I fully agree with Yurii Lutsenko when he says the ongoing anti-terrorism operation (ATO) should have started at the Verkhovna Rada. Indeed, the Communist Party (KPU) and Party of Regions (PoR) factions have turned into a political wing of terrorists. They constantly advocate them, demand cessation of hostilities against Ukraine’s armed enemies but do not absolutely promise that saboteurs and gunmen will stop killings, tortures, and seizures of hostages. It is a peak of cynicism and meanness. In other words, the Communists and Regionnaires suggest that the government stop, knowing very well that the terrorists will not do the same. It goes without saying to whose mill the KPU and the PoR are bringing grist – it is crystal clear. But I would add that an ATO should be also carried out in our informational space, where there are enough “television, radio, and newspaper troops” of the enemy. There are conscious haters of Ukraine as well as run-of-the-mill idiots whose stupidity is only inferior to their aplomb. And no one knows which of them is doing more harm.
TERRORISTS ON THE AIR
What has been causing grave concern lately is the UNIAN TV channel. I switched it on May 13 and suddenly saw a strange picture: the presenters are lavishing praise on the unheard-of successes of Putin’s and Lukashenko’s integration in connections with a jubilee of the allied state of Russia and Belarus. Imperial propaganda at its ugliest… And, against the background of the Kremlin ruler’s physiognomy, Pavel Borodin, the secretary of this association, said in a victorious and threatening tone: “We shall reunite the whole post-Soviet space.” On whose payroll is UNIAN as it allows all this scum to sling mud at Ukraine in wartime?
Complaints are often heard about treason in the army, police, and security services. And what about treason among Ukrainian journalists? It undermines the state not less than all the other treasons. What is to be done? How can this country be saved from the “fifth column” of journalists?
On May 14 the abovementioned UNIAN allowed a certain Pushylin, one of the terrorist leaders, to speak for 15 minutes. He took full advantage of this opportunity to discredit the ATO, comment on the interim president’s intellectual qualities, and insult the Ukrainian uniformed services by making the wildest ever accusations against them. Why did the anchorwoman let him do so? To show her being “advanced” and in line with “European media standards”?
But, for some reason, the “non-advanced” American media did not give the floor to Ben Laden during a US-led ATO. Why did UNIAN choose to hold a show of anti-Ukrainian separatist propaganda? Of course, they well resort to some helpless demagogy in their defense and mutter something about “a different point of view.” But allowing the enemy to speak out in wartime is the upper limit of idiocy and betrayal.
Incidentally, during World War Two, the BBC (a model of impartiality) never provided its air time – to express “a different viewpoint” – for Dr. Josef Goebbels, the French Marshal Petain, the Norwegian Major Quisling, and the like.
“Meanwhile, Radio Era FM has again presented the Russian journalist Iskander Khisamov who scathingly criticized and advised to discontinue the ATO. What he was saying resembled the “ideas” of Pushylin – he even condemned Arsenii Yatseniuk for a disrespectful tone towards Vladimir Putin. The First Business Channel in the person of presenter Tetiana Chuhaienko was menacingly alleging that the presidential elections in Ukraine would be held “at gunpoint.” The studio’s guest, a certain Denis Denisov from the Institute of CIS Countries (the office of Ukraine’s “big friend” Konstantin Zatulin), was singing praises of the separatist bogus referendum in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts and promising the leadership of Ukraine all kinds of woes unless it recognizes this comedy. Indeed, the activities of First Business Channel guys are more and more aggressive and harmful. It is time to rename it Separatism TV and close it down, for, having this kind of media and journalists, we will lose any war. This is why we need martial law and wartime regulations about traitors, enemy agents, provocateurs, and panic-mongers. Democracy is a good thing – but not when a country falls victim to a foreign armed aggression.
If we fail to stem the tide of hostile propaganda in the national media, we will lose everything.
AN ILLUSORY BORDER
The TVi channel has discussed the current events again. The veteran MP Yurii Karmazin showered the program with rhetorical questions, such as “Where is the state of emergency?” and “Where is martial law?” He arrived at the conclusion that the government was surrendering the Donbas. If it is true, we are witnessing an act of collective political suicide of the ruling coalition and, first of all, Batkivshchyna. In this case, the next government, which will emerge in a flash and practically “from nowhere,” is sure to take the current one to court. Now, in a really grim time of war, customary intrigues and career-seeking “chess games” may end up in a big trouble. This writer has noticed an interesting point in the Batkivshchyna leader’s activities: whenever Yulia Tymoshenko honestly attacks the enemy like a tank or a bulldozer, she is trusted and her ratings are mushrooming. But once she embarks on a path of slyness, intriguing, duplicity, and insincerity (which occurs quite often), she inevitably meets a defeat. Moreover, the now clever masses have learned to see through all her small and big ruses. The revealing excitement of Karmazin also roused Sehii Holovaty who said a few “heartfelt” words about the Ukrainian border security service. What particularly surprised him is the fact that Mykola Lytvyn, relative of Volodymyr Lytvyn, academician and chief of Pres. Leonid Kuchma’s staff, has been guarding our state border for 17 years on end since 1997. He is an administrative long-liver, so to speak, for there are very few premiers or defense ministers who sat in their chair for more than 2 years. But 17 years… Maybe, it is the case of a genius? But Holovaty said: “Where is this border? Anyone can walk around there.” Indeed, what has been done in so long a period? I greatly suspect that our border is completely illusory and all you have to do to cross it is just wish to do so. But, in 17 years, you could have made it a showpiece border, all the more so that you have such an influential relative in the corridors of power.
