So says the Russian war correspondent Andrei Babitsky, in the recent past employee of “Radio Free Europe”. In Russia, according to him, there is a model democracy.
After 16 years spent in Prague, the most famous Russian war correspondent Andrei Babitsky said: “It was lost in vain,” and returned to war. In the Ukrainian Donbass among Pro-Russian separatists Babitsky, as he claims, finally happy. But an interview with the newspaper Lidové noviny he gave in the Czech Republic, which recently filed for the renewal of a residence permit.
Petra procházková: Why do you want to live in Prague, if Western civilization is so foreign to you?
Andrei Babitsky: My family used to Prague. I have to come to him, so that reason is purely practical. The 16 years I spent in Prague, I believe lost. I was in a foreign environment. And in the Donbass, on the contrary, people around me, which I understand, and I live a full life.
– What, in your opinion, caused the explosion of violence in the East of Ukraine?
— Few people remember that in 2014, the bandits from Maidan forced the Verkhovna Rada to cancel the law on regional languages. It was a blow to the Russian language. And the people in the Donbas came to the defense of their language.
But the situation then was slightly different. While in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine this problem is only discussed by Russian state television has claimed that everyone who says Ukraine in Russian, will be persecuted.
Ukrainians canceled Russian language as official, and then changed the decision, but within three days people were in a state of uncertainty. In addition, you don’t know what happened there since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Donbass had to bow before the Ukrainian nationalism. Ukrainians slowly but surely ousted from the public space of Russian culture and language. And then they have already crossed all sorts of boundaries. As language is the main cultural wealth. For example, teaching in all universities was conducted only in Ukrainian…
– Probably because they are in the Ukraine. Not did the fact that the Russian living outside of Russia, never learn the local language of the country where they live, for decades, about the Imperial arrogance?
— It is not. Russian Donbas say Ukrainian. But the options are few Ukrainian: Galich now promoting a form which is close to Polish and is an invented artificial language. This is not the language in which Shevchenko wrote, and the creation of Ukrainian nationalists.
– You and annexation of Crimea will justify the protection of Russian culture?
— The output of Crimea from Ukraine — a consequence of the attacks on the Russian language and the state coup in Ukraine. To blame the Ukrainians themselves. After all, the Crimea has long remained part of Ukraine, and although the Crimeans were not happy about this, all failed. And only independence was the starting shot, a springboard that helped the Crimean Russians to secede from Ukraine and return to Russia. In Kiev I had to calculate that Crimea will oppose Ukrainian nationalism. Its radical forms are characterized Nazism. I don’t understand why Europe doesn’t notice.
But Ukrainian nationalism is a rather marginal phenomenon. And you find it hard to judge if you don’t go to Ukraine, excluding the Donbas…
— Actually Ukraine, given its ethnic composition, is a smaller version of Russia. That is why it should be organized according to the same principles that management has chosen Russia. In Russia each ethnic group has its own special law.
– Not too idealistic your views? In what country they may live, speak the Russian language and getting education in Russian. Want the Ukrainians…
— You see, in the Crimea languages: Russian, Ukrainian, Tatar — equivalent. So we solve this problem in Russia. The policy of Russification we have.
– When you worked for American radio in Chechnya, you have a different opinion and told the stories about the extermination of the Chechen people…
I always say that there is an unacceptable means by which the war was waged. And continue to insist on this. It was a disproportionate war, but it was not conducted against Chechens as a people. And Ukraine is the systematic extermination of ethnic groups, Ukrainians who don’t consider the original. It is interesting that among Ukrainian nationalists is not only Ukrainians. There are Jews, and Romanians, and even Russian. But they call themselves Ukrainians, to get all civil rights. Unlike the rest!
– You’re talking only about a small group of Ukrainian nationalists. But the Maidan was a movement of Ukrainian citizens, not radicals…
— Maidan was a coup.
– You deny the right of citizens to revolt?
— Do not deny it, but it should not place under nationalist slogans. At one point, the Nazis privatized energy independence, and now it is the revolt can be thrown in the trash.
– You saw the Maidan through the lens of Russian television, and with the Donbas know personally. What would you recommend to Kiev to do with this territory?
Nothing. Donbass decides everything and decide myself. He has already made a historic choice in favor of their identity and culture. How will they resolve specific problems, of course, important, but not essential. Donbass already exists as part of the Russian land, as a part of Russian history. However, the prospects are not too rosy — war and poverty. Chaos.
– Do not turn the conflict in the Donbas in frozen, as in Transnistria?
— No. In Donbass, in contrast to Transnistria, there is a common border with Russia. It can be supplied from Russia, and open the Russian market. In the end, once the Donbass will be an integral part of Russia. And not only him. As people in Ukraine will “come to life”, Russia will join the all-new Ukrainian regions.
