среда, 15 октября 2014 г.

Mikhail Lermontov's birthday- famous russian writer and poet

Prominent Russians: Mikhail Lermontov

October 15, 1814 – July 27, 1841
Mikhail Lermontov left a unique legacy in Russian literature and his poetic reputation is second in his native country only to Pushkin’s.

Caught in the family feud

Lermontov was born on October 15, 1814, in Moscow. His father, Yuri, was an impoverished army officer, while his mother, Maria Arsenyeva, was a wealthy young heiress from a prominent aristocratic family. Lermontov’s maternal grandmother, Elizaveta Arsenyeva, regarded their marriage as a clear mismatch and deeply disliked her son-in-law.
The union turned out to be ill-suited and the couple soon grew apart. Lermontov’s mother died three years later, aged 21, a disappointed and melancholic figure. After her death, her rich and authoritative mother, Elizaveta, launched a formidable battle for her beloved grandson, promising to disinherit him if his father took the boy away.

Life with grandmother

The father and son were eventually separated and, at the age of three, Lermontov began a spoilt and luxurious life with his doting grandmother, at her family estate of Tarkhany, in the Penza region in Central Russia.
No expense was spared to provide Lermontov with the best schooling and lifestyle his grandmother’s money could buy. He received an extensive home education, becoming fluent in French and German, playing several music instruments and proving a gifted painter.
Since he suffered from poor health, Arsenyeva undertook several trips to the sunny Caucasus for a better climate and treatment at the mineral springs. The Caucasus greatly impressed Lermontov, inspiring a passion for its mountains and stirring beauty.
Yet fearing Lermontov’s father would eventually claim his right to bring up his son, Arsenyeva strictly limited contact between the two, causing young Lermontov much pain and remorse. Despite all the pampering lavished upon him, and torn by the family feud, he grew up lonely and withdrawn.

Moscow University

At the age of 14 Lermontov was taken to Moscow to continue his education. He enrolled at Moscow University, one of Russia’s best, in 1830. He started writing poetry, with much of his early verse greatly influenced by the works of British poet Lord Byron.
A year into his university studies, the final, tragic act of the family drama played out. Having been deeply hurt by his son’s alienation, Lermontov’s father died. For Mikhail it was a terrible loss, plunging the young man into depression.
Lermontov’s career at the university proved short-lived. He rarely took part in student life and showed little interest in lectures, often bringing books from home instead. He eventually left university without completing his course and seriously reconsidered his options.

Military school

He decided to move to St. Petersburg and entered a military cavalry school. A glittering army career tempted many young noble men of the time, but Lermontov quickly realised he wasn’t cut out for a life of drills, discipline and drinking.
He developed a poisonous wit and cruel humour that would often earn him enemies. Lermontov’s skill in drawing caricatures was matched by his ability to put someone in their place with a nickname or epigram.
Upon his graduation two years later, Lermontov became an officer in a Life-Guard Regiment stationed near St. Petersburg. He plunged into a heady high society mix of drawing-room gossip and ballroom glitter, gaining some fame as a poet.

The first exile

But the year of 1837 changed all that. When the outstanding Russian poet Aleksandr Pushkin was fatally wounded in a duel, Lermontov wrote the inflammatory poem The Death of a Poet. The final lines explicitly accused the powerful pillars of Russian high society of complicity in Pushkin's murder.
The poem caused uproar. It propelled Lermontov to unprecedented levels of fame, but provoked the wrath of the Czar. The poet was arrested and sent to the Caucasus.

The hero of his time

Ironically, the place of his exile was also the land he loved as a child. Attracted to the nature of the Caucasus and excited by its folklore, he studied the local languages, wrote some of his most splendid poems and painted extensively. Thanks to his grandmother’s efforts though, Lermontov soon returned to St. Petersburg, and to the high society theatre-going and ballroom dancing existence. Widely hailed as a promising literary talent, he published a number of his works and began his famous novel A Hero of Our Time.
Lermontov’s only novel earned him recognition as one of the founding fathers of Russian prose. The partially autobiographical story consists of five closely linked tales revolving around a single character, a disenchanted, bored and doomed young nobleman. Featuring the character Pechorin, the book is considered a pioneering classic of Russian psychological realism. It was published in 1840, earning the author widespread acclaim.

The second exile

But Lermontov’s socialite life wouldn’t last for long. That same year he clashed with the son of a French ambassador over a young society woman. A duel followed that prompted the poet’s second Caucasian exile. Lermontov was dispatched to the front-line fighting the local tribesmen. He proved to be a brave soldier but dreamed of the time when he could leave the army and devote himself entirely to his writing.
He was eventually allowed two-months leave and promptly rushed to St. Petersburg, but the Czar declined his request for discharge and denied him the award of bravery in battle. Lermontov was forced to return back to the army, arriving in the town of Pyatigorsk in May 1841.

