Alain Povolyayeva: “Knowing what separatists do with journalists, I wanted to leave”
Following a series of interviews with Crimean journalists, in particular, with Irina Sedova and Julia Shestakova, who left Crimea, about how their life and working conditions changed after the annexation of the Crimea by Russia, the “Detector of the Medic” & raquo; talked with several journalists who left the turbulent Donbass, where the terrorists hosted.
Our first hero, Alena Povolyayeva, journalist of the Donetsk Radio Liberty, published articles about the persecution of journalists in the Donetsk region and was aired in the Ukrainian language. In May 2014, she was forced to leave Donetsk together with her husband-programmer and a two-month-old son. Due to threats and unstable situation in her native city, Alena and her husband emigrated. to Moscow. We contacted a journalist through social networks.
– Initially, I worked in Donetsk in the only Ukrainian-language Internet publication ngo.donetsk.ua. Then the girlfriend offered to work on Radio Liberty & I agreed. Not only and not so much because of the Ukrainian language, but because of the journalistic standards that are adhered to there. I knew that nobody would force me to write jeans, that there would not be censorship, that there I would have creative freedom. And it happened. The fact is that in Donetsk it is not easy to find a similar job. But who is looking for, he will always find. And this experience is very valuable for me.
“We decided to leave when separatists appeared on our completely non-central street and began to swear under the windows and shout:” Russia! ” Russia! & Raquo ;. Then my husband said: & laquo; They turned off the Ukrainian channels. And if they disconnect the Internet, I can not make money. If the roads are blocked, we will fight for food. About the pampers I’m silent & raquo ;. Meanwhile, drunken people kept screaming outside the window about something about Russia. I find it difficult to understand them: I grew up in independent Ukraine, I always loved this country and did not hide my views. When I worked in the Ukrainian bureau, Radio Liberty & raquo; and made reports in the Ukrainian language, periodically received soft oral threats and unpleasant reports. But never gave it much importance. However, now the separatists in their “Donetsk People’s Republic” & raquo; Two ministers who I know personally became ministers. They, to put it mildly, dislike me for my pro-Ukrainian views. To be honest, what the separatists are doing with journalists, honestly, wanted to leave.
My son was not yet two months old when my husband and I had to take him away from home. Of course, we did not want to leave and for a long time did not give in to panic. Already many of our friends went to Kiev and took their families, and we all believed it would be better. Our people can not fight with each other. To their credit, they do not fight. But the situation is fueled by thousands of ten to fifteen separatists who are paid, who were provided with arms supplies from Russia and now they decide the fate of millions of people living in the Donetsk region. We considered an option to go to Istanbul, but we have no one there. Of course, we would go, say, to Berlin or Paris, if you did not need a visa. And the visa was not needed in Moscow. There we have friends, our husband – work. My husband is a programmer. In principle, he does not care where he remotely works, but all customers have him in Moscow. I hoped until the last that everything would somehow change, that it would be calm in the city. But now I’m very glad that we left. I do not want to put my life in danger. I understand that someday there will be a time of peace, but the question is when. And where is the guarantee that such events will not happen again? Now, for the time being, it is not clear to us why we should live in a state that is not able to protect its territory, to protect us in our home.
– We were forced by terrorists who terrorize the whole region. They rob car dealerships, exchange offices, burn and break ATMs, rob shops with weapons and banks. They take hostages, torture and kill people for their pro-Ukrainian position. They are looting. All this, of course, is not from a good life, but from poverty. Our region was once the industrial flagship of the USSR, but after the collapse of the Union industry fell into decay, many mines and factories closed, not adapting to a market economy. In the towns of the Donetsk region, where the closed enterprises were city-forming, many people lost their jobs. Many have not been able to restructure. The miners went to illegal mines without working conditions and safety precautions, the factory workers were drunk. Ukraine allocated a fairly large amount of money to keep the unprofitable coal industry in the region afloat afloat. More than 1 billion euros, for example, was allocated for this in 2013. However, people who are not very knowledgeable in the economy, and they, I must admit, the majority, and are still confident in the truthfulness of the myth that the industrial Donbass (Donetsk and Lugansk regions) feeds the whole of Ukraine. Although this is not so long ago. It was the unemployed who became the main force that Russia and local oligarchs use. After the former president Viktor Yanukovych fled from Ukraine, local elites were frightened that the property acquired by dishonest work during Yanukovych’s presidency would be taken away from them.
– Do you think that’s why some of them started supporting manifestations of separatism?
“They wanted more power on the ground. We wanted to stop paying taxes to Kiev. And they decided to bargain with the central power with the help of force. Money for the separatists, and they really get paid, are allocated from the foundation of the family & raquo; (Viktor Yanukovich and his relatives), as well as from the pockets of local influential representatives of the Yanukovych Party. Now the situation has already come out of their control, because the marginals, who are armed with weapons in their hands to join Russia, are creating chaos for the sake of chaos, are torturing and killing people just for fun. I do not know if Viktor Yanukovych wanted this, but the local rich do not really need it and are not profitable. However, they began to play and already lost all levers of influence. As the situation develops further, it is difficult to predict.