— Need to create a Union. From Russia no one will come to take away by force the land where you live crazy people. Because their treatment (without guarantee of success) would cost a lot of money and effort. They can still resist, and then begin a guerrilla war, and Russia is not necessary. Let cool, come to think of it, and then plead guilty, punish the guilty, and then we can start talking about the form of contract or partnership.
– It seems that before your prediction comes true, Ukraine will join the European Union.
I can’t imagine that a state with a clearly racist traits became part of the European space. In addition, it is important that will by the EU, and will not enter into it or not poor, aggressive and crazed fanatical country with a disgusting culture and political life, a corrupt and unstable.
– I’ve even seen some Russian who took up arms to protect Ukraine…
In Kyiv you will also find Russian, who look with disdain on the Ukrainian nationalists, but don’t want to be part of Russia because I don’t consider it a democratic country. Such people abound, but it’s a very stupid people.
– Stupid or smart, but it’s their opinion…
— Any opinion has a right to exist, and in this sense Russia can serve as an example for the entire post-Soviet space. In Russia, all are free to say anything — even the most offensive words in the address of the President…
– When I watch Russian TV channels, I get the opposite impression…
— Educated Russian public accesses the Internet. For her television ceased to exist. It’s not about the majority of Russians, and about the most educated part that moves the story and formulates public opinion.
But does not affect whether the TV just in time for the voting majority, which then elects a President and Parliament?
— Thank God. Because we see what happens if things are different. Maidan! The coup, which was the reason for the disappointment of a huge number of people.
– I do not think that the media in Russia organized a coup. What if the elections were free, alternative?
— Since the collapse of the USSR it has been 25 years. In such a short time in Russia is simply not yet able to form organic mechanisms for democratic elections. Russia jumped into the sea of liberty, and is now trying to deal with it.
– But Russia instead of nurturing these free mechanisms, trampled into the ground that managed to ascend…
I don’t think so. Russia is a freer country than the Baltic States or Ukraine. Russia could serve as a model for most post-Soviet republics.
– Your position has undergone significant changes over the past 15 years. You fled to the Czech Republic from the regime of Vladimir Putin, who you like most likely to kill. You worked for American radio, lived in abundance in Prague. But now everything has changed?
— My opinion began to change when I began to write about Georgia, and I saw that President Saakashvili is a tyrant who has created a police state. And my colleagues in the “Radio “Freedom”,” praising Georgia as a model of democracy. Then there was the Crimea, and with it came the end of my career in radio. I was glad. I was limited by the walls of this ghetto, which was called “Radio Liberty”. Now that I’m working for Russian media, I free.
– You say that Ukraine is a civil war? And Russia does not interfere in it?
— Of course, intervenes. Russia is funding and supplying the Donbass. Salaries, social benefits, money — it all pays Moscow. She took about 80% of all costs and, thus, keeps afloat about five million people residing in the Luhansk and Donetsk people’s republics. In addition, of course, Russia is supplying the Donetsk and Lugansk armed forces with arms and ammunition, and sends its military instructors. Russia is helping to create an army DNI and LC. But on the field of battle of the Russian army there. I think it is right such actions. And even welcomed if it expanded its presence. It is Russian land.
– And the agreement that Russia signed in the 90-ies of the last century, and which guaranteed Ukrainian territorial integrity, not have any power?
— Ukraine itself is destroyed. This state was destroyed by the coup. All formerly signed agreements expire. Today Ukraine moves from fragile stability of the quasi-phase when the country is divided into gangs. Donbass opposed it, and now he was surrounded by a sea of madness. Ukrainians should have the right brain, but no effective tools for this exists.
– That is, the civilized world is wrong, considering Russia as the aggressor?
Your civilized world is living for many decades in false views. In the post-Soviet space you chose as allies the local nationalist regimes, which are intrinsically anti-democratic. But for you, they guarantee the coalition against Russia. Because the civilized world is still afraid of Russia, still considers her enemy.
– Are you surprised after the historical experience we got?
Ukrainian Nazi actions to justify nothing — even negative historical experience.
Andrei M. Babitsky (52)
In the ‘ 90s was one of the best war reporters in the post-Soviet space. Since 1989 he worked on the American “Radio Free Europe”. Became famous after a series of reports from Chechnya, where he criticized the brutality of the Russian army. In 2000, he was arrested by the Russian military. In still unclear circumstances he managed to escape. Then Russian President Putin called him a traitor. Because of fears for the life of the family Babitsky moved to Prague. In 2014 he supported Putin during the annexation of Ukrainian Crimea. With “Radio Free Europe” he has gone to the Donbass.