While the world is led to believe that a complete cessation of hostilities has taken place in Donbass, the Ukrainian military continues to violate the ceasefire. There are more attacks than is officially claimed.
The military situation in the Lugansk People Republic is more active now than in Donetsk.
Ukrainian, subversive armed groups have intensified their action. Drones operate in the skies prolifically. The Ukrainian army continue to redeploy and rearrange their troops. However, reciprocally, so does the army of Novorossia.
I would like you to bring to your attention an interview with the Minister of the Lugansk Peoples Republic who speaks about this war, especially about the plight of children in this conflict, and briefs us on his personal story.
I was very surprised when Victor Penner, an Adviser of The Head of Lugansk People republic in Economical questions, called me and said:
— If you would like to talk to Minister of Information, here is his phone number. He is expecting your call. His name is Vyacheslav.
That simple? It was the Minister’s cell phone number, not his secretary or reception desk.
I called that number and we decided to meet next day.
– Where should I come? To the Administrative building? — I asked.
– Well, – the Minister said — you are kind of far away. Let me pick you up.
– You mean you will send a car?
– No, I’ll pick you up myself on the way to work, so you won’t have a hard time trying to find the Administrative building and won’t waste your time.
Next morning when we met I saw a young athletic looking man with huge square shoulders and a nice open smile. It was Vyacheslav Stolyarenko – the Minister of Information of Lugansk People republic.
I told him that he is probably one of the most democratic ministers in the world. He laughed but what he then revealed to me about the functioning of the Ministry added credence to my words.
The Ministry of Information of LPR consists of three departments. There is a Department of the Press and Mass Communications, Department of Television and Radio, and the General Department of Analytical and monitoring work.
– Since our Republic is a people’s republic, we act in accordance to this principle. I can assure everybody that our Ministry is absolutely democratic. We do not even have such restrictions on the public such as allowing visitors only at certain times, such as one day a month or one day a week. Absolutely any citizen of the Republic can come at any time and speak to the minister and the deputy minister without having to make an appointment.
Our goal, first and foremost, is to strengthen and develop the existing media in the country, including the creation of new media outlets. Also, we provide help and support to all journalism groups, regardless of which country sent them, including journalists from Kiev.
Our task is to provide the most accurate information to everyone. We conducted several direct online conferences with representatives of Kiev, including Kiev 17 TV channel. As an official, I guaranteed complete security for any Ukrainian journalist who arrives in the territory of the Republic to carry out their work.
Our main message is that we are open. But the problem is that no one wants to come here and tell the truth.
– Vyacheslav, you look very young, please tell us how you became the Minister of Information.
– I was involved in publishing constitutional processes In Ukraine from 2009 on-wards, and I am still an inspector of publishing law. When the Maidan protests occurred in the autumn of 2013-2014, I opposed the position of Maidan’s ideas. Due to my principles and beliefs I supported the ideas of a self-sufficient Ukraine, but with increased relations towards the East. I have never been opposed to the West and I certainly never supported the rupture of relations with the West in general, but at the same time I consider Ukraine to be an integral part of the Slavic civilization and see its future in the Customs Union in close cooperation with the Russian Federation. Unfortunately, the activists of Maidan ignored our appeals, and the result of the victory was the so-called revolution of “dignity”, but in fact, the coup which took place in Ukraine, is a dictatorial regime immersed with Nazi ideology, which we see now.
The protests of citizens in the South-East of Ukraine and the Crimean referendum created the wave of riots in Donbass which pushed the people of Donetsk and Lugansk regions to call for a referendum of self-determination of the people of South-East. I was appointed as the chairman of the territorial commission on the referendum and successfully held that event.
And now we all agree on one thing that Ukraine, since its independence in 1991, has never had such a large turnout and similar results in its history. I can give you two numbers that just appeared in my memory. In my city of Dzerzhinsk, where we have a population of about seventy thousand, the turnout at the time of May 11, 2014 amounted to 89.76% of that number. An overwhelming 96% supported the establishment of the People’s Republic of Donetsk. This is a great result, and to be honest, at some moments, we did not even know how to cope with that huge influx of people who came to the polling stations.
