Preamble: Because the articles below are controversial in nature, exposing as they do a certain inadequacy in the treatment, by Russia, of a former volunteer of the Novorossiya Armed Forces, it seems fitting to provide a preamble that corrects at least some of the misperceptions about how a refugee asylum system is meant to work. The Russian Federal Migration Service does not avoid many of the hurdles and pitfalls faced by asylum claimants across the world. Thus, until reforms were implemented in 2012 to speed up the review of refugee claims, estimated processing time for a single claim in Canada was 1,038 days. Same as in Russia, in Canada the system is comprised of several adjudicative levels, such that appeals and judicial reviews (cassations in Russia) can be taken to different tribunal bodies and courts on specific disputed points.
Both in Canada and in Russia, a negative decision is almost never the end of the road for a refugee claimant. Applicants can seek relief from higher-level adjudicators in case a miscarriage of justice occurred upon initial consideration. Such appeals or cassations are often successful. Critically, applicants must come prepared with arguments, documents, oral evidence, and other relevant proof of persecution in their country of origin if they are to succeed. The initial decision can often be a pro forma, mechanic adjudication. As a result, complex and uncertain claims frequently require intervention from a superior decision-maker. We do not see anything fatal in what has happened to Vyacheslav Vysotskiy, because he will have an opportunity better to prepare and to present his case to a more knowledgeable and thorough adjudicator. It is, however, important that such cases be made public—both to assist the people who valiantly fought for the salvation of the Donbass and to help Russia and her Federal Migration Service avoid miscarriages of justice.
An interview with Vyacheslav Vysotsky on the subject of the scandalous case of a Latvian Militiaman who fought for the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR), but is now under threat of deportation from Russia to Latvia, where he faces ten years in prison.
Vyacheslav Vysotsky, a Latvian citizen, went to fight for the LPR Militia in the midst of some of the heaviest battles—in the summer of 2014. While there, he tripped on a landmine, but miraculously survived. Wounded, he went to Russia for medical treatment and to seek temporary asylum. In the meantime, Latvian law enforcement agencies decided to prosecute him on charges of terrorism, and the Russian authorities have indicated that they may deport Vysotsky to his homeland. This conversation with Vysotsky took place immediately after he left the building of the Federal Migration Service (FMS) on Kirpichnaya Street in Moscow. He was denied temporary asylum in Russia and threatened with deportation for violating Russian immigration laws.
Q: Tell us, what is the basis of the Latvian authorities’ charges against you?
VV: While I was in the Donbass, Latvia adopted legislation according to which fighting for the militias of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) or the LPR, as well as humanitarian assistance to these republics, are considered terrorist activities.
Moreover, under this new law, individuals who help volunteers get to these territories from Latvia are deemed to be accomplices of terrorists. My case, of course, fits the provisions of this law, I face up to ten years in prison, and I cannot come back home. The Russian authorities have denied me temporary asylum. This part of it is also quite unfortunate.
Q: Has Latvia issued an international warrant for your arrest?
VV: Not yet, as far as I am aware.
From June15 to 16, OSCE held a conference at its seat in the Austrian capital Vienna entitled “Journalists’ Safety, Media Freedom and Pluralism in Times of Conflict”.
Nothing exciting, one is tempted to say, if reality had not been a bit different.Because what seems to have been intended as a subject with all the best intentions turned into heinous anti-Russian propaganda in several of the presentations.
Preamble: We are delighted to introduce Andrey Panevin, who will be joining Slavyangrad as a regular contributor of original (and undeniably unique) analytical perspectives to Slavyangrad.org. The article below is a vivid example of his strengths as an investigative journalist. We have been following Andrey for many months, and, when the decision was made to increase the ambit of the publication beyond our bread and butter of translations and the occasional dry piece of legal analysis from Gleb Bazov, the choice was obvious. Andrey has previously been published on Russia Insider and by MintPress—one of the pioneers in citizen journalism. We also encourage you to pay close attention to Andrey’s own blog, The Barricade, although we hope that you will see him on Slavyangrad.org almost as frequently. The present article deals with an issue he has already covered. We encourage readers to take a look at that article as it provides a lot of the context for the present piece.
