From Fort Russ
|RIP Pavel Sheremet
July 20, 2016
Ukraine is still managing to balance between the two centers of power: the current government prompted by CIA-supported SBU [Security Service of Ukraine] (according to many reports the CIA takes up an entire floor in the SBU building, and the American ambassador in Ukraine is the de-facto president, approving laws and calling the shots) and the Russophobic radical Nazi battalions, which where the muscle responsible for the violent overthrow of Yanukovich government on Maidan and in the aggression of the new Kiev government against the separatist Donbass.
As a guarantor of order in Ukraine, the SBU must appear to defend the population from gangs and crime, while after plundering the mostly Russian population of separatist Donbass in the name of patriotism, members of volunteer battalions who know no other means to make a living, are constantly in Ukrainian criminal news reports.
The nationalist volunteer battalions have always been a source of the greatest threat to the new Ukrainian government, which over the last two years continues to successfully balance on the edge of a third Maidan, constantly accused by the far right of not being patriotic or Russophobic enough. This is the reason why remaining Ukrainian career politicians and oligarchs had to abandon decency and paint themselves in nationalist colors in order to hold on to their power.
Only the future will tell how long can the fragile balance be maintained. Meanwhile we bring to your attention the last article of Pavel Sheremet, a Ukrainian journalist describing the internal squabbles between the two Ukrainian power poles. As common for current Ukrainian journalists, who are still permitted to be published in the mainstream Ukrainian media, he is supporting the Nazi Ukrainian commander Andre Biletsky and explains why he could be a threat to the government.
However, even his assessment confirms that the nationalist battalions were a magnet for the disadvantaged troubled youth who found a meaning, a community and a boost to self-esteem in nationalist ideals, who when not occupied by combat resort to crime, so well documented in the war zone of Donbass.
Three days after this article Pavel Sheremet was blown up in his car in Kiev. – Kristina Kharlova
Ukrainian Pravda [Ukrainian Truth]
Translated from Russian
“Azov”, responsibility and volunteer battalions
July 17, 2016
The failed Turkish military coup has stirred the Ukrainian community of political analysts and for a few days intensified fears and talk of a military coup in Ukraine.
Some are warning of the inevitable and bloody coup, others calm – there is no one to rebel.
I am not going to predict anything, just like to draw your attention to two recent curious developments.
Writing this early Sunday morning, just as at this moment the chairman of the supervisory board of Odessa Port Plant, the first deputy head of the board of Naftogaz Sergey Pereloma are released from jail. Following him the second “big fish,” the first deputy chairman of Odessa Port Plant Nikolay Schurikov escapes punishment.
Escaped not because of the poor work of investigators of the Anti-corruption bureau and the anti-corruption prosecutors. Simply the deputies-battalion commanders and some other people in camouflage on Friday and Saturday blocked the work of the court and created an atmosphere of chaos around these two cases.
Why battalion commanders, why men in camouflage? Pereloma and Schurikov were detained on charges of embezzlement of the funds of the enterprise, not even for misconduct in the ATO zone. But deputies-battalion commanders and men in camouflage are now if not above the law, but are able to paralyze the execution of any law on call.
And, mostly the same characters are involved. Causing among the population an increasing hatred of men in camouflage and fueling anger towards any volunteers from President Poroshenko and the leaders of security structures.
The second story. On Friday, SBU spetsnaz conducted an operation to apprehend a gang that robbed banks in the Zaporozhye region. They were lured to the woods following an armored bank van. Two attackers were killed – a citizen of Latvia (he was taken out by a sniper, he didn’t even have time to shoot the guards) and a citizen of Russia (heavily wounded, he died on Saturday in a hospital), two wounded were arrested, and another two managed to escape. One of them – “Azov” battalion fighter.
All these people have been fighting in Donbass from the very first months of the war. Well trained, they went on raids in the rearguard of the enemy for several days. During the truce or trench warfare, they could not find themselves, went from unit to unit and resorted to crime.
The key in this story is the mention of “Azov”. The killed citizen of Latvia, as well as a Russian citizen, once were well regarded fighters in the ranks of “Azov”. Another attacker had served in the regiment until the last day.
The hot heads from the top levels of government called to send spetsnaz to Urzuf and storm the “Azov” base in search of evidence. In Kiev airport two airplanes were on standby.
Former regiment commander Andrey Biletsky urgently flew to the location at night in order to prevent provocations and to calm his hot heads.
People in the know knew that to attack “Azov” base is insane. Sober people know that the regiment had all legal grounds not to let the investigators even from the military prosecutor’s office for several days. Remember how long the military prosecutors could not cope with a small “Tornado” battalion. Compared to them “Azov” is a combat division.
Minister of internal affairs Arsen Avakov was not in Kiev – he left on vacation.
But we must command the head of the SBU Vasily Gritsak and deputy Andrey Biletsky. One had the presence of mind and patience not to bring the situation to a bloody absurd, the second was smart enough to separate a brother from a criminal.
SBU often uses “Azov” at the front as storm troops, perhaps this is why a common ground has been found in this scandalous situation.
Investigators were quietly allowed inside the base to perform their work. SBU leadership acted surprisingly competent, even better than the commanders of National guard – without hysteria, pressure and speculation on the subject of volunteer battalions.
If Biletsky only dropped a word, a crowd of young men would gather in the center of Kiev, ready to tear the enemies of Ukraine, FSB agents and the oligarchs. They would shout about betrayal, the third Maidan, the security forces who protect criminals in Donbass and harass the true patriots. But he acted like a responsible person and a commander.
“We do not leave our brothers, even the dead on the battlefield. But if the soldier crossed the red line that separates war and defense of homeland from violent crime, he will answer to the full extent of the law. Black sheep are everywhere. Of course, if the lost man is a hero and shed blood for Ukraine, we will ask for leniency towards him. [So what about the full extent of the law??? – FR] But we are not savages, we don’t defend ourselves at any cost, we defend our Homeland” – said Biletsky.
“We are not savages” is a key phrase. I can imagine how difficult was this decision for Biletsky, because it goes against the existing trend, when a man in camouflage, especially from the ATO zone, is always right and above the law.
And this example shows that when two sane people from different security agencies – the SBU and “Azov” – find a common language, no scary nonsense will happen.
Andrey Biletsky, of course, must be closely watched. He is very much progressing over the last two years and is growing, but his radical Nazi youth sometimes surfaces. But we can distinguish a mistaken responsible patriot from a crook and opportunist.
And we must follow suit of such volunteers as Azov’s Biletsky or Peacemaker’s [Mirotvorets] Teteruk, and not those strange people in camouflage, who at this moment block the work of anti-corruption prosecutors at the Solomensky district court in Kiev.
The aftermath of every criminal episode involving members of volunteer battalions in Ukraine is the same: SBU spetsnaz is called up, sometimes followed by an armed stand-off at a particular battalion headquarters, which only illustrates that these battalions are nothing but gangs under patriotic colors, consisting of nothing but thugs and criminals. – KK