To kill two to three million people

Kiev. February. It will happen soon. May 13 at the Congress center in Kiev on the left Bank will open the Eurovision song contest 2017. Recently, the organizers of this competition presented a logo that immediately sparked a lively discussion. The logo shows a stylized “namisto”, a traditional Ukrainian necklace. The logo no one bead is similar to another. It fits the slogan of the contest “Respect diversity” (“Celebrate diversity”). It is well suited to the Ukraine, where citizens speak and sing in two dozen languages, including Russian. Of course, Russia, like every year, participates in the competition. However, the official language of the competition is English.

In talking about the Eurovision song contest from time to time POPs up the “Russian theme”. The organizers are trying (with some success) to keep this theme in order not to let her grow to scandalous proportions. They recently announced that Russia promised not to submit the singers from the “black list”. This refers to the list of Russian artists, who are denied entry to Ukraine because of support of Putin’s policies, specifically the annexation of Crimea and the Russian involvement in the war in the Donbass. If so, then Kiev will be able to get your chance young, less well-known Russians, those who do not have to prove your patriotism with political statements.

All this gave me a reason to watch Russian TV. The forthcoming Eurovision song contest not mentioned there at all. Instead, there are daily programs which are broadcast throughout the country, to watch talk shows in which although we are talking about Ukraine, but quite differently. There are “experts”, including the Professor of the Moscow State University and various politicians and discussing how best to defeat Ukraine. One of these “experts” believes that it is necessary to bomb lines of communications and military infrastructure, then the people of Ukraine themselves will help to deprive the government of those who came to her after the Maidan protests.

Again others believe that “Pro-European” Ukrainians after the major offensive of the Russian troops dug in in three cities, namely in the cities of Kiev, Dnieper and Lvov. These experts openly suggest to use the experience of the conquest of Aleppo: bombing cities and then send in the fighters of the “people’s republics” in Donetsk and Lugansk. Yes, these men of great experience in terms of street fighting.

And there is a third point of view, “pragmatic”, which is a talk show also regularly discussed. When it comes to the topic of Ukraine. “Pragmatists” talk openly about the fact that Russia does not need Western Ukraine, so it may take Poland. Or it should become a small independent state. Central Ukraine the city of Kiev is necessary to capture and stiff arm to clear from the “Pro-European citizens.” The “two to three million people will be killed or banished”. This is the opinion of Mikhail Alexandrov, expert of the Center Voyenno-political researches of MGIMO, authoritative diplomatic of the University of Russia. After this, the Central Ukraine will be “Pro-Russian Ukraine”. Eastern region of the country opposite you just have to attach and Annex to the Russian Federation.

These and similar ideas in Russia speak out more often. How is that possible when television is under strict control of the Kremlin? Obviously, regular games of imagination around the massive attacks on Ukraine have two goals: they have to prepare the Russian viewers for a possible war against “brotherly people” (as, paradoxically, President Putin likes to call the Ukrainian people). At the same time they need to intimidate Pro-European Ukrainians and strengthen the hopes of the separatists in the Donbas, where most of the population is watching only Russian TV channels.

Along with the Eurovision song contest and future bombing, there is another issue that bothers Ukrainians. I would like to briefly call her “trump and Avdeevka”. Though trump has never been in the town and probably still knows nothing about her existence. However, after the telephone conversation of Putin with trump 29 Jan this industrial city has become the main goal of the separatists. The impression was that the words of the American President meant for Putin meant something like “the coast is clear.”

The first night after the conversation the two leaders, who in some ways very similar to each other, the artillery of Pro-Russian militants destroyed the electricity and gas supply. All 20 thousand inhabitants of the Town in the freezing cold were left without heating, water and electricity. And within a few days, according to observers, more than 3 thousand shells and rockets fell on the city, which is about 350 tons of ammunition! Killed Ukrainian civilians and soldiers. Was also seriously wounded a BBC correspondent. Putin’s press Secretary Dmitry Peskov to reporters expressed the hope that the militants have enough shells to repel the Ukrainian army. Immediately after that, he tried to recover and made as if he misspoke. In the end, he knows better than anyone how many shells the militants over the past two and a half years received from Russia.

And lives Avdeevka after January 29, without electricity and mobile communication. The supply of water and gas to houses although have been renewed, but the grid in the city it is impossible to repair because of the constant shelling. Therefore, the inhabitants of the Town, I note in passing, and will not be able to discuss the logo of the Eurovision song contest.

About a week trump was on the phone with President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko. The next day, the militants have reduced the bombardment of the Town. Obviously, these phone conversations have meaning. As for me, I would welcome if trump and Poroshenko spoke to each other on the phone every day. Perhaps, then, and the war in Ukraine, which the West seems to have forgotten, will subside.

Andrey Kurkov, the Ukrainian writer writing in Russian. Lives in Kiev.