If for every accusation of corruption, betrayal of ideals of the Maidan and the memory of those killed in the Donbas patriots George Tooke received at least a small payment in UAH or, even better, in dollars, during the work of the Deputy Minister of the temporarily occupied territories and internally displaced persons, perhaps, he would be able to solve many of the problems within the competence of his Ministry.
Why is one of the most famous ex-volunteers for three years, changed from admiration to condemnation, concerned about whether his periodic attempts of harassment in social networks, and also about what the court expects of Vladimir Putin, the thorny issue of Amnesty for terrorists and the intricacies of the world’s recognition of Russian aggression against Ukraine Georgy Tuka said in an interview with “Apostrophe”.
“Apostrophe”: you Know, with the exception, perhaps, only Nadia Savchenko, I have never seen a more sudden change of attitude on the part of ordinary citizens, as happened with you. Those who three years ago admired Tokoi volunteer, Tuk-civil servant almost hate. In the case of Savchenko, the reasons for this change of attitude I can understand. And you, for what? As explain it to yourself?
George Tuck: I don’t know… Apparently, there is something. I can’t say that anyone there cares about me, I’m just completely indifferent. Although, to be completely honest, I’m not very interested and not very exciting. I’m not a Deputy, to rating, to observe and to build their relation to the present or to the past or the future, focusing on the ratings. I am what I am. Like it or not like it — I’m a little interested. Most likely, I think, in the beginning I was mainly fond of those people who now defend the position of “war to the last cartridge”. Well, I don’t share this point of view, therefore, most likely, such a reaction.
— You have never shared? Even during the time of volunteering?
— Not quite. Although something might be so. When I was volunteering, I had acted solely on the emotional level. I may now want to act based on emotion. But I understand the fundamental difference between volunteer and civil servants. Because now their actions I voluntarily or involuntarily, but decide the fate of hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people. In this situation, I can’t act solely on an emotional level. They find it unacceptable.
How would personally I’d like to introduce visas for Russians, I understand that will be introduced mirroring actions against our fellow citizens. Because as much as I hate to admit that my fellow citizens go to Russia, I can’t ignore the fact that several million Ukrainian citizens go to work. And my personal attitude to this very fact does not change.
If I were a volunteer, I would have just shouted: give visa! Most likely, screaming. But now that I’m not a volunteer, but official, I have to think about how will react those few million who work there. How to react their families. Such steps by the state will increase the number of supporters of the state or not?
— New certainly not attract.
— I think not. What does it do?
Well, as the argument sometimes led to the view that it will help to better filter the Russians, who enter the territory of Ukraine. And, perhaps, reduce the number of saboteurs and Russian passports.
— A lie. An outright lie. No professional opinions from the security Service of Ukraine I have not heard. And nobody will hear. After all, everybody understands that those who need to stop — they did, doing and will do in spite of all visa regimes.
— Again on the criticism in your address. I was under the impression that those who are outraged by certain of your statements, just see them extremely out of context. Because in the context of what you say, not drawn to “zradu.” Even your infamous phrase of “effective control” over the occupied territories — it is, as I understand it, not about your assessment of what Russia is doing in the Donbass, and of the accepted international law definitions? But in the winter she caused a terrible scandal…
— And he did not abate this scandal. He still continues. Recently [the Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Oksana] Syroid again on TV remembered about it… What can I say?.. It’s not my fault that there are international terms, there is the international representation of reality events. We may not like that this view does not correspond to our ideas. But then it is not necessary to go into the European community if we do not share his views!
Legally we can’t talk about the occupation of the Donbass, because there are no Russian authorities, do I understand correctly?
— Technically, Yes. Besides, we cannot yet, despite all the efforts, to legally prove the presence of the Donbas with regular Russian army.
— At this stage confirmed the recent decision of the court in the Hague?
— So. We can tear his hundreds of shirts a day. But this is not a solution! This brand purely emotional things. That can afford is that the deputies, working for the electorate. Tricking him. By manipulating them.
I recently watched [Vadim] Rabinovich… Well, it’s a tent! Frank tent. He calls the woman from Slavyansk. In Russian asks: do you not consider it expedient for the promotion of the Ukrainian language act is not prohibitive by some methods, and incentive? And gives the example: those pensioners who communicate, who speak the Ukrainian language — to pay increased pensions… He spoke about the International monetary Fund, the cursed criminal authorities about favorite neutral Switzerland, hot and cold water, on the roads and the roads… everything, anything but answer the question!
He’s a politician, and they are very good at them.
— Know how. I, thank God, not from their environment. And do not seek to get there.
In winter, when the scandal around the use of your term “effective control” in relation to what Russia is doing in the Donbass, you also talked about the fact that Russia is preparing lawsuits — even within such definitions. There are already some results of those lawsuits?