The Ukrainian crisis can be viewed as being composed of several interconnected factors, from the civil war to rampant corruption, and the wider geopolitical ramifications of American confrontation with Russia. Another—relatively overlooked—factor is the ongoing conflict over Ukraine’s natural resources. Of particular interest to transnational corporations and their puppet local oligarchs is the ‘black earth’ of Ukraine. Black earth or ‘Chernozem’ is found in two major zones on earth, one of which encompasses sections of Moldova, Russia and Ukraine. Black earth is characterized by its very high fertility and, consequently, its capacity for producing a high agricultural output.
International corporations have long been utilizing loopholes and political lobbying in order to overturn a Ukrainian moratorium on land sales to foreigners. By leasing numerous parcels of land these companies anticipate both the Ukrainian government’s desperation for money and the EU obligations to force open a goldmine of agricultural exploitation. The role of the ‘big players’—Monsanto, Cargill and Dupont—has been explored previously. The focus now is on agro-holding companies and individual oligarchs who seek to buy up and sell out Ukrainian land and livelihood.
One of the largest agro-holding companies operating in Ukraine is AgroGeneration. AgroGeneration seeks to “transform the land it works and today outperforms Ukrainian average yields. The company follows a traditional crop rotation and puts money into first-class fertilizers, seeds, and agricultural chemicals for the purpose of achieving profitability per crop.” The company has amassed 120,000 hectares of arable land, with 70,000 hectares being located in Kharkov oblast, whose eponymous capital is a city of great political and military importance in Ukraine. Kharkov has a large ethnic Russian and Russian-speaking population that has been actively repressed by the Kiev authorities, and it remains a region of dissent against the Kiev regime.
Preamble: This article continues Boris Rozhin’s analysis of the protests in Yerevan, and his initial thoughts on the subject can be found here. As the situation continues to develop rapidly, some of the conclusions may appear out of date, but are nevertheless valuable considerations to keep in mind as we observe the continuation of the protest actions that started in the middle of June. Slavyangrad.org will continue to publish materials on the subject as matters evolve.
The sit-in protest in Yerevan, which threatened to escalate into a political revolution was largely dispersed by the Armenian police on June 23, 2015.
During the dispersal of the protest rally in Yerevan, over 20 people were wounded and approximately 250 were detained. Around-the-clock protest actions against the increase in electricity rates began on June 19, 2015; however, on Tuesday morning the rally was dispersed by police utilising special equipment and water cannons. Right now the situation in the city has stabilized. Several hundred protestors continue a sit-in action.
The protest rally was organized by a civic movement ‘Say No To Robbery’, the activists who came out to protest the increase in electricity prices, scheduled for August 1, 2015. The protest action against the price hike began in Yerevan in the middle of June.
Monday evening, June 22, 2015, several thousand participants who took part in the demonstration headed to the Presidential Palace on the Bagramyan Avenue. The police at first blocked the movement of the protest action, and on Tuesday morning dispersed the protestors with water cannons and other special equipment. In the course of the dispersal, over 20 people suffered injuries, including 11 members of the police forces. Approximately 250 people were arrested. The Prosecutor General’s Office of Armenia initiated prosecutions for hooliganism.
Preamble: Boris Rozhin followed this analysis with another article, which explores further developments in Yerevan after the initial protest action, which erupted on June 22, 2015, was dispersed. That note will be published shortly. We suggest that the analysis below be read in conjunction with Anatoly Nesmiyan’s assessment, which was published on Slavyangrad.org earlier.
On June 22, 2015 we witnessed an intensification of protests in Armenia, triggered by the price increase in electricity tariffs.
As it often happens, objective economic demands were soon accompanied by political ones. As the Company that increased tariffs is owned by the Russian Federation, it is natural that, in addition to the demands not to raise the tariffs, to return everything to the way it was, further demands were directed against at the incumbent President (who is to a certain extent convenient for Russia) and against Russia herself.
Upon reflection, something similar has already been observed in Brazil before the World Cup, when the increase in public transit fares sparked multi-monthly protests along with demands for the President of Brazil to resign. For the most part, the world of capitalism will continue to breed this type of discontent—something we already saw in the United States during the Occupy Wall Street series of protests, aside from the fact that there simply was no one to direct them down a political path. In Yerevan, on the other hand, those who would want to direct the protests can be easily found.
The events taking place in Armenia are already being called a Maidan, by analogy with the coup in Kiev. In reality, of course, it is too early to say this.
Maidan is one of the variants of a colour revolution, or, in other words, an attempt to seize and retain political power through the proven technology of youth protest. To judge whether something is, or is not, a colour revolution, is possible only upon the occurrence of clearly manifesting conditions—the necessary and the sufficient.
