Mykola Pidvezyaniy, Kateryna Peshko, Stanislav Gruzdev (photo), “Glavcom”
When Oleg Liashko brought a cow to the Parliament, ate soil at the Verkhovna Rada booth and walked the city with a pitchfork, this was viewed as political extravagance – a trick that the smallest fraction of the electorate would fall for. However the results of the past elections prove that the main parliamentary rascal has a significant political perspective. The politician, who according to some experts, was under the patronage of Yanukovich’s team for the role of the oppositional clown, has already stepped out of this frame.
His 8.4% became the main headline of the past elections. The bronze medal in the presidential race allow Liashko to expect that at the early parliamentary elections he is able to enter his own fraction into the Parliament. At least at the elections in the capital, his Radical Party has already taken second place.
Oleg Liashko came to the meeting with “Glavcom” in a big Jeep with bodyguards. The member of the parliament has not yet stepped out of his role as presidential candidate, therefore frequently his rhetoric comes down to his favourite militaristic theme of “put someone on the pitchfork.” Nonetheless, one cannot turn a blind eye to the “Liashko factor” in Ukrainian politics. Whoever is the author of this “radical project,” their offspring today is successful and already calls himself the “third politician in the country” without any modesty.
“Where would I get money for the so-called political technologists?”
Though you assured your electorate of guaranteed victory, the result you got – third place – also turned out to be unexpected…
Unexpected for whom?
Sociologists at least “drew” much less for you.
They lie. They drew twice as little. Sociology is a sellout science. Normal sociology cannot give a result which is half the real one. This is zombifying people, political technologies. They say that he has a low rating, therefore you should not vote for him. Every person thinks to themselves: why would I vote for him, if he has a low rating – my vote will be wasted. There are dirty political technologies.
Maybe sociology is not to blame? Maybe, your electorate is unstable: they come to the polling, look at the list of names that they are already sick of and choose a stark candidate “against everyone” Oleg Liashko.
No, I don’t think so. On the contrary, our electorate is very stable, as our electorate wants change. The people that voted for me understood clearly who they’re for. They understood that they were voting for Liashko, because Liashko offers radical change.
How many percents did you predict for yourself, if not for the “bad” sociologists?
We counted on going to the second round. If we had gone to the second round, we would have won the elections. However the mantra of single-round elections worked: that we need to elect a president in one round, otherwise it would be the end of life itself, as one round will stop the war and so forth. And so, has the war been stopped? No. And it won’t be for a long time. Because the situation has gone far.
They say that one of there reasons for the growth of your rating is the rhetoric of war in your electoral campaign. Do you agree?
My rhetoric is life. I am not inventing everything. This is not fake. Yatseniuk during the electoral campaign of 2009 looked fake in the military uniform. Because there was no war then. And today there is war. I simply said what people are hurting for, what they are living.
Do you acknowledge the fact that if all of Donbas and Crimea had voted, you would not have taken third place?
I disagree with you categorically. According to the surveys conducted before the elections in Donbas, Donetsk, for example, gave me 5%. I had a higher rating in Donetsk than Timoshenko. You cannot deny that 5% in Donbas is like about 15% in Western Ukraine, in Ivano-Frankivsk or Ternopil Oblasts. I really wanted the elections to happen in Donbas, I would have gotten addition hundreds of thousands of votes there. Unfortunately they did not happen. Therefore I think that today we have to kill the terrorists as quickly as possible in order for the citizens of Lugansk and Donetsk Oblasts to be able to vote at the parliamentary elections. Because we cannot speak of a pan-Ukrainian representation in the Parliament, when Donbas and Lugansk Oblasts do not vote. Let them vote there for whoever…
There is an opinion among political scientists that the demand for your project will last until the country exists the crisis. When everything stabilises, Liashko will “deflate.”
I would like for stability to come to Ukraine, for the war to end as quickly as possible. I am ready to “deflate” only for this to happen.
Do you like the analogies with Zhirinovskiy or not?
My grandmother said: call it a pot, just don’t put it in the oven. These are artificial analogies. Developments from the competitors’ headquarters to humiliate me, make me into a clown. They say, he’s not serious: ha-ha. I personally see no analogies with Zhirinovskiy. This is done to fool the voter.
