Political prisoners in Ukraine

Elena Bondarenko is a charming woman of thirty, with large brown eyes. Comes from those layers which were previously in power, she is currently in opposition to the current government. More about that at the end of the article.

We are sitting in a cafe in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, and she tells me the shocking story.

Below I present this interview.

Elena tells about people in the combat zone in the Eastern regions, where she was born.

She talks about political prisoners. People accused that they helped the separatists — which here are called terrorists and thrown into prison.

Often, they simply expressed their opinion on matters which, in the opinion of the state, it is impossible to say.

The population is suffering from rising cost of living, in particular, from the growing of a payment for heating, and many families are very difficult to pay on these accounts.

Difficult to sustain a constant increase in the cost of living in connection with the increase of payment for heating.

In the zone of hostilities in the East are only those who fight, and those who have no opportunity to leave the area. It is the elderly, the sick, the weak, people with small children.

Before the civil war there were approximately 8.5 million people, now there is about 3.5 million. The rest went to other parts of Ukraine, Russia or Eastern European countries.

Elena suggests that in Ukraine about 5 thousand political prisoners. She created an Association that collects information on prisoners. It’s called “the Center of freedom of speech.”

In 2014 the Ukrainian government has created the Ministry of information, which Helen calls “Orwellian Ministry of truth”. It is a hard hand rules the media.

Many in despair, as the Ministry controls the press, for Example, it is dangerous to condemn the suffering of the people remaining in Eastern Ukraine. Problems with freedom of the press are confirmed by the report of Amnesty International devoted to the years 2015/2016.

If any channel critically comment on any known fact, the Ministry of information deprives them of their broadcast licenses. It happened recently with the independent Russian TV channel “Dozhd TV”. The event discussed Human Rights Watch.

There are only a few available channels, and only a few of them — Russian.

Culture is under the same rigid controls. There should not be felt Russian influence, although a significant part of the population speaks Russian and feels a close connection with Russian culture.

Ukrainian mass media filled with anti-Russian propaganda and give an inaccurate picture, stating that what is happening is a war between Ukraine and Russia. But it is not, says Elena. She says:

There is a civil war between Western Ukrainians, supported by American military instructors, and Eastern Ukrainians receiving help from Russian instructors and volunteers.

Fighting, killing and death. But all the bodies have Ukrainian, mainly passports.

Elena has a theory:

Russia’s attack on Ukraine is a lie. But a lie is necessary for the rulers to retain power. Because without the “just war” with Russia, they will not be able to explain their own political failures.

Currently all the fault of the war. If it stops, it will become clear that the powers that corrupt and destroy Ukraine.

Unfortunately, in society there are many layers that need war. Those who are comfortably settled in Parliament and government. They are the ones who are robbing abandoned houses in the East of Ukraine. Those who earns well, blocking the road and receiving bribes from those who urgently need to go further.

Elena wants there was such a Ukraine, where all live together peacefully and where there is a fair judicial system.

Ukraine should not be divided. Ukraine should consist of all areas that the country has been becoming independent after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The Donbass, where the raging military conflict should not be Russian. The Crimea should belong to Ukraine, but in Sevastopol should be a special status.

To live peacefully in the Ukraine, the war, of course, must be stopped. Then to begin a judicial investigation.

Those who gave the orders to use the army against the civilian population in the Donbass, should be identified and punished. And punished severely.

Anger flashes in the eyes of Helen, when he tells about how he was destroyed her home.

She and her husband managed to rescue Elena’s mom, which is 91, out of the house at the Donetsk airport, where there was particularly fierce fighting.

Elena tells me that she was entered in the list of people to be destroyed, and now that the state as security had provided her with bodyguards. It should continuously report to the authorities where and when it goes up.

The reason for the appearance of the guard is the behaviour of the Minister of internal Affairs, who threatened to kill Elena. The threat was maybe a joke, but as a number of journalists and opposition politicians were KILLED, then it could look unpleasant if Elena was killed after the threat of the Minister of internal Affairs.

The state guard is both good and bad. Nice to be able to survive and be able to talk about what’s happening in Ukraine. But bad to be on the list of people to be destroyed. The threat of the Minister of internal Affairs may encourage overly zealous patriots in the Ukrainian leadership to send her to the light.

Between 2006 and 2014 she has been a member of Parliament from the Party of regions, the party of then-President Viktor Yanukovych. Yanukovych currently lives in exile in Russia. Elena walked out of Parliament after the riots on the Maidan. During these riots 70 people at least were killed.

Because society broke up, she found that it no longer makes sense to participate in the political process. It all went wrong. People at risk of violence. Her car was fired on. The change of government was also illegal, says Elena.

Today she believes her job is to tell from his “mobile prison” surrounded by government bodyguards, the lack of justice in Ukraine.