Originally published on Veterans Today, May 11, 2015
Introduction by Jim W. Dean, Managing Editor of Veterans Today–We have had Alla Pierce, our new correspondent, in Donbass for the past week or so — a VT reader from Florida actually — interviewing the top political and military leadership, along with a good cross-section of the people who have experienced the cruel boot of the US-Kiev coup.
There is no substitute for getting your information straight from the horse’s mouth. And as all VT readers know, our corporate media is subject to a number of filters and spinmeister pressures. But when you are an unknown entity to a country at war, you just don’t march in and get interviews. There is a vetting process.
The Ukraine tragedy is sadly going to be with us for some time, and we do not like to have to use press releases and media reports as our sole sources, as we know how limiting they can be. Part of our brand is in having direct access to find out what is really going on that corporate media and the political hucksters don’t want us to know.
Alla had a busy week with not much time for translating, just some overview reports. But we wanted to do something special for the anniversary of these brave and stubborn Donbass people who have refused to accept the domination of a foreign-backed coup and puppet government.
Frankly, we see some similarities of the Donbass people fighting for their freedom to our own American Revolution, where we were tired of being a British colony. In both cases, a far away power wanted to exploit us economically and were willing to use military force to get what they wanted.
It is sad to see America changing places with our former British adversaries, as it tries to crush the freedom of the Donbass people. It is a stain on the honor of our ancestors which we at VT will not be a party to, and given the corporate media blackout that we have always operated under. Resisting the foreign backed coup
Resisting the foreign backed coup
We feel a kindred spirit to these Donbass people, that we and they are being exploited by the same group of international and homegrown political and corporate gangsters. We share a common cause to expose them, and to also spotlight the abuse of our military people who have taken an oath to defend our country and are now being been hijacked as enforcers for “special interests”.
Once again, like in Syria, the American military is fighting on the wrong side, betrayed by the gangsters I referred to above, and an officer corps more loyal to the gangster contractors they want to work for after their “public” service is over, than to the honor of our ancestors who gave them a constitution like the Donbass leaders want to give their descendants.
I had originally planned to give you a highlight selection of Alla’s interviews, but when I began an outline, I saw right away it did not have the focus needed for a first article. So I chose her interview with Andery Purgin, Chairman of the National Council of the Donetsk People’s Republic, founder of the movement “Donetsk Republic” and one of the ideologists of independent Donbass.
Purgin was talking about the idea of separating the region as a republic in 2005, and he was charged by the Kiev authorities for “separatism”. You might remember that our own Founding Fathers were charged with treason by the British, and many of them lost everything, like so many in Donbass. Andrey has been a troublemaker, like so many of us here at VT, and for all the right reasons.
I chose to use most of the interview in the initial translation format that I received, to give you a peek at sitting in the editor’s chair when something really, really good comes in that you have wanted for some time. There is a lot of material below you that will not have heard about before. We thank all those who contributed, including those in their graves.
Alla Pierce: The goal of communication is to get information out about Novorossia including all events that take place here and also to inform westerners how the people of Novorossia are like, how they build their life and the new state. For instance, we are often questioned about a possible Constitution. You already have your Constitution, right?
Purgin: Yes, we do, but it’s very rudimentary at this initial point in time. This is an issue that needs intensive discussion and we are going to further modify and develop it. However I don’t think that this is the most pressing question today. We have zero judicial process, a dire humanitarian catastrophe, a blockade from Kiev and only a remote possibility of help from Russia because they are obliged to follow international rules and norms. These are the most urgent subjects. The Constitutions needs work and discussion.
Pierce: Please tell us what the most important goals are and how you work to make them happen. This is an interview for the western people that don’t know much about you, except the abbreviations “DPR” and “LPR”. What is it “DPR”? This is a republic that has built itself up with its own specific hardships. So, what are your most important goals, tasks, how do you achieve them?
Purgin: If you ask about the Parliament then, yes, today we need to fill out our legislative field, without doubt. We have a plan for the next six months. But our goal is also to build a political class. Today, we do not have a political class. The previous political class betrayed the people and people have not forgiven this. The Parliament here is a platform that besides writing new laws is creating a political class.
One of the biggest problem is the blockade from the Ukrainian side, constant provocations, and problems with the financial sector. [Privat bank and its owner Kolomoisky] stole all the money from the cities, partly from businesses, and residents’ deposits were stolen too. It’s impossible to get them back, even if you have status of a refuge. So, this is daylight robbery from the Ukrainian side.