The necessary condition for a colour revolution is the existence of political instability in a country and a crisis of the incumbent authorities. An essential condition is one without which a phenomenon is impossible. Judging from what is happening in Armenia, this condition is, in fact, present.
Preamble: Journalists from Pravda DNR conducted this interview with French volunteers Erwan Castel and Tonio de Pedro. This is the complete unedited transcript of the interview.
EC: Good morning! I am Erwan Castel. I am a French volunteer in Novorossiya.
TP: Tonio De Pedro, a French volunteer in the Donbass.
Q: What brought you to this war?
EC: A strong belief that what happened last year in Ukraine is, in fact, a historical clash that concerns all Europeans. Since the end of the Soviet Union, we have seen an evolving American strategy that aims at encircling Russia once more. And, in parallel to this strategy, there is also, on the part of what is usually referred to as the “New World Order,” a systematic enslavement of the other European countries. So I followed this conflict from remote French Guyana, and, after eight months, I decided to commit myself, personally and physically, to the side of the Donbass rebels, so that I could participate in and better understand the conflict, and to continue to inform myself directly through the events.
Original article and photo credits (first and last two): Expert Online / Translation originally published: Tatzhit Liveleak Channel
Translated from Russian by Tatzhit Mihailovich / Edited by Tiago de Carvalho and Gleb Bazov
Preamble: By way of a short foreword, we would like to explain that this interview is very important to us. On the one hand, it marks our collaboration with the Tatzhit Liveleak Channel, an important and prolific source of a variety of Novorossiya-related material, and its founder, Tatzhit Mikhailovich. On the other hand, we consider the evidence contained herein to be an irrefutable condemnation of the Ukrainian fratricidal aggression against the people of the Donbass, and sought to preserve and translate the authentic voice of the narrator. Please share it widely and allow the full impact of this narrative to seep in as you read it.
THEY ARE AS GOOD AS DEAD.
Expert Online reporter Marina Akhmedova interviewed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Committee for Prisoners of War official, Lilia Rodionova. Marina Akhmedova presented a list of names—Ukrainian soldiers who went missing back in August 2014. “We don’t have them” was the answer given in the Cossack unit in Sverdlovsk, where their mothers thought they might have been. Responses from the Donetsk Ministry of State Security and other directorates of the DPR and the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) were identical. The mothers of the missing soldiers claim that their children have been taken to Russia by FSB operatives. Every day they are told that yet another inquiry has been fruitless, but they keep asking: “Why can’t we find our children?”
“Remeniuk,” Lilia Rodionova (LR) reads the surnames on the list. “Remeniuk was killed in action. His mum already knows about it. They just have not come to terms with it, even though there is a DNA match. The parents still refuse to believe it.”
LR: For instance, I talk to one father every day—for fifteen years, his son worked in Moscow, then came home for a vacation, stayed a day, and literally the next morning the military commissars came and conscripted him. He had some kind of special ankle boots. The father was asked to identify the body by the boots, but he refused. He was told: “If you don’t want the one in the boots, just take that other one.”
I also had a case where they got a DNA match three times, but the mother refused to agree with the results. After all, a mother knows her son. If a grown man was missing a tooth, he is not going to grow it back. They were giving her a body with an extra tooth:
– I’m sorry… but a tooth won’t grow just like that… I won’t take him.
– What do you mean? He’s a DNA match. Take him.
Preamble: Without undue fanfare (only the accolades well earned), allow me to introduce, by means of the excellent analysis below, one of the many new beginnings here, at Slavyangrad. In addition to our bread and butter—translations of first-hand accounts, interviews and analyses authored by the many authentic voices of Novorossiya, Russia and Ukraine—we will be starting to publish regular opinion pieces from a select group of writers. Gracchus Babeuf, one of Slavyangrad’s founders, is part of that group.
Babeuf wrote this article in the span of a few short days when Kolomoiskiy looked like he was about to make a stand against Poroshenko. The analysis was completed on March 25, 2015, and sent to me, but not published at the time—something for which only I am to blame. In some ways, however, it all worked out for the best, as we are now witnessing a renewed struggle for power between the Ukrainian oligarchs, exemplified by Poroshenko-led dismissal of Nalivaychenko, the former head of the Ukrainian State Security Service (“SBU”) and his prior attempts to do away with Yatsenyuk and even to assail the mostly unassailable Avakov, the head of the Ukrainian Ministry of the Interior.