What political technologists worked with you? Your advertising campaign was exemplified by specialists. Who is the author of the pitchfork on the billboards?
Where would I get money for political technologists? They want a lot of money, and we don’t have such possibilities. These were my ideas, ideas of my team. Young creative men and women are working with me.
These people must have surnames…
Mark Gres, a TV person. He made the videos. He is, by the way, tenth on our list to the Kyiv City Council. Andriy Lozoviy, my assistant, PR. He is second on the list to the Kyiv City Council, he became a member. The future head of the fraction.
How much did your electoral campaign cost you?
Let’s count. I think around five million Hryvnia. In reality, this is small change in comparison with the others. If we are to calculate the expense of the campaign to one vote, as we do, it is nothing. If I had five million dollars, I would have won the elections in the first round.
“Chernovetskiy’s team is falsifying the elections in Kyiv”
Your biggest support is in your motherland – in Chernigiv Oblast… However Timoshenko got ahead of you in this oblast.
Yulia has such political baggage. She is a political mastodon, a boulder.
How would you explain her low result at these elections?
I think Timoshenko should have no participated in the elections at all. This was her mistake. The majority of the people wanted for her to be freed. But at the same time many said: let her go and undergo treatment.
Have you spoken personally to Yulia Volodymyrivna after she was freed? Have you advised her not to participate in the presidential race?
We talked several times. I did not give her advice. She is a grown smart woman. And I am not her advisor.
What is the fate you see for her political project?
For “Batkivshchina” it is obvious that the future is dim. Especially if we glance at the results of the Kyiv elections. Our party took second place. “Batkivshchina” got 2,5 times less, and some time ago it had 40%. Why did they lose? Because they’re dead. Because “Batkivshchina” is connected to stealing Kyiv land, resources. The same happened in the Verkhovna Rada. The fate of any lying political party, not just “Batkivshchina” is universal – political cemetery.
But you will not argue that it was not “Batkivshchina” that led these processes in Kyiv.
And meanwhile the team of the odious Chernovetskiy, who headed this process, according to the results of the elections, is surely going to the Kyiv City Council.
But under which brand! The brand of “UDAR.” These are Chernovetskiy’s people, bribe-taking, criminals, corruption participants which have crawled into the Kyiv City Council under “UDAR’s” trademark. I am sure that they will manipulate Klitschko, they will use him. It is quite obvious that the fraction of the Radical Party will harshly oppose this criminal team.
It seems that in reality Kyiv will be governed by people that the new mayor will delegate his powers to. As of today, two names have become known: Pavlo Riabkin – the long-time partner of the Klitschko brothers, who is predicted to get the post of the first deputy. And Igor Kononenko – former member of Chernovetskiy’s team, who is being connected to Petro Poroshenko. How can you evaluate these people?
I don’t know these people. But to me it is very obvious: Chernovetskiy’s criminals have come to power not to rebuilt Kyiv. They came to steal. I am not interested in personalities. I am interested in their policies. If they are to steal, we will hit them over the knuckles hard.
Was the high result of the Radical Party in the city of Kyiv surprising to you?
I was counting on more. I thought we would get a minimum of 15-20% in Kyiv. I think we got no less than 15% but votes are being stolen from us. And I am disappointed in this. After Maidan, nothing has changed.
Would you agreed that, for example, in Kyiv, you took away the electorate form “Svoboda,” Timoshenko?
I did not drag anyone by force. The people are voting for me because they share my position, my actions. Tomorrow, if I am to stop working, they will vote for someone else. This is a natural process. The stronger, better, more convincing person wins.
How many people will be in your Kyiv City Council fraction?
About 7-8 people.
Who are these people?
Andriy Lozoviy, Yurkiy Sukhin, Igor Mosiychuk, Olexandr Lapshov, Olexiy Kirichenko, Liudmyla Kostenko… I am saying this at random. Different people.
And where are the people that were in your top-five for the parliamentary elections: mother of many Oksana Shevchenko, Oksana Sapunova, who was pregnant at the time, blind singer Ivan Ganzera, Shchors mayor Roman Zub?