– We bought tickets for a flight to Moscow with a transfer in Kiev. Direct flights Russian & laquo; Aeroflot & raquo; canceled for security reasons. We were very worried, because there is practically no other way, except by plane, to leave Donetsk with a two-month-old child. But the flights resumed, and on May 7 we flew away. On May 9, Victory Day, our street was shot – my neighbors wrote about it. Now in half a kilometer from us the military base is seized, on it terrorists with automatic weapons are now based. From Donetsk there are disappointing reports that refueling is closed there, banks are working with large interruptions. Of course, I want to go to Donetsk: my parents, relatives, friends are there, my house is there. Moreover, I understand perfectly well that I can not work as a journalist in Russia. Russian propaganda has reached the point where a correspondent of the Russian news agency reports that an antifascist rally took place in Donetsk, to which participants were attacked by fascists. And at the same time the correspondent was there. So: he blatantly lied, because there were a lot of my friends. In fact, the rally was for the unity of Ukraine, and people who wanted to Russia armed with fire and cold steel attacked him. There were no fascists there.
Almost all Russian journalists are not journalists for me. They are deceivers who foment hostility within my country and who are setting up Russians against Ukrainians. I’m a Russian-speaking Ukrainian. No one in Donetsk ever oppressed me. On the contrary, they oppress Ukrainians. Often they look suspiciously and can even use profanity in your address. But conflicts have been more serious in recent years.
– Alena, what kind of friends do you have in Russia? Who helped you to move?
– We were sheltered by the guys who once left Grozny. Misha was a teenager when he lived in Chechnya. He survived two Chechen campaigns, because there was nowhere to go with his mom and her parents during the war. His argument was almost decisive for us when we made the decision to leave. Misha told us how he quarreled with his mother-in-law, who became a victim of the “zombie-player”: “I recently quarreled because of Ukraine with my mother-in-law.” She is sure that you have the fascists in Kiev won. That Banderovtsy came to Donbass and do not give passage to you, Russian-speaking. Has seen enough of the TV. But one of my arguments influenced her. I just said to her: “Do you remember how the bombing was raging, there is shelling, and at that time on the First Russian Channel they say that there is no military operation in Grozny?” & Raquo;
And he told us: “I know what war is.” And I want you to never experience this. It is better to leave now, because the escalation of the situation can result in a civil confrontation. And, believe me, you do not want to sit in the basement with a baby and dream about water, reach the well with which you can only be in the queue of an automatic machine & raquo ;.
For someone, war is a horror, and for someone – an opportunity to earn and get to power. And the latter are just much more determined. Already here in Moscow, Misha told me for a long time about how it is to be a Russian in Grozny and a Russian “Chechen” & raquo; in Russia. He talked about how it is to lose the whole city, say goodbye to the layer of your life, that you do not want to return, because there is no one left.
We still live with our friends, bought everything you need for your son – a crib, changing table and all sorts of other things. We are waiting for the presidential elections in our country, because, as experts predict, this day in Donetsk it will be very unsafe (the interview took place before the elections.) – TC. We are waiting for this to end. Although it seems to me that instability will be stretched now for years. It was necessary to hack this situation in the bud – not to allow to seize administrative buildings, to dismiss siloviki-traitors and to enter the army, and not to be afraid of Putin. He would not have thrown off an atomic bomb on his neighbor – why should he be so exerted? And for the rest, he would need time that the Ukrainians needed to use competently for stripping from foreign agents and separatists. Now the antiterrorist operation is nothing but a fight against cancer. Here they cut out, they cured it – it manifested itself in another part of the body.
– I did not have to do this and do not have to. And in Moscow, I do not hide them. Our friends are very tolerant and understand that Ukrainians are a separate nation, and Ukraine is a sovereign country that has its own territory, which Russia encroached on.
My husband and I both supported Maidan, his ideals are close to us. But now we both are quite different in this regard. Skeptically, I would say. We now clearly feel that we have been betrayed. They betrayed the Crimea when they gave it to him without a fight. They betrayed us, when from the beginning of March they handed over one administrative building after another in the Donbass. To the ridiculous reached. We knew the schedule of capturing buildings. But the government did nothing. I do not know what is this. Indecision or negligence. Desire to make money in the war or incompetence. Yes, it does not matter to me. It is important that this could be avoided if all this was stopped immediately, and not started ATO in two months, when terrorists settled in the residential areas of many cities. It was necessary to transfer militiamen from other regions to the Donbas, arrest for separatism, defend the administrative buildings, close the borders for real. And then, after all, nothing has been closed so far. Comrade wrote to me from Gorlovka that the Russians came to them on three KAMAZ vehicles – to disrupt the elections. Colleague Denis Kazansky went to the border and himself passed it with ease. Because in the Donbass in many places the border is a street in a village or a city. Without any checkpoints.
– There are full vacancies for journalists, but in the normal editorial offices of the “Novaya Gazeta” type & raquo; or “Rain” & raquo; queues of adequate colleagues have long been standing, but I can not be an instrument of propaganda, not what I do not want.
– Of course not. It’s out of the question. I’m not going to stay here. This is not the final destination, but just a temporary shelter.
– Have you had any contacts with the Ukrainian Embassy in Russia or the Ukrainian Diaspora?
– No, why do we need it? If our state could not provide our security at home, then why should I apply to the embassy? Unless to vote, but it is very problematic due to the fact that we are in the suburbs. And traveling with a two-month-old child to Moscow is quite difficult. Therefore, we will not vote.
– Alena, how did your relatives in Donetsk react to your decision to go to Russia?
– My mother was very worried. Nevertheless, Kostya is very small, he is only two months old, but in the end, my mother is very glad that we left. She says that she would have turned gray if we stayed in Donetsk, where snipers are on the roofs. Although the patriots in Donetsk at times more than separatists. Donetsk is Ukraine, without a doubt.
Alain Povolyayeva: “Knowing what separatists do with journalists, I wanted to leave”