Death and legacy

He joined the town’s social life, meeting one of his old acquaintances, fellow army officer Nikolay Martynov. Although the two men were seemingly on good terms, Martynov soon became a target of Lermontov’s sharp wit and caustic jokes.
One proved to be a joke too many and Martynov challenged Lermontov to a duel. It left Martynov unharmed – but was fatal for Lermontov. He was killed on the spot on the evening of July 27, 1941, at the foot of Mashuk Mountain. He was just 26.
Lermontov never married and left no children. His love-life proved an unhappy one. Despite some high society conquests, throughout his life he apparently remained in love with childhood friend Varvara Lopukhina. The passion was said to be reciprocal but, pressed by her family, Varvara went on to marry a wealthy aristocrat much older than herself. Many of Lermontov’s poems are devoted to his lifelong love, Varvara becoming an inspiration behind many of his female characters.
Lermontov’s life is viewed as one of the most epic and dramatic in the history of Russian literature. Although many of his major poetic works remain largely unknown to English-speaking readers, they can be readily quoted from memory by millions of Russians.
Related personalities:

Upa yesterday's marches, current situation in Ukraine

суббота, 11 октября 2014 г.

Orthodox churches, destroyed by the Kiev's army in Donbass.

St. John Kronstadt Orthodox Church, destroyed by Kiev troops in the city of Kirovskoye, in the Donetsk Region (Photo from gorlovka-eparhia.com.ua)
A video released by the Diocese showed that there is no roof and most of the church’s walls have been turned into rubble.
In Saturday’s attack, also on a St. John Kronstadt Church, this time in the city of Kirovskoye, in the Donetsk Region, the church was totally destroyed during an all-night vigil, Gorlovsky and the Orthodox Diocese said on its website. The shell hit the roof of the building, which crashed onto worshipers.
“People were praying. Three of them were killed. We lost our loved ones,” a local woman told RT.
Among the victims of the attack was one of the church wardens and two parishioners. Several people were injured as well, added the Diocese.

St. John Kronstadt Orthodox Church, destroyed by Kiev troops in the city of Kirovskoye, in the Donetsk Region (Photo from gorlovka-eparhia.com.ua)“I am asking [Kiev forces] – come to your senses! Look where you are sending your sons,” a local man told RT. “Where? What are you doing? Look at these ruins.”

The tragedy of war in Ukraine goes far beyond life and death. It is also a spiritual battle - an eternal conflict of good and evil amplified.
The very foundation of the Russian Slavic World - the spirit of Christian Orthodoxy, is being deliberately attacked by the new Ukrainian forces in power.
So far, five targeted deaths of clergymen of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, by far the largest confession in Ukraine, which belongs to the main Russian Church in Moscow, have been recorded.
Ever since Maidan events back in February, numerous truly outrageous incidents of violence against the clergy have occurred in continual attempts to intimidate them.
Father Vladimir of St.George Church was murdered in Lugansk by the Ukrainian Army.

A dead priest, hit by shrapnel when his church was bombed.


At night of August 16 to 17 during an attack, a shell from the Grad (“Hailstones”) missile hit the Church of Sts. Peter and Paul in Mospino village of the Donetsk region.

On August 17 no service was celebrated at the church.


By the grace of God, no one inside the church at was injured during the attack. The exploded shell damaged only the church’s roof.

