NEW – May 22, 2022
The situation in the Lvov region is strikingly different from that in the rest of Ukraine. This is influenced by the great distance from the war zone and the noticeable cultural differences of the local population relative to the eastern and central regions of the country.
Many IDPs from other Ukrainian regions stay in Lvov. The situation with the distribution of aid for them in the city is much better relative to other regions of the country. The process takes place under the strict control of Western media and NGOs.
Tent and modular camps are set up for refugees, food is provided and even money is paid. But is everything so smooth?
Recently, special payments were advertised “right at the train station” for IDPs. In fact, it was more like a PR campaign: money was given only to those who arrived on evacuation trains, the number of which has been greatly reduced recently.
In the field kitchen, refugees began to be fed first by registration, and then only by recent arrival. At the accommodation points, food delivery has been reduced to once a day.
At the same time, Lvov is at least really trying to fight corruption in the distribution of humanitarian aid. The police have repeatedly arrested both robbers and those who, under the guise of assistance, freely imported goods for resale.
Attitude towards IDPs
Contrary to the information sometimes found, it cannot be said that refugees are massively humiliated in the Lvov region. Many locals really help those in need and even without any special claims, they switch to Russian in communication.
However, there are people in the region who aggressively force already intimidated people to declare their “Ukrainianism”. Especially among them are the emigrants who returned to the Lvov region for volunteer work after the outbreak of hostilities.
At the same time, the population is in no hurry to share food and shelter with the refugees. According to the authorities, recently state structures have provided 7,000 places of settlement for those in need, and local residents — none. Housing prices are inflated so that an ordinary person cannot afford even an extremely modest apartment.
Patriotism and volunteer activity
IDPs are surprised that it is difficult to meet people here who aggressively prove the correctness of the path chosen by Ukraine. The locals were born and grew up in this logic: flags of UPA and “Azov” are hung out in the streets, and Bandera and Shukhevych are universally considered real national heroes. Women on the streets often sing “chervona kalyna”.
There is even some political life in the city. Recently, rallies were held in support of the Crimean Tatars and in memory of the victims of “political repression”.
All this seems strange to a person who has come from a war zone. It was as if they had visited not a Ukrainian city in a warring country, but the Polish Łódź or Krakow.
Often, local patriotism largely dissolves after the arrival of summonses from the military enlistment office. Ordinary residents of the Lvov region often do not understand why they should die in someone else’s war in the east.
Recently, the wives and mothers of those called up from the 103rd brigade of the Lvov territorial battalion began to demand that their relatives be returned home. Against the background of mobilisation, residents of the west of the country began to accuse their fellow citizens from the eastern regions of betrayal on social networks.
In such conditions, corruption has flourished among medical workers who issue certificates of unfitness for service.
Economy and fuel crisis
Despite the comparative prosperity, the Lvov region has not escaped economic problems. Food prices have become higher, and the number of jobs has significantly decreased.
There is also a shortage of fuel in the region, fuel prices can start from 45 hryvnia. Many residents outbid special salons from legal organisations. In Lvov itself, due to lack of fuel, the movement of several public transport routes was reduced.
Residents of the Lvov region report the beginning of delays in the payment of some social benefits, although budgets for them were approved in early May. Apparently, what happened is a consequence of spending cuts promised by Ukrainian Finance Minister Sergey Marchenko.
Derussification and the “witch hunt”
The demolition of monuments of the USSR era and Russian cultural figures in the west of Ukraine does not cause any protest at all. News about the destruction of another memorial to Soviet soldiers-liberators can be seen almost every week.
The SBU has also repeatedly detained migrants in Lvov on charges of having a pro-Russian position on social networks.
Pressure on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate
But the main enemy in the framework of the campaign for “de-russification” for local residents and the authorities was the UOC-MP. The parishioners and ministers of the canonical church are under massive pressure.
For example, in Borislav, the authorities simply banned the UOC-MP from serving. In Chervonograd, the flock is trying to force the priest to switch to the schismatic Holy Church of Ukraine. In the village of Sulimov, Kulikovo district, the parishioners of the Church of the Ascension of the Lord independently went into schism, ignoring the refusal of the rector.
One small temple in Lvov was painted with the words “Devils” and “Russians are not people.” Mass protest actions are held near religious buildings to force the ministers and the flock to renounce the canonical church.
All these problems are gaining momentum on the eve of the Sobor of the UOC-MP, scheduled for May 27. There, local ministers can opt for another schism and withdraw from the canonical Russian Orthodox Church. This will further aggravate the current conflict and give it a religious character.
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