Exchanges of prisoners of war “all for all” doesn’t work, …Ukraine is arresting on average 100 people in a day in Odessa. There are approximately 1,000 detainees in Kharkov prison and thousands of people were arrested during one day in Mariupol as a supposed preventative measure. There are serious intimidations, shootings, etc…
There is a pervasive growth of fascism within Ukrainian society. You know about the site Mirotvorets [‘Peacekeepers’] where they place names and addresses and those sentenced to death. They disregard moral norms beyond human perception. Plus the blockade. Ukraine has sealed off the border with us and won’t even allow humanitarian supplies, such as food, into here.
The main objective is not only to strangle us economically and politically – the act of oppression is so trivial in Ukraine – it’s all about money. The actual line of defense is held by territorial battalions. You can see their ads that you can buy a permit to go back and forth. The price to move a vehicle currently runs at 150,000 hryvnia.
So, they simply make millions of hryvnia on the front lines. And nothing changes, because it is beneficial to all. Everybody makes money. Everything is this way in Ukraine: legitimizing lawless, banal robbery and making money from nothing, absolute corruption.
So, the line of separation was created to make money. You can go to the Yuzhniq and to talk to people. They go to Ukrainian territory without permits, then collect 200-300 hryvnia to pay for everyone at the checkpoint and on the way back they do the same. This is done in order to earn extortionate amounts of money. Everybody is earning money, from the prosecutor to the SBU [Ukraine secret police]. The largest rewards are received by the territorial battalions, private armies whose lines of command are not clear.
Pierce: You mention blockade. It’s a rather abstract concept for American people. What exactly is it like to exist under an economic blockade ? How does one survive? How would one overcome these difficulties and how do the general populace live in such conditions?
Purgin: We have substantial assistance from the Russian Federation, not only from the government but great support also from the general public. We have a little help from the West through the UN, but it’s a little drop in an ocean.
We get serious help from Doctors Without Borders. They provided medicine which we were unable to buy on the market, such as vaccines, morphine, etc.
Ninety per cent of our received aid comes directly from the Russian Federation. This assistance is everywhere. There are party economists, lots of funds, free canteens, etc.
Now we are able to issue pensions to pensioners, but before there were one-time payments, not regular payments for teachers and doctors. Now we will begin regularly issuing pensions, run our industrial output efficiently and establish normal life.
Many improvements have been made in order to restore infrastructure, such as electrical power network, everything connected with water: water pumping. It’s not too noticeable, but actually a lot of things were worked on and improved, many objects have been restored gradually. Normal life is coming back.
Once the American method of bombarding us with heavy artillery ceased, we were more able to bring everything back to a general sense of order. This method of sectional shelling (carpet bombing) is a war crime. It means residential areas were subjected to the unrelenting hail of heavy artillery.
This created terror and panic among the population. Besides, some critical infrastructure, electrical substations, were shelled until they ceased to function. This war is not against our militia, but a campaign of terror against the residents. More than seventy churches and temples were destroyed. Even small irrelevant buildings were repeatedly hit until they were finally destroyed.
Pierce: They destroyed not only the churches, but also hospitals, schools, day care centers…
Purgin: Yes, there is intensive intimidation. It is a war against the population. There are numerous signs of genocide. I hope it will be investigated sooner or later.
Also, Ukraine is confusing everybody with geography. For instance, for the last six weeks everybody has been discussing Shirokino. Shtrokino is like a polygon (shooting range). This is a place where you can go to shoot. Shirokino is a steppe containing a small village, which has no strategical or political value. But there is nonstop shooting. The world media has a different point of view about the fight in Shirokino, but in reality this small village has no value.
At the same time, the media ignored shelling attacks upon Donetsk, where we have a population of 700,000 people. It is a huge difference to have 15-20 shells drop on Shirokino than the same in Donetsk. One shell landing in Donetsk can kill between 10 to 20 civilians. So, this is a deliberate targeting of residential areas where people live.
It turns out that Ukrainian propaganda machine actually works well and Europe always believes the Ukrainian propaganda. There are ridiculous claims made by their propaganda to appear as if it were serious news. We cannot understand for what reason they do this. But this propaganda is not for local people who understand that this is nonsense, but for outsiders who do not know what is going on.
