Journalist, blogger, author of books about the war Arkady Babchenko a few months ago left Russia because of the constant bullying for the “wrong position” and went to live in Prague. In the first part of an interview with “Apostrophe” a prominent journalist said, why not chose as a new place of residence Ukraine, what is the most likely way to return Donbass under the control of Kiev, that may bring the collapse of the regime in Russia, and when the Russians no longer go to war in Ukraine.
“Apostrophe”: for what purpose you are now in Kiev?
Arkady Babchenko: I squeezed out of the country (from the Czech Republic — approx. ed.) because I have no documents, in addition to Russian citizenship, no. I spent three months on a tourist visa lived in Prague. Now crisscross the country to four months and could apply for a work visa in the Czech Republic.
– You are trying to obtain refugee status or to seek political asylum? Or is it narrows down your options?
— First narrows. If the status of the refugee can’t you five years to leave the country, but it’s not even that, but the fact that I don’t even want. I don’t want to be a refugee to obtain this status.
– Have you ever tried to settle in Ukraine?
— I am a citizen of the aggressor country. The country, which was my attack on this country. I the country all the debts paid twice was in the army. If I move here, this country would give me citizenship, I believe that it will be my duty to go to war for this country. But I have just no longer have the courage. I’m afraid that the seventh war will not survive. Therefore fear I do not wish to obtain Ukrainian citizenship. I just write: “Russian nefig roam”. And I’d like to have something to answer. Therefore, I am satisfied with the Czech Republic, where nobody knows me and if he knows something I don’t understand Czech and don’t understand what they say about me.
– We are now talking on Khreschatyk street near the Maidan, where the events occurred that changed Ukraine. How would you rate the events on independence three years later?
— Everything is fine. Main job is done. First, throw off a thief who tried to usurp power. Secondly, it was really the Revolution of Dignity, not the sausage revolution, which is very important. Thirdly, deployed the country’s development: from Mordor to Europe. This is the most important event that happened, the rest of the particular nuances. It is possible to argue. Somewhere worse, somewhere better, but not everything turned out as expected. But the main thing happened — the chosen vector of development of Ukraine.
Now one gets the impression that the events of lost momentum: turned away from Russia — but the two million Ukrainians go to work, go to Europe — but full membership in the EU we don’t Shine. This situation may be some kind of problem and point of despair?
— Can. In Ukraine, as I understand it, a lot of “scoop” and of course he pulls her back. The pace of reform falls — you can’t live in the mode of independence, reform the people get tired and want to work and earn money. And most importantly — war. It could all slow down and deploy, but in that sense I’m an optimist and I think that, in the end, everything will work out.
Fatigue and frustration can lead to so-called Moldovan scenario: went, went to Europe, and then turned around and chose a Pro-Russian President. Or war and the number of victims in Ukraine, will be a deterrent?
— You know, could be anything. Maybe a big war. I, for one, think that Putin did not leave plans for biting a considerable chunk of Eastern Ukraine. I see — and it can be asserted quite definitely that the action of loosening of the situation inside of Ukraine are conducted. Sometimes being pretty good.
– Propaganda and acts of terrorism?
— Acts of terrorism, murder, stuffing and loosening. And most important is propaganda. Sometimes it is successful and it must be admitted. But, in any case, it all depends on Ukrainians.
– These intentions to seize the territory of Ukraine will be implemented, “the new Russia 2.0”?
Format doesn’t matter. “New Russia 2.0” will not be, although it may happen.
— Due to the fact that Pro-Russian sentiment is strongly lost. If you shake the situation, if in 10 years there will be no change, and oil will suddenly bounce up to $ 150 per barrel, the possible option of “new Russia”. I think if we’re talking about this hypothetical possibility, a more likely scenario with the introduction of a regular army and a major war.
– If you use the regular army, we should talk about the hundreds of thousands of soldiers who will have to raise for this campaign. Whether there are enough resources in Russia to such a massive invasion?
— Such a resource in Russia. It should be understood. And those conversations that I hear here from time to time, that Russia is bent, falling apart, and a year later, Putin will not — it is not. The margin of safety in Russia is still quite strong. Oil collapsed to $ 50 per barrel — it is quite possible to have this mode. And not just to exist. And we must understand that with such a neighbor, Ukraine will live not year or two, even, I think, and not five.
