Donbass, Russia’s blow to Ukraine for being pro-European, wanting democracy and aspiring to NATO
Correspondent in Moscow
Virtually all Russian television channels, both public and private, in the hands of tycoons close to the president Vladimir Putin, have spent almost eight years without stopping denigrating the Ukrainian leadership, whom they often brand as “Nazis”, the country’s Armed Forces and Ukrainian journalists or politicians who condemn the “criminal” way of proceeding of Russia in Donbass, the separatist east of Ukraine.
As President Putin already pointed out in his traditional press conference at the end of the year, on December 23, “Ukraine was never a state” and on top of that, in Soviet times, “territories that had historically belonged to Russia were incorporated and it did without asking anyone, without consulting with its inhabitants».
Putin reiterated that what took place in Ukraine in February 2014 was a «coup d’état», when after almost three months of revolt in the Maidan square of Kiev, the Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian Parliament, decided to dismiss the then president of the country, the pro-Russian Victor Yanukovych.
Moscow’s information war against Kiev. Those in charge of materializing it are prominent presenters and analysts related to the Kremlin such as Dmitri Kisiliov, Vladimir Soloviov, the most recalcitrant, Olga Skabéyeva and her husband Evgueni Popov, the four of the state channel Rossiya-1. But also Margarita Simonián (RT), Andréi Norkin (NTV) or Artiom Sheinin (Piervi Kanal).
They are in charge of throwing into the neighboring country a permanent and overwhelming flow of propaganda, manipulation, half-truths, fallacies and deceit. Almost daily the annexation of Crimea, necessary, according to them, to have saved its inhabitants from the Ukrainian ultras, and applaud Moscow’s help to the separatists of Donetsk Y Lugansk (Donbass), because a war broke out there that has killed more than 13,000 people and continues latently today.
The “propaganda of hate”
But for the founder and one of the leaders of the liberal Yábloko party, Grigori Yavlinski, the Russian authorities “are leading the situation to a real threat of war with Ukraine, not the hybrid that the Kremlin has waged in Donbass for almost eight years, but a real one.” In his opinion, “hate propaganda is increasing and the possibility of an imminent war, even nuclear, is already on the agenda in order to win it.”
“People are tired of the current confrontational situation. They do not trust Kiev, but they are beginning to realize that Moscow does not provide a real solution for the future of Donbass”, says Vladimir Ribachuk, owner of a small electronics store in a Moscow shopping mall. He was born in Lugansk 50 years ago, is married and has two children. Thanks to relatives in the Russian capital, he and his family left Lugansk as soon as the war began, although he travels there from time to time.
“40 percent of the population of Donbass fled when hostilities broke out,” he says. According to his story, “the youngest went to Russia, Ukraine and countries of the European Union.” “I have my elderly mother and two brothers there. They are fine. I help them to the best of my ability. Those who now live in Donetsk and Lugansk are mostly pensioners, middle-aged people and, during school holidays, children, the grandchildren of those pensioners,” Ribachuk tells us. think there won’t be any war because «Kiev will not dare».
Larisa is from Donetsk, she does not want her last name to be known, she is about 40 years old and spends time in Moscow With her sister. He believes that if a war breaks out, “Russia will not allow Kiev troops to penetrate Donbass.” He meets Ribachuk, whom he replaces at the store sometimes, when he travels or takes a day off and has just returned from Donetsk, after spending the holidays there.
“It has been a long time since my city was so beautiful with Christmas decorations. People who no longer live in Donetsk came and there was animation, but it is no longer the city that it was, “Larisa laments. In his words, “now there is much less population than before, everything is poorer.”