(Me – no, Abu Umar – in a park)
About foreign fighting in Donetsk 2014.
From the perspective of a person who lived there. I’m not a specialist on Ukrainian conflict. Only a dude who was born in Donetsk and lived there from my birth in 1995. My fam was in the city at the beginning of conflict when first talking about foreign fighters.
It was in the spring. I was in a tricky situation. Most of my friends support Ukraine, my fam and folks from my uni support Russia. I hate both sides of the conflict.
Ukrainian government forbade the Russian 1 channel (the main Russian federal channel) that made it extremely popular among the population.
More popular than before.
This is why I’m against the prohibition of any propaganda, btw.
On this channel Russian tried to scare us that American would send Blackwater soldiers in Ukraine. We were scared. Because all knows that Blackwater tortured people.
I didn’t check this news. I feel too exhausted.
There was a time when tanks drove along the roads, battles were fought in the suburbs, and military aircraft were already flying over the city. We were not afraid of bombs. we were afraid that they would collapse. They were really old.
City administration was captured by Donetsk pro-Russian militia. They have this silly tire barrier around it. If someone would burn tires they would all suffocate inside the building.
But one day Kadyrov’s people came. Kadyrov is a pro-Putin leader of Chechnya. Deeply authoritarian (Stalin style of ruling). Chechnya is occupied by Russia and Kadyrov’s controlled everything there. So this was pro-Russian, pro-Putin’s people. They helped Donetsk Republic’s militia to dismantle the tire barrier and build a new one. I personally saw it. it was clear that these people were militarily trained. Everyone knew that Kadyrov sent them. But at the same time, Kadyrov denied his participation in all of this.
Population was scared not because this people was Kadyrov’s military, but because they were Muslim.
It was really unpleasant for me because I alredy hated Islamophobia even if I wasn’t Muslim myself.
But I believed that Kadyrov’s people was radical Muslim, not a pro-Russian traditionalist like they really were. Just because everyone said it. And I used to believe people. And I knew very little about Chechen war and Russian culture at that time.
Also we were hearing that some guys from Europe could come and fight.
And some neo-nazi from Western Ukraine. They weren’t actually “fouring fighters” but they were fouring enough for us, because West and East of Ukraine are very different. We were especially scared because we heard that they are extremely antisemitism and I’m partly Jewish and have a strong Jewish identity.
When lately I found out that people from Europe who was fighting in Ukraine and “Donetsk republic” (on both side) are really Nazi I wasn’t surprised at all. Because all this conflict – no, all Ukrainian and Russian culture- was deeply about supremacy.
Now we don’t read news about Ukrainian conflict. It’s not our conflict. It’s not our country. We don’t feel that we belong all our life in Donetsk. We hate Donetsk from early childhood.
And the only good thing about this conflict with all this war and double-standards and hatred was that we finally could run away from Ukraine.
Like we were dreaming all our life.
So now all this lies and all this relatives and acquaintances who literally made a journey from not-interested-in-politics folks to highly-politicised-bigots during one month… All of that is not our problem any more.
Even Syria means more to us than Ukraine.
Please stop behaving like we need to love Ukraine or Donetsk just because we have Ukrainian passport.
Have a good day!