, with the position 'I am for peace' is a potential ally of Kremlin that has in its plans to occupy South-East of Ukraine. There is no doubt that Vladimir Putin manipulating the theme of war will be firmly 'protect' these people naming them 'original Russians'. Political scientists call them also the 'voters of stomach'. Kiev did not work out a nation-wide strategy on how the cities in Donbas should live under the circumstances of Russian propaganda while apolitical people are majority. Therefore, the war will be long for Ukraine.It is not surprising that 'Maidan' Minister Yevgenii Nischuk who has worked on the position less than a year, was replaced by the 'eternal politician' Vyacheslav Kyrylenko. It means that when appointing Y. Nischuk who was given so few time to work as a Minister nobody set a serious target to make changes in the culture policy. Everything occurred as of the old scheme, when the politicians were bargaining positions distributing them among the parties. Kiev shows political blindness not having intention to change something in the society. The country will be paying for this with the loss of Independence. As informs the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, starting from the first 'truce', so-called republics extended their territory for 500 square metres.In the last few months the volunteers organized performance of Ukrainian theatre troops, musicians and writers in Severodonetsk. In March in the House of Culture 'The Chemist' the writers Sergey Zhadan and Andrei Kurkov performed presenting their works. Lvov academic regional theatre arrived to show opera of Nikolai Lysenko 'Natalka Poltavka' based on the piece of Ukrainian classic writer Ivan Kotlyarevskiy. Impressive House of Culture built in the Soviet period was overcrowded with spectaculars. Even the balconies had no free seats. 'In the last three months our city was visited by so many artists that it has not been the case in the last five years,' - tells a businessman sponsoring artists' travelling. There was no Ukrainian culture on Donbas and the authorities never had the intention to make it popular. It is not surprising that Donbas has been always apart of Ukraine.Why does not the state program on development of Ukrainian culture work? Everything is based on the enthusiasm of the activists. Even now under the circumstances of the toughest propaganda attacks of Kremlin aimed at the incitement of hatred towards Ukrainians.It is a shame, but Ukrainian authorities did not make the right conclusions from the mistakes of the past. While Kremlin in the times of war will not miss any mistake. It is not accidental that one of the field commanders Aleksey Mozgovoi struggling against Ukraine in the autumn last year asked the mayor of Moscow to supply school books for the children of so-called republic. A. Mozgovoi deliberately wanted to eliminate everything related to Ukraine from the minds of a new generation living on the territory occupied by the fighters. Minister of Education Sergei Kvit in his interview to 'The Gordon' confirmed that Russia delivered its school books to the occupied territory.Ukrainian authorities do not solve a problem, they only state them. What will happen to these kids in 2-3 years when during studies they will absorb the program of Russian fascism according to which all the other nations are auxiliary and only one nation in the world can be called 'God-carried'.The war launched by Russia could be over if a decisive, strong and will-powered politician appears in Ukraine who would dare to take unpopular decision appears. Without real grounds calls of Petro Poroshenko to solve a military conflict exceptionally with diplomatic mean a temporary prolongation of the war that will lead to the loss of Ukrainian territories. It should be recognized that P. Poroshenko has no capacity to retain the integrity of the country by the military means resisting aggression of Russian troops.It could be resolved in a diplomatic way in the beginning of the conflict when part of the deceived by Russian propaganda population of Donbas sincerely believed in the scary stories on 'Pravii sector'. Then, on April last year instead of coming to the deceived na?ve people and calming them down, Arsenii Yatsenyuk invited the leaders of the 'Party of Regions' that has been inciting hatred to everything what is related to Ukraine and started dialogue with them. A chance for diplomacy has been lost.'We should occupy all our cities where the referendum took place and further cooperate with Ukraine as equal partners,' - said a henchman of V. Putin Aleksandr Zakharchenko having reacted to the President's amendments to the law on special status of Donbas adopted by the Verkhovna Rada on 17th March. Ukrainian authorities should get prepared for the attack of Russian troops if they do not want same situation like in Debaltsevo to happen. 

Author: Roman Nazarenko (Ukraine)
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