That’s fascism - an opposition activist who fled Putin visits Ukraine

“That’s fascism”

An activist of Bolotnaya protests tells what he saw in Ukraine: This Russian anti-Putin opposition member was shocked by reality.
Mr. Aleksei Sakhnin, who fled to Sweden after Bolotnaya events, wrote his impressions from a
nine-day travel to Ukraine in a letter to an imprisoned Russian opposition activist, Mr. Aleksei Gaskarov. According to him, all “liberal mantras” about democratic nature of the new Kiev authorities are lies.

As Sakhnin wrote in his message, published by, the picture and the feeling given by
the Russian media of the current Ukrainian events are generally correct. Speaking of the “march of liberals” the author blames them of overt bias and “transforming from peace campaigners into supporters of one of the conflicting parties”.

“You know, Ukrainian propaganda was a big one to me, too. After many years of a relative pluralism, what I saw now was really striking. We visited the editorial office of one of the more moderate agencies - ran from Kiev, but by some people from Lugansk, and some former left-wingers take part in it. They are sort of opposed to torture, kidnapping etc. But there is a large poster size sheet on the wall stating the goals and principles of their editorial policy. The first of them being: “Create favorable atmosphere for the Anti-Terrorist Operation”. That is, instigate war. That’s the selection principle for their publications. Anything consistent with the “atmosphere” is published without verification. Anything contrary to it just is not published. Not to mention pro-government TV. NTV and LiveNews could learn from them”, he writes.

“Aleksey, I swear to you, civil war is what’s taking place there. Not foreign intervention. Internal
war. In Odessa it was the scariest” - writes the Bolotnaya activist. “7 out of 10 ordinary people – taxi drivers, retired people renting rooms to guests, waiters, passengers of shuttle buses are exchanging pass-phrases: junta, fascists, etc. No sociology here, that’s not possible there now, but my feeling is that they are the majority in the city. And you cannot imagine the tension. Typical words from a taxi driver: “we are just waiting until we can have our revenge”.”

The other side is more peculiar, notes the author. “We interviewed the Right Sector (I came
there as a Swedish journalist). The guys there are mostly 18 year old enthusiasts. They are completely like those who came to the Left Front in Russia back in 2011. Same naive and inexperienced dreamers. They consider Mussolini and Franco their role models. They say: whoever doesn't like our new Ukraine - pack your stuff and go to Russia. That’s an actual fascist
organization, and youngsters are flocking to it in droves.”
According to Sakhnin, the so-called moderates are even scarier. “Just imagine: a nice office in downtown. An armored car near the gate. A crowd of thugs with assault rifles in the courtyard. And a map of Ukraine. These are the “social moderates”. Business guys gathering funds for patriotic needs. They set up a large-scale system. They get enough funding for equipment and their own "volunteer battalion" and scores of armed goons near their office. You get that - they
are nobody, no official status, but they have the actual power: money, weapons, organization. Official authorities are unable to do anything against them. Their views are moderate as anything. The we-hate-nazis-they-are-provocateurs stuff. But when I asked them: you’ve got half the city of dissidents, how are you going to live along with them? That’s what they said, word for word: “We’ve got a compromise for them. They lay low. If they want to talk about "the junta", they whisper in their bathrooms. If they go out to the streets, we start shooting.”

“You think what you will, Aleksey, but that’s real fascism. Even without the swastika clowns.
And there are lots of folks like that in Odessa and elsewhere. Their capacity for civic dialog is reduced to “we start shooting”. Plus they have weapons, money, and organization. Those are not empty threats. They have already shot people. And everyone saw that” - Mr. Sakhnin observes. “Well, to sum it up. Ukraine is split. This is a solid fact, not just Russian propaganda. That’s
true for South East, at least. The tension is so high that any outbreak will result in civil war everywhere. Without any Russian intervention.”
Note: Mr. Aleksei Sakhnin, coordinator of the “Left Front”, fled to Sweden about a year ago
asking for political refuge. He thinks that Russian authorities were preparing to prosecute him for instigating the riots on May 06, 2012.