Freedom-loving people like to believe, that in the history of every tyranny there comes a time when, in the words of Ostap Bender (not to be confused with Stepan Bandera), “the ice starts to crack”; when people are not afraid any more. Dissent, Resistance, and Liberty break out all over. People inside are just yearning to be free of the tyrant, and just waiting for the right spark to rise up.
I’m not sure these memes are even valid. Nazi Germany, for example, was not brought down by internal factors: There was no dissent. No dissent was possible, and the Hitler regime enjoyed almost 100% support among the population, as far as one could tell. The system was brought down by external forces: Mostly these big nasty things called tanks and Red Army soldiers.
On the other hand, Ukraine is not Germany, and there is some cause for hope that ordinary Ukrainians are getting sick and tired of the excesses of neo-Nazi militias. Today, for example, I saw this piece , it is a 3-minute TV news package from the Ukrainian channel “Ukrainia”, repackaged with commentary by Russian InoTV channel. Here is my summary/paraphrase of the content:
People in Kherson Oblast Are Starting to Create Self-Defense Militias Against the “Blockaders of Crimea”
As the TV channel “Ukraina” reports (correspondent Angela Slobodjan):
Residents of the town of Kalanchak (Kherson Oblast, Ukraine — it’s to the SouthWest of Odessa, almost near the Romanian border) are forming “peoples militias”. This is their spontaneous attempt to defend themselves against the “Crimea Blockaders”, especially the neo-Nazi “Aidar” Battalion. The residents say that the Blockaders are running wild: shooting, robbing, beating people, not only with full impunity, but with the full cooperation of the police! In response, the local residents promise to deal with this lawlessness using “partisan methods”.
The residents of Kalanchak met in a “veche”, an ancient Russian form of council meeting.
The result was to form a “narodnaya druzhina”, a people’s militia. Also an ancient Russian thing. In American terms, this would be like a “neighborhood watch”, only armed with guns. Or axes. Or whatever the current technology be.
Sound Bites from Local Residents
:20 seconds in:
Valentina Plotnikova (owner of a cafe): “They threatened to kill me. To be honest with you, I said goobye to my life at that point.”
Valentina shows the results of a visit paid to her cafe by armed people wearing camouflage. The hidden surveillance camera in her cafe recorded the fight. Valentina uploaded the tape to the internet, and that’s when the threats against her began.
Valentina: “My husband was hurt. They broke his jaw. Then they came at me (in a car). They blocked the road, I took a photo of their license plate, in case I needed evidence. They took out automatic weapons and chased me into the local police station.”
Correspondent: “Did the police help you?”
Valentina: “They did. There were female officers who hid me in one of the offices. The men were too afraid to help me.”
Local residents assert that the “Crimea Blockade” activists have the entire town in the grip of fear. Allegedly they (the activists) control all the roads by day, and at night they break into people’s houses, and drink and carouse in the local bars.
1:10 minutes in:
Loris Kushnir (a doctor at the Kalanchak City Hospital): “It’s the patriotic club Aidar. They are the ones who are wandering about and doing all of this. They don’t have any shame, even in broad daylight they walk around with weapons and engage in disorderly conduct. One young man was shot in the stomach, he had a bullet in his stomach, we had to operate on him, he was just a kid, an orphan. I don’t know what to say – they’re just animals, that’s all I have to say about them.”
The police claim that they have the situation under control. They know who the guilty parties are who attacked the locals. It’s just that they are not able to detain them.
Andrei Tretiak (Chief of Police): “They call themselves veterans of Aidar Battalion. They have no documents, carry no ID confirming that they belong to some kind of military unit or battalion. We just have their word for that. But in order to detain a person and deprive him of his liberty, we need serious proof.”
The residents of Kalanchak complain that they have been abandoned and left to deal with this problem by themselves.
A Man: “We are going to create partisan units. We’ll catch them ourselves, and we’ll shake them up so much, that their feathers will fly off. That’s what we need to do.”
At the veche, almost a hundred villagers have already enrolled in the ranks of Self-Defense Militia. The veche also passed a resolution appealing to the President (=Poroshenko), with a demand that he stop the outrageous activities of the Crimea Blockade activists.
Correspondent (Angela Slobodjan): “Armed with the decision of the veche, the local residents approached the activists and demanded that they punish the guilty.”
But the Blockade activists demand more proof.
Dilyaver Seitumerov (Blockade Coordinator for the towns of Kalanchak and Chaplinka): “If it turns out that he is guilty, then we’ll hand him over to the police, and he can give his testimony. Nobody can escape justice, if he has done something wrong. But I don’t believe in empty words, or rumors. Only facts. And the facts must be presented by the criminal investigation units.”
The local government is well acquainted with the situation on the border with the annexed peninsula (=Crimea). The Deputies of the Kherson Oblast Soviet are demanding that the police and SBU get involved in the case.
“From Kherson Oblast, this is Angela Slobodjan reporting. Along with Oleg Slobodjan, Channel Ukraina News. 27 December 2015.”