The persecution of the orthodox priest in Western Ukraine

As Ukrainian nationalists increasingly try to force members of the canonical Orthodox Church into joining the self-proclaimed “Kiev Patriarchate”, the violence of the 1990’s against Orthodox clergy is being repeated in western Ukraine. As before, the Ukrainian Greek Catholics (Uniates) are involved in what they perceive as a “nationalization” of Ukrainian Orthodoxy. This news of a church in the Lvov region is only one example of a frightening trend that is growing in post-Maidan Ukraine. While English language religious news services have been quick to cover the incidents in eastern Ukraine against Pentecostals or other sects imported from the West, this alarming violence against the only canonical, native Church in the Ukraine is remaining somehow unnoticed.
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has addressesd the U.N. and other international agencies concerning the danger, but the uncanonical “Kiev Patriarch” Filaret (Denysenko) has accused Patriarch Kirill of lying.
Turka, Lvov Province, October 2, 2014
In the town of Turka near Lvov, Ukraine, a group of fifty athletic-looking men, with the support of the local police, have forcibly seized the Church of the Protection of the Mother of God, Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Moscow Patriarchate, as reported by news agencyInterfax-Religion, citing the Russian website National Control.
In the process, the priest of the church was physically injured, the church closed, and the parishioners forbidden to enter their church. According to information published by the agency, some of the attackers were Greek Catholics (Uniates).
The faithful of this parish had received threats as early as last spring. In March of 2014, the rector of the Church Alexei Sloboda was approached by a certain private businessman from the town of Turka, who announced to the priest, “Fr. Alexei, we love and respect you, but you must go over to the Kiev Patriarchate.”
The priest answered that he cannot do this, because he would thereby be committing a gross violation of Church canons. Therefore, as Christ’s faithful pastor, he said he will remain in the bosom of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The businessman then threatened him, saying, “If you do not go over, you will see what will happen to you…”
While Fr. Alexei was performing the church services, supporters of the “Kiev Patriarchate” attacked him and threw him to the floor
Archpriest Alexei SlobodaArchpriest Alexei Sloboda
On June 29, 2014, when Archpriest Alexei was performing the church services, a group of ten supporters of the “Kiev Patriarchate” broke into the church. The mob was headed by several former militant Communists. The ruffians ran onto the ambo (the raised area just in front of the sanctuary doors), attacked the priest and threw him to the floor. Afterwards, court medical experts recorded bodily injuries to the priest.
Again, only recently on September 28, 2014, a group of fifty people (including town businessmen and strong men of athletic appearance) broke into the church’s territory and forcibly seized the property, .
They locked the church and closed all access to the church property. The parishioners were particularly shocked by the fifty-strong police force specially sent to the church.
Instead of defending the faithful and clergy from this criminal attack, the police simply stood by indifferently watching events unfold.
The Orthodox parishioners (300 people, mainly old men and women) tried to get through and open their church, but they were met with tough resistance from the usurpers, and… the police. Even more remarkable was how the police stood on the side of the attackers and accused the parishioners of provoking a “conflict”.
No pleas or arguments from the Orthodox citizens to the municipal authorities were of any effect, regardless of the fact that the parishioners had all the necessary legal documentation: the certificate of registration of an Orthodox community, and right of ownership for the property.
The parishioners of the church testify to the fact that the majority of the muscular men had never attended services in that church.
The same evening, when the faithful came once more to their church for evening services, no one was permitted to enter the church territory—neither the parishioners nor the clergy.
They smashed Hieromonk Vladimir’s (Kozanchin) face. People were horrified to see the priest covered with blood.
Hieromonk Vladimir (Kozanchin)Hieromonk Vladimir (Kozanchin)
Further, one of the usurpers raised his arm against the priest and threw at him a bottle filled with water that he had prepared for the attack. As a result, Hieromonk Vladimir’s (Kozanchin) face was smashed. People were horrified to see their priest covered with blood.
The Orthodox began writing claims concerning the attacks. Because the attacker smelled of alcohol, the faithful demanded that the police conduct a medical investigation of the ruffian for alcoholic inebriation. The police, however, categorically refused to do so.
Today the situation remains extremely tense, and the seized church is locked. The faithful are not allowed to enter it, and are continually threatened and intimidated.
On October 1, 2014, the parishioners made a complaint to the Lvov Regional Sovereign Administration, but their complaint was not accepted.
Two weeks prior to this incident, arsonists attacked the monastic skete where Hieromonk Vladimir (Kozanchin) lives. One of the buildings was set on fire, and its second floor and roof were burned.
Priest Yaroslav YavorskyPriest Yaroslav Yavorsky
The criminals were not hindered by the fact that this skete is being built by the widowed priest Yaroslav Yavorsky, who was left with six children at his wife’s death. Fr. Yaroslav’s wife died of cancer, and he began building the skete with what money he had.
According to the latest information, representatives from both the “Kiev Patriarchate” and the Greek Catholic Churches were among the attackers.
Today Orthodox Ukrainians are seriously concerned about the beginning of new persecutions against their Church. This concern arises despite the fact that the new Ukrainian government is trying with all its might to declare its allegiance to Western democracy, tolerance, and support for religious freedom.
But the ironic twist is that almost all the Orthodox priests being subjected to persecutions are themselves native Ukrainians. In accordance with Orthodox Church liturgical practice, priests of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church pray daily at the services for the civil authorities of Ukraine, and the majority of the parishioners are likewise native Ukrainians. But this does not at all stop the vandals from attacking Orthodox churches and their parishioners.
If these facts of religious discrimination and openly criminal attacks, supported by the authorities and police, become known to the European Union, international defense agencies may be called in to resolve the conflict.
And then, even the European officials loyal to the new Ukraine may unavoidably have to ask unpleasant questions of the authorities in Kiev and Lvov, who are allowing such religious intolerance and openly criminal acts against the faithful, writes National Control.

Russian Church accuses Uniates of enticing violence against Orthodox Christians in Ukraine

Moscow, October 3, Interfax - The Moscow Patriarchate has again expressed its concerns about the support provided to Ukrainian radicals by Greek Catholics (Uniates).

"When blood was shed and the first people were killed in the streets of Kiev and other cities of Ukraine, bishops and priests of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church called for the escalation of the violence. In a union with various schismatic and pseudo-church structures, they supported and inspires extreme nationalist groups," Hieromonk Stefan (Igumnov), secretary of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations on Inter-Christian Relations, said in an interview published in the Wednesday edition of the newspaper NG-Religii.

Hieromonk Stefan said representatives of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church have often made aggressive statements about the Orthodox Church.

"As we know, many Orthodox priests and members of their families have been subjected to violence by nationalists inspires by Uniates and schismatics. The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church did not stop that aggressive rhetoric even in those days when fragile ceasefire was established in eastern Ukraine," the priest said.

On September 10, the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church issued a statement "directly provoking further escalation of the conflict," he said.