It was a different time. Parliamentary elections are parliamentary. The Kyiv elections are in Kyiv. When in 2012 we were building our campaign, there was one approach. After Maidan, after the revolution – there is another.
“If dead weight is to appear in our fractions, I will pinch them everywhere”
You just announced that you will be in opposition to Klitschko in the Kyiv City Council. Do you see anyone else joining you?
“Svoboda” approached us with the initiative to unite our efforts. It is possible there will be other parties…
In 2008 you also went to the Kyiv City Council to fight Chernovetskiy, however then you started helping him in unison. Is Oleg Liashko not afraid that the team he has brought will prove to have dead weight?
Of course, I am fearful. Everyone is a sinner. Anyone can be bought. If dead weight is to appear in our fraction, I will personally pinch them everywhere, and then I will bury them. With my own two hands. Those who plan on being dead weight in our fraction should remember how it will end for them.
What criteria did you use in choosing your team?
Various criteria. These are people that I worked with before, people that came recently, people that are able to show results. Liashko’s team, the Radical Party’s team is a new team. I don’t have principles of taking my friends, brothers, relatives, dragging someone from behind my school desk. There are no classmates near me now. We studied at a boarding school. Many of them have become drunks, some have died, I have relations with many, but none of them are in politics with me. And I think it is normal.
And where did you get the five million you spent on the elections?
From various sources. My own, sponsors. Those who want to be on the list gave money. They thought I would take them. I took the money, I did not put them on the list.
So these people are probably offended by you.
I’m sorry, who promised them anything? They came and said they wanted to help. Thank you.
The perspective of the parliamentary elections make the Radical Party’s project quite attractive for political investors. They are probably already trying to approach you?
There is a queue. If only you knew what kind of “dough” I’m being offered now.
Huge amount. People that I have no heard from for years are calling me. Suddenly they remember, they tell me they need to meet with me as soon as possible, that there are some ideas, proposals. I understand what these ideas are: give “dough,” in order to get on the list. No.
Will you name those willing to cooperate?
No, that is not right. Suddenly everyone started kissing and hugging. And I don’t want to repeat the mistakes of other politicians, therefore there will be no people for money on my list, no active members, none.
Besides me. And I’m not sure I will be. We’ll see. I would like to bring youth to power, guys and girls without connections, without a hairy hand, without money, those that are able to change this country.
Youth is quite a doubtful criterion. We have already seen Chernovetskiy’s young team, the “family” youth of Yanukovich, and the results of their activities…
Youth should be in the Parliament. I want to have a team of well-educated people, patriots that are coming to power not to steal. We are not saints, any of us. However, first and foremost, do something for the country. And then for yourself – a little… Out of 100% do 90% for the country, 10% you can steal. Gaining is better than stealing. And then everything will be all right. But here everything is done in reverse. As soon as one comes to power, they start digging for themselves.
“I could have been used secretly”
In Yanukovich’s time you have been accused numerous times that you are Bankova’s project, and Sergiy Liovochkin was named as your patron.
I don’t comment on stupid things. I heard that I am Kolomoyskiy’s project, Akhmetov’s project, or someone else’s project. If I were the project of any of them, I would have long won the presidential elections. With their money, with their possibilities. Those who are saying such things, should at least name one fact.
It can be mentioned that Savik Shuser admitted that you were invited to live shows on Yanukovich’s administration orders.
I won’t deny it. Shuster could have been given such orders. But I do not order Shuster around. I don’t deny that I could have been used secretly. What did he say? That I was called to criticise Yatseniuk. Well let Shuster say why he carried out the orders of the Administration. Why did he never tell me this? I thought he was calling me to raise his ratings, that he was interested in talking to me.
Does Shuster invite you now?
Very rarely. Looks like they’re not giving him any more orders.
However you are a frequent guest on TV shows – you shouldn’t complain.
It is obvious I am interesting. This is why they call me. The third politician in Ukraine.
Have you met with Yanukovich personally?
No. Never. We met in 2007 in the Verkhovna Rada on the stars once. He was walking in my direction – I said hello. But we never met personally. However, I wanted to.
And with Liovochkin?
Yes. Numerous times. And Kliuyev too.
What did you discuss?
