Mariupol, spring, 2014: The spirit of the referendum


In DONiPRESS, January 21, 2016

Translated from French by Tom Winter, January 23, 2016

Spring, 2014, the French sleep in France-in-crisis; the Maidan completes its work of pulverizing Ukraine. In the Donbass, the resistances are up, the Russian people, russophone, laborers immune to the posturings of western Ukraine and the “color” revolution of the Maidan, come to the boiling point. 

Everywhere in the east, the populations reject the coup d’etat that illegally switched the regime in Kiev with the potent support of the West.

It’s Natalia, in her 70s, denizen of Mariupol who recounts for us the popular élan surrounding the referendum organized spontaneously in the Donbass to reclaim and obtain the federalization of Ukraine.

At that time the odious massacre of Odessa was yet to happen, but throughout Ukraine, the Maidan was already bloody. Those in the Donbass are not understanding the murderous folly, the hatred of everything Russian, the new “heroes” of Ukraine, the nazi collabos, participants in the Shoah of bullets, nationalists and ultranationalists who want to re-write history and endanger everything that they rationally would count dear: culture, language, traditions, and for sure, their families.

In Mariupol, Natalia is a retiree like the others. She has done her work in other years, been part of the country’s intelligentsia, volunteered for ages since in various associations, and yet does not find herself politicized. 

The Maidan shocked her; she would be first in line to make the referendum — which was immediately proscribed by the oppressors of Kiev — take place:

“That day, I went to my district administration; Mariupol is a big city, before the war, it was a city of about half a million. With my friends, we shouted at the deputy of the municipal administration, he was unwilling to open the precincts so the referendum could be held. He was afraid of the repressions, but I told him that instead, he’d better consider the popular anger, there were already hundreds of people in the street, hundreds, a long waiting line, to vote. 

“I told him, and we knew long since, that the electoral and popular victory would make his position tough, but that he should reflect the democratic will of his citizens and their aspirations, and he had to find the courage to open the premises. 

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“The man was too scared of reprisals from Kiev: there were already many cases of murder, persecution, and people whose apartments had been ravaged by the henchmen of the Ukrainian extreme right, not to mention the rest. So he refused. He nevertheless agreed that the referendum could take place outdoors on the large square of the district. 

“And throughout the day from morning to evening, people streamed in to vote. It was a great Democratic victory, over 75% of votes cast in our district went to the federalization, freedom. No one at that time was seeking independence.”

Natalia continues her story, she explains that after this victory, Kievan troops entered Mariupol and started the political repressions. She herself was worried, men came to her house, but facing this courageous retiree, combative, active, and determined, they preferred to turn back. 

She says that since then, the city of Mariupol is awaiting its liberation. She also explains the destruction in neighborhoods of the city destroyed by war. She lives not far from one of those places pulverized by artillery: 

“We were told that the “separatists” bombed incessantly, but we were seeing some pretty odd stuff: It’s obvious, when a shell is whistling over your head, that you know whether it’s from east or west! I’m not saying that Ukrainians bombed us continuously, but several times, for unknown reasons, they themselves were bombarding the city. 

“One day, the area was invaded by sinister soldiers, insisting that the people turn in every piece of shrapnel to the soldiers. It was Ukraine that was bombarding us, though we were in their lines. They came into all the houses, searching and ransacking the area; the soldiers were nervous, aggressive. One of my neighbors had an outsize fragment of Ukrainian shell, with a serial number still visible. They threatened her, but she bravely refused to turn it in, “you bomb and destroy our homes, we are at home and you think I’m going to give it back?” Again at the venerable age of this honest woman, the soldiers, despite their threats and menace, turn back.

Natalia concludes our interview with words of hope, for her, in the face of history, the Ukrainian Nazis have already lost this war. She is all smiles and I could not refuse that day a veritable banquet that she actually had prepared in advance, in part, in my honor. With her and her family, we offer up several toasts, with a theme of just one thing: peace and future happiness. 

I take my leave, impressed all over again by the vitality and tenacity of the people of Donbass. Napoleon himself said that over time the pen was always victorious over the sword. It is obvious that despite their compulsive stacking of deadly weapons and soldiers at the front, Ukraine has not yet realized their defeat, an irreparable defeat, having lost all legitimacy in the heart of many Ukrainians, a sign that does not deceive. 

If Ukraine will long hang on, it will be only a shadow, a ghost, only artificially supported by money from the West.

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