To help us figure out what is going on in Kherson, I have two pieces, this one from yesterday (reporter is Mikhail Moshkin), and this op-ed from a couple of days ago, written by Igor Karaulov, the title of his piece is;
The Triumph Of the Kiev Clowns In Kherson Is Only Temporary
Karaulov: During the past 9 months Kherson has lived through various phases. As we recall: Initially the Russian troops did not take down Ukrainian flags; and pro-Ukrainian activists were allowed to demonstrate in the streets and terrorize ordinary residents who came to receive Russian humanitarian aid. In the next phase the blue-yellow flag was replaced with the Russian tricolor, and the pro-Ukrainian protests gradually dissipated.
Around the beginning of autumn, events started to develop precipitously. A referendum was conducted, in which 87% of those Khersonites who came out to vote, chose to join Russia. Then, at the beginning of October, the Kherson Oblast, along with the Zaporozhie Oblast and DPR and LPR, officially became a subject of the Russian Federation. But very soon after that, General Surovikin hinted at the upcoming “not simple decisions” that had to be made, regarding not just Kherson but the entire Right Bank. And subsequent to that, the population was evacuated, and the Russian troops pulled out.
Next, the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) entered the city. They were greeted, granted not in very large numbers, but with Ukrainian flags and shouts of “Slava UAF!” In other words, the locals were trying to prove their loyalty. Some say that these people were just the so-called “watchers” (ждуны), in other words, secret supporters of Ukraine who had been patiently awaiting the arrival of their own. [yalensis: Many of whom were probably card-carrying members of right-wing Nationalist cadre parties, of which in the Ukraine, there are quite a lot of these parties.] Others believe that these are the very same people who, earlier, delighted in Russia, it’s just that they re-considered and changed their clothes.
Karaulov continues: In my opinion, I think these welcoming crowds consisted of both types of people. As for the latter type: Well, people are simply afraid. They are scared that the Ukrainians will get even with them. The more afraid they are, the more vigorously they wave the blue and yellow flag. You see, things have gotten serious in occupied Kherson. The very first sign of Ukrainian law and order: Unfortunate people tied up to posts or trees. This is Lynch-Law, and it appeared quite quickly in Kherson. “Stabilization measures” were introduced. This means that denunciations are collected against people who are suspected of sympathizing with Russia. These people are then subjected to barbaric repressions. Do we have the right to condemn people who are simply forced to protect their own lives? Remember that we are talking about ordinary people, innocent civilians. To be sure, they were all given the opportunity to evacuate [to Russia], but, due to various reasons, not everybody was willing or able to do this.
One needs to add that the population of the Ukraine which, for centuries, was a battlefield between major powers and also an arena of internal conflicts, developed a certain attitude about national loyalty. Governments can switch, but one always needs to eat. Therefore, one’s own little garden, one’s cottage, one’s family — these are the most important things, the most prized things. And one learns to adopt a philosophical attitude in regard to political changes.
Show me any populated point in Ukraine, during the Civil War the government changed quite frequently. This fact is reflected in the famous film A Wedding In Malinovka. During the years of the Great Patriotic War, certain cities such as Kharkov, were twice occupied [by the Germans] and twice liberated by the Red Army. And in our days, we see exactly the same thing. The town of Pavlovka in the DPR was liberated by our soldiers, then it was lost, and recently liberated again. Whenever power changes, the local population suffers, not just from the military actions, but also from the “rebuilding” of their lives which occurs afterwards, including banal acts of revenge among neighbors.
For sure, it is a bitter thing to see the capital of a Russian region under the control of the UAF. But we have to push our way through this experience, just as our forefathers did. People ask, does Russia still possess any tools, with which to help the people of Kherson? I think that they do. For starters, the Russian Constitution – it contains a firm pledge on the part of Russia, to return Kherson along with the entire Right Bank of this Oblast. This obligation cannot be subject to trade or compromise. The Khersonites need to be sure, once and for all: The triumph of the Kiev clowns is temporary. Russia will take her own back. But, for them to know that, we need to be absolutely sure of it ourselves.
The lives of tens of thousands of evacuated [to Russia] Kherson residents are also very important. Russia must show the utmost care and attention to these people; must prove to them that we will not leave them high and dry. Those who remained behind and were occupied, need to understand that their neighbors, those who chose to evacuate to Greater Russia, lucked out.
And last but not least, one would like to believe that a bona fide pro-Russian underground movement will be organized in Kherson. The Khersonites need to know, that people are watching their words and deeds.
yalensis: That’s the end of Karaulov’s op-ed. That final paragraph sounds a bit ominous… Personally, I wouldn’t encourage people to join an underground, because we all know what happens to most Resistance movements, and it’s usually not a nice thing. Be that as it may, in the next segment we will learn more about the looming humanitarian crisis in Kherson. And, as always, the issue is Who Is To Blame? Whether Russian shelling of infrastructure; or vicious Ukrainian incompetence.
They Don’t Want People To See
Now turning to Moshkin’s piece. The reporter sees two possible reasons why the Kiev regime wants to clear people out of Kherson. His main source of opinion is a man named Alexander Malkevich, who serves as the “Unpaid Advisor” to the (Russian) Governor of Kherson Oblast.
Malkevich: “Factually we see that Kiev has no intention of organizing normal life, or smoothing things over for the people in occupied Kherson. The Ukrainian government is doing exactly what we accused them of doing.
“That humanitarian catastrophe of which I kept warning about, it has happened. The Ukrainian side understands that they cannot hide what is actually happening, because more and more photos and videos are appearing on the internet.
“It’s a paradoxical situation. On the one hand, within the city they are turning the screws, there is extreme censorship, daily filtration activities and also, unfortunately, executions. On the other hand, the Ukrainian authorities were motivated to get the communications network up and running as soon as possible — mainly for military reasons — but when the mobile networks and internet came back online, this turned into a double-edged sword for them.
“You see, people started to use the internet again. And thus we are receiving ever more factual information about what is really happening there. We know how much benzine costs, up to 500 rubles per liter. We see the people standing in line to buy generators, all the queues for products; other indications of a humanitarian crisis. We see how some people are handing out fake humanitarian aid, for example a bus arrives supposedly with some goods, and it turns out to be some garbage from the European second-hand.
“As a result, more and more [Western] journalists are coming in, trying to get some stories about supposed Russian atrocities, but they can’t help but notice the humanitarian catastrophe in the city. Therefore, primarily for the purposes of image management, Vladimir Zelensky and his team have decided to remove the people from Kherson.”
Reason #2, according to Malkevich: “There is also a military reason to depopulate Kherson and the Right Bank. The Kiev regime wishes to turn this whole area into a fortified region. Something like a combined fortress-city and buffer zone.”
In either case, the Kiev officials have no intention of engaging in economic development of the region.