Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Vicious Violence from the Donbas Spreading Back into Russia

Paul Goble


            Staunton, February 10 – All wars breed vicious and violent behavior not only on the front lines but often far behind them, and those qualities are now spreading across the Russian Federation as a result of Moscow’s illegal occupation and suppression of Crimea and its continuing intervention in southeastern Ukraine.


            Yesterday in Yekaterinburg, 20 young men who identified themselves as “fighters from Luhansk” broke into the apartment of Nikolay Bogdanov, a leader of the Common Task movement who supports the unity of Ukraine and threatened to kill him (nr2.com.ua/News/world_and_russia/V-Ekaterinburge-nachalis-napadeniya-na-proukrainskih-aktivistov-90078.html. Cf. newsru.com/crime/09feb2015/lnrattckexjudgeurl.html and znak.com/svrdl/news/2015-02-09/1035214.html?fb_action_ids=942474409098720).


            Bogdanov called the police who arrived and detained several of his attackers, but those not arrested then went on to attack people in a local Uzbek café, located approximately 300 meters from Bogdanov’s residence, an indication that the detentions did little to dissuade them from further violence.


            Bogdanov told Novy Region 2’s Kseniya Kirillova that he is certain that those who attacked him did so because of his defense of Ukraine against Russian aggression. He has a large following on the Internet of more than 1150 people, and he writes regularly about what is going on in Ukraine.


            His opponents posted his telephone number and address on line, virtually inviting people to attack him, something that has happened, he said.


            Tragically, this is not the only move against pro-Ukraine activists in Yekaterinburg alone. Stanislav Khauz was attacked by four unknown men in the yard of his apartment building, and while he says he cannot be certain that his Internet postings in support of Ukraine were behind their actions, it seems likely that they were.


            And another Yekaterinburg activist, Pavel Zdravomyslov has been threatened although not yet attacked. He told Kirillova that the attacks began after he queried police concerning the legality of actions by Sverdlovsk veterans groups to recruit people from the region to fight in the Donbas.


            Bogdanov says that he fears for his life and the security of his family and has announced that he will leave Russia “in the next two days.”

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