A common Ukrainian asks: ‘Why do we live so badly, and why don’t we protest anymore?’

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Fort Russ – February 14th, 2016
Tatzhit: This is my shortened translation of a facebook post by Sergei Volokhov ]

Our currency fell, and my paychecks are no longer tied to the dollar. Like yours. Like my mom’s pension. Now the pensions barely cover electricity, bread and milk.

Now losing a job is terrifying. Not only because of inflation, but also because unemployment benefits are cut. But many will lose their jobs, and many already have. Now benefits will not cover rent, and if I lose my job I will have to go live with my retired mom. 

But does anyone talk about it? 

I write that there is no more salt in stores – people tell me not to panic, it will reappear! It appeared two weeks later, and much more expensive. 

I write that the winter is cold, because the government decided to lower housing temperatures to 61 degrees (Fahrenheit). I am told to get used to the temperature. I say that I’m not an Eskimo. 

People tell me everyone in Germany wears sweaters indoors. But not jackets! And why should I shiver like the Germans, if before I lived better? You want to live like in Germany? Go to f*cking Berlin! Why should I live like that? I want to live like I did before! 

I say child benefits are cut. Revolutionary women tell me that’s great, now people will not have children for the sake of benefits. To them, “Strong Independent Ukraine” means no new Ukrainians should be born. Meanwhile, condoms do not grow in size, increasing in price as well as all other medicine. Oh, and now you have to come to the hospital with your own medicine! And you’ll have to go to the hospital – after spending half a year at apartments heated only to 61 degrees. 

I say the tax burden is growing. Businessmen say: yes, it’s growing, but we’re not complaining. Over in America, taxes are also high, and we’re doing good, tell me revolutionary and patriotic emigrants, [living across the ocean with] salaries of fifty to a hundred grand. 

So what were the tax protests about?

Businessmen, why were you complaining about the taxes then? 

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And why are you not complaining about much higher ones now? 

In my favorite old movie “Black Rose, Red Rose” the protagonist asks “Where is it?” when asked “what”? He explains: 
– Our revolutionary song goes “Red are our banners / and red we bleed / we all march as one / ready to die for it.” 

Where is “it”?”

I have a similar question: where is the”but“? 
I mean: Our currency is worth four times less, but at least … Prices doubled, but at least … 
Social programs have all been cut, but … 

There is no gas, but

Currency collapsed, but Crimea split off.
Prices soared, but political dissidents are killed in the streets. 
There is no gas, but there is a whole new Ministry enforcing mass media censorship. 
Social programs are cut, but in the East, Ukrainians are killing each other in droves. 
Europe thinks we’re a country of rioting mobs, but Russia thinks we’re a country of mindless Nazis. 
Executive and judiciary branches of government have been dismantled, but opposition political parties are banned from Parliament.

I could go on and on:
Previous governments used to take a lot of the profits from gas pipelines and state factories, but the new government handed over the factories and pipelines to the Americans. 
Previous governments used to hire assassins to kill troublesome journalists, but now it’s done by the police officers. 
Previously oligarchs were influencing the government, but now they are the government. 
Previously Moscow stifled our dialogue with the West, but now Washington is stifling our dialogue with our own countrymen.

I’m afraid of speaking out about this – [someone just got four years in jail for Facebook posts]. 
But I say these things, so I would not be afraid of speaking out in the future. Just like the rest of you weren’t afraid of speaking yesterday.



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