A year has passed since the beginning of the protests on Kiev’s Independence Square (Maidan) against the Moscow-backed president, Viktor Yanukovich. The date was commemorated in Kiev by the meeting on the protest site.
100 or so people were shot dead during the protest movement. These people are honored in Ukraine as
“The heaven’s hundred.” Victims were shot by mysterious snipers who were killing representatives of both sides: protestors and police, provoking the beginning of the violence.
This Friday, February 18. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko at the meeting with victims’ relatives stated officially that police evidence showed that a top Kremlin aide, Vladislav Surkov, had directed “foreign sniper groups”.
“Just a few days ago, the head of state security told me that Russian Special Forces operatives gave evidence that the Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov led the organization of groups of foreign snipers on the Maidan,” said Poroshenko.
He also said that phone records showed there was an evidence of regular conversations between Yanukovich and Russia’s security services, which revealed a “clear Russian link” to the shootings. He said: “They prepared for the shooting together in advance.”
The head of Security Service of Ukraine Valentyn Nalyvaichenko gave more details speaking on air of 1+1 TV Channel. Nalivaychenko reported that the revealing information was obtained from the members of Russian Special Forces “Alpha” as a result of interrogations.
“They gave concrete certificates on location of foreign sniper groups which aimed at both: the protesters and the staff of the Ministry of Internal Affairs”, he said.
Nalivaychenko emphasized that law enforcement authorities have documented confirmation of this illegal activity in Ukraine:
“Within these documents there are positions, names, copies of passports, dates of their entrance / departure, communications they used, addresses of their locations, information on the ways the adviser to the president Putin Surkov directed them in Kiev.”
Nalivaychenko also noted that three groups of staff of Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation arrived in Kiev starting December, 2013 throughout February, 2014.
While Poroshenko and Nalyvichenko were speaking in Kiev, the same day February 18, Dmitry Muratov, Chief Editor of the Russian democratic newspaper “Novaya Gazeta” in his interview to Radio “Ekho Moskvy” informed his listeners that he was going to publish a sensational secret document, produced by Russian government more than a year ago, before the fall of Yanukovich, proving that back then Russian government was preparing the plan of annexation of Crimea and the Eastern territories of Ukraine.
Here is a quote from the document: “It seems right to play on the centrifugal aspirations of different regions of Ukraine with the goal in one form or another to initiate the accession of the Eastern Regions of Ukraine to Russia.”
It’s interesting that wording of today’s demands of Vladimir Putin are exactly the same as were planned in the document quoted by Muratov: “Our first demand should be a demand for federalization or even confederation as a guarantee for these regions from interfering of the pro-Western and nationalist forces into these regions’ internal affairs… Then would follow straight sovereignization and after that joining to Russia, since Russia can be the only guarantor of sustainable economic development and social stability. ”
The reasons for the Putin’s aggressive politics are actively discussed in Russian Democratic media. A well-known writer Mikhail Veller was asked this week by the anchor of Radio “Echo Moskvy”:
“Can you formulate the goal of Vladimir Putin with regard to Ukraine? What does he want?”
Here are the excerpts of the writer’s answer:
“Not so long ago I read the phrase, I do not remember who said it: “Many tyrants, aging, undertake a completely senseless wars that united the people around them” -this was written a thousand years ago or two.
“The main goal of any government, as circumstances allow, is self-preservation.
“Here, in Russia, crowns are usually taken off along with the heads. So it happened with every third Russian tsar. Regarding the death of Comrade Lenin – Enough is known about his final isolation. Regarding the death of Comrade Stalin – did he die because doctors were not allowed, or he was helped with this last supper – nobody will ever know. And so on and so forth.
“So the power should be kept, the power must be maintained, and in order to survive an autocrat needs to consolidate the people around himself. A small victorious war is the best measure to consolidate people around himself. The government is made up of thieves? It does not matter anymore! Because the enemies – ‘neo-fascists’ threaten us. And people hate their enemies…”
February 21, 30,000 people participated in Moscow in anti-Maidan pro Putin demonstration.
Last week the New York Times Magazine published an article of Russian immigrant writer Gary Shteyngart, which on my opinion perfectly describes today’s Russian atmosphere.
There is a sequence in this article, which, I think, correctly explains why Putin’s militaristic activity makes his popularity in Russia grow. Here is the sequence:
“On my last visit to Moscow several years ago, a drunken cabdriver from a distant province drove me through the city, nearly weeping because, he said, he was unable to feed his family. ‘I want to emigrate to the States,’ he said. ‘I can’t live like this.’”
“‘You should try Canada,’ I suggested to him. ‘Their immigration policies are very generous.’ He mock-spit on the floor, as he nearly careened into the sidewalk. ‘Canada? Never! I could only live in a superpower!’”