We met regarding the bill about the moratorium on hospital closure. And I met with Akimova too. I tried to convince them to support the bill. And I did. In the first reading they voted. How I convinced them is my business. Then, however, they did not want to vote for a year in the second reading. Overall we passed it only after the revolution.
“Shot me at least one country which would allow Tsariov’s existence”
You are undoubtedly for the early elections to the Verkhovna Rada today?
What do you think, is Poroshenko vacillating? Or will he carry out his promise and disband the Rada?
I don’t know what Poroshenko is thinking. But it is quite obvious that if you are promising something before the elections, you have to do it later. The government’s biggest problem that for 23 everyone has been promising and forgetting right after the elections.
While I was on the front for three days, it turned out that they have already gathered 260 or something signatures to make Litvin the head of the Verkhovna Rada. Communists, “regionals” and so forth. This is a shame, profaning the memory of the Heaven’s Hundred. I have many criticisms regarding Turchynov. But Turchynov is a Maidan nominee, who won. I am asking: what moral right to the “regionals” and communists have to nominate anyone to the Verkhovna Rada? They want the people to come and burn the Verkhovna Rada to the ground tomorrow? They will come and burn it. And nobody will stop them. What moral right does Litvin have to run for the head of the Verkhovna Rada? Where was Litvin during Maidan? Where was Yeremeyev’s group? Together with Yanukovich’s gang, they were gaining millions on tenders. And today they are taking advantage of the military aggression and thinking that they can take revenge. Let them have this, but not revenge! (he makes the fig sign with his hands).
And overall, is here a chance that this Parliament will last, that Petro Olexiyovich will be convinced?
No, the Parliament has to be disbanded. There have to be early elections. This parliament has no right to exist at least because of one reason. Show me one other country in the world which could afford the existence of such members of the parliament like Tsariov, Oliynik, Yefremov, Simonenko, which are working for the enemy in the open. And they cannot even be rid of their untouchability. This is not a Ukrainian parliament.
It is too risky to announce more elections under conditions of war…
We elected a President under conditions of war. We have to elect a new Parliament under conditions of war.
Show me whom the current Party of Regions represents. Its nominee at the elections got 3%. Whom do the communists represent? Their candidate did not even get two percent at the elections. They do not represent anyone; there is nobody behind them. The regionals came in 2012 because of falsification, sellouts, administrative resources. The majority of the voters want other people in the Parliament. Therefore neither the regionals, nor the communists, nor Litvin’s people have any right to be in the Verkhovna Rada today.
How should these elections go? Using what system?
It is quite obvious that it has to be a proportional system of elections. Because the majority system is administrative resources, abuse, sellouts. But the passing limit has to be lowered to 3%, or, perhaps, even lower, to give access to the Verkhovna Rada to a new political elite, as the monopoly that exists there has led to our current situation. Let’s remember who raised the barrier: the Party of Regions and BYT. By the way, the results of the latest elections are such because the voter remembers that BYT and the Party of Regions conspired numerous times when they needed to solve “conflicts.” And party lists should be open, so that the party leaders don’t appoint potential dead weight as members for money. Plus, a mechanism of recalling the members has to be present. For the angels with wings not to become devils with horns later. The harshest fight against corruption is necessary, regardless of who is who, hit them on the hands and thrown them in jail for 15 years at least for stealing, for lying.
Another primary step that Poroshenko has to do as President is propose a presidential impeachment bill to the Verkhovna Rada. For, if the person occupying the presidential post abuses their power, another Maidan should not be assembled.
Admit it, your arduous strive to go to the new elections on a proportional system is connected with the fact that your ratings are on the rise…
I don’t have a single doubt that according to the results of the parliamentary elections the Radical Party will take if not the first, then second place. This is obvious.
Second to whom?
The ones who take first. Even my result at the presidential elections would have been much bigger if not for the mantra about elections in one round. Because a lot of people that supported me voted for Poroshenko for one reason only: for the elections to only have one round. I am sure that our party will get 15-20% at the parliamentary elections.
I not talking about the proportional system because our party will get good results. I was elected on the majority system, and I remember what it’s like. The one who wins is the one who has money, administrative resources, power.
