Kremlin hostages

Roman Tsymbaliuk
19:50, 10 May 2018
World
197
Opinion

On May 7, Vladimir Putin, after another repetition of a presidential oath, delivered a lengthy speech about Russia's beautiful future. Having spent 18 full years on the Olympus, he said there was no time for a warm-up and that the there was much hard work ahead. It is all the more remarkable that, even after his second term expired, the permanent Russian leader compared his job to that of a "slave on a galley." By now, the level of his ambition has grown significantly.

Addressing the Russians with his program speech highlighting the plans for the next six years, the Kremlin's chief also greeted his "compatriots who live abroad" who, in his opinion, watched and listened to the solemn ceremony of his reinstatement for yet another term in office. Hardly anyone has forgotten that it was the "protection" of the so-called compatriots, or more precisely the Russian-speakers (who had not been particularly asked if they sought such "guardianship") became the pretext for the Russian occupation of Crimea and Donbas. Therefore, such "concern" about Russian compatriots is a reason for all Russia's neighbors to seriously beware the Kremlin's possible act.

The Russian political elite likes to reflect on the sufferings of "compatriots" abroad, automatically turning these people into the fifth column, because, in the Russian perception, these people must sabotage and destroy the countries in which they live, naturally, for the sake of Great Russia.

Hardly anyone has forgotten that it was the "protection" of the so-called compatriots, or more precisely the Russian-speakers (who had not been particularly asked if they sought such "guardianship") became the pretext for the Russian occupation of Crimea and Donbas

However, Russia completely loses any interest in the population that Moscow threatens to "protect" as soon as the Russian flag is raised over their territory and Russian rules start applying. An average person automatically becomes a serf. The situation in the occupied Donbas is a clear confirmation of this. And it's not just about the curfew that the "Russian world" has brought.

A month ago, a group of State Duma deputies and members of the Federation Council, whom Moscow had appointed to "represent" the occupied Crimea, submitted two bills proposing that those living in the occupied areas of Donbas be aligned with Russian citizens on the issue of employment and migration. In particular, it's about abolishing employment permits and canceling the rule of limited stay in the Russian territory (under 90 days within 180 days). It is interesting to note that a long-time and experienced "compatriots defender" Konstantin Zatulin did not sign these draft laws. From the humanitarian perspective, the decision is understandable, especially if one takes into account that Russian Gauleiters left the occupied Donbas residents jobless, having shut down factories and flooded coal mines.

Nobody wants to build Russian pseudo-republics, where people have no rights at all, only threats to be thrown behind bars into some basement

But it turns out that these bills were sacked by the presidential administration. That's the administration of that same country leader who in his recent inauguration speech conveyed greetings to "compatriots" living abroad. In the occupied Donbas, there is a chance that many actually watched him speak as occupation authorities had shut down all Ukrainian TV channels to fill information space with pseudo-Russian greatness.

The most amusing thing is the explanation why Putin's administration actually vetoed the bills. It's not even about a new package of sanctions that could be introduced for the actual de-jure annexation of Donbas. It's is much simpler. Nobody wants to build Russian pseudo-republics, where people have no rights at all, only threats to be thrown behind bars into some basement. And the Kremlin officials understand perfectly well that those who stayed and chose not to move to a free Ukraine will pack their stuff and leave for good to Russia, away from the looted Donbas, which is lying in ruins. But no one wants them in Russia, that's the thing.

The way out of this situation is simple - turn off the Russian TV, and move to the free Ukraine. However, this advice does not apply to those who fought against their own country. They will have to prove they are worth being granted amnesty.

Roman Tsymbaliuk, Moscow

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