The clergyman said such actions pose a threat to the future of Ukraine and the prospects of development of Orthodox-Catholic relations.

"This situation brings to mind the atmosphere of the 1990s, when a tragedy took place in Western Ukraine and in some countries of Eastern Europe when Uniates took advantage of the political changes and began taking over Orthodox churches and persecuting and killing priests. In that period, the relations between the Orthodox ad Catholic Churches experienced a serious crisis and were on the verge of severance," he said.


четверг, 9 октября 2014 г.

Caspian Sea convention set to be signed at next summit

The fourth Caspian Sea summit is underway in Astrakhan and Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was hopeful that the five Caspian littoral states (Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan) will adopt a convention on the Caspian Sea legal status at the next summit. VoR's Tim Ecott spoke to Dr Nikolai Kozhanov, a senior lecturer in political economy at St Petersburg University.

Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan are meeting to discuss issues surrounding their joint ownership for the coastline and resources of the Caspian Sea.
President Putin is known to favour a strengthening of bilateral trade relations with Iran especially, but security issues in the region are also crucial.
“The work on preparing the convention on the Caspian Sea legal status is to be completed. I’m confident that we’ll be able to agree on the provisions that have not been coordinated yet and adopt the convention at the next summit,” Putin said at the Caspian summit.
 The next Caspian Five meeting will be held in Kazakhstan. Putin said within the narrow-format meeting the summiteers have coordinated a political statement on key principles of pentalateral cooperation in the Caspian region.
Dr Nikolai Kozhanov said: “The issue of the legal status of the Caspian Sea will be discussed. The sides are trying to work it out and step by step they are approaching a final agreement. There will not be breakthrough at this summit but there will be another step towards signing an agreement in the future.
“The sides also traditionally discuss how the security situation in the region should be ensured. Finally the economic issues are discussed. The President of Kazakhstan proposed the formation of the free trade zone in the Caspian region.
“It is a complex issue. Essentially, the issue is: ‘how should we divide the Caspian Sea?’. In more detail it is a matter of how big the zones for fishing should be: whether there should be free navigation or - if we decide to control ships controlled by other countries - should we allow them to just ask for permission to enter the zones? It is very complex and different countries refer to different treaties.
“Russia and Iran take the agreement signed in the first half of the 20th century as a base for the future agreement in the five countries but as the Soviet Union doesn’t exist anymore the other countries dispute this.
“The issue about oil resource exploitation is big but Russia has no territorial questions. The main question isn’t who is going to exploit oil resources of the Caspian Sea but whether the transportation of oil and gas via the Caspian Sea should be allowed.
 “Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan argue about the development of oil sites in the Caspian Sea, which is another problem for signing the agreement on the legal status of the Caspian Sea. These countries are also interested in having their own independent transport routes for their energy resources.”

Read more: http://voiceofrussia.com/uk/news/2014_09_29/Caspian-Sea-convention-set-to-be-signed-at-next-summit-0790/

New victims of "truce"

WARNING! Some people could find this footage disturbing!

The 1 of October. The begining of the school-year in Donetsk.

The bus was burnt to ashes, 8 people killed.

Four people were killed in the school № 57.

More than 70 civilians were killed during the last week. Ukrainian army continue regulary shelling the city of Donetsk from the surrounding territories near Donetsk airport.