Those who came to the Kyiv City Council by majority vote are Chernovetskiy’s people: Shlapachka, Suprunenko etcetera, those that went around giving out buckwheat. Nothing changes. The same will happen in the entire country. And for this not to happen, we must have proportionate elections. But for them not to bring buckwheat, so to speak, to party leaders in the dollar equivalent, open lists have to be present. For the seat of the member to depend on the amount of votes cast for them.
“Let’s also invite Yanukovich to the inauguration!”
Do you think that people voted more for everything to end in the first round than for Poroshenko?
Yes, the people voted this way because they think that Poroshenko can agree with Russia, stop the war. So help us God, for him to succeed. But I think that we cannot agree with Russia on anything while our Crimea is occupied, while Russia is killing our people in Donbas. And when today I hear discussions whether we should send an invitation to the inauguration to Russia or not, I am appalled. Let’s also invite Yanukovich to the inauguration then! Let’s invite Strelok, Bies. This is nonsense, this is foolish – inviting the aggressor to the inauguration. Some time ago they gave the key to Kyiv to Batiy. Let’s then give one to Putin then. The answer is obvious: no aggressors can be invited anywhere.
You led a campaign all around the country, so you see whom the new President is leaning on, as he does not have his own active political power. Besides Klitschko’s “UDAR,” who are these people?
As far as I can see around the regions, many regionals worked for Poroshenko. They were heads of headquarters, and now they will try to get to power, obviously. This will be Poroshenko’s big mistake, if he takes regionals. If he uses the services of adapters, I will criticise him for it.
At the previous presidential elections the person who got third place got job offers from the winner. The bronze medalist became either head of the NSDC or Vice Prime Minister. Did you get any offer from Poroshenko?
I did not get any offers from Poroshenko. On the night of the elections he congratulated me, and I – him.
Who was the first?
I called him – he did not pick up. Then he called me, and we spoke. He said that he wants to meet me in order to discuss the plan for further action. There were no offers. But at the same time I heard some rumours that I might be offered the post of Defence Minister.
Would you be satisfied with this post? If there is an offer.
I am not interested in posts. I am interested in how to get the enemy out of our country. If the post of Defence Minister gives such opportunities, I will take advantage of them.
What is your party’s ideology?
It is difficult to say. In social issues, I lean towards the left. In questions of defending Ukraine I am more right or centre, a patriot. A symbiosis of sorts. I think about this often myself. My ideological position is difficult to analyse by classical canon. I would say, something new. Ideology is Ukraine-centrism, interests of Ukraine, patriotism. But I am against “letting it be.” I am categorically against selling land. The Ukrainian language is official – period. Let them use Russian in compounds.
Many are now talking about federalisation. What is your opinion?
Federation is the way to Ukraine’s destruction. Russia is offering us a federation, let them first put everything in order in their country. They pass laws that abolish city mayor elections. They don’t appoint governors. The federal centre there has 99% of the power, and the subjects of the federation don’t have anything. Therefore those that speak of federalisation in our East, if we take Russia’s federation as a example, they will cry and moan, because they won’t have anything. I am for Ukraine to only be a unitary state.
The return of Crimea “tomorrow” sounded among your electoral promises. What ways do you see?
Crimea can be returned in battle. First of all, we have have to believe in what we are doing. Fidel Castro once said: faith is the most important thing. In order to return Crimea we have to use various means: economical, diplomatic, military ones… In Crimea today, an insurgent battle has to be begun. We have to create partisan headquarters, support the Tatars, Ukrainians, citizens of Crimea that want to return to Ukraine.
If we don’t go to war, we will not return Crimea. We have to not only not acknowledge the occupational government, we have to fight against it. We are asking the entire world: help us, free us. Let us set an example. The entire world imposed sanctions on Russia. What they are is a different issue. And we still haven’t imposed anything on Russia, we continue trade with it, we still have diplomatic relations, Russian banks and companies are still working in Kyiv. They took everything from us in Crimea. We have done nothing in response. We let trains from Moscow to Crimea. What trains from Moscow to Crimea? Let them walk. If we really want to return Crimea, we have to create the necessary conditions. That is a wide anti-Putin international front, battle within Crimea, battle in Ukraine for the freedom of Crimea by various means.
And when will we see the result?