I know that there are lawsuits. But the results, as far as I know, not yet.
— Can Orient at least the number of such lawsuits? To clarify, are individuals sued or legal?..
— There are both physical and legal, and, it seems, and the state claims is… the European court of human rights (ECHR) claims individuals are much faster procedure than lawsuits Or legal entities., moreover, interstate lawsuits.
And I don’t know what purpose it was done, it’s not my business, but a lot of lawsuits filed on behalf of residents, as us-controlled territories, and residents outside the control regions of Donetsk and Lugansk regions. These lawsuits were filed in large numbers. And those people who organize their feed — and I am sure that it was done by the lawyers and not the ignorant citizens — filed these claims with the frankly manipulative purpose.
— Why do you think so?
Because there is a certain procedure to the ECHR claims, particularly from individuals. As a minimum, have to complete a full circle of the courts within the state, to sentences that don’t satisfy and only on these grounds can sue in the ECHR.
And I showed filed to the ECHR, citing sources just from the Internet! When just went online and found a photo of a ruined house and a man wrote: this is my house, take off Ukraine money… like that. And it’s all recorded. For office, the bureaucracy is not only our property, unfortunately. Receives a huge number of claims. And when experts — not mine, not our, Ukrainian, and experts of the European court — are starting to examine, it appears that there is 90% is outright garbage!
— Why produced by these absolutely hopeless claims? To the ECHR did not have time to review the actual claims from the Ukrainian side?
— It’s all done, from my point of view, with one goal: to while various reports to manipulate the number of citizens of Ukraine. And then waving this “flag” — say, the state of Ukraine does not respond to treatment of their citizens, look yonder, how the court flunked!.. In these actions, I just don’t see.
— So, it would seem that this should be screaming at every step, for preemption to act before they start waving those cases. Why for this reason quiet?
— Talked about this many times. And I showed the suits that are in style at least is clearly made by one person. Yes, the claims have been filed on behalf of the various citizens, but they were prepared, and published obviously one and the same person.
— Who checked, whether are the people who live at least on the Ukraine-controlled territories and are the authors of such claims, the submission of those claims?
— I do not know, whether checked. This is not my expertise. There are other people who do. I think probably just unscrupulous lawyers or notaries for a small fee tell people fables about the decision in Strasbourg these issues. And that only there it is necessary to sue. And since you don’t know how to do it — let me take you for 50-100 hryvnia organize a lawsuit. And people believing them and acting in that way.
— If we are talking about the Donbass, can not remember, your loud statement on the air “channel 5”. Mean statement on the disastrous state of the ecology in the Donbas. Those are your words about the environmental disaster that will happen in the next 10 years, and that urgently needs to be resettled from Donbass people have responded the head of the Donetsk military-civil administration (CAA) Pavlo zhebrivskyi, you may have seen his reaction. So once again: where you have information about the environmental troubles that are waiting for the Donbass? How big can be a disaster? And why, if this catastrophe is inevitable, zhebrivskyi not more concerned about the environment, and the fact that talking about it hypothetical scare off investors?
— It’s a shame that we’re dancing on a rake and do it with a kind of masochistic pleasure. Almost daily we get these rakes on the forehead, but still tell ourselves and our citizens, like it doesn’t exist, and everything is in order.
Tell me, please: is it only just last year became aware of the existence of the problem, in particular, from landfill in the [village Big] Hrybovychi (here is a dump that accepted waste from the city. In 2016 at the dump in Hrybovychi collapsed debris and the fire killed three people, the body of the fourth is still not found. After that it was decided not to take the garbage for a year to find a new dumping ground for garbage from the city failed, the city began the so-called garbage crisis — approx. ed.) and the problem with waste management in General in Ukraine? No. Personally, I indirectly knew about this problem since the mid 1990-ies. Because I talked to investors, who came up and offered to tackle this problem.
Of continuous unprofitable and need to close down the mines in the Donbas I knew from the mid 1980-ies. Even during perestroika in the Soviet Union already had this information. That there is a huge environmental hazard, which appeared after the beginning of the uncontrolled flooding of mines in uncontrolled territories, I heard from the first month of arrival to Luhansk region as Chairman of the CAA. Now that this has happened to around that to raise such a cry?!
If not killing people in Hrybovychi, [Lviv mayor Andriy] Garden is still carried there their garbage. If I was on “5 channel” said about the environmental problem in the Donbass — all I would have continued to pretend that all is well and everything is in order? Business as usual never one of them decided not to decide. Can be a time to pretend that the problem does not exist. You can pretend that the problem does not exist, but in parallel to solve it. I don’t see neither the first nor the second. Solid silence and “doing nothing”.
