“The Number of Losses Is Too Small”

NEW – June 7, 2022

In the photo: At the memorial dedicated to the deceased civilians of the Kuibyshevsky district and the village of Vesyoloye, 2019

The deaths of civilians, according to liberals, is not a tragedy?

A “sensation” thundered on the Internet. On the program “Tell Gordeyeva” of Ekaterina Gordeyeva, former director of “Echo of MoscowAleksey Venediktov [liberal mouthpiece recognised as a foreign agent in Russia – ed] shared during an interview that he had recently made a discovery for himself. It turns out that the scale of losses among the civilian population of Donbass in the last two years of the conflict was quite small (let’s call it that).

Segment starts at 4:52 onwards

“I searched and found the reports of the DPR and LPR human rights commissioners,” the journalist says. “Do you know how many civilians were killed by shelling in 2021?” he asksAnd voices a sensational: “Eight!”

What follows is no less revealing information:

“Then I got into 2020, I looked at reports again. How many? Five!”

And the final chord:

“Well, tell me, what genocide?”

The message is simple: the number of losses is too small. Especially to start protecting these very residents of Donbass (some of whom were killed – a very little number). And if to be quite simple: “Guys, we’ve been fooled all these years, nothing really terrible has happened in the republics in recent years!”

This short speech would be worth parsing, and it is impossible to leave it unanswered.

Firstly, Aleksey Venediktov slightly went too far: according to official statistics, last year even fewer people were killed in the Donetsk Republic by UAF shells – not eight, but seven civilians, in Lugansk – one. But in 2020, in the DPR – not five, but eight. Based on the above-mentioned logic – “in total” seven, one and eight (probably, in order for the reports not to be so “shocking” and not cause such “righteous” anger, Venediktov and others with them needed numbers of 70 or 700 people, then everything would be in order).

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Secondly, the journalist does not specify data on those who were wounded, maimed, permanently confined to a wheelchair. And also – the number of people who lost the roof over their heads (hundreds of people). Or forced to leave their native land, home, to leave…

And, finally, the most important thing, as it seems to me, is the reaction of the presenter. Ekaterina Gordeyeva does not utter a single word in defence of the victims, not a single counterargument like the elementary “But these are also people. Eight (seven) people are also human lives, grief for relatives, ruined destinies, losses that nothing can ever justify!” No, the host only nods in understanding.

And, I’m afraid to assume, many (the video has 3 million views) also nodded in agreement, focusing not on the words “human life”, but on the figure that did not satisfy them.

It seems to me unnecessary to say how cynical these conclusions are. Both the words themselves and the conciliatory silence. And, it would seem, it’s possible to only shrug one’s shoulders, wondering at such a “humane” logic, if not for the continuation of the story. The grains were thrown. And they fell, as we can see, on fertile ground.

In one of the subsequent episodes of the same program, a new guest – actor Artur Smolyaninov – picks up the baton from Venediktov and angrily echoes his predecessor: “And why,” he addresses invisible interlocutors, “if you are talking about the genocide of Donbass, then according to official statistics, from 2014 to 2022, the number of military operations has steadily decreased and in the last two years the number of casualties was 8 or 5 people?”

The actor Smolyaninov is not limited to this and continues:

“Where were we for 8 years? And where were you for 8 years, why didn’t you take these people to Russia?”

What kind of people does the actor have in mind? More than two million residents of Donbass? So that they did not die, it turns out, it was necessary not to give them the right to defend themselves, but to take everyone out of their native land?

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What follows is even more peremptory:

“You say you have some documents? (Apparently, we are talking about documents confirming the death of civilians in Donbass). Show me! I didn’t see a single document, I only heard the words (Aleksey Venediktov found it – all documents are publicly available). Show me!” the actor rages, frowning dramatically. “I want to see it!” Show me, please. Convince me. (Who and what should convince the actor Smolyaninov? Why should I take your word for it? Who do you think I am? Why do you treat me like I’m a little idiot? Show, prove. You are not proof!”

(The video clip has 7.3 million views)

It seems to me that this magnificent monologue is completely self-contained and there is no special need to comment on it. And yet, the question that comes up after viewing it is: So, Artur Smolyaninov, have you been interested in what has been happening in Donbass for the last 8 years? If so, where did all these “Show!”, ” Convince!”, ” Documents!” come from?

Indeed, in the last two years, the number of attacks in the LPR and DPR has decreased. Fortunately! The key reason is the agreement on the ceasefire regime, which the parties managed to conclude in July 2020 , an achievement that has been going on for six years. The silence regime lasted until February 2021, the main result of which was that not a single civilian was killed or wounded in six months (among the military, losses did not stop).

At the same time, for the six months preceding July 2020, eight civilians were killed in Donbass, and another 47 were injured. Among the victims, for example, is an 11th-grade student in the village of Aleksandrovka (western outskirts of Donetsk), who was wounded in the arm and back: she came under fire from a Ukrainian infantry fighting vehicle on her way home from school. Or a one-time injury to three girls of an elementary school in the same Aleksandrovka: they were at home, playing on the floor by the window, a Ukrainian shell flew into the courtyard and exploded, all three were hit by shrapnel and thrown by the blast wave deep into the room. Or – the injuries that the 13-year-old boy Dima received in the village of Sakhanka, coming under fire from the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Dima remained alive only because he was protected by a serviceman, who, alas, died on the spot, the boy himself became disabled.

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Maybe it was hidden from Smolyaninov? And this is “unproven” and “unconvincing”for him?

In 2021, Donbass civilians also continued to suffer. Here is one example from the very list of “small losses”. In the autumn of last year, in the village of Golmovsky, near Gorlovka, three agricultural workers, their names – Yura, Sasha and Andrey – became a locked-on target for a drone: an explosive device filled with striking elements was dropped on them from a drone floating near a house. All the soldiers were seriously injured. Only Yura was able to move, and he crawled towards the people, losing consciousness from time to time. And he crawled! Soon an ambulance arrived at the scene. Two survived. Andrey, without regaining consciousness, died…

By the way, today, the number of attacks on Donbass has increased many times, being a logical continuation of what is happening in 2020-2021 and earlier. Every day, civilians are killed and injured in Donetsk and other cities.

Otherwise, yes, it was almost quiet in places. And sometimes nothing happened. The last two years. And everything, probably, would have somehow come to naught, would have been resolved. And it would not require immediate suppression of incessant crimes and protection of people. Well, really, what genocide? “You are not proof!”

Sergey Prudnikov

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