The entire government system in Russia is built on Putin. As soon as Putin goes away, the government system will fall apart, and Russia will start falling apart. Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetiya, Tatarstan will burn. And this will be our chance: when Russia is weakened.
They took the Crimea from us when the Kyiv government was weak. We will do the same. As soon as Russia is weakened, we will take too. This will not happen tomorrow. Three-five, a maximum of seven years. But in order for it to be not for seventy years, like Kuril islands, or fifty or forty like Cyprus, we have to fight actively, every day. And today there are only ritual petitions to the international community, but nothing is being done. Nobody will do our work for us. The same as in Donbas. Thank God, they started really fighting there.
“We shouldn’t come out with a Ukrainian flag. We should come out with a rifle”
The situation in Donbas today is unfortunately a relevant issue. Tell us how you formed Liashko’s battalion. How many people are there now? Whom is it subordinate to?
These are volunteers. We recruited by social media. Today there are about 400 people. We have two departments, which have been created with my direct participation – Liashko’s battalion and the “Azov” special police department. Literally a couple of days ago an order was signed, and this special department was augmented with 80 more people. The structures act within the National Guard and the police.
Where does the financing come from?
Sponsors. We buy bulletproof vests, means of chemical protection. I am constantly posting the account number where funds can be transferred. Yesterday we got 30 thousand. Today I met with one sponsor who gave 100 thousand Hryvnias in cash. And sent the bulletproof vests we got. Recently I went to Mariupol, met with the soldiers of our 72nd brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces at the roadblock. 90 soldiers have 5 vests.
Now there are problems with transport. I am looking for the opportunity to buy several cars. I talked with Kostyantyn Zhevago, the owner of “KrAZ.” I asked him to help with a couple of trucks, at least.
If this is the way we are solving the army’s problems, do we have any chances in this fight?
A hundred percent! The situation is categorically different from the situation in Crimea. Because if the majority in Crimea really did want to go to Russia, there is no such thing in Donbas.
This is a huge strategic mistake of the Ukrainian government: for 23 years of independence they have done nothing to make Crimea Ukrainian. They should have taken the example of the Tsars. They sent retired people to Crimea. We should have done the same. Move at least half a million Ukrainians to Crimea in order to change the demographics. For the Trojan Horse not to have shot – the Black Sea fleet, Sevastopol. Was it a secret to anybody that for 23 years Sevastopol wanted to be part of Russia? We all hoped that Russia would never resort to occupation…
And in Donbas, we will win – I am sure of this, because of several reasons. First – the majority of Donbas citizens want to live in Ukraine. Second – it is not the locals who are at war with us. There are single cases of locals – around a hundred-two hundred people. What is a thousand people, the local traitors, for the seven million living in Donbas? It’s a drop. For the most part they are tourists from Chechnya, Russia, mercenaries. There are no grounds for separatism there, for Ukraine’s separation.
But we have to admit that a big number of the local citizens support the PRD and PRL – passively, but it is enough.
These are fairytales from Russian TV. In reality the majority there are impartial. As Churchill said, all bad things are done by good people who are impartial. I get hundreds of messages from Donetsk, Lugansk: protect us, help us. But what are you waiting for yourselves? Why don’t you unite? Why don’t you thrown the terrorists out of your city? You are the majority. But the majority doesn’t care. There is an aggressive minority, either sellouts or schizophrenics. When I look at a grandpa and grandma who get their pensions from the Ukrainian budget and which stand in the way of the Ukrainian tank, I think they are idiots. So run them over and continue! They want to get pensions from the Ukrainian budget but live in Russia? Then go to Russia. Let the terrorists pay them. They will go hungry for a month and understand everything. The majority there does not support terrorists.
So what do you propose exactly? How do we fight? Someone will come out with Ukrainian flag – they’ll get their head smashed in. That’s the end of the fight.
We shouldn’t come out with a Ukrainian flag. We should come out with an AK-47. Fight fire with fire. We have to fight the terrorists with the same weapons they have. Ukrainian patriots in Lugansk and Donetsk Oblasts – I know many – are uniting into partisan troops today and carrying out partisan war. The task of the government is to aid them. We have to give weapons to the patriots. Not mobilise 19-year-old boys to the army, but give weapons to volunteers. We have hundreds of thousands of those who are ready to take up arms, and the government is mobilising those who don’t want to go to war. And then their wives come to the Verkhovna Rada and say: let our husbands go. So let them go! What kind of fighter is someone who doesn’t want to fight? Meanwhile there is a huge number of those who wants to. But the government is afraid to give them weapons, as it is scared that they will defeat the enemy and come to the Parliament.