For example, recently, we had “great” news. Ukraine adopted a draft resolution on the recognition of Russia as an aggressor. A resolution of Parliament applies only to Parliament. This is not only just a resolution but it was not even accepted. It’s like we wrote something and came to Rada to register it and the whole of Europe and the rest of the world start talking about it. It seems that we are in some kind of upside-down world. What is it?
This narrative is discussed like some serious event that already happened. Can you imagine? They push the city councils to recognize Russia as an aggressor. These kind of political statements do not affect anything. It seems like when a new person is joining a gang he must kill somebody, so he will be bonded with other members by blood. It is almost the same. It doesn’t make any sense…
They carry out more and more arrests. You can’t imagine, thousands and thousands… We had one of the last prisoner exchanges: 36 for 36. It turned out there were four women. All four women were in prison because they happened to be mothers of militia members. There was no other accusations against them. They were on Ukrainian territory and sat in prison because their sons are fighting on our side.
This is normal for them. And nobody discuss it. They focus instead on ten shots in Shirokino, or a draft resolution. At the same time, we are trying to figure out how many dead and injured we have after today’s shelling in Donetsk. No one is interested, because the Ukrainian side is using that small point in a steppe as a distracted maneuver.
Everybody who was there see it as utterly idiotic. It is an inverted world. This subject – Shirokino – is irrelevant. I have that kind of joke offer to give Shirokino to Ukraine. What will they do? For more than one and a half months, all Europe and the whole world discusses and knows that name (Shirokino).
Pierce: You are the author of the project of Dontsko-Krivorozskaya Republic. Is it your “creation”?
Purgin: My “creation” is Donetskaya Republic, which was a precursor of D-K Republic. The first time a Donetsk Republic was formed was back in 1917, after the February revolution. This is the name we carry now.
Then it became D-K Republic. It is not a self-titled name, it was chosen by 400 deputies who attended the congress and on the fourth day undertook the act of creating a D-K Republic.
It was the creation of an economic and industrial region, which included some regions located in the Russian Federation and parts of south-east Ukraine. It had deep links between natural and industrial regions. It didn’t matter what languages the residents spoke. It was very viable creation which was ignored during the Soviet era, because Donbass was passed over to Soviet Ukraine.
In fact, it was Lenin who gave Donbass to Ukraine. And after this, Lenin’s memorials have been violently destroyed all over Ukraine. Stalin, for example, was strongly against giving Donbass to Ukraine. In 1928, Donbass was finally transferred to Ukraine with a decree of “for increasing [the composition of] the proletariat in the sister republic”.
We do consider ourselves as an assignee of Donetsk Republic, and even of something bigger because we don’t think that Donetsk Republic is the final creation. It’s like Matreshka [nesting dolls], small, and then bigger and bigger. We do not separate ourselves from Odessa, or Kharkov. They are the same people as we are, who now became a distinctive entity.
There is ethnic cleansing taking place in Ukraine, that the whole world just missed and it is impossible to vocalize. In the 9th April, 17 million called themselves Russian, but now it’s only 4 million, even counting us. This is not a physical but ethnic liquidation of an entire people who live in the area. This is a deliberate state policy of destroying millions of people. This is why our fight has national (Russian) and social nature. There were many reasons, but one of them have the aspect of national-defense.
Pierce: Tell us a little about the work of your parliament. Do you connect with some parties, countries that have similar policy or political position with you?
Purgin: Not really. We have a little contact with the Russian Duma. It is better to say with party structures.
Pierce: So, if you need some consultations you apply to RF mostly?
Purgin: No, not true. Russia has two-tier legislation. It does not suit us, we have just one tier. Most of all, we look to the Kazakhstan model. There are some economic, police, and jurisdiction things in which we are based on Russian Federation, because sooner or later we hope to enter the economic and other unions that were created by Russia.
But we are free in our choice how to build our internal administration. In these questions, we least orient towards the Russian Federation, because it has federal laws that are very basic, big and bulky, which then the subjects of the federation adapt to each in its own particular way. It is more difficult for us. It’s just a myth that we take Russian legislation. They have a two-tier system because RF is federal state. We have a one-tier system for now.
Pierce: Have you settled your contacts with other countries, such as Kazakhstan, for example?
Purgin: We have contacts with parties’ structures in Duma. Many deputies support us, and are willing to help us.
Pierce: What about staff and personnel?
