EU opinion & policy debates - across languages |

116649At least it seems like the Kremlin bosses believe in this myth, repeatedly relying on it in certain cases of their foul subversive and propaganda acts. One of such cases is well known to us, Ukrainians, not by hearsay. This is namely the case involving Petro Getsko, who is, most certainly, the most ridiculous and odious “fighter against Ukrainian authority.” His actions based on no reasonable ground have always provoked sarcastic laugh. However, in the recent time the systematic nature of his actions as well as the obvious substantial support accorded to him by certain parties concerned to back up his odious but very consistent actions financially call upon Ukrainian authorities to bring to an end the illegal activity of Getsko.

Yet back in the 90s this agent of the Kremlin bosses started to stir up trouble in the Transcarpathian region upon the instruction of his Kremlin masters, pretending to be the true leader of the Ruthenians and the prime-minister of the ephemeral state called Transcarpathian Rus, whereas actual leaders of the actual Ruthenian movement refuse to have anything to do with him. Getsko started a very powerful anti-Ukrainian propaganda campaign in the Transcarpathian region, calls for rebellions against the legitimate Kyiv authorities and for armed fight for the independence of the region, the only goal of which is to please Russia that is dreaming to see the most secure part of the Ukrainian rear drowned in blood just as Donbas region currently is.

However, Getsko has to be rendered his due in his ability to adopt even the most lowdown experience of his teachers and, at the same time, bosses. The first example of this is the gas blackmail – the move, totally analogous to the favorite and so frequently one applied by the Kremlin. Getsko says that if Kyiv does not agree to the conditions propounded by him, Ukrainian authorities will have huge problems with the gas infrastructure in Transcarpathia. Just as in the case of the Kremlin gas wars, Getsko’s threats of the very same character are addressed not only to Ukrainian authorities, but also to the whole of Europe, as the infrastructurelocated in Transcarpathia influences the possibility of Europe to have warm winters just as much as Kremlin decision to transit gas through Ukraine. In this context another Kremlin skill successfully adopted by Getsko can be traced – the gift to lie blatantly and convincingly, distorting facts both about the irreplaceability of the Transcarpathian gas infrastructure and the imaginary financial hunger of the region, underfunding of which is allegedly a well-planned cynical step on the part of Kyiv. Given the obvious easy-accessible and, as opposed to the Getsko statistics, reliable data displaying the subsidized nature of the Transcarpathian economy, Getsko’s words seem to be a cheap bunch of lies, whose cynicism is deserving contesting with the Kremlin.

It is very interesting to look into the pattern of Getsko’s ties abroad, both with Russia and with unexpectedly great amount of European states. The first thing worth emphasizing is that Getsko has chosen Russia as a platform of spreading his anti-Ukrainian propaganda. He has fixed contacts with representatives of the State Duma committee on the CIS Affairs, such as the renowned anti-Ukrainian public figures Zatulin and Sokuro, who certainly do not support the anti-Ukrainian activities of Getsko in the Transcarpathian region only in words, but also in action and, especially, money. Also the criminal is very active in spreading his anti- Ukrainian propaganda namely through Russian mass media. Along with that, statements Getsko makes through these mass media channels are very serious as these are the pleads to recognize the Ruthenians as an independent nation and calls upon Russia to provide military power to support the separation of Transcarpathia from Ukraine. And now, here is a question – why does he do all this through Russian mass media? The answer is evident — where else, than in the souls of the “bearers” of the Russian spirit and of the ones blessed by the “Russian world” concept, to find support? These are the perfect people to disseminate propaganda among, as they are namely the ones, that supporting Putin by 90 percent of their total will make the President say “What can I do? The oppressed nation is crying for help and their Russian brothers and sisters call upon me to help them.” In thiscontext another clue is the statistics, taken by Getsko out of thin air, claiming that 41 percent of the population of the Transcarpathian region (not just Ruthenians, but of the whole population of the region!) want the region to become a part of Russia, whereas another 27 percent demand independence. In the absence of any references to any source whatsoever, such bold distortion of facts leaves far behind many statements made nowadays by Moscow by the level of its absurdity. These are only other statements by Getsko that are capable of surpassing this one by their cynicism, like the one that the Ukrainian authorities possess administrative buildings in the region illegally, and that they have to leave these buildings immediately. However, Getsko’s hypocrisy goes so far as to demand schools and other institutions to be built at the expense of the Ukrainian state budget. Hm.

