Donbas writer, 2012: “Donbas seems to be a place with no future”

I’m reposting this. Here is the opinion of a Donbas writer after visiting Lviv. Let’s remember what we’re fighting for. It would be a loss in terms of emboldening enemies, but that might be all.

Two years ago, a writer from Donbas made pretty shocking statements about his home. ” All that’s left for us, for you, is at a minimum for us, the Donbas, to be enclosed with barbed wire and not be let out, so as not to interfere with normal people’s efforts to develop themselves and build a good country.”

This is why I’m happy to leave the fate of Donbas up to the locals (though that’s a difficult thing to do given the extent of professional Russian agitation).

If they show up in force to at least demonstrate against the separatists as is happening in Kharkiv, then they are worth supporting. If they remain passive and indifferent, then let them go, and hope that the Soviet mentality and their oligarch culture goes with them.

https://www.kyivpost.com/opinion/op-ed/donbas-seems-to-be-a-place-with-no-future-125549.html

I wasn’t sure what to say until I sat down in the Lviv-Luhansk train and arrived in my native Luhansk. I disembarked and understood that, besides crying in front of a camera, I wouldn’t succeed in describing the beautiful city of Lviv. And not because there’s nothing to say.

You understand that quite well, if you’ve seen my photographs. There are, I’m ashamed to admit, many, many, many interesting things there. But when I stepped onto my native Donbas-Luhansk land and looked around, I saw and understood that we don’t even have a future. We have no city authorities and no provincial authorities. And it’s not even a question of having no prospects of large-scale change. We have no prospects of any kind of change whatsoever. All that’s left for us, for you, is at a minimum for us, the Donbas, to be enclosed with barbed wire and not be let out, so as not to interfere with normal people’s efforts to develop themselves and build a good country. And at a maximum, I guess, simply to drink ourselves silly. Bye.”

The bit about hopelessness and lack of future prospects is depressing enough. But for a native of Luhansk to recommend enclosing the Donbas with barbed wire is enough to drive one to drink.

….

If Tsikalovsky were a punk with a dog collar and a mohawk, one could dismiss his comments as the rant of an adolescent. But the Proctologist has a university degree in management and has been working for the Luhansk-based Web portal TOP since 2004. And, with a balding pate and intelligent face, he looks as respectable as he sounds.

It’s easy to understand Tsikalovsky’s despair. Lviv is an architectural, historical, and cultural gem. Its infrastructure is a mess and too many of its streets and buildings require capital repairs, but it feels like a place that will, one day, be a fabulously prosperous town. Small wonder that the Financial Times recently included it on its list of top 10 European “cities of the future.”

In contrast, Luhansk is your quintessential Soviet, and Sovietized, city. Obviously, dreadful architecture need not doom a city. As every New Yorker knows, with a little bit of imagination, even ugliness can be made interesting and drabness can be made more livable.

But, as Tsikalovsky understands, his city’s real problem is that it’s still misruled by people who don’t see beyond the Stalinist past: “We have no city authorities and no provincial authorities.” And note Tsikalovsky’s triple emphasis: “We have no prospects of any kind of change whatsoever.”

Donbas has potential, but they are plagued by a Soviet mindset and a powerful mafia.

I think their best chance to free themselves of this would be to find some degree of autonomy within a Ukrainian state.

But for whatever measure of freedom they want, they need to fight for it. They need to risk something. If they remain a passive, grey Soviet mass, then let them have their fate.

I want to be surrounded by people willing to confront tyranny. Look where such people live: http://romaninukraine.com/map-of-protest-victims-by-region/

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