– So, there was no gun toting, enforced voting as the western press alleged in their dispatches?
– No, not at all! We have a photo album, or I should say “we had”, because it was burned along with the Administrative building during the storming of the city.
People came with their children. The children had flowers, balloons, people walked with flags of the Republics, flags of Novorossia, and flags of Russia, and everybody had smiling faces. When I publicly announced the result of the referendum everybody was happy and that happiness united everyone in the city and it was an indescribable feeling. It was a display of real emotion that we have not seen in Ukraine for a long time.
Actually, from that moment, I began to develop the management bureaucratic system of Donetsk People Republic and joined the People’s Control Committee of DPR.
But, unfortunately, on July 21, 2014 the city of Dzerzhinsk where I lived was stormed by Ukrainian security forces, which included groups of private Ukrainian territorial battalions.
My family and I were forced to flee the city, so I volunteered for about five months in the Moscow and Rostov regions. We worked to help the families of the militia personnel and refugee children who arrived from Ukraine. It was our main task. We provided greatly needed psychological assistance to these children.
In the end of January, I received a proposal from Igor Plotnitskiy — The Head of the Lugansk People Republic, to create and lead the Ministry of Information of LPR. The goal was to provide accurate information to the people of Novorossia by breaking the blockade of information of Novorossia by Ukraine and to be able to tell the world that happens here, that we are not terrorists, not separatists but ordinary people who simply don’t want to live under the new political regime that has emerged in Ukraine.
We are accused in separatism, and indeed, separatism implies territorial separation, but our original position was that we did not accept the new regime in Kiev. This regime was formed after the victory of the so-called revolution of “dignity” in Kiev and has propagated Nazi ideology and is nothing but a dictatorship.
Unfortunately, the world did not understand this.
I would like to say that the war we are waging for our independence and for the life of our people, is not a war against the Ukrainian people. It is not against the citizens of Ukraine, because, for better or worse, we are still a part of the same state for now, until we get recognized.
I hope that the common people of Ukraine also understand that we are working against the regime, against the fascist government, that recreated the traitors of the Great Patriotic war into current day mythological heroes, specifically those who fought on the same side with Hitler’s occupying forces. We are against the rewriting of history and we are against the replacement of ideals. Let’s take for example such a small event as changing a symbol of the Victory in WW2 from the St. George ribbon to a poppy flower. I have a question to the Ukrainian authorities: what for? After all, the thousands of veterans are still alive as are many other people who lived through that war. These are the children of war, who are our older generation. They grew up with these ideals and symbols. They fought for them. And now, with a single motion the Ukrainian government says no, this won’t exist anymore.
Honestly, I feel very sorry for the veterans, because they have to live in such conditions in Ukraine. They see perfectly and understand all of it. And I feel even more sad and bitter for our future generations – the children, who have to live, learn and understand themselves in a new modern altered history that the current Ukrainian government will dubiously write for them. In fact, it won’t take a long time to see a new Ukraine where people will stop considering us as relatives but start seeing us as their fully fledged enemies. This is the most terrible thing that Ukrainian government does now.
I think some people in Ukraine do understand this.
– You personally had to go through certain moments of danger, tell us about them.
– Those moments were due the fact that on July 21st 2014, Dzerzhinsk was occupied by the armed forces of Ukraine. And I was a wanted man, labelled as a separatist, terrorist, and an accomplice of terrorists according to the definition of the Articles of state treason. Actually, we are all accused of this crime in Ukraine. So, within the next 2 days until July 24th, my wife and I had to hide in the city. On 24th three armored personnel carriers with armed men came to my home. My Mother was home. Of course, she was horrified when several dozen armed men broke into the house and began to ransack the property. The only thing for which I am thankful is that they did not touch my mother. That was very important.