What kind of investors is it? Anyone out there zhebrivskyi going to scare you, if anyone, and I mean all investors, including even the representatives of different countries at the official level, say: the number one threat in the state of Ukraine is corruption and a functioning judicial system! What kind of scaring investors Pavel Ivanovich thinking? You’d think he’s got a queue of investors lined up!
— Is it really that bad that we need to get people there?
— Well, sorry! I have more than 50 years — and how I live, and as I hear about environmental problems in Donbas. But all these years no one has solved all these problems! I’m not saying that they arose, not at all. In the same way as poor Hrybovychi. Decades it all adds up. All that is happening now, in particular, war, transmission of a bunch of idiots out of our hands in the hands of other idiots mines, the adoption of these other idiots decisions about the sinking of these mines is only a catalyst. But it is not the nature of the phenomenon of negative!
If Pavel Ivanovich is looking for investors, let to Kobzon addressed. Kobzon was there talks about “the resort area of Donbass”. Investors, believe me, before you go to Pavel Ivanovich, several times to communicate with their specialists from their intelligence, from their Embassy, Ministry of foreign Affairs. And these people are aware of many issues better than our government. Therefore it is not necessary to tell nonsense!
— What, in your opinion, is waiting, in the end, the Donbass? Despite the fact that we are, as you noted, we continue to dance on the rake and try to close my eyes to ignore what is happening there?
— It is not necessary and cannot be ignored. It is necessary to look for solutions.
— Do they exist?
— I don’t know. For this we need to gather expert advice. I’m not an expert. Just as there is an expert and Mr. zhebrivskyi. There are experts of world level. It is necessary to collect them, it is necessary to discuss the situation, seek solutions to problems and to seek funds. In the end, that poor Donbass pay huge taxes for environmental damage. And what is being done to overcome these environmental problems?
Well, according to Zhebrivsky, the Minister of ecology and natural resources of Ukraine Ostap Semerak came and measured the level of radiation in Bakhmut. Says: all is well in the normal range.
— What? There is no problem? So beautiful! Maybe Ostap and with mineralization of the same make? With radiation it is, frankly, just media a few distortion engaged, to put it mildly. It’s just question after Chernobyl for us too painful. But in the Donbass, the main threat — not even radiation. Although, God forbid, to have this added threat. The main problem is salinity. What he’s radiometer salinity measured?
These days literally on one of our channels was Mustafa Dzhemilev. And he told me what’s going on in Crimea now, when there is already a field of white became. Because stopped the supply of water through the channel, began to drill wells and I even got to dance: the water is… And it turned out that the salinity of this water is such that it is unusable. Need modern cleaning technology. And nobody does it.
— If nothing is done — we will get the desert and the Donbass, and Crimea. So?
Yes. But we need to do. And I do not see that someone did. Only responses that either no funds or no problem. The problem is — that’s for sure. What no means — clear. But this only means that we must look for those means. And not to gloss over the problem.
When it comes to the needed tools — talking more about the money for the restoration of the destroyed infrastructure of Donbass. But about the environment it really is not. If we behave, why do we need something there to recover, if it is impossible to live? What to restore?! How many myself I remember, always in that region had problems with the environment and water. Take the example that is built specifically on this channel, which, in spite of all the laws of physics, supplies water not from the top down, but rather bottom-up (channel Seversky Donets-Donbass channel is a type of energy — the moving water is provided by pumping stations, approx. ed.)? Well, probably at least a little brains turn! What are we all so “good”? Like ostriches, heads in the sand hid.
— Maintain relationships with someone in the Luhansk region?
— Yes, constantly.
— Do you have any information regarding the fact that in the occupied territories now?
— Yes, there is. Well, what’s happening? Passed prom. The youth was done on our dance, I had. The mood is pessimistic. The level of pessimism, frustration is growing every day.
Disappointment total, around or in Ukraine?
— … I can’t say that there is every day an increasing number of Ukrainian patriots. Most likely, with each passing day it becomes less of supporters “Russian world”. But this does not mean that a growing number of supporters of Ukraine. To be honest, in this information environment is too difficult to be a patriot of Ukraine and in General a supporter of Ukrainian statehood. Too hard. I have talked with our military, including with the guys-“alphacam”… When there, on the front, watching it all rush-the TV, then after awhile even those of our boys who give their life, you start to feel some kind of insanity.
— In such hands — do we still have a chance to get people living in the occupied territories, mentally?
— 100%! Well, not 100% all, but most — Yes, absolutely.
— The uncontrolled by Ukraine territories of reprisals against civilians intensified?
— Objective data are not available. So, the rumors are different. But to build their own idea on the rumors — I don’t have that luxury.
