Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
The Ukrainian Deputy Minister on the issue of the occupied territories Georgey Tuka believes that a “Crimean scenario” is being prepared in Kharkov. On November 9, he wrote on his page on Facebook that the large-scale pro-Russian demonstrations are planned in the city, and urged law enforcement agencies to take decisive action.
According to Tuka, the first mass anti-Ukrainian action can occur on 15th November during the football match between Ukraine and Serbia. “During the day I received information about this from three independent sources: from football fans, from not completely frostbitten scumbags, which are willing to earn but not ready for blood, and from the SBU,” said the former “military Governor” of the Lugansk region.
The official also urged law enforcement officials to deploy active efforts to curb in Kharkov possible development of a so-called “Crimean scenario”.
Suppositions about the possibility of unrest in Kharkov was expressed by the Ukrainian authorities earlier. In October, the head of the presidential administration Igor Raynin, who previously held the position of head of the Kharkov Regional State Administration, stated that in the capital of the region there is a threat of destabilization of the situation exists. According to him, Kharkov region is a strategic region, as it has 600 kilometers of border, with 300 of them with Russia, and 300 with Donbass, including the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s republics (DPR and LPR). According to him, the Kharkov region ex-Governor called it the “last point of peace” in Eastern Europe.
A day earlier, in the program “Shuster Live” Verkhovna Rada Deputy from the faction “Fatherland” Igor Lutsenko, commenting on the resignation of the Governor of the Odessa region Mikhail Saakashvili, said that this resignation may lead to the growth of separatist sentiment in the region.
According to him, separatism in Odessa occupies a very serious position and is ready to raise its head. “Saakashvili had the correct position concerning the anti-Ukrainian forces, he at least started to make noise, to scream about the threat of pro-Russian actions. Now I have a very serious fear for the region. Who knows who will come and what the relationship with the separatist underground will be, which is very well-developed there and tries to legalize itself,” stressed Lutsenko.
As a reminder, in December 2015, the head of “Information Resistance” (IP) Dmitry Tymchuk posted on his page on Facebook the so-called “rating of separatism”, where among the leaders were the Kharkov and Odessa region.
According to this study, the highest level of threat was recorded in the Kiev-controlled parts of Donetsk and Lugansk regions (ten out of ten points). The level of threat in the Kharkov and Odessa regions Tymchuk estimated at seven points. While the study argues that Odessa and Kharkov, as a whole, “recorded a decrease in the activity of anti-Ukrainian forces”. In addition, in the ratings are the Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhia, Kherson, and Nikolaev regions. It is in especially in these regions following the coup d’etat in Kiev a movement for secession from Ukraine began, which was dubbed the “Russian spring” – it was crushed by security forces and pro-government neo-Nazi groups.
Note also that in public speeches a number of Ukrainian politicians and officials, including the President, repeatedly stressed that in the last year since spring 2014, two-and-a-half years, Ukraine has managed to completely defeat “separatism in the South-Eastern regions and to strengthen the unity of the country. One of the main reasons is the unwillingness to repeat the fate of Donbass, where from April 2014 the war did not stop.”
“The scenario with “pro-Russian” actions of fans in Kharkov — of course, is nonsense,” believes the Director of the Center for Eurasian Studies Vladimir Kornilov.
“Unfortunately, the fan movement (especially in Kharkov) has long been at the mercy of Ukrainian Nazis. Actually, it is especially them (the Kharkov and Kiev football fanatics) became the core of “Right Sector”. But there is no smoke without fire. Who else if not Tuck can know so well how the current government is hated in the East of Ukraine, including in Kharkov. He understands that it is not during this match, but sooner or later this bomb will explode. And it’s only a matter of time.”
“SP”: Earlier, Deputy Igor Lutsenko stated that the resignation of Mikheil Saakashvili from the post of Governor of the Odessa region can lead to the growth of separatist sentiment in the region. Earlier it was said that Saakashvili was placed in Odessa especially for the crackdown of separatism. How big is the threat of a “relapse” in Odessa?
“And here the answer is the same: Lutsenko, as well as Saakashvili and Poroshenko know that the majority of Odessa residents are just waiting for a chance to bring to justice the perpetrators of the burning of their countrymen on May 2, 2014. And the reason here is not only Saakashvili, but also in the same Lutsenko. He can’t blame himself for the fact that all of them are hated in equal measure.”
“SP”: Why wasn’t “the Crimean scenario” implemented in the end nowhere else but in Crimea? Even not in Donbass. Purely theoretically is it possible for it to be repeated anywhere else and whenever in Ukraine?
“Well, it is enough to look at the results of all polls and elections until 2013 to realize that Crimea was prominent on the common background by its pro-Russia sentiments. Even against the background of pro-Russian Donbass, not to mention Kharkov and Odessa… in principle, Donetsk people went to act according to the Crimean scenario. Why the Russian government did not act in this way— is a question more to Moscow than to Donbass.”
“SP”: Can we speak in general about the fact that Ukraine for two years, managed to defeat separatism, and that the “Russian spring” has gone down in history without return? What conditions are necessary in order for the boat to rock again?
“The longer this illegal government rules in Ukraine, the greater the growth of separatist sentiment. Moreover not only for Sloboda Ukraine, or Novorossiya, but also in Lvov and Transcarpathia. It is the winners of Maidan that are the main separatists, and not those who did not recognize the coup in 2014.”
“SP”: In recent times, the social situation in Ukraine is deteriorating rates continue to rise incessantly, and weather forecasters promise an especially severe winter. Are serious social protests possible, and can they lead to so-called “social separatism”? Indeed, many regions, including in the West of the country, more and more louder demand independence...
“In these conditions, a rebellion is possible at any time. Specifically – a riot. That’s why only two indicators matured for revolution, instead of three (according to the classic definition by Lenin). For a revolution there is still a lack of organisation of revolutionary forces, able to raise and lead the masses. But I can assure you that if there is a spontaneous rebellion, there will be many of those who desire to become such a force. The only question is, who in the end will lead the turmoil and in what direction will they steer it.”
“SP”: Can slogans of separation sound from Kiev during this revolt? Can the social agenda become the pretext for the second “Russian spring”?
“I repeat: a riot can be sent in any direction, including anti-Russian, more anti-Russian direction, beneficial to those same Nazis. Because they, I can assure you, are preparing this rebellion, as was evidenced by a recent interview with Yarosh and Biletsky. Is Russia preparing for this? is the question of questions.”
The Chairman of the Odessa Association, former political prisoner Andrey Yakovenko believes that anything is possible.
“Hatred of the junta reaches the apogee. Unfortunately, with regard to Odessa, all of the most active left the country. Kharkov… Maybe the riots will begin with the go-ahead from Tymoshenko. Football fanatics are all hardcore Nazis. Here there is also preparation. Precisely for the 15th November…”
“SP”: And how true is the statement of Lutsenko about the fact that after Saakashvili in Odessa the anti-Ukrainian sentiment will rise? Did he really succeed to drive resistance into the deep underground?
“I don’t think so. Saakashvili didn’t do it. It was the SBU that was working. And it’s the Americans who instruct them. A huge influence on events for us are the elections in the United States. Trump won. It can serve as a call to action to many people. But, I am sure that Ukraine is waiting for chaos. Hardcore warriors of battalions have not gone away. It is them who will perform the function to suppress the protest movement.”
“SP”: Ukrainian politicians like to boast that over the past two years they were able to end separatism and unite Ukraine. How right are they?
“They are not right! It’s not separatism, but anti-fascist struggle. There will be partisan war in Ukraine. There can’t be another way to crush the Nazis. I hope no one thinks they will apologize and leave the country?”
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