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What Freedom Now Means in Ukraine

by Vaska

Here are the main points Anatoly Karlin, writing in “The Maidan Retroactively Criminalizes Itself,” makes on the repression which masquerades as freedom in the new, Empire-backed Ukraine:

“1) The utter hypocrisy (and hardheaded practicality) of a regime that came to power through an illegal coup on a wave of mass riots now banning the same thing that got them into power in the first place. And of course the incredibly hardline restrictions on free speech implicit in all this, which are and will continue to be abused (Your neighbor’s dog is too loud? Maybe he’s a separatist!).

Lest one think this all just talk, consider the case of Ruslan Kotsaba, a (West Ukrainian!) journalist arrested for making a video in which he came out against mobilization, which is strictly speaking without legal basis during a time in which war has not been declared, i.e. up till now. He faces up to 15 years in prison. This is just what is probably the most visible case; there have been sackings, denunciations, business shakedowns, arrests, and imprisonments for non violent expressions of different opinion (or allegations of such) on a scale that would have saved Yanukovych’s “bloody regime” had he been even a tenth as ruthless.
 
2) A corollary is that the results of opinion polls, which generally show drastic declines in attitudes towards Russia, while certainly real at some level, surely overstate the level of the decline. If you live in Kharkov and some unknown person phoned you and asked you for your opinions on Crimea then you’d have to be fairly brave or at least confident that you are dealing with an ethical pollster before voicing any opinion that goes against the Maidan party line.

3) As the Ukrainian economy plummets into the abyss with a helping hand from the IMF, the incidence of repressions (of which witch-hunts for separatists is but a part) is ratcheting up and this process will continue further because after all they will have all been organized by Russia. After all, what possible valid reason could a pensioner with skyrocketing heating bills and devalued savings living on $50 a month have for opposing the oligarchs who rule Ukraine? And with the regime having promoted plenty of neo-Nazis to positions of power, who’ll be happy enough to crack heads while the money continues flowing.

The fact that the regime is driven to such repressive measures is an indication that it does not enjoy firm and overwhelming support from the population. With things likely to get much worse before they get better, it is only a matter of time before the regime will have to drop what remains of its liberal democracy European values facade.”


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