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Donbas. Five minutes of hate. Part 2

Donbas. Five minutes of hate. Part 2

A lot of Ukrainians are ready to support the aggressor’s version and accuse the Donbas residents of all the griefs the country is going through now.

I was going to write this letter for a long time.

I would like to ask the most zealous accusers a very simple question: maybe, this conflict has nothing to do with Putin? What if “the people of the Donbas” really rebelled against the “fascist (as they see it) Kyiv junta”, which had seized the power in Kyiv, and decided to live in a separate state? And Ukraine is shelling its peaceful residents now in responce to that decision? And what if Russia is just helping its “brothers” from Donetsk and Luhansk to defend themselves? If you keep thinking logically, my dear patriots, you will start with accusing elderly women and then you are bound to make these conclusions which will totally satisfy the aggressor.

Let us make things clear: is there a war between Russia and Ukraine or is there a war between Kyiv and the Donbas? Either one thing or another as these two versions cannot be correct simultaneously. If you accuse the Donbas residents of separatism, then you accept the Russian version of the events.

What claims to Putin do you have then?

This is not the war “in the Donbas” or “for the Donbas” or “because of the Donbas”. This is the war of the state of Ukraine which is fighting to be independent from Moscow. This is the war for a possibility to go beyond post-Soviet ruin and build a civilized state. The responsibility for what happened should be equally shared between the residents of all the regions, not only the regions which are now in the Anti-Terrorist Operation zone. Soldiers from Ternopil and Zhytomyr are not perishing for Donetsk or Luhansk, they are perishing for the country and for its future.

You will not stop the war if you fence from the Donbas, curse it and forget about it. You will not stop the war against Ukraine in this case. You will not even eliminate the reasons which made this war possible as, in my opinion, the main cause of the war is the fact that the Ukrainians are reluctant to assume any responsibility for their country and its future. They want to lock themselves in their “vegetable patch” and hope that the conflict will go past them and it will not go beyond the Donbas. Or to hope that Moscow will not have enough potential for a new offensive, and even if it does, Europe and America will never let this offensive happen. You can persuade yourselves that “we are not that stupid, we will not believe propaganda and this means that the war is impossible here and no “people’s republic” will ever emerge on our land”. So primitive! And so naїve! 

Now as for the way “LPR” and “DPR” are seen by people who live there. If we agree that “L/DPR” is an occupied part of the Ukrainian territory, then its residents are victims as well, even those who support pro-Russian propaganda. They are not even propaganda victims, they are victims of massive informational aggression as a distorted picture of the reality which they see was imposed on them by the aggressor. Some people will say: “What do they need their own eyes and heads for?”

Unfortunately, the truth is showing us that a lot of people can be easily convinced and cannot think critically. They are the primary targets of the informational aggression.

If we accuse them of being influenced by propaganda, it will be the same as accusing a person who in under artillery shelling for the first tme in their life of not knowing what to do to survive. Or it will be the same as accusing a person who has never met frauds of not knowing that they are going to cheat on him or her. Besides, during these two years, Ukraine has not even tried to do anything to counterfight Russian propaganda. What can we demand from those who live on occupied terrieoires then?  Do you really think that these propaganda victims will open their eyes one day, oust militants and thus help our army finish the war?

The idea that the rest of Ukrainians, who do not live on occupied territories, are more resistant to propaganda is also absolutely naїve and far-fetched, in my opinion. I will point out just one feature which is common for both groups. Both, Donetsk and Luhansk supporters of pro-Russian views and zealous patriots who live in the rest of the country are eager to make somebody else responsible for what is happening and to make someone guilty of their griefs. For the victims of Russian propaganda, those who support “Kyiv junta” and “nationalists” who hate the Donbas are to blame as they are trying to eliminate the local population. For patriots of Ukraine, Donetsk grannies who voted at pseudo-”referendum” two years ago and who now celebrate Victory Day in occupied Donetsk are responsible for all the negative events. In both cases this hatred blocks the ability to analyse information and to act in a correct way.

Oleksandr Mykhailenko

New service "Explain Ukraine". This is a daily mailout of three articles which were written about the situation in the Donbas by Donbas journalists and translated into English. Honest vision of people who work in the field is unbiased and fresh which is crucial in the world which is full of desinformation and propaganda. We try to share this vision in out daily mailout.  You can subscribe here.

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