Plight of Romanians and Hungarians in Ukraine

Vladislav Gulevic

The independent Ukraine boasts a rather short history. The relations with minorities have never been a feather in the hat of Kiev authorities. The real state of things was largely muted to make it a smouldering problem. The «national revolution» has exacerbated the situation to the boiling point, especially talking about Hungarians and Romanians. 
Romanians are the second largest group in Bucovina (historically the region has been Russian, now the northern part of it belongs to Ukraine). 97% Romanians live in Chernovitsy (115 thousand) and Transcarpathia (32 thousand). According to CEMES (Centre for European Migration and Ethnic Studies), the main problems faced by the Romanian community are social development and their low representative proportion in higher education and in professional work. Numerous reports from Romanian-based sources raise concerns for the situation of the Romanian minority in Ukraine and specifically criticize the availability of educational opportunities in the Romanian language. The 2012 law «On the principles of the state language policy» was abolished as a result of the 2014 coup pouring even more fuel on the discontent among Ukrainian Romanians. Kiev refuses to acknowledge any wrongdoing when reproached for its neglect of Romanian culture. This attitude makes the situation worse. In June 2014 the Bessarabia Romanians held a convention in Odessa with assistance of Romanian Cultural Institute (Romania). There were many voices raised calling for opening new Romanian cultural centers (there are too few of them and quite often the staff has no command of the language). The head of Odessa regional national-cultural association Bessarabia said that the main problem for the Romanian community in the Odessa region is the availability of schools teaching in Romanian language and their funding. 
In Kiev they keep on saying that minorities enjoy better legal protection than in Romania. It’s not true like many other things the Ukrainian propaganda says. Lipovans are Russian old believers who fled Russia in the late 17th early 18thcenturies in order to escape the persecution of their faith. The community holds symposiums devoted to its history and religion. It prints Zori newspaper in Bucharest and Kitej-Grad journal in Iași. Many old believers have Romanian decorations (writers Nikita Danilov and Leonte Ivanov, scholar Mihai Nistor and many others). The Romanian law guarantees the right of all ethnic minorities to have their own organizations, and preserve traditions and language. Their activities are supported by government. In 2003 a special seminar course on old Orthodox faith was held for the children of Russian old believers in the Saint Basil the Great seminary located in Iași. 
In Ukraine the number of schools teaching in Romanian language has dwindled from 18 down to 5 during the 23 years of the country’s independence. It was accompanied by the closure of many Russian schools.
It’s no better with the Hungarian minority. Just recently Kiev has changed the borders of single member constituencies in the areas densely populated by Hungarians living in Transcarpathia. Now the Hungarian votes are spread around the constituencies and the minority cannot elect its representatives to Verkhovna Rada (parliament). Hungarian activists referred to the national law №709 – VII «On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine concerning improvement of legislation on the elections» of November 21 and Article 18 (Election Districts) of Chapter III (Territorial Organization of Election of Members of Parliament) of the Law on Election of People’s Deputies which envisioned that the delimitation of single-mandate districts was to take into consideration the compact minority settlement, something Kiev ignores. The Hungarian Transnistria human rights foundation has lodged an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights which calls on the Ukrainian government to comply with its own laws. 
No matter all the appeals, the plight of Hungarians governed by the «Ukrainian national state» keeps on becoming worse. In March 2013 Ukrainian radicals in Transnistria attacked Hungarian tourists, some accompanied by children. Then Ukrainian media reported that Pravy Sector (extremist far-right movement) decided to tackle the «Hungarian issue». A memorial at Verecke Pass devoted to Hungarian tribes that crossed the Carpathian Mountains to Danube was desecrated (an inscription appeared saying «Death to Hungarians»!). Hooligans beat up the participants of Beregovo (Transnistria) Hungarian community council. Hungarians were really excited over what happened. Karoy Bala, a Hungarian poet who lives in Transnistria, is well known among national intelligencia. He wrote an article called the Land of Boors devoted to the attitude of Ukrainian government towards his compatriots. 
Seals, note-papers and signs in two languages are not enough for the Hungarian minority anymore. These are just cosmetic measures that have nothing to do with preserving national culture in the places populated by Hungarians for thousands of years. Irredentist sentiments are on the rise among almost 200 thousand Hungarians living in Ukraine. 

четверг, 25 сентября 2014 г.

Ukraine picks motley group to exchange for prisoners.

Extract from "NY times" article.

By Andrew E.Kramer
September 24, 2014

Donetsk,Ukraine- At first glance, the prisoner swap betweeen the Ukrainian goverment and pro-Russian separatists appeared fair enough: On a deserted stretch of a highway along the front side, each side released 28 captives, observing a principal of numerical parity.

Under the the watchful eyes of mediators from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the prisoners walked past one another to freedom.

Then the questions started to pop up. The pro-Russian separatists released men appearing to be the actual prisoners of war.

The Ukrainians, however, widely understood to be lacking enough prisoners of their own to effect at one-for-one exchange, set free a motley group of a men, women and teenagers trackuits or dirty jeans, and taken, they said, from jails as far away as Kiev.

Soon enough, many of them were objecting to anybody who would listen there on the highway that they had never fought for pro-Russian separatists, and in fact had no idea how they ended up in a prisoner exchange in eastern Ukraine.

"I'm a civilian and I was included just to fill out the numbers,"Nikita Podikov, 17, said in interview.Ukrainian soldiers arrested him in a town near the front lines two weeks ago as they pulled back during a retreat, he said.

Mr.Podikov said the authorities accused him of belonging to a gang of pro-Russian assassins working behind enemy lines, but never gave any proof. "I never fought, I never killed anybody," he said.

"They arrested me, beat me for two days, and then kept me for trading," he said.On Sunday, he wound up in a prisoner swap of 27 men and one woman, only seven of whom were rebel fighters.

In interviews at their point of release and in a dormitory where former detainees are housed in Donetsk, a dozen men freed in exchanges over the weekend by the Ukrainian Army gave similiar accounts.

Some said they were arrested months ago in other parts of  Ukraine for pro-Russian political actions, such as joining protests calling for autonomy in eastern Ukraine or for disributing leaflets.

More typical of those released over the weekend was Valery Ginsberg, a businessman from Kiev, who was let loose on the highway in a swap on Saturday.

In an interview, he said he had never been to Donetsk. In Kiev, he was indeed known as a supporter of closer evonomic ties with Russia. He had been arrested on a pretext, he said.

"They traded us like cattle," he said. "I'm a citizen of Ukraine. How can they do this? I would have proved my innocence. I wanted to prove my innocence. But they never asked me."

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/25/world/europe/ukraine-prisoner-swaps-russian-separatists.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=HpSumSmallMediaHigh&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

среда, 24 сентября 2014 г.

