Why were Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts chose for war by Russia? The answer is obvious – here, first and foremost, 40% of the population are ethnic Russians. And second, 80-90% the population, regardless of nationality, has been russified.
De facto the above-mentioned oblasts are a Russian-speaking, Russian-cultural enclave in Ukraine, this is where the “compatriots” live.
It is not a secret that in the 23 years of independence nobody felt Ukraine or the Ukrainian language in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. They scared them with ukrainisation, Ukrainian nationalists, Banderites, and in reality, Russian nazism and xenophobia flourished here.
Russian language, different views on history, a cult of different heroes are dominant here. For a long time now, the expressions “patriot of Donbas” and “people of Dobas” etc. have been in use.
De facto many of the separatists are foreigners with Ukrainian passports, they are in Ukraine in body but in Russia in spirit. The citizens of Ukraine living in “Donbas” are ready to fight with arms in hand against Ukraine on Russia’s side.
Therefore the bandit-oligarch order in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, multiplied by russification, national intolerance, hatred of Ukraine led to the fact that the rest of Ukraine turned out to be alien to them.
Putin’s concept of war in Ukraine is built on sparking linguistic and international animosity. However, to counter Russia, Ukraine has never raised the issue of language or nationality.
Putin has miscalculated. People in Ukraine do not divide in nationalities and characteristics of language, they do not fight among themselves, they don’t consider the issue of language of foremost importance. Everyone is fighting against the aggressor, the occupant: Ukrainian- and Russian speakers, ethnic Ukrainians and the representatives of other nationalities.
What are Ukrainians being accused of? Of ukrainisation, prohibition of the Russian language, nationalism.
Who is accusing them? Russian chauvinists from Russia, our fifth column in Ukraine, Russian nationalists, our home-grown Ukraine haters.
Where did they come from, why are there so many? The Ukrainians themselves are to blame. They greeted them warmly, grew a fifth column during the years of independence, not even having begun the de-russification of ethnic Ukrainians on Donbas.
I emphasise that it is not the ukrainisation of ethnic Russians that has to be carried out, but the de-russification of ethnic Ukrainians, cultivate Ukrainians in the spirit of Ukrainian patriotism.
We have gotten too involved in tolerance and compromise. In Ukraine, lustration, decommunisation, de-russification, decolonisation were constantly postponed. So nothing was done for us to live in Ukrainian Ukraine. As a result we sow the seeds of inactivity.
Now we have to think very well whether the rest of Ukraine has a future if we, in order to retain Dobas as part of Ukraine, “compromise” and further retain, conserve the Russian enclave in two regions, a “mini-Russia,” “a zone without Ukrainian language and culture,” a constant flame of destabilisation and polygon for sabotage?
It is strange, but Moscow is calling for Ukraine not to interfere in Ukrainian affairs. It is strange, but the local Party of Regions and Communist party leaders are not being kidnapped and held hostage. We don’t know where the local and district councils of Donbas are now, where regionals and communists constitute the majority.
Obliviously, Russian special services and local oligarchs which controlled and still control all the processes in the region are financing and coordinating the mercenaries’ activities. Without financing, without organisation of enrolment of local mercenaries and import of new trained terrorists, without the uninterrupted supply of weapons, ammunition, medicine, food, this war would have been over a long time ago.
It can only be noted that currently the financing, organisation and coordination of actions of the mercenaries is much better than that of the Ukrainian soldiers, which are participating in the anti-terrorist operation.
Russia has nothing to do with this, say the regionals, “the people of Donbas” are rebelling. And where are all the escapees, where is all the excrement that flowed out of Ukraine? In Russia. Why is Russia not giving us Yanukovich, Pshonka, Zakharchenko to Ukrainian justice, if it has nothing to do with all this?
Who are the separatists and terrorists? It is known that the administrative buildings in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts were captured with the help of the former “Berkut” and other special soldiers by the Russian saboteurs, and they are under the patronage of SSU and MIA workers, which accommodated the extremists and gave them their weapons arsenal.
They are united by their hate of Ukraine, of all things Ukrainian. This brotherhood shot Maidan and organised titushky troops.
Ukrainians are alien to them. If you want to live in Donbas – renounce your Ukrainian-ness.
Banderites from Lviv turned out to be mythical, and the Russian nazis and cutthroats from Donetsk, Simferopol, Sevastopol and Luhansk turned out to be real.
Donbas fashions itself the feeder of Ukraine. And it continues to think that it can impose its will on the rest of the country. They say that we have to hear their voices. Yes, we’ve been hearing it for the last ten years. This led to Yanukovich’s presidency.
This is a region where the population is the poorest on average, but this is the region that has the most millionaires and billionaires.
There is an opinion among experts that let them define themselves. They say Donbas is the last coach of the train going for the West. Let’s leave it behind, alone with its problems.
Therefore we have already seen, heard, understood Donbas. We even spent four years living under the dictatorship of Donbas citizens. Now it is Donbas’ turn to understand that Donbas and Luhansk oblasts are Ukraine, and Ukrainians are living in Ukraine regardless of their mother tongue or national heritage.