Holovaty criticized the concessions of Turchynov and Yatseniuk to Putin. The jurist also said that a state that does not protect its border and territory and does not kill terrorists is not a state. And, finally, the government pretends that there is no war in our land. Yehor Checherynda conducted a poll, and 96 percent of the viewers voted that negotiations in the Donbas should be held with representatives of the majority of the population which favors the unity of Ukraine, whereas the authorities are more inclined to negotiate with separatists, oligarchs, and political bankrupts from the Party of Regions.
A DIALOG TURNS INTO A MONOLOG
Savik Shuster was to host a TV debate between Poroshenko and Tymoshenko. Poroshenko did not show up. It’s a pity. He deprived me, as a citizen and a voter, of the opportunity to compare their positions and make a well-considered choice. I wonder what would happen to a US presidential candidate if he or she refused to debate on TV with his or her main rival.
Yet Tymoshenko did not worry much about this. She quite optimistically appraised Western sanctions against Putin, expecting Ukraine to regain Crimea shortly. Were I not a Crimean, I would perhaps believe this. But Crimea has always been a sacral fetish for the Russian political upper crust. And it is for the sake of this fetish that the Kremlin’s tyrant opted for violating all the imaginable international norms. Crimea can only come back if the Moscow regime collapses. But things look differently so far, although Tymoshenko promised a showdown within a few months. Putin also shows his firm stand and profound contempt for the West by unleashing stark terror against the Crimean Tatar people. Ms. Tymoshenko promised that we would have given up Russian gas by 2020. If only it were as easy as she promises!
Tymoshenko recalled that all members of the European Union (except for Austria, Finland, and Sweden), which we are striving to join, are at the same time NATO members, and she said she was sure that if Ukraine were in NATO, our Crimea would not have been occupied and we would have no military conflicts with Russia. In her words, we must not only build an army of our own, but also be a member of the powerful collective security system. She asked Shuster to put the question of Ukraine’s entry into NATO to a vote. Sixty five percent of the people in the studio gave a positive answer, including 87 percent of those who represented the west of Ukraine, 83 percent of those from the center, and 67 percent of those from the south, but the east gave 87 percent against. It is not just a coincidence. It is a natural result for a territory thrown to the tender mercies of foreign information centers and regional criminal oligarchic clans. Tymoshenko promised a lot of good. Well, we know how to promise. Very few can outshine our politicians in this art. But the most worrisome question is what we will have to pay for the current condition of the information space and the complete vulnerability of the state in this field.
THE CRIMEAN VACUUM
The events in Crimea and the Donbas have shown what this can end up with. Particularly, a merciless information war against Ukraine has been waged in the city of Sevastopol in all the years of independence, which this writer could personally observe, with official Kyiv taking a couldn’t-care-less attitude to this. Sevastopol’s newspapers were divided into pathologically anti-Ukrainian, acutely anti-Ukrainian, and moderately anti-Ukrainian. The city residents, who cast 57 percent of votes for independent Ukraine in 1991, had their awareness actively reformatted.
For example, the newspaper Russkiy Sevastopol wrote in February 2006: “The establishment by Ukraine of its rule in Crimea and Sevastopol is a covert, in the former case, and outright, in the latter case, annexation. Following a free expression of the Crimea and Sevastopol population’s will, Russia must restore its sovereignty over these territories.” Incidentally, the great patriot Viktor Yushchenko ruled the roost in Kyiv at the time. I mean we should not lay all the blame for the collapse of the army and the state at Yanukovych’s door only. Yanukovych came to a well-prepared ground. Another newspaper, Rossiyskaya obshchina Sevastopolia, declared in July 2007: “After 1991, many Sevastopol residents are sure they live under occupation.”
And here is the newspaper Rusichi of May-July 2006: “War is the ultimate goal of the entire Grand Anti-Russian Project implemented by the West in Ukraine. For one part of the Russians to wipe out another, the West has been conceiving and carefully nurturing an ugly ethnic mutant – ‘the Ukrainian nation.’” There were more than ten newspapers like this in the city with a population of 370,000. They were printed in the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s print shop and distributed free of charge. This disgrace lasted for many years. The most striking thing is that all these seditious publications had licenses from the local departments of Ukraine’s Ministry of Justice. Nobody had ever made any attempts to close or at least to restrict this reptilian press. So Sevastopol residents were being carefully prepared for the arrival of “little green men.” And Kyiv slept, as it does now, without drawing any conclusions from the bitter Crimean lessons. Wake up!