Russia is calling for an international investigation into the discovery of burial sites with signs of execution at locations where the Ukraine National Guard forces were stationed two days earlier.
The head of Russia’s presidential human rights council, Mikhail Fedotov, has called on the authorities to do everything to “ensure an independent international probe” and “let international human rights activists and journalists” gain access to the site in Eastern Ukraine’s embattled Donetsk region.
The crime, Fedotov noted, shouldn’t “remain without consequences.” He didn’t exclude the discovery of other burial sites, reminding that mass killings are “the reality of the modern-day war” and that such crimes were committed in the wars in the former Yugoslavia.
The burial sites near the Kommunar mine, 60 kilometers from Donetsk, were first discovered on Tuesday by self-defense forces.

Four bodies have been exhumed, including those of three women. Their hands were tied, at least one of the bodies was decapitated, self-defense fighters said.
Two bodies were found Monday, and two others Tuesday.
Self-defense forces believe there might be other burials in the area.
"They are from Kommunar, which has just been freed [by DNR/DPR forces]. The people told me that the women had been missing and here we found four bodies. And I don’t know how many more people we might find,” a self-defense fighter, nicknamed Angel, told RT.
"The peaceful Ukrainian army came here and "liberated" them but I can’t understand what the Army freed them from. These women died horribly," his comrade, Alabai, added.

Self-defense forces said that near the mine – which was abandoned by the Ukrainian forces a few days ago – there are other burial sites which will also be examined.
OSCE monitors have already visited and inspected the burial site.
According to the OSCE report published Wednesday, some of the victims buried not far from Donetsk were killed a month ago. Near an entrance to the village the organization’s staff saw “a hill of earth, resembling a grave” and a sign with the initials of five people and a date of death – August 27, 2014. This was one of the three unidentified burial sites discovered by OSCE monitors.
Prosecutors in the Donetsk People’s Republic have started an investigation.
Russian Foreign Ministry’s envoy for human rights, Konstantin Dolgov, said on Twitter that the Ukrainian army was to blame for the killings.
“The finding of mass burial sites in Donetsk area is yet another trace of the Ukrainian forces’ and radical nationalists’ humanitarian crime,” Dolgov said.
“This beastly crime targeting civilians attracts our attention even more to the necessity of investigating humanitarian crimes in Ukraine under international control,” he added.
Calling the burial “war crimes that cannot be justified,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry called on the UN, the OSCE and the Council of Europe, alongside non-governmental organizations specializing in human rights, to give “a profound assessment” of what occurred. In a Wednesday press release, the ministry urged international bodies to carry out “an urgent, impartial, objective and comprehensive investigation” and to bring the perpetrators to justice.
The press service of the Ukrainian Donbass operation called the Russian reports false, saying that not a single unit was located in the area, and instead blaming the self-defense forces for the killings of civilians.

среда, 17 сентября 2014 г.

The days of so-called "truce"

Kiev's junta didn't stop to kill the сivilians during all the period of truce.

WARNING! Some people could find this footage disturbing!

Donetsk.3 days ago. Putilkovsky market. The victims of massive shelling. Kuibyshevsky and Kirovsky districts.

Donetsk. 2 days ago.Video camera captured the moment of shelling.

понедельник, 8 сентября 2014 г.

Ukraine: Truce Reached, What Next?

