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Crimethinks and Doublethinks in the Civil War Regime of Ukraine

DONETSK, Peoples Republic of Donetsk

February 11, 2015

Kyiv troops shelled the city of Donetsk yesterday. It was powerful and violent, as if a parting, a farewell for the last time. But I knew it was not for the last time, despite the ceasefire negotiations going on in Minsk.

This morning, their shells landed at a bus depot in the city centre. Several people died. So far, I’ve only seen pictures on the Internet because I can’t bring myself to go there and see with my own eyes the place of the tragedy. Less than two months ago, during my first trip to Donetsk, I departed several times from this bus depot. I purchased items in the now-ruined drugstore at the same location. I drank coffee while waiting for the bus there. If yesterday, somehow, I had appeared in that part of town, I would not be writing this column. I wouldn’t be writing anything at all.

A deputy of the Parliament in Kyiv from the electoral bloc of Petro Poroshenko has submitted a bill that would make it a crime to deny that “Russian aggression” is responsible for the war here in eastern Ukraine. I guess that means I’ll soon be considered a criminal because I deny the military aggression of the Russian Federation. I don’t see any Russian or Chechen soldiers here in Donetsk. I only see local militia, who are standing up to defend their homeland and their way of life. And I see civilians who, despite the fact that the city is being constantly shelled, are going about their business and doing what they think is proper – they work, they help those who are suffering from the war even more than they are suffering, and they hope for a rapid end to the war. I say this is a civil war, brought on by the aggression of Kyiv.

No proposed bill and not even an eventual law will make me afraid to do a “crimethink”. I see parallels between the novel ‘1984’ and the current Ukrainian government. It’s ludicrous, but that’s because the Kyiv government is ludicrous in the way it reproduces the sort of world portrayed by George Orwell in his book, as if it were following the novel as an instruction manual. “We have a war, but it is not a war.” (The government will not formally declare war.)

“We were attacked by Russia, and we have evidence, but we will not produce it.”

“We kill for peace.”

“We destroy the Donbas region, because we love it”,

“We do not buy goods from the aggressor, but we do have businesses on the aggressor’s territory, including producing and selling candies there.” (Poroshenko’s chocolate and candy enterprises are happily doing business in Russia.)

“We pursue in the courts those who are for peace, because they are guilty of war.”

All this and more is the new doublethink which Kyiv authorities impose upon the people of Ukraine.

The repressive bill against critics of conscription1 would legalize the persecution of those who do not want to die in this war. It allows for the tapping of the phones of relatives of suspected “criminals”. If adopted, the bill will not mark a new stage in the formation of the fascist power in Ukraine, because Ukrainian authorities did not need laws to legitimize their already existing fascism.

From now on, they can send people to prison for refusing to participate in this undeclared and officially non-existent war, while profiting from business relations with those whom they label everywhere an aggressor. The Kyiv government will continue to destroy and cripple thousands of lives in order to stay on top of the power pyramid. It will use all possible means. But it fails to notice that its power pyramid sits atop a shaky base of trash and broken chairs. It is crumbling as I write.

Artillery shells are constantly exploding outside my window, almost non-stop. Obviously, Kyiv military forces have decided to vent their spite until the last possible moment before the truce is supposed to begin on Saturday at midnight.

Yulia Malkina is a writer and editor at the left-wing Ukrainian web journal Liva.com (‘The Left’). Liva publishes a page of selected articles in English, translated from the Ukrainian and Russian-language originals.

Editor’s postscript:

Donetsk resident Dan Levy was an eyewitness to the shelling of a bus depot in Donetsk in the early hours of Feb 11, 2015. He writes the following report on his Facebook page and posted some photos there. Radio Free Europe has a brief video clip of the aftermath of the attack.

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