And Russians live in Russia.
After the events in Donbas, the foremost task is not to build Akhmetostan with Khan Akhmetov as its leader, but to spread Ukrainian laws, principles and rules on the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
Non-Ukrainian Donbas in Ukraine is a time bomb. Non-Ukrainian Donbas is a source of destabilisation, ultimatums, terrorism and sabotage.
For those who want to live in Russia, Putin has currently simplified the procedure of receiving citizenship. You can go and live there. Forward, having honestly put your Ukrainian passport on the table.
Do we need talks with separatists and terrorists, saboteurs and titushky? Of course, we do, for this the language of rifles, machine guns and grenade launchers exists.
What is happening on the other side of the barricades? On the other side, in Kyiv, on Pechersk hills, incompetence, lies and treason are dominant. We are being lied to to calm us down and keel us in high spirits.
On the Ukrainian side there is full incompetence, negligence, treason, sellouts and, unfortunately, first and foremost, among officers. There are no helmets, bulletproof vests and modern weapons. But this not the main problem. The main problem is the low mood of the army, the SSU, the police. Officers, commanders are not motivated to fight the Russians, to fight Russia.
We have to change the military doctrine. In reality Russia is not a strategic partner but a strategic enemy.
Many questions that don’t have an answer arise.
Why did they not close the border with Russia and implement a visa regime? Had the borders been closed, we could have avoided the conflict in the east or suffocated it within several days, without letting thousands of mercenaries into Ukraine.
20 days after the victory of Maidan in March of 2014, 300 of the highest officials fled the country, taking cars loaded with property, huge amounts of money. Why did the border service allow it?
What is happening at the borders in Luhansk and Donetsk? Where are the video cameras, where are the enforced blocks on the roads? Instead of this equipment and mercenaries are flocking in hundreds from Rostov, Bielgorod and are entering Ukrainian territory without any obstacle. They say that at the border every KamAZ with mercenaries, every rifle has a price established for it.
The Ukrainian army is going back and forth into and out of Slovyansk and Kramatorsk. The state is conducting the ATO and making pauses for holidays and weekends. It is letting gangs of mercenaries through the border and even whole processions of trucks with weapons and ammunition, arresting and letting criminals go – acting in an absurdly corrupt idiotic way.
In our schools, universities, mass media patriotic education has never happened. Our soldiers were not educated in Ukrainian traditions, not by the heroics of fighters for Ukraine. The Russian military leaders Suvorov, Nakhimov, Kutuzov, Budyoniy and Voroshilov, Zhukov and Koniev were idolised and cultivated among them.
Therefore part of the officers and soldiers sincerely consider the aggressor, occupant, historical enemy of Ukraine a friendly state, a brotherly nation. The higher leaders of Ukraine – ethnic Russians, and frequently Russian citizens, were involved in this process.
When we see that leading structures of special services and the army are full of agents of the alien state, there is daily sabotage – the outflow of information to the enemy, the rejection of orders by the leadership of individual departments.
Patriotic education has to be conducted on the basis of Ukrainian history in Ukrainian interpretation.
We have one political nation – Ukrainians. All the people, regardless of skin colour, national roots, language and culture, have to be united by the Ukrainian language, culture, Ukrainian attitude to history and historical figures.
Conscription to the army has to be renewed for the patriotic education of young men. What for? First and foremost for the formation of the Ukrainian political nation, and also for military training. And service within a range closer than 300 km from home has to be prohibited.
What are the conclusions?
The most important thing that everyone has already understood is that without the Ukrainian language and culture Ukrainian patriotism cannot exist, and Ukraine without Ukrainian language as culture is not Ukraine anymore.
Ukraine without Ukrainians is the “Republic of Donetsk,” “Republic of Luhansk,” they are long-term conflicts, chaos, destabilisation and stagnation of development of the entirety of Ukraine, a threat to peace in the entire world. Despite this, I emphasise: the state has to provide the rights of national minorities to their national language and culture. None of the national minorities can have privilege.
The Russian TV channels managed to convince part of the local population that the Ukrainian soldiers are a threat, and the saboteurs and terrorists are the protectors. The bandits that are storming and robbing administrative buildings and supermarkets are “our guys,” and the Ukrainian soldiers are “murderers that are shooting peaceful civilians.”
One can fight for, protect and even die for what is familiar and close to one’s heart, for what one loves and honours. But in some regions in the conditions of “independent” Ukraine the people were held and educated in the conditions where all things Ukrainian are alien and hated. And therefore they love and honour only that which is Russian, they want to go to Russia, to their historical motherland…
We have already allowed the enemy, the bandits and terrorists to show their real face and discredit themselves fully. Ukraine is demonstrating an example for the peoples of Russia in how they can free themselves from dictatorship and slavery.
It is time to take action in restoring order, the people are waiting…
Sergiy Stefanko, for UP.
Translated by Mariya Shcherbinina