Before the elections you questioned the Minister of Defence of the so-called PRD, captured separatists. What happened to thee people?
The majority was let go. We detained four leaders of the local terrorists in Torez, Snizhne, sent them to Kyiv. Three out of four were let go. In Lugansk I detained Klinchayev, the leader of the terrorists, they let him go. And my assistant Timur Yuldashev has been in the Lugansk SSU for a month now.
Why is our law enforcement setting them free?
Ask them. This is either stupidity or treason. They are either idiots and don’t understand elementary things, or doing it for money. A terrorist cannot be let go like a regular criminal on a promise not to leave the country, on a petition or bail. This is a completely different category of criminals. They are traitors. They are kept in barracks, because they will continue doing the same. Just like Gubarev. They exchanged him for the Alpha soldiers, and today Gubarev is killing our people. And we are losing more.
“Putin is offering us a choice between capitulation and separation”
How can you evaluate the work of the acting Defence Minister Mykhailo Koval?
I think under the present circumstances he is doing everything in his power. I would like to give him credit. He is a heroic person. When he worked for the border service, he was taken hostage in Crimea, forced him to make an oath to the enemy. He said: “shoot me, but I will not betray my oath.” Only for this should he be respected. I talk to him, the general headquarters, Turchynov almost every day. There is cooperation with Koval, he reacts to everything. But not everything depends on him. There is no cooperation on state levels, there is no coordination between special, law enforcement, military services. And the terrorists are winning because of this.
You think the terrorists are so strong? They can be beaten within a week, but for this we need opportunities. For this we need to declare a state of emergency or martial law in Lugansk and Donetsk Oblasts. They did not want to or could not before the elections, as they said they would fail – then they have to do it now. Without delay. We have to give the civilian population a chance to leave. Those who are with the enemy must be destroyed, cleared, cleansed. There is no other option, if we want to save Donbas. And Putin is offering us a choice between capitulation or separation of Ukraine. He says, put your hands in the air, don’t do anything, and then all those Bolotovs, Gubarevs and other criminals will sit on top of our heads. If we don’t kill Kadirov’s people in Donetsk today, they will turn Donetsk into another Grozniy of 1996.
You said you talk to Olexandr Turchynov. According to you, is he out of his depth?
What I will say may not be popular. Because today everyone is criticising Turchynov. This is a sign of good faith now. I will be frank: I speak to him every day regarding issues of military organisation, military actions. He does everything he can. There is another problem – the sabotage of orders, the absence of a really capable army, law enforcement bodies. 90% of the policemen in Donbas have betrayed Ukraine. Whom will Turchynov give orders to? Ten terrorists come and capture the Kostyantynivka police department, in which there are seven hundred people. And seven hundred people raise their hands, give up arms. What complains can there be regarding Turchynov or Avakov?
Yes, of course, there are objective reasons. I have been saying for two months to Turchynov: depose Pozhidayev, the head of Donetsk police, who is practically working for the separatists. He doesn’t do it. The police are working for the enemy! We have to conduct rotation. Send police from Cherkasy, Vinnytsya, Chernigiv to Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts. Not from Western Ukraine, so they don’t say that “Banderites have come.” Send them from the centre. And the ones from Donetsk and Lugansk – to the West, to central Ukraine. This is what they did in the Soviet Union. Sent them from one place to another. They are not doing it.
Do you support the appointment of oligarchs as heads of the oblasts?
No, I think that oligarchs are evil for the country. I ask forgiveness from these oligarchs for being so harsh, but they have to be taken advantage of, their possibilities, their money, potential, authority, in the interests of the state. But the oligarchs have to be separated from the government. Because what are they doing? “Well, we will help you, we won’t let terrorists come, but give us a post in exchange. Give us Odessa, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk oblasts etc.” This is not right.
Translated by Mariya Shcherbinina