The armistice reached by contact group on September 5 in Minsk was the first peace initiative reached in Ukraine to be accepted by all parties. It’s a very positive move but there is a slim chance the ceasefire would endure. 
* * *
The agreement envisioned prisoners’ exchange and open routes for humanitarian aid, the parties ordered ceasefire to be breached soon after. As Donetsk and Lugansk self-defence forces reported, the chasteners continued to shoot. The ceasefire was breached in Gorlovka, Makeevka and street fighting took place in Dzerzhinsk. As of midnight, Sept. 6, the Ukrainian government forces opened fire at Makeevka with dense smoke seen coming from mine N88. According to witnesses’ reports, artillery fire was heard in the Petropavlovsk district of Donetsk. The ability of Poroshenko to control «private armies» is questioned. Dmitry Yarosh, the leader of Neo-Nazi Pravy Sector, said he would carry the order out adding that the preparations for combat were underway and he planned «to free Donbass from occupying forces». He added there was no doubt the enemy will be defeated. Journalist E. Belozerskaya made no bones about it saying that Poroshenko has not given the national radicals any legal status making them free to act like gangs and do what they want. 
The militarist rhetoric spurs mistrust on the part of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. Prime Minister Alexander Zaharchenko, the Prime Minister of the Donetsk Republic, said Novorossia would agree to cease fire in case the Ukraine’s military does the same. The ceasefire is related to other agreements, for instance, prisoners exchange and the status of self-proclaimed entities. Igor Plotnystkiy, the leader of the Lugansk People’s Republic, says the accord is concluded only to stop bloodshed, it does not mean the Republic refuses to change its policy aimed at sovereignty outside the state of Ukraine. 
In his turn Poroshenko says the Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are not issues on the agenda. It’s not clear how to narrow the differences between two opposite stances. Yulia Timoshenko still enjoys significant influence. She rejected the «Putin’s plan» as a way to convert Ukraine into Transdniestria. The contact group plan does not include a Ukraine’s representative at large to complicate things. 
* * *
The implementation of Minsk peace accords will influence the outcome of autumn parliamentary election. The people of Ukraine are subject to militaristic propaganda and calls for bloodshed are heard here and there. Anti-European rhetoric is also getting stronger along with the calls for making short work of «Kremlin’s agents» and «traitors». On September 5 protesters in Kiev demanded to stop the transit of Russian gas to Europe. They said if they don’t carry out their obligations, why should we? Let them give us three nuclear bombs or comply with agreements. No matter how ridiculous it may sound, the meaning is clear. This kind of sentiments greatly complicates things for the Poroshenko’s ‘peace party» hoping for sweeping victory in October. 
The failure of «anti-terrorist operation» will be used to the advantage of those who put the blame on the supreme commander. Poroshenko has already started attempts to re-direct the discontent by punishing scapegoats. Deputy Defence Minister Bogdan Butsa was dismissed being accused of failure to provide logistics for the fighting forces. There will be other officials to be fired. The end of war may not benefit the presidential supporters. The economy is in doldrums accompanied by rising foreign debt and depletion of gold reserves, weak national currency and reduced industrial production, hiked public utilities costs, questioned preparedness for heating season and living standards going down. The war is blamed for all these woes. If peace prevails there will be nothing to be used as a cause for economic collapse. It will dash all the hopes for winning the election. 
The President’s team is not united. Making comments on the Minsk accords Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said peace should be achieved not according to the Russian President’s plan but rather on the basis of the Plan offered by the President of Ukraine and supported by the US and the EU. He means the so-called 15 point Poroshenko’s plan which actually is nothing else but an ultimatum demanding the surrender of Donbass. It is aimed at emasculation of the Minsk accords and continuation of combat actions. In her turn Yulia Timoshenko initiated a referendum on NATO membership. Another opponent of President and Verkhovna Rada MP Oleg Lyashko said that the armistice will make the enemy stronger and lead to increased Russian presence while «patriots» are doomed to slavery and dishonor.
With rising voices calling for war Poroshenko appears to be unable to stop combat actions without being threatened by coup. With troops withdrawn from Donbass thousands of armed and angry people will move to Kiev to be joined by advocates of using force for solving the problem of Novorossia. 
* * *
The international situation is not right for long-term peaceful settlement. The Wales September 4-5 NATO summit actually declared war on Russia. In the declaration the Alliance states «We condemn in the strongest terms Russia's escalating and illegal military intervention in Ukraine and demand that Russia stop and withdraw its forces from inside Ukraine and along the Ukrainian border. This violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity is a serious breach of international law and a major challenge to Euro-Atlantic security. We do not and will not recognize Russia's illegal and illegitimate 'annexation' of Crimea. We demand that Russia comply with international law and its international obligations and responsibilities; end its illegitimate occupation of Crimea; refrain from aggressive actions against Ukraine; withdraw its troops; halt the flow of weapons, equipment, people and money across the border to the separatists; and stop fomenting tension along and across the Ukrainian border. Russia must use its influence with the separatists to de-escalate the situation and take concrete steps to allow for a political and a diplomatic solution which respects Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity, and internationally recognized borders». NATO has pledged some 15 million euros to Ukraine with several of the bloc’s member states pledging separate bilateral support and military cooperation involving medical supplies, as well as lethal and nonlethal military equipment.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen announced a "comprehensive and tailored package of measures," including the donation of 15 million euros «through NATO» at a joint news conference with the Ukrainian President on September 4, the first day of the NATO summit in Wales. He said that this would be in addition to other measures such as advising Ukraine on defense reforms and further bilateral aid. «This is about improvement of logistics, the improvement of command and control, the improvement of communications, and cyber defense,» Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said. Poroshenko claimed that some of the NATO member states said during bilateral consultations they are ready to supply Ukraine with lethal and non-lethal arms, including «high precision weapons,» as well as with medical equipment. No official confirmation of the agreement on provision of such weapons has been made by NATO or any of its states. 
The summit said NATO is committed to growing military presence and formation of a new rapid response force to include the military of Great Britain, Denmark, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Norway and the Netherlands. The mission is to counter the «aggression» on the part of Russia. The European participants endorsed the militarization in the vicinity of Russian borders only after Washington emphasized the need to meet the «Russian threat». It’s especially important for the White House to demonstrate that the fears have justification. For this purpose it needs the war to go on. At the close of a two-day NATO summit on September 5, President Obama expressed doubts that new ceasefire in Ukraine would hold and promised a new round of sanctions to keep pressure on Russia to respect its neighbor's borders. "We are hopeful, but based on past experience also skeptical that in fact the separatists will follow through and that Russia will stop violating Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity," Obama said. "It has to be tested." This kind of rhetoric against the backdrop of Washington’s threats to toughen the sanctions against Russia and talks about putting Ukraine under the NATO’s umbrella lead to the continuation of conflict. 
The demands to hold talks were voiced in the West only after another failure of anti-terrorist threat. The European Union and the United States agreed to indirectly recognize the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics as equal partners at the talks. Ukraine is promised a military and financial aid package. Kiev may use the chance for regrouping the forces before launching another offensive.

