(A)Political view into the East Ukraine Conflict. I say conflict, because it’s still an undeclared war, leading me onto point 1:
1: War which profits all sides in it, will not stop. Starting with trigger happy boys with a cause, to imperial ambitions from the East. The new Kyiv government, paraphrasing words I’ve heard from many Ukrainian soldiers, can use the situation to justify anything. In essence, this war is preventing a counter revolution – a Counter Maidan – if you don’t see the War in Donbass already as one. Anything constructive can be blamed on disinformation – a situation dangerously mirrored in Lithuania – which leads nicely onto point 2:
2: Bureaucracy and Permits. A truly marvellous heritage left behind by the departing – or strangely encroaching, depending on your viewpoint– Soviets. This ‘marvel’ affects all institutions, but probably nowhere as much as the military. Incomprehensible amount of permits needed for journalists to prevent the spread of already monumental propaganda – ‘fascist junta,’ anyone? Russia’s proxies seem to be effective enough – Novorossia TV, Russia Today and other opportunist spawns, such as Graham Philips. Yet, you have to operate in a bureaucratic mess of tens of volunteer battalions – under police or military jurisdiction – hundreds of government units, with their own commanders, press officers, people who think they’re press officers and commanders and finally- each checkpoint with their own commanders, which exist purely to f*ck with your day. Oh, and the whole clusterf*ck has to be somehow, miraculously, coordinated with the military intelligence. Unsurprising perhaps, that the whole situation is somewhat reflective of the whole war, excuse me, anti-terrorist operation.
3: The chronic malnourishment of infrastructure through collective corruption – perhaps another Soviet leftover. An anecdotal scenario developed for two French journalists in Mariupol – they kept asking a local Ukrainian if this, or that house were bombed. The answer was always the same: “No, it’s just East Ukraine.” Looking out the train window as I write this, I keep asking myself the same question – yet, it’s already over 200km away from the frontline.
4: Detachment. We have seen it in Europe during Iraq and Afghanistan wars – sands to Starbucks, people who were not involved in it one way or another did not look above their frappe-lattes. Sadly, this sluggish nightmare is happening within a single country. Yet, endless finger pointing persists: ‘Why didn’t they/you/he/she stay in Donbass and fight’ – said by those not going home for weeks to avoid the draft or behind computer screens in Kiev.
5: The sheer impotence of the ‘ceasefire’ observers OSCE and the spectacle of frontline tourist excursions- 3 hour wait for the Ukrainians to hide their tanks from OSCE and the Ukrainian press; Russians don’t even let these international war-sport referees get close enough. What ceasefire, anyway.
6: Spotting people from Donbass is easy – drop something loud on a train/bus/street and see how many people look-up with hastily concealed panic. Living through explosions does not make you numb, as pop-culture would have you believe. But then again, what the f*ck do I know.
Ultimately, not sure what picture to use for this post. A hero shot of yet another soldier, mirroring what the international press wants, or something just a bit more reflective of the very imperfect situation in the east – as with the imperfections of this photo.