– What Ukraine can do in this situation?
— To build a law-based European state, a strong economy and a strong army. And stop cursing each other and start to build the country.
And it will prevent Putin to attack?
— If there is a strong army, a strong economy is a strong argument for deterrence. The point is not to prevent him to attack, but to let him know that the attack will be very expensive.
– In your opinion, Russia will continue to destabilize the situation in the territories controlled by Kiev?
Will, always will, and to underestimate them is not necessary. The most important thing done — aggression stopped, this cancer is not progressing further. Ukraine can not now return the Donbass. And the main task is to prevent further spread of the tumor. Until this is done.
– When Ukraine will return the Donbass, as the return to mental those people who survived the occupation and the massive influence of Russian propaganda?
— You know, the war is already a good vaccination. If you return the Donbass by force, but this scenario seems the most likely, Donetsk will not be the same as it is now. First, people who know what it’s like to hide in basements with children from attacks, and to eat dog meat, he might stay Pro-Putin, Pro-Russian, but the second time through it they don’t want. Second, to return mentally very difficult. With the adult generation, in my opinion, it’s impossible. Need to wait for a change of generations and to work with the new generation.
To talk about sovereignty until the moment is over Izvarino (border with Russia — approx. ed.) will fly the flag of Ukraine. Up to this point, contradictions are unsolvable: Ukraine wants to regain its territory, and Russia wants to part of the territory. If this contradiction will be resolved in favor of Russia, Ukraine will lose part of its sovereignty, which would be a political trauma for the nation.
– Who can stop the invasion of Putin in Ukraine?
— Now to stop Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may not only the United States and the world community, where the leading role is played by the States. If they will truly give a hand and say, “Boy, will climb another 100 meters — we provide you that will not find it”.
– It turns out that the situation is a stalemate — we can’t stop it due to lack of resources, and the West is not particularly interested?
— I lived in Paris, the fight over the plant would not go. Yes. At the moment the situation is a stalemate. But really it can stop price of 12 USD per barrel of oil. If oil prices fall to the price — this regime will collapse within a year or two. The Soviet Union also collapsed after all.
But pretty much floundered.
— Well, these, too, wallow and collapse. Yet, in my opinion, to change the situation can only be a collapse of the economy.
For example, oil fell to $ 10 a barrel, the regime collapsed. What is happening in Russia?
— A new stake on red square, dog meat fried in barrels, banditry and lawlessness, civil war. In short, take and read about 1917 — and will be about the same. Who will win — it’s not even predictable. Or equal to the possible option of a peaceful and bloodless transition of power in the hands of the liberal-democratic opposition. If Navalny will live, he will be President. Whether he can retain power or will not — is another question.
– But we cannot rule out that Navalny is not without dictatorial?
— Of course. But it all depends on us, the Russians, will we be able in short time to revive state institutions that will allow us to control the power. If we can, then it doesn’t matter, be it dictatorial or not. If we don’t, then all the new — again the new good king vs bad. But I don’t think the liberals will be able to retain power — all will go to drop-down the trends. You get the same thing that happened in 1991-1992 the Soviet Union collapsed, the liberals came (common thieves) — oops, nothing to eat. Who is to blame? Liberals. Not that the country is 70 years, Mr.**was not, and the liberals, who for six months destroyed everything. The same will happen. Who is to blame? Bulk. Never mind that he was in power six months. Will go again rejection, new Zhirinovsky, the new Communists, and others. As for me, it’s the two most likely scenario.
– Some analysts predict the destabilisation of the situation in Belarus. Can the Russians come from the other side, and what are the objectives of Putin?
Maybe. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin has put himself in a situation that control the internal politics, it can only be war. Either external or internal. The war in Chechnya, he is not needed. Under Putin the war in Chechnya will not, and will come after Putin. At the moment there is Syria and polosatoje Donbass — they cope and distract. If it ceases to operate, then I do not exclude opening of new theatres.
– But Syria has not yet seen great success.