On the other hand, many say that we are unable to build their own idea of what is happening there, even on the basis of the report of the OSCE. Because they are biased. What do you think about this?
— I honestly never built its performance solely on the report of the OSCE. Because I get information from many different sources — have the ability to generalise, and not only to use the information provided by the OSCE.
— You have no claims to the work of the OSCE, at least for the period when you were working in Luhansk oblast? Avoid any questions about impartiality?
— You know, always, probably, in any confrontation there will be claims to the arbitrator. This is true even in football. What can we say about the war? Of course, there were complaints that I received from our troops. Indeed, especially at the initial stage, the observation mission was very much that — and it is not a secret — were professional employees of the Russian special services. Therefore, it is clear that they are more involved in gathering information about the location of our Armed Forces than the coverage of the real course of events. After some time the situation has changed.
To say that I am satisfied with the level of objectivity is difficult. It is very difficult. I know one thing. Firstly, the staff of the observation mission is a civil people, this is not a professional military. Second, they act solely on the mandate and Charter of the organization. On this basis, to reproach them that they don’t go somewhere during the shelling that they did not agree well to the front, if there is not guaranteed security — well, it’s just not serious! It’s their job. They didn’t come to climb under fire. And require them to risk their lives or health is not worth it. They have other tasks and other duties.
They cope with their tasks, in your opinion?
I do not know. I can’t be objective. Like any side of any conflict, I will always practice point of view, in this case, the state.
— Move on to another discussion question. I understand you are a supporter of Amnesty for participants of illegal armed formations?
— Why is it necessary? And why such fierce resistance in society, this idea is? You talked generally about 80% of those who, after they were promised Amnesty, will come on our side.
Is not always the case. In separate units. But they have these units. And our intelligence agencies are working with them.
In the first place. Everyone knows the saying that a cornered rat is dangerous. So my question is: is it worth it that rat to drive into a dead end and running into even greater danger?
Secondly. I don’t remember now the exact number of militants who laid down their arms and seized the SBU program “Come home”. We are talking about several hundred. How many, do you think our boys saved the life of that several hundred potential murderers laid down their arms?
In addition, I very carefully studied the experience of the two Chechen wars. And, despite all my emotional claims to Russia, I have to admit the fact that from the point of view of their state, they successfully completed the Second Chechen war. On the one hand, they bought [Ramzan] Kadyrov — for a lot of money for huge amounts of money, but they bought it. Blinded him the image of “the new leader of the Chechen nation”. Proclaimed complete Amnesty. And as a result, they have achieved peace.
Such examples of Amnesty them all around the world. Really a lot! Almost every war in the modern world, ends not with the destruction of the enemy, and amnesties. This applies to the Balkan countries, this applies to Colombia, and this applies to Ireland…
The greatest resistance to this idea, I personally feel those who are called, “sofa warriors”. I’m almost three years constantly communicate with those people who protect us. Perhaps, again, I’m subjective. But in the environment I have heard very few that have to fight to the last bullet. For they, more than anyone, understand that not all those who now holds the weapon on the other side of the demarcation line, blood on his hands. So, actually, as not all of our veterans of this war at least once during his service, was shot in the wrong direction.
This is why I support Amnesty. Amnesty, from my point of view, should be individual and not continuous. It is necessary to develop specific requirements for the application of this Amnesty. And I think that the introduction of this Amnesty is not just faster bring peace to Ukraine — it will save many lives of our people. Because we forget about one more very important detail. Any of yesterday’s action that shifts the line of demarcation and it seems SBU is a wealth of information. Whoever he was — driver, a courier, a cook — it does not matter! In any case, he knows a lot of useful details that we need to know. Who gave the orders? What orders? Who carried out these orders? How? Who mocked our prisoners? Who were they tortured? Who gave them water? Who cut their fingers? That’s a speck of intelligence agencies collect information to have a complete picture. It’s like a puzzle. But pieces of the puzzle — dozens, hundreds, thousands. And you have to collect them in one picture.
— This evidence base, which, as shown by the court in the Hague, we not yet enough?
— Yes, including.
— You believe that once the process starts in the Hague, and on trial will be the current owners of the Kremlin?
— Frankly, I think this may be some post-mortem process. Well, because Putin is already far not the boy. And these processes — they usually go over the years. That some special forces, the UN troops landed in the Kremlin, arrest him and bring him to court in such nonsense I don’t believe. So I think it’s likely to be posthumously.
— But that is what it is, you do not doubt?
— No, I have no doubt. I also have no doubt that we will regain uncontrolled territory, including Crimea. But it takes time. Unfortunately, we are too many mistakes made. Sometimes we continue to commit them. But this does not speed up the process of returning our territories. But what is life.