The prescience of Babeuf’s analysis (which, I might add, disagreed with my own take on the subject matter, as I expected Kolomoiskiy actually to fight his resignation, with arms if necessary) will serve for many as an outline for an excellent roadmap to understanding the inside workings of the Junta authorities and the Ukrainian oligarchic circles in relation to their American overseers. An outline which I, for one, hope Gracchus Babeuf will continue to expand on in the future.
“What is this comic opera being played in Albania?” (Kemal Atatürk on President Zogu’s elevation to monarchic status)
When I began writing this, Kolomoiskiy was still governor of Dnepropetrovsk and had yet to back down in his confrontation with the Junta. It was my contention at the time that things were not as simple as waiting to see who the US would back in order to judge the outcome; that they were not necessarily minutely controlling the situation; that—to quote Iraq’s one time Information Minister, Muhammad Sa‛eed al-Sahhaf—“they don’t even control themselves!” Subsequent events certainly give the impression that a pronunciamiento from the US Ambassador is all it took to settle the issue. Nonetheless, I would still contend that the US is not needed in order to explain Kolomoiskiy’s apparent surrender (a rally is planned for this Saturday in Dnepropetrovsk which may indicate what, if any, moves he has left to make).
My reasoning for this is not that Frankenstein’s monster has eluded the control of his creator, as Ukraine slips deeper into chaos (chaos, precisely, is one of the forms that US control takes); nor is it that the US has other concerns, including domestic political ones, that distract her attention. It is simply that even openly avowed US support is no guarantee that they will not abandon you in favour of somebody that they may have explicitly rejected or reprimanded. The US is working through Ukrainian actors, many of whom have the wherewithal to pursue their own personal goals, which may at some point coincide with those of the US—whoever appears to them most capable of achieving those goals is who they will ultimately back, even if they do not publicly proclaim that support.
Preamble: As promised in this report on the watershed battle in Mariinka, we are rounding out our discussion on the causes, the circumstances and the aftermath of the bloodiest few days of fighting in the Donbass since the fall of Debaltsevo to the Novorossiya Armed Forces in February 2015. This as-it-happened briefing from Boris Rozhin, one of the key commentators on the war in the Donbass, should prove useful both as a frank military analysis for future study and as a means to understand the direction this conflict is taking.
Since today (June 4, 2015) we can observe a relative calm after yesterday’s bloody meat-grinder in Mariinka, we can summarize some of the results of yesterday’s battles.
In the night of June 2-3, 2015, the enemy undertook offensive operations in Mariinka as part of continuing the old approach of intense shelling of front-line cities of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) followed by localized offensive actions using units no larger than a company tactical group (CTG). By morning time, reports from the positions of the Novorossiya Armed Forces (NAF) indicated that the Militia was repulsing the enemy’s attacks only with difficulty.
By the morning (June 3, 2015), reserves were deployed from Donetsk, consisting of joint task-groups of various units, supported by armoured vehicles. The fragmentary data available suggests that the NAF cast into battle up to 1,500 men and forty armoured vehicles against enemy forces comprised of elements of the 28th Brigade, the Kiev Territorial Battalion and reinforcement units. Both sides were actively supported by artillery fire; use of multiple-launch rockets systems (MLRS) was also noted.
At the start of the attack, the positions of the Junta forces were softened up with artillery, following which, infantry commenced its advance, entering the residential area of Mariinka from the north-east. The Junta forces clearly did not expect this attack, so it is possible to say that, at the outset of the battle for Mariinka, the NAF was able to achieve a certain degree of tactical surprise.
I will tell you a secret, which far too many can guess—the war in the Donbass is in full swing while many in the mass media—receiving circulars and instructions “from above”—continue drivelling on about “observance of the Minsk agreements”, or “ceasefire”, repeating the politicians’ nonsense about “indivisible Ukraine”, etc.
All this would be nothing—we have long been accustomed to a total pack of lies—but beneath this verbal fornication lies something terrible: day and night, Banderite death comes to the homes of residents of Donetsk, Lugansk and other cities of (the supposedly “untimely”) Novorossiya—shells fly in, taking away loved ones. This terrible “documentary film”, which isn’t shown on screens but which sweeps in an infernal whirlwind before our eyes—dead children, the severed hands of mothers, grandmothers buried under piles of bricks, people’s heads sliced off by razor sharp shrapnel…