Purgin: We are a mobilized state in a situation of war. We have deputies that have seen action on the front lines. We have two factions, but it’s really too early talking about some opposition, because it’s still a war. Only a society free from war can lead a discussion. Today, it is untimely to say that we have some kind of complete opposition or pro-government faction. Our vote is often total. Today, we don’t have such laws that would divide Parliament.
Pierce: So, it looks like unanimity in Parliament?
Purgin: No, there is a lot of controversy, not that much unanimity. Nobody researched this, people came from different walks of life before and became deputies now. Actually, there is a development of a political class. No, we have very heated debates sometimes. At the same time, there are no splitting of things where we can’t find a compromise.
We’re trying to find compromise everywhere. All of us have fought, all of us have personalities, all passed the test. I would like to emphasize that we have voluntary units. These people originally committed a civil action by deciding to defend their land. They are all individuals. We have friction, but it does not apply to the legislative acts.
Pierce: What is professional level of your staff? How many specialists occupy relevant positions? Are there any old previous staff?
Purgin: Not good. We have had some collapse of administration. Yes, some previous staff have remained. We are struggling with this situation. There was the commissioner and military experts during the civil war .Commissioners carried ideology and military experts could be officer of former army, who won’t take political positions, but were a good military specialists. It is important to give leadership to ideological people who have been at war.
The grassroots positions – subordinates and bureaucrats – should be occupied by specialists. Bureaucracy is a very delicate thing. There is a saying that prime ministers come and go, but the secretary is permanent. So, that is a fine line, one had to be careful. We are working to create our own political class, and it may become the head of many departments and legislative authorities.
Pierce: What are your most important achievements for this period of time?
Purgin: We are restructuring. Our people feel that they have ability to accomplish many things. Ukraine was and is a deeply sick country. We can see the high level of patriotic mood. We are learning to live in a normal country. We started from scratch. On the other hand, we can avoid mistakes because we do not have previous negative baggage.
So, we can choose a path that is different from what was done before. And that is why Russia is closely watching us. Because of what is being born here, like a laboratory experiment. Let’s just say it’s the tip of the Russian world. It may be tested for Russia, not as a country but a civilization.
Pierce: What would be your message to the West?
Purgin: The West is always surprising me. I had seven men from France here. During 40 minutes, I told them how peoples’ deposits were stolen. They all left with such an expression on their faces suggesting that I must be lying, that it can’t happen. But this was very obvious.
Privat Bank and the others stole billions of hryvnia from people’s private accounts. Europe has a problem voicing these basic acts of oppression. A project to decide on the recognition of Russia as an aggressor … The draft resolution – I do not even know what it is. I was rude to one TV channel by saying that the resolution was a lot of hot air [created in a bathroom]. But it was announced on all TV channels as a big event. Donetsk earned about 400 million. It was Donetsk money from local budgets. They were in the Ukrainian banks. The money was taken. For any European, it should sound shocking, but for them it is impossible to voice. Although they are talking about five shots in Shirokino, in the bare steppe. It will be announced on all the channels.
I would like to advise foreign reporters to penetrate deeply into this particular topic, instead of paying attention to a lot of mindless Ukrainian headlines. If you start to read and delve deeper you would understand it’s just a lack of professionalism.
I would advise to not listen to much propaganda and realize that it is very easy to manipulate the human mind. Look more into very simple things. Such as the destruction of 70 churches, the ongoing blockade of people, and the looting of bank deposits. These things are clearer and describe the situation better than some documents, accepted or not accepted.
Pierce: I am here to get more accurate information. Recently [U.S. general Philip] Breedlove talked about the importance of the war of information as a part of hybrid war. He was talking about lies and using lies and increasing it. We don’t need any of it. All we need is truth. Since I have been here, I saw many signs in Ukrainian, I heard Ukrainian songs. I saw Shevchenko’s memorial (who is a Ukrainian symbol now) and nobody destroys it. There is no hate to Ukrainian people here.
Purgin: We don’t fight against anyone, but we defend ourselves, we fight for our freedom. When there is a struggle against someone, it leads to the fact that you are struggling with the language, with language carriers, with the ideology. Then, you will bring down memorials that you did not build. We are fighting for our freedom.
When you are fighting for your freedom, you are not fighting against someone, such as the Ukrainian language and Ukrainians. When you are fighting for your freedom, these things are not important.