Contacts of Getsko in Europe are even more interesting to analyze. The nature of these contacts make an impression that Getsko follows the groove left by the iron boots of the Kremlin bosses in some Eastem-European countries, which nowadays are the most active protagonists of Russia in Europe. These countries include, before others, Hungary, relations of Putin with the president of which are not only warm but also disturbing, given the last visit of the Russian president to Hungary and the secret negotiations conducted; Slovakia, which is the asylum for many of the Getko’s contacts and, to a great extent, Czech Republic. The principal contacts of Getsko in the Eastern Europe are O. Gegalchiy, the CEO of the “Russkaya Premia” fond and S. Helemendik, the head of the “Good force” project. These are namely similar organizations that are Getsko’s intermediaries in his contacts with the right-wing parties of the parliaments of these states and in his attempts to make these parliaments vote for recognizing Ruthenians as an independent nation. Suffice it to look at the names of these organizations to understand where the support comes from. It is interesting that connections from the both activists mentioned go to such Russian right-wing organizations as the party “The great motherland”, “’’Trade union of Russian patriots”, “The Fund of the Historical Perspective”, the “ Russian World” Fund and others. Now, giventhese obvious facts what other clues are needed to dispel any illusions left?

It is very interesting to consider the fact why it is namely this region – Transcarpathia – that is so important for Russi to influence. In fact, this is not obvious at the first glance, as spreading any anti-Ukrainian propaganda here is literally a suicide not only in virtue of it being extremely hard to do that in this part of Ukraine, but also because of the danger to spread such ideas in the expressly pro-Ukrainian region. But suffice it to have a look at the geography of Russian interests on a greater, regional scale, and it becomes obvious that there is a clear pattern Russia follows, the essence of which consists in encircling Ukraine by pro- Russian formations. Purposes of such strategy do not need any commentaries given the fact that the leader of the neo-stalinist Russia has started measuring the world in other borders than we are used to.

Starting from the 90s Russia has settled in Transnistria, having quartered a great amount of its troops right under the south-west border of Ukraine. In the next decade Russia has enticed Belarus to the Customs Union, by which Russia has de- facto extended its own territory. In 2014, having conducted the most violent move in its modern history, Russia annexed Crimea, ensuring the southern front for itself. Therefore, nowadays Russia has literally managed to encircle Ukraine from almost any side – from the east, the north, the south and from the south-east. Such a situation gives Russia great opportunities not only to pressure Ukraine but also to carry out any invasion scenario it deems appropriate in case Ukraine enforces any policy whatsoever that is inconsistent with Russian plans. Russia’s desire to form a firm platform in the Transcarpathian region is a bonus, a kind of an end game, however, of no less importance, to this campaign Russia carries out. For the latter this last chord is simultaneously very important in the sense of propaganda, as penetrating in the region considered to be the most pro-Ukrainian possible will undermine the territorial integrity of Ukraine in a place, where it is the least foreseen, and in the sense of putting a loophole on the neck of Ukraine with a viewto chocking it to death.

Nevertheless, Russia has turned out to be a bad strategist in many issues connected with playing the Ruthenian card. Everything could have worked out if the real Ruthenians were not shocked with what Getsko is saying and doing and if they did not express their bewilderedness and shock. This is the main miscalculation Russia did during the whole campaign – it managed to create a fake leader of Ruthenians to make an image of their being oppressed by Ukrainians but it failed or just did not want to hush the real Ruhtenian movement, represented by several dozens of organizations in Transcarpathia, which, however, do not include “Rusinform”, “Ruthenia”, “Russian-Ukrainian Union” or any other organization established by the Kremlin envoy. To the contrary, representatives of the real Ruthenian movement not only deny any information about their “participation” in some illegitimate Ruthenian congresses organized by Getsko and their “signatures” under some final documents of such congresses, learning about them from mass- media, but also support in their own meetings and conferences the Ukrainian policy of decentralization, democratization and European integration, cooperating

Author :
EurActiv Network