— Syria is not really effective, but not yet enough and is holding back. The oil is, the money is there, the war in Syria. While this is sufficient. The price of oil will fall — will have something new coming up.
– Most people will eat less than they will be less to spend on war. The coincidence of these factors may cause protests in Russia?
— This will be a cause for protest. Venezuela is an example. You need to understand that it will be “sausage protest” — a protest for food. It is important to understand that the battle of refrigerator with a TV will not be — they are fighting on the same side. For the dictator, there is nothing better than the program “oil in exchange for food”. Nothing to eat, who is to blame? Damned Pindos which have surrounded us from all sides. What to do? To fight with Pindos. Where to fight with the Pindos? Let’s fight with the Pindos in Ukraine. So a simplified version looks like their logic. Such regimes are stable, they can exist for decades. But, in any case, they are finite. The end is always the same — collapse. But I think this is still long.
– The consequences of such a war Pindos are clearly visible in an interview with the mother of the Russian contractor of Victor Ageeva, which our military has detained on the territory of Ukraine. How in this interview presented a section of Russian society?
— Interview mother Ageeva just voiced the thoughts of most of those 86%. They really think so, but everybody understands.
— No. It’s infantilism. Like a child who broke a vase, will be the last to prove that he is not broke. And they will be the last to prove that he did not know, did not understand what they said so on TV. They know and understand. Infantilism is a socio — political system in Russia characterized by the inability to take responsibility for their actions.
– When the situation for each individual, the attitude is changing?
— In each case in different ways. Most, of course, to see clearly. When they are in prison, you see. Some are opposition. But there is the same, Sewaside (in 2008, during Russian-Georgian war, a resident of Sochi, Oksana Sewaside sent an SMS to his friend about what he had seen Russian military equipment that goes in the direction of Abkhazia. In 2016 it is sentenced to 7 years in prison for treason in March 2017 Putin pardoned her — approx. ed.), who served, came and said: “thank you, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin”. Is Eugene Chudnovets (kindergarten teacher, who received 6 months in prison for a repost of another video, which was captured the moment with the punishment of a child; after a time the judicial conviction was overturned, approx. ed.) that came out and said, “Putin is our great. Our Crimea”.
Leonid Razvozzhayev, for example.
— Leonid razvozzhayev is a classic example. Served, and now criminalist that keep me seven.
– Coming back to an awareness of the war between Russia and Ukraine. When all these Ageev stop to go to the Donbas, to pay back the loans?
— Until it doesn’t. Stop, when the normal economic situation, free business, the ability to make itself at home in the city of Xiangfan (a city in the Sverdlovsk region of the Russian Federation — approx. ed.), who became famous due to the fact that there was the greatest number of reports on sending these people to the Donbass. I served there in the army — this XIX century, the absolute doldrums, alcoholism and prison. So for them the war in the Donbass — is the ability to see the world.
This man never in my life territory kamyshlovskogo district never left, except maybe in a prison in Magadan. Then he can go to Ukraine — he saw the world, and might yet become the hero that can save the Russian from the damned “fascists-banderovtsev”. That’s the whole motivation. Poverty, propaganda and “Hawthorn” (December 2016 due to the poisoning bath means “Hawthorn” died more than 70 residents of the Irkutsk region of the Russian Federation — approx. ed.).
– People live in the XIX century and go to war to see the world, but this does not affect the Putin regime. On what it rests — on the promotion or repression?
And on that, and on the other. Propaganda on the idiot box turned out to be a wonderful tool. I didn’t think the country can manage with the TV, but it’s possible. Before, I underestimated, but now say that these people get their money is not wasted. It should be understood that the propaganda fell on good soil — people really wanted the grandeur, Imperial. Russia still is Imperial and xenophobic country. In 1991, the country attempted to do a u-turn. Not out — and turned back.
When they say that Putin’s rating of 86% is a lie, such a rating had not. It supports most — 55-60%, I appreciate it. When there was a “Krymnash”, the rating really was at 86%, maybe even 90%. Now smaller. And Yes, Crimea is gone from the agenda of the average man in the street in Russia. When annexed Crimea, people have glassy eyes and they began to say that we are great, “our Crimea” Putin the great. It was impossible to talk.