Source: http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2014/09/08/ukraine-truce-reached-what-next.html

вторник, 2 сентября 2014 г.

Top ten ways you can tell if Russia invades Ukraine

written by Dmitry Orlov
Last Thursday the Ukrainian government, echoed by NATO spokesmen, declared that the Russian military is now operating within Ukraine's borders. Well, maybe it is and maybe it isn't; what do you know? They said the same thing before, most recently on August 13, and then on August 17, each time with either no evidence or fake evidence. But let's give them the benefit of the doubt.

You be the judge. I put together this helpful list of top ten telltale signs that will allow you to determine whether indeed Russia invaded Ukraine last Thursday, or whether Thursday's announcement is yet another confabulation. (Credit to Roman Kretsul).

Because if Russia invaded on Thursday morning, this is what the situation on the ground would look like by Saturday afternoon.

1. Ukrainian artillery fell silent almost immediately. They are no longer shelling residential districts of Donetsk and Lugansk. This is because their locations had been pinpointed prior to the operation, and by Thursday afternoon they were completely wiped out using air attacks, artillery and ground-based rocket fire, as the first order of business. Local residents are overjoyed that their horrible ordeal is finally at an end.

2. The look of military activity on the ground in Donetsk and Lugansk has changed dramatically. Whereas before it involved small groups of resistance fighters, the Russians operate in battalions of 400 men and dozens of armored vehicles, followed by convoys of support vehicles (tanker trucks, communications, field kitchens, field hospitals and so on). The flow of vehicles in and out is non-stop, plainly visible on air reconnaissance and satellite photos. Add to that the relentless radio chatter, all in Russian, which anyone who wants to can intercept, and the operation becomes impossible to hide. 

3. The Ukrainian military has promptly vanished. Soldiers and officers alike have taken off their uniforms, abandoned their weapons, and are doing their best to blend in with the locals. Nobody thought the odds of the Ukrainian army against the Russians were any good. Ukraine's only military victory against Russia was at the battle of Konotop in 1659, but at the time Ukraine was allied with the mighty Khanate of Crimea, and, you may have noticed, Crimea is not on Ukraine's side this time around.

4. There are Russian checkpoints everywhere. Local civilians are allowed through, but anyone associated with a government, foreign or domestic, is detained for questioning. A filtration system has been set up to return demobilized Ukrainian army draftees to their native regions, while the volunteers and the officers are shunted to pretrial detention centers, to determine whether they had ordered war crimes to be committed.

5. Most of Ukraine's border crossings are by now under Russian control. Some have been reinforced with air defense and artillery systems and tank battalions, to dissuade NATO forces from attempting to stage an invasion. Civilians and humanitarian goods are allowed through. Businessmen are allowed through once they fill out the required forms (which are in Russian).

6. Russia has imposed a no-fly zone over all of Ukraine. All civilian flights have been cancelled. There is quite a crowd of US State Department staffers, CIA and Mossad agents, and Western NGO people stuck at Borispol airport in Kiev. Some are nervously calling everyone they know on their satellite phones. Western politicians are demanding that they be evacuated immediately, but Russian authorities want to hold onto them until their possible complicity in war crimes has been determined.

7. The usual Ukrainian talking heads, such as president Poroshenko, PM Yatsenyuk and others, are no longer available to be interviewed by Western media. Nobody quite knows where they are. There are rumors that they have already fled the country. Crowds have stormed their abandoned residences, and were amazed to discover that they were all outfitted with solid gold toilets. Nor are the Ukrainian oligarchs anywhere to be found, except for the warlord Igor Kolomoisky, who was found in his residence, abandoned by his henchmen, dead from a heart attack. (Contributed by the Saker.)

8. Some of the over 800,000 Ukrainian refugees are starting to stream back in from Russia. They were living in tent cities, many of them in the nearby Rostov region, but with the winter coming they are eager to get back home, now that the shelling is over. Along with them, construction crews, cement trucks and flatbeds stacked with pipe, cable and rebar are streaming in, to repair the damage from the shelling.

9. There is all sorts of intense diplomatic and military activity around the world, especially in Europe and the US. Military forces are on highest alert, diplomats are jetting around and holding conferences. President Obama just held a press conference to announce that “We don't have a strategy on Ukraine yet.” His military advisers tell him that his usual strategy of “bomb a little and see what happens” is not likely to be helpful in this instance.

10. Kiev has surrendered. There are Russian tanks on the Maidan Square. Russian infantry is mopping up the remains of Ukraine's National Guard. A curfew has been announced. The operation to take Kiev resembled “Shock and Awe” in Baghdad: a few loud bangs and then a whimper.

Armed with this list, you too should be able to determine whether or not Russia has invaded Ukraine last Thursday.

Reprrinted with author's permission.