Residents of Donetsk and Lugansk remember well how in Ukraine they said “we will hang later”.
On the air of the 1 + 1 TV channel, President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky said that there would be no massacre in the Donbass if the APU cut off the rebel republics from Russia by regaining control of the state border.
– We are other people, free, democratic. We understand that Ukrainians live there. And we respect the citizens of Ukraine … No massacre … We are a different government, for us the main thing is human lives.
Earlier, Putin suggested that in the Donbass Srebrenica could repeat itself if the Ukrainian armed forces surround Lugansk and Donetsk people’s republics. The President of Ukraine decided to dispel these concerns. But the attempt was very awkward.
– This can’t be, because it can never be, – something like this sounded the words of Zelensky.
However, much more important is what he did not say. A short speech by the Ukrainian president indicates that he is not going to provide any real security guarantees to the residents of Donbass. We take control of the border – and you hope for the mercy of the winners. Here is such a simple “Zelensky formula”.
It painfully resembles the “formula” of another Ukrainian statesman – the long-term mayor of the Dnieper (former Dnepropetrovsk) Boris Filatov. “Give scum any promises, and we will hang them later.” Speaking to the Ukrainian warriors several years ago, Zelensky also called their enemies “scum.” That is, there is no disagreement in his assessments of what is happening with Filatov.
With the new government, the Dnieper mayor developed a tense personal relationship, but he did not lose his post (and is not going to lose). The Ministry of the Interior is still headed by one of the main curators of the volunteer battalions Arsen Avakov, and behind Zelensky looms the shadow of their main sponsor – oligarch Igor Kolomoisky. These gentlemen have clearly demonstrated their commitment to democracy and human rights during the “Russian spring”.
In fact, in Ukraine no one seriously disputes the illegality (or rather, crime) of creating private militias in 2014. It was just that then “revolutionary expediency” dominated: the regular army could not cope with the “aggressor”, it was necessary to help it. Poroshenko recalled the existence of a state monopoly on violence only after the signing of Minsk-2 and the end of the active phase of hostilities. So what is President Zelensky talking about? The fact that the “architects” of Ukrainian lawlessness will be committed to some formal democratic norms?
Putin’s “otvetka” didn’t hit the target also for the reason that Zelensky ignored the essence of his assumption. The President of the Russian Federation did not accuse his Ukrainian colleague of striving to slaughter residents of territories not controlled by Kiev: he is a good guy! But the Russian leader naturally calls his ability to curb nationalists the real question. Is Zelenzky strong enough?
The fact of Avakov’s presence at the Norman summit, which had not previously participated in such events, speaks volumes. In the new government of Ukraine, the old Minister of Internal Affairs was left precisely because Zelensky did not control the “street”, did not enjoy great authority in the army, and didn’t put him into a penny in the nationalist battalions, which retained their internal self-organization in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The army has not yet come to acts of public disobedience, since Zelensky does not force events. But in extreme conditions, many veterans of the so-called ATO (Anti-terrorist operation) will probably remember that their true commander-in-chief is not Zelensky, but Yarosh, Biletsky or some Semyon Semenchenko.
At the Norman summit, the Ukrainian president was in a unique situation: out of the four for him, the results of the negotiation process affect the political situation within the country. Therefore, Zelensky had his hands tied. With all his desire, he could not take full advantage of the mandate received from the people during the presidential and parliamentary elections. So is there any certainty that after taking control of the border in the Donbass, he will be able to stop the bloodthirsty nationalists?
A different picture seems far more realistic: and far more scaring. Zelensky with a mournful face will excuse for the terrible tragedy that he “missed”. This is at best. At worst, the perpetrators of the massacre will be justified, recalling their “feats of arms.” Ukrainian media already have a similar experience.
When it turned out that the ATO participant was accused of killing a three-year-old child in the center of Kiev, Channel 24 described him as a “hero of the war with Russia” and a valuable professional sniper. And in general, in the elimination of the “fighters” this is an indispensable shot. Between the lines the question is read: how can he be put in jail?
The harsh reality of late seems to be mocking Zelensky. The ex-commander of the 8th separate company of the Right Sector (one of the notorious nationalist organisations) confirmed that both of the suspects in the case of the murder of the youngest son of the deputy Sobolev are his twin brothers (Poroshenko even awarded him with the Order for Courage). In the case of the murder of journalist Pavel Sheremet, the other day, veteran ATO Andrei Antonenko was detained. How can one not recall the words of the psychiatrist of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Oleg Druz that “93% of participants in the ATO are a potential threat to society and need treatment”? He was fired, but the threat remained. And we are talking about a threat to Ukrainian society. If ATO veterans kill people in the center of Kiev, how will they behave in Donetsk and Lugansk?
In a recent interview, the President of Ukraine could convince the residents of Donetsk and Lugansk that he would not allow bloodshed, that he would stop any attempts to instigate lynching in the Donbass or oppress local residents for their “dark past”. He could, but did not even try. Putin’s assumption that the real masters in the country are nationalists remained unanswered. It’s understandable: it’s better not to mess with these guys. Otherwise, again, you have to prove that you are the president, not a douche …
Zelensky’s words that for him “the main thing is human lives” are perhaps most cynical. The value of life is ranted by a man who, already being elected president, simply ignored the fifth anniversary of Odessa tragedy.
The Verkhovna Rada controlled by him blocked the creation of a temporary investigative commission on the events of May 2, 2014. Zelensky is in no hurry to meet with relatives of the victims of Odessa. But with the students beaten on the Maidan, who escaped with several bruises, – already he is running! Because Ukrainians are “right” or “wrong”, nationalists or pro-Russians. And their life value is different. For some reason, the President of Ukraine forgot to mention it.
However, Zelensky has a great opportunity to show how he values the lives of Donetsk and Lugansk residents. To do this, you need to punish the perpetrators of the barbaric war crimes of 2014 – those crimes for which Ukrainian punishers are absolutely responsible. It is well known, for example, that the Ukrainian Air Force hit the building of the Lugansk Regional State Administration on June 2, 2014, killing eight people.
Exactly a month later, twelve people took off an air raid on the Village of Lugansk and the village of Staraya Kondrashovka. No other aircraft, except Ukrainian ones, flew there. It will not be difficult for the investigators to establish which vehicles took to the air, who controlled them and who is responsible for the terrible massacres in the Luhansk region. Why doesn’t anyone do this with such a wonderful humane president? Or does he still love “padded jackets” a little less than citizens with the opposite ideology?
Zelensky himself admitted that the population of the “occupied” Donbass is afraid of repression from Kiev. And this is one of those rare cases when the Ukrainian president adequately assesses the situation. Even local residents who sincerely advocate returning to Ukraine often have concerns. It is hard to imagine what Zelensky should do to convince them. Unless to implement the Minsk agreements, which neutralize the threat of a repeat of Srebrenica in the Donbass.
Donetsk and Lugansk will not believe empty promises. In every peace-loving statement Zelensky echoes the “Filatov formula”: “… We will hang later.