During the Maidan uprising, the now murdered journalist, historian and writer, Oles Buzina, wrote an open Letter to Geoffrey Pyatt, the Ambassador at the US Embassy in Kiev. It was published January 23, 2014, one month before the coup d’état on Buzina’s Blog on the Ukrainian news site segodnya.ua
Edited by @GBabeuf
Mr. Pyatt, I appeal to you as a recognised and well-known Ukrainian writer, who never asked for and never took any grants [money –ed.] from your country. This letter comes from my own initiative, there are no political parties or oligarchic groups behind it. However, I am sure my opinion coincides with the thoughts of many Ukrainian citizens whom you blatantly ignore.
The other day, when unrest on Maidan Square reached its peak, the media reported that a representative of the U.S. National Security Council, Kathleen Hayden, demanded that the Ukrainian government PULLS BACK THE SPECIAL FORCES [Berkut –ed.] from the centre of Kiev. Otherwise, she threatened sanctions against Ukrainians, including a ban on visas to enter your country.
I believe that, to a large extent, her statements as an official at the White House, are based on the information provided to Washington from the US Embassy in Ukraine—thus from you, Mr. Ambassador.
However, at the moment, public order is preserved in the capital, precisely BECAUSE “special forces” (i.e. units of the Ministry of Internal Affairs) actually are in the centre of the capital of my homeland, and I would not want them to leave to anywhere based on the advice of foreigners, since the leaders of our political opposition have shown themselves so far to be unable to control the various militant groups [among them]. Please carry this simple message back to your government.
If you do not agree [with me], let us discharge the Ukrainian police protection around your Embassy in Kiev and dismantle the four metre high iron fences, which so far have protected your new residence near the metro station «Beresteyskaya», located on a street, that until not long ago bore the name «Tankovaya» [Tank-Brigade Street]. Why all these unnecessary security measures? After all, in Kiev, nothing dangerous happens, except for a FESTIVAL OF DEMOCRACY.
You may be surprised by my independent position. But I have achieved success in my own country without foreign aid and I believe that we ourselves, without interference from the outside, are able to solve our own problems The less U.S. officials interfere in the internal affairs of Ukraine, the faster it will be counted as one among the SUCCESSFUL countries of the world.
Below, we publish a translation of a statement made by Rada deputy, Elena Bondarenko, on September 10, 2014 . The statement was originally published on her facebook page, but went largely ignored at the time. The recent spate of assassinations in Ukraine has given the statement a new, grizzly relevance, and it is for this reason that we are publishing a translation of it at this late date.
I, Elena Bondarenko, a deputy of Partiya Regionov [Party of the Regions –ed.], which is in opposition to the governing party in Ukraine, would like to make a statement about the fact that the government is directly threatening with assault opposition politicians, depriving them of freedom of speech in the parliament and in other places, as well as conniving in the crimes against opposition leaders and their children.
Persistent threats, an undeclared ban on opposition parties appearing in the majority of Ukrainian mass media, purposeful baiting—these are everyday things in the life of the opposition in Ukraine. Everybody who calls for peace in Ukraine immediately becomes an enemy to the regime as it was, for instance, in 30-40’s Germany or in the USA during the McCarthyite era.
A few days ago the Ukrainian Internal Affairs Minister, Arsen Avakov, said: “When Elena Bondarenko ascends the parliamentary tribune, I want to reach for my gun.”
I emphasise the fact that those are the words of the person who has the main authority over the police in the country. Exactly a week ago the Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament, Alexander Turchinov, banned me from the parliamentary tribune as a representative of the opposition Party of the Regions. It was done solely because of my words, that “a regime that sends its army to bomb peaceful cities is criminal.” After that, he kindly allowed the parliamentary radicals to call for the shooting of the opposition .
I remember last year, when Kiev was flooded with extremists, my car was shot at. I reported this fact to the police. I take such threats to myself very seriously. I also would like to inform everyone who is not aware yet, that the regime protects the criminals who dared to raise their hand against the son of another opposition politician—Vladimir Oleynik. Ruslan Oleynik, a district public prosecutor, was beaten up in his work place, putting his life and health under threat. Instead of investigating the attack and threats against the politician and his family, the regime fired the prosecutor. My colleagues complain weekly about their assistants being beaten up, their supporters’ offices being searched, their lives, health and possessions threatened.
Ukrainian cyberspace is almost totally censored of this information, and ordinary Ukrainian citizens have no idea of the criminal fight against the opposition and of the fact that the constitutional right to freedom of speech is suppressed in many ways. The mass media who tell the truth in spite of their fear constantly get attacked by nationalist groups, and hooligans who assault publishing offices are never prosecuted, even when they are identified by video and photographic proof of their involvement is available.
I call upon international organisations who proclaim their democratic principles to not only pay attention to these facts but also to join the fight for democratic rights and freedoms of Ukrainian citizens. The methods used by the Junta in their struggle for power in Ukraine have nothing to do with democracy. Inactivity of the international community towards these outrageous facts looks like complicity and silent approval of all the crimes being committed in Ukraine. The free world is losing another outpost—Ukraine. All those who fight for democracy, peoples rights and freedoms, can bring about many changes together. Only together can we stop the Junta and the fratricidal war in Ukraine!
People’s deputy of Ukraine, Elena BONDARENKO.
Buzina’s last interview: My position is inconvenient to the current government
Only two days ago, on Monday, April 13, journalist and writer Oles Buzina, gave an interview to Radio Vesti.