For two days my face were pasted on wanted posters all over the city, and taxi drivers were questioned about my whereabouts. As I mentioned before, I was a public figure in Donetsk, so they came to me first. They stole all my equipment and belongings, but I did not consider this a big loss.
During 24th-25th my family tried to escape. It was a difficult journey. We had to flee by foot for long distances, traversing through people backyards and woods. We were not prepared for this – I was in shorts and a T-shirt, my wife was dressed lightly, and my Mother was wearing a summer suit. We just left all our possessions behind and escaped relying on a God’s help.
Sometimes good, sympathetic people gave us rides or helped us in different ways. At that time there were loopholes and abandoned roadblocks that were not controlled by anyone. It definitely made it easier for us. So, this is how we got to the train. And again, I want to say thanks to Ukraine for having such poor coordination of many armed groups and border posts, which gave us the ability to travel outside of Ukraine to the Moscow region. Actually, their logistically absurd incompetence simply saved us.
As for myself, I have decided that I will not stop the fight against Kiev’s regime because this is a fight for my Motherland. We consider Novorossia as one big Home.
– I believe this is very significant that you are from the Donetsk region, but running a Ministry in Lugansk.
In conclusion, what would be your message to Ukraine and to the West?
– Ukraine is subjected to a self-inflicted total information blockade now. People have no opportunity to see alternative information or to hear alternative points of view. Because of the current propaganda of the Ukraine dictatorship, many of them sincerely believe that we are separatists and terrorists and they do not see us as ordinary people who simply want to live. This is mostly the Kiev’s authorities fault but remember how it said in the Bible – “The seeker shall find.”
I would tell every person, before they form their negative attitude towards any person, state, organization, etc. to do everything possible to seek the maximum objective information. Everyone should take personal responsibility of their own actions. Whether it is a young person or an elderly one, it does not matter. So, this is my main message to the Ukrainian people.
At the same time, I would like people in the West to understand that there is a war here and it kills ordinary people. When shells are crashing down on the city center or any other place and Ukrainian armed forces report that they killed so many terrorists and separatists, it sounds simply ridiculous. Where are there “terrorists” when children are getting killed? I personally saw some war ravaged corpses of children Gorlovka. It’s very scary and not every man can comprehend what he saw, and one question still remains — What for? Why do they kill ordinary people?
I want everybody who encourages armed conflict, to realize the consequences and try to imagine what it would feel like if somebody killed his child, brother, wife, or mother. And I wish everyone would understand that simple people live here who just simply want to be alive.
My main principle is love. We all must learn how to love each other, accept each other as we are, to learn to respect each other’s interests and then, only in this case, humanity has a chance to survive. Because all those local conflicts that are taking place around the world, may turn into one big global war. The globe won’t survive another world war, especially if it turns nuclear. Human existence will cease to exist. Therefore, let’s love each other, trust each other, and respect each other. Let’s think about our children, our future generations, as they will have to live with each other.
One of the areas of our work, with my personal initiative, is organizing children, kindergartens, cultural and educational children’s groups. We organized many festivals. Recently, we had a festival, named “The Rhymes scorched by war.” Children 6 to 15 years old presented their poems and essays. One particular reading etched a scar in my memory. A girl read out aloud her essay titled “How I spent last summer.” Her conclusion at the end of her essay said “What can I say? That summer I spent in the basement.”
I wish that no child suffer though the things our children have. They don’t deserve it.
Let all children of the earth be happy.
The interview was conducted in Building of the City Administration, Lugansk, in June 2015th.
From the latest reports.
On September 24th an explosion occurred at the “Thorez” military range in the SAM “Strela-10”, missile battery which killed a 9-year-old girl and injured a 7 year old boy and a few others.
The Deputy Prosecutor General of the DPR, the chief military prosecutor and senior adviser of justice Vasily Bayrachniy said that “the terrorist act used a smokeless explosive device without fragmentation. The power of hidden explosives contained 200 grams of TNT. We expect that the device has been created and planted by professionals, because they knew exactly how to detonate the explosion while avoiding the attention of visitors and members. “