Andrey Babitsky: The Spread of Terror – The Next Blows May Not Be Struck in Donetsk and Lugansk…

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


I don’t know whether blowing Aleksandr Zakharchenko up is an example of the masterly work of the Ukrainian special services. To make and plant a remote-controlled explosive device isn’t that difficult, although for sure the perpetrators of the terrorist act had to work in order to do it in the cafe – in front of the waiters and visitors…

For me, it is another aspect of this story that seems interesting. SBU employees planning such operations are, after all, ordinary Ukrainian guys who, I am sure, in everyday life differ in nothing from our people. Well, unless someone prefers the Ukrainian language to the Russian language, even in the house environment.

But these people read the same books we read, in their childhood they heard from their parents the same things that we heard from ours, and in general, as the Russian president repeatedly said, we and they are one people. Four years ago it seemed absolutely wild the regrettable circumstance that Ukrainians found forces inside themselves to shoot at the residential quarters of Slavyansk, and the very fact of the beginning of the fratricidal war sat in the mind with great difficulty. After all, these guys externally in general didn’t differ at all from those who they began to kill at first not too willingly, and then, having started to develop a taste for it, methodically.

I will say more: in a global cultural context there still aren’t any serious distinctions between us. Among each of those who is at war or thinks about how most effectively to eliminate another separatist leader, there can be and there are good fathers, beautiful friends, careful sons, and loving husbands. Their relations with their relatives are subjected to the same rules by which we are also guided. If we faced them somewhere where there would be no opportunity to speak about the war in Donbass, but where it was necessary to simply come into contact, then we would very easily meet and without any problems become pals, because to this day a uniform code acts in the two cultures, a more or less common system of values concerning communication with the outside world and with each other.

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And, nevertheless, they are already not us, and vice versa. I don’t think that, even after the death of the head of the DPR, the special services of the republic received the order to start developing operations for the elimination of Ukrainian high-ranking officials and politicians. However strange this statement may seem, but war is an honest contest: a life for a life, a shell for a shell, a bullet for a bullet. To strike blows from darkness, to hit from behind – this is what the Russian soldier considers to be inadmissible. In a duel, even if its to the death, it is prohibited to resort to low blows.

When exactly they crossed the line that separates the zone of what’s admissible and the zone of what’s inadmissible and forbidden, it is difficult to say. But this happened a long time ago, and I, frankly speaking, don’t know whether or not changes in the consciousness of tens of thousands of Ukrainians who sincerely hate the inhabitants of Donbass – considering that orks live on this land who only resemble people externally – are reversible.

But we should understand very clearly that Ukraine indeed transforms into an absolutely alien and obscure to us cultural phenomenon, which formed new ethics, and which scoops its energy not from what’s understandable for us – the feeling of love for parents, family, children, friends, the Motherland – but in hatred for Russia and Russians that burns and at the same time freezes the soul, towards what is perceived as something alien to human nature.

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In these ethics brutality and wildness triumphs: people who consider Bandera and Shukhevych to be heroes aren’t frightened by either Babi Yar, nor the Volyn massacre. Judging by the torture that those who were captured had to live through, humiliating people who fell into their hands became an art for new Ukrainians, who put all their heart and soul into it – like the militants of OUN-UPA that they honour once did. It is clear that such practices were used far back in the past. By the way, different excesses in 2014 happened in Donbass too, but it was separate episodes that didn’t change the general approach consisting of a distinct understanding of the need to restrain rage and to show mercy towards prisoners.

But for Ukrainians, in order to achieve a special condition of ethical mobilisation, it is necessary to return the Egyptian darkness to their lives, to completely reject such an outlook that was earlier so common to us, in which every person is allocated the status of God’s creation. No, in their system of values the enemy is not a person, but a source of spiritual contagion, an image and an embodiment of decay. That’s why for them it should be not simply destroyed, but whenever possible crushed, and caused intolerable pain, torment and torture.

What follows from all of this?

The great number of Ukrainians enthusiastically glorifying unknown heroes who planned and carried out act of terrorism in Donetsk don’t consider terrorist methods to be forbidden any more. For example, the young girl who was injured by the explosion is a collateral victim, which is inevitable during war. But in the imagination of these people the main enemy isn’t at all Donbass. According to them the DPR and LPR are only territories that are manipulated and completely subordinated to Moscow. According to them the source of the evil, against which it is necessary to fight by all means, is in Russia. Actually, it is Russia. Here, via a very logical transition, we come to the conclusion that the real culprits for all the troubles that fell upon Ukraine must be subjected to terror.

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I assume that attempts to spread the terrorist war to the territory of Russia is a matter of the near future. So far supporters of such an approach are restrained only by the fear that the answer can be very effective and convincing. If, after Aleksandr Zakharchenko’s death, it won’t be succeeded to find a method that can convince the other side that terror will be held accountable to the highest extent, then the next blows will be struck not in Donetsk or Lugansk…

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