Regarding his departure from ‘Segodnya’ [Ukrainian newspaper –ed.]: “I left for a very simple reason. I had no interest in being a scapegoat… I had requested to be relieved of managerial responsibility for the website version of Segodnya. Why should I have to take responsibility for Sveta Panyushkina’s sins? Material was being penned whose publication I did not agree with. This material was coming ‘from above’. Above me was the general director, Potapov. I told him—I will not publish this material. “No, you have to publish it,” he said. It was then that I told him I was resigning.”
Regarding the film director, Oleg Sentsov: “Just before the interview you told me that we would be discussing Oleg Sentsov. I asked you who this was. This was an absolutely sincere question… Let’s be clear—he became famous after he was locked up in Lefortovo Prison [notorious Moscow prison –ed.]. …But if you want my opinion, I would immediately release Sentsov. I’d also immediately release Savchenko.”
Having considered some of the circumstances of the death of Oles Buzina, we are leaning towards the conclusion that his murder is one element in a bloody campaign unleashed by NATO with the aim of intimidating dissenters in Ukraine. Yet another victim of this campaign—Oleg Kalashnikov.
Judge for yourself:
The Ukrainian website “Mirotvorets” [The Peacekeeper] publishes personal information of “separatists”, “partisans of the Russian Universe” and other enemies of the Kiev regime. On April 13, 2015, a user named “404” published on this website all personal information on Oleg Kalashnikov:
https://psb4ukr.org/criminal/kalashnikov-oleg-ivanovich/ [Screenshot S1 – Translation see on bottom of page]
It is no secret that nowadays many alternative media activists face appalling state-sponsored censorship in many nominally free and democratic Western countries. Now it seems that such censorship has penetrated much deeper than we have come to expect. Art itself, the truest form of free expression, is being silenced.
Valentina Lisitsa is a brilliant musician, a famous virtuoso pianist, also known for publicly expressing her opinion on the Ukrainian conflict through her Twitter account. She is a good friend of the Slavyangrad Team and has kindly translated a number of articles for our publication. Her views are always insightful and she has never made them a secret. We are lucky to have Valentina’s first-hand account about dealings with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (“TSO”), which has decided to cancel her concert because of her political opinions. The TSO’s decision to silence Valentina’s music because she has exercised her inviolable right to express her beliefs is a message to all artists that the next time it could be them.
Valentina is Ukrainian. She was born on March 25, 1970, in Kiev. Her family comes from Odessa—her mother is a Russian citizen, and her father was Ukrainian. Valentina graduated from the Lysenko music school and the Tchaikovsky National Music Academy of Ukraine (the Kiev Conservatory). She married Alexey Kuznetsov from Taganrog. In 1991, they represented Ukraine in the Murray Dranoff Two Piano Competition in Miami, Florida, and won the first prize. In 1992 they moved to the USA to study and subsequently decided to remain there. In 2001 they became American citizens. Since last year, Valentina has been living in Paris.
Valentina is one of the most frequently viewed pianists on YouTube, with over 177,000 subscribers, and she performs all over the world. Now Valentina’s concert in Toronto, which was scheduled for April 8 and 9 at the Roy Thomson Hall, has been cancelled for an outrageous reason—her political views. In an email sent to Valentina’s agent, the TSO stated: “the Toronto Symphony Orchestra received some messages from ticket buyers and others expressing concern over pianist Valentina Lisitsa’s public political statements.”
In its correspondence, the TSO also accused Valentina of nothing less than public incitement of hatred contrary to section 319(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada and went as far as to insinuate that Valentina, a citizen of the United States, could be barred from entering Canada by the immigration authorities. The TSO attempted to base its charges on Lisitsa’s public social media posts, attaching a copy of some of her tweets, along with a brief and exceedingly shallow legal opinion by the TSO’s counsel at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP.
Despite being provided with a substantive legal response on the merits of these allegations, the TSO has since mustered neither a single sentence in support of its accusations, nor a single word of apology. It was only after the legal opinion supplied by Valentina underscored that the TSO could not unilaterally dissolve the contract that the TSO’s counsel clarified that all her fees would be paid. To all appearances, the TSO seemed to believe that it could not only silence Valentina’s music, but also renege on its contractual obligations and thus walk away from their commitments.
With the TSO finally making a decision to cancel Valentina’s concert at the Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto, Valentina has appealed to her fans and friends on her public Facebook page, today, on April 6. With full support for Valentina’s courage and strength, we have excerpted the full text of her appeal below. Valentina Lisitsa has never been one to hide her political views. It is time for the TSO to acknowledge that they can no longer hide their own biases and to stop kowtowing to ferociously reactionary political lobbies.
In Russian: Украденное детство и мечты о мире
War is one of the gravest ordeals, which makes human beings change a lot: some people reveal their strong character, others turn out to be weaker, and children just immediately become grown-ups.
Footage by Olga Luzanova
Article edited by @GBabeuf
Seven-year-old Maxim is my neighbour. He had to take refuge in a basement together with his family in the village of Vergulyovka, near Debaltsevo, where they were living last summer when the Ukrainian Army came and took the town. I have known Maxim’s mother since I was a child—her name is Olga too. We grew up in the same neighbourhood. She told me that the windows and the roof of their house in Vergulyovka had been damaged. They are currently living at their grandmother’s place in their home town near Perevalsk. Olga is pregnant now, she is expecting in April. I visited them at her mother’s place and brought two bags of humanitarian aid as well, including baby food and nappies—all of which had been bought with the money sent by people from different countries.. She was not expecting it and was quite surprised.
Preamble: We extend our enormous gratitude to the team at Vox Populi Evo (“V.P.E.”) that produced this excellent translation of the documentary. It is a testament to their spirit and dedication that they were able to prepare and publish this production faster than the official version.
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