Lugansk, Donetsk, Kharkov
(image by V Kontake)
April 6th marked a dramatic change in narrative for the Maidan takeover in Ukraine. It became a matter of either/or, with no more in-between ground for the Maidan government to stand in. It would either have to show actual support for the democratic reforms it sold to the world with its coup on the previous government; or it would use the coup as a vehicle to install an ultra-nationalist government in its place.
On April 6th, protesters opposing Maidan rule pushed their way into government buildings in the south-eastern regional capitals of Donetsk, Kharkov, and Lugansk. In Donetsk, the ultra-nationalist Pravy Sector tried to squelch the protests right away by sending in around 20 people armed with Molotov cocktails and weapons. However, locals spotted the intruders, confiscated their weapons and Molotov cocktails, and sent them back to Kiev after a duck walk through the corridor of shame. They were forced to walk past the people without their masks.
At around 9:50 the next morning Interior Minister Avakov, one of the Maidan oligarchs, stated in an interview that the protests in south-east Ukraine had been effectively quenched. Over the last week and a half the Ukrainian government has tried to arrest every protest leader it can find and charge him with being a separatist. Conviction carries a jail sentence of 5 to 8 years.
By 10 a.m., live video showed that all three regional governments were still controlled by the protesters. The first reaction from the Kiev junta came from Oleg Lyashko, MP and presidential hopeful. You may know Lyashko as 'I'll hang you by the balls and have you f***ed' -Oleg. Like the true believer in democracy he constantly shows himself to be, he said, in effect, Give me 10,000 guys and I will deal with the plague in the south-east. By this he meant cleansing south-east Ukraine of its residents.
In this video, which shows Pravy Sektor blocking the Rada (Senate) in Kiev, Lyashko is introduced as the guy that brought bullets and gasoline to Pravy Sektor. In other videos, this presidential hopeful brags about throwing Molotov cocktails at the Berkut, the police force charged with protecting the legally elected government.
Yulia Tymoshenko, the ultra-nationalist former prime minister of Ukraine, went to Lugansk during the protests with teams from Avakov, now Interior Minister in the Maidan government, and Turchynov, its appointed interim president. Tymoshenko told police and the Ukrainian SBU (similar to the U.S. FBI) that the protesters in Lugansk were not just separatists, but real terrorists and that government forces "don't need to stand on ceremony in dealing with them!" The order was to shoot the protesters, after it was found out that the police didn't offer much resistance.
In the morning of April 7, the protesters started building barricades and asserting control over more buildings. T hey also broke into the administration building of the Security Service of Ukraine in Lugansk, seizing a weapons room and the weapons that were stored there.
From the time of the coup until today, everything from Kiev directed at the largely ethnic-Russian population in the south-east has been laws that make the residents second-class citizens, coupled with pronouncements, like Lyashko's, to kill the citizens that live there.
The "Russian Minority" Represents Real Ukrainians
Ethnic Russians in south-east Ukraine have in fact lived in this region for hundreds of years. And, though they are now called the "Russian minority," they proved to be the majority in the last election. Victor Yanukovych was elected president by their votes.
Across the country, these are the people that are robbed at gunpoint, killed, kidnapped, or beaten by what is now the Kiev government. The militant right-wing Pravy Sector is now an official organ of the government and has been sent to quench the uprising in the south-east.
South-east Ukraine is also the industrial and manufacturing region of Ukraine, and the place where most of the jobs are. During the first three weeks after the junta in Kiev took power, it took a deduction of 200 hryvnia from everyone's pay to support the families of Maidan sniper victims. This was done with no one even being asked.
The banks here, most notably Privat Bank which is owned by the oligarch Kolomoyskyi, are limiting and freezing the accounts of people throughout the south-east region. For the last month, persons working in the coal and manufacturing industries have been told that if they joined the protests, or even spoke about them on the job, they would be fired. And, for the last two weeks, 30% of the workers' pay has been deducted to support the new National Guard, which is composed mostly of Pravy Sector fighters who have been threatening the population of the region.
Yulia Tymoshenko was quoted last week as saying, "It doesn't matter who wins the presidential election, we all win. We all hate Russia!" By "Russia," she also means the people of south-east Ukraine who won't accept being ruled by an ultra-nationalist government. Moreover, the election has no viable candidates, so that whoever wins will provide no more than token representation for the eastern half of Ukraine.
When Secretary of State John Kerry said about the protests in the southeast, "This doesn't appear to be spontaneous," he was absolutely right. The protests are an act of desperation by people that have been entirely rejected by the militant Bandera-influenced ultra-nationalist-oriented junta that has taken control of their country. This Galician faction, with its roots in a World War II alliance with Hitler, represents just 1-1/2% of the country's total population.
The official White Hous e line about the protests, as presented by spokesman Jay Carney, is that "There's strong evidence that some pro-Russian protesters who have taken over government buildings in eastern Ukraine were paid, and not local residents."