The Fate of Automaidan leaders: experts weigh in

 Photo source: ipress.ua

One of the Automaidan leaders, Sergey Koba, left the country out of fear of persecution by authorities, another leader, Dmytryi Bulatov, has been out of contact for several days. The latter’s wife has filed an application to the police in regard of his disappearance; and a criminal case under clause “intentional murder” has been instituted. SLED.net.ua asked experts about the fate of Automaidan leaders and activists and what awaits them in the near future.

Tatiana Chornovol, Euromaidan activist, journalist:

It is a real state terror, organized by the Yanikovych mafia and aimed at extermination of all activists. What is interesting is that on a large scale there is nothing able to restrain him. The President of Ukraine has a psychological deviation typical for maniacs. The man who thinks nothing of crossing the line and taking people’s lives. We can’t find Dmitriy Bulatov for over two days running. I think that the situation is as worse as possible. They have no levers of restraint. People die twice: those who managed to survive during the first attempted assassination await the second one. I am urging the police and army to defend the people and the future of their children. Time to stop serving Yanukovych’s looters.”

Oleg Eltsov, journalist, chief editor of the web-site “Tema”

“After beating up the Automaidan activists by ‘titushkas’ and ‘Berkuts’, everything clicks into place. There is no more police in the country, there is an organized criminal society and nothing good will come of it. The question of police performing their duties is not discussed at all. Probably, negotiations will bring some fruits, as history knows cases when thieves decided against acts of outrage. Reforms are one way of improving the situation. Departure of Koba reminded me how not uknown Denis Oleinikov ran off abroad (the owner of “ProstoPrint” company that produced goods with scandalous phrases “Thanks to the people of Donbass…” – ed. comments). How can they support us from abroad? What do other Automaidan activists have to do, those who don’t have the same status as Sergey Koba? Cars are being attacked, including cars with women inside… Not everyone can run away. So, you won’t hear any word of support for the escaped leader from me.”

Stanislav Rechynsky, journalist, chief editor of the website “ORD”

“Unfortunately, I am not familiar with the details of attacks on  Automaidan activists. Though, it is clear that the actions are taken in line with the old police method: people are kidnapped, hidden in different places one by one. So I can’t condemn people who run away. Everyone has one’s own circumstances, there is always risk of being racketed… I understand Portnikov very well: being the journalist number 1, he could have been killed easily. Sometimes it is necessary to save one’s life, and then to act. Thus, there is reason in the actions that Koba is planning to perform abroad , like any kind of initiative.”

Andrey Lavrik, journalist, co-editor of the website “CRIME.in.ua”

“The Automaidan activists and leaders don’t stand a chance, since they are already being hunted. They or members of their families could be kidnapped or killed. We have a few precedents already. Koba’s escape is absolutely logical! Put yourselves in his place. One shouldn’t call him a traitor, since in this situation he is of little use for his comrades. It is likely that Sergey as a leader is being openly hunted. He could feel himself safe only in the House of Trade Unions guarded by the national self-defence groups. Outside Koba will be arrested immediately or, even worse, taken away to the forest. Being at gunpoint, Sergey can’t help in any way. He may be of some use for his comrades abroad. It is early yet to make unfavourable forecasts about the disappeared Bulatov.

Nevertheless, I have to state that systemic terror is started against Euro- and Automaidan. I am afraid that Dmitriy is just keeping a low profile and waiting for the situation to change, less and less chance of that day by day… I have some experience in mobile squads of “Night guard” in 2004. I dare to assume that in comparison to what the Automaidan activists face at present my experience was a merry cake walk. I can’t advise anything reasonable to them. Only a commonplace thing: take care of yourselves!”

Maksym Savchuk, journalist, for “Exclamation Mark”, a program of journalistic investigations at “TVI”

“Unfortunately, I am not familiar with the details of escape of Sergey Koba. However, this fact evidences that the situation in the country has worsened. I can’t condemn the people who save themselves! They have a choice – either to fight and hold on to the last, or to leave the country in search of a better fate. We all have a natural desire of living fairly, freely and honestly. If people don’t see such possibility in this country, they leave, even those who really love Ukraine. Two of my friends went to Canada and the first thing they did there was to get in contact with representatives of the Ukrainian diaspora, to keep together, to communicate and always remain Ukrainians. They promise to return as soon as we change something here. We have to do justice to our brothers abroad: they do everything to let everyone there know about the Berkut’s abuse of power, about what the authorities have done, how people are killed, how people oppose that. Activists in Spain spread leaflets in Spanish around the Tulub’s mansion about the evil deeds of the minister.

The events of the last three days resulted in that the news that the loss of people is perceived as deplorable statistics. So, when the first death sounded as tragedy, at present people understand that revolution incurs its losses. Unfortunately, the limits have been overstepped. People do not fear death anymore. Fighters on Hrushevskoho St. know that this day may be the last in their life. The authorities created themselves the conditions that can be settled only by resignation of Yanukovych. Guys from the “Right Sector” acknowledge that it is their only goal. Because in the event of alleged calm, when Maidan breaks up, there begins the time of repressions. Without Maidan, there will be no critical mass ready to defend the persecuted.

Zakhar Chystyakov, PR-man, journalist, managing partner in the “Agency of conflict PR – PR and Z”

The loss of Bulatov is quite twofold. It is even possible that the Automaidan leaders intentionally escalate the situation. On the other hand, the authorities may directly use the same technologies as during the murder of Gongadze, in order to cease the activity of car protesters. There is also the possibility of intervention of some yet unknown third party – kidnapping up to murder for the purpose of escalation.

Influential agents often apply to an authoritative person. I wouldn’t call the departure of Sergey Koba an escape, as I have first-hand knowledge of the fact that it is quite a cost-based campaign. I don’t think that Koba is such a schizo, excuse me, to continue these activities abroad of his own free will. Some believe that he enlisted the support of such influential agents.

Vladimir Boyko, journalist, expert.

“I was able to personally watch the activities of Automaidan in the few days before the assault. I personally warned them: in a few days they will deal shortly with you. These bandits would hand you over to the bandits at power; at the best case you would get a detention unit, at the worst case… Then these events happened. A witness managed to shoot the video that was shown on ICTV later. There was a dead body on camera. It is highly likely that it was Dmitriy Bulatov.

In fact, the Automaidan activists are just insane; they don’t understand what is going on in the country. They are doomed due to the foolishness of their own leaders. They get it into their heads that the non-violent actions of peaceful protest were still going on. That they don’t have to oppose or punish the bandits who kill them but to read them lectures and hand over to priests for reformation. I saw it myself how guys released titushkas who had come to Kiev led by the police colonel of Kremenchug. A day later they beat and seized the Automaidan activists. Their main fault is their confidence in their ability to catch bandits on Kiev streets and hand them over to the police. Or to educate them and let them go, having no experience or idea how to conduct educational work. What reconciliation may be under these circumstances? With whom, good people? An anti-criminal revolt is happening in Kiev! Besides, after the events on the Hrushevskoho St. 5 men have already died. Where are three more dead bodies? Maidan was assaulted intentionally to extract the bodies lying at the first-aid post on the Hrushevskoho St. It is a crime against humanity and a circumstance that should draw attention of the Hague Court-Martial.

Lyubomyr Ferents, journalist, for “Exclamation Mark”, program of journalistic investigations at “TVI” 

I don’t think that Koba is a coward. However, in the comments to his note about certain complaints in Munich in regard to his departure he indicates that the Automaidan activists helped him to depart. There it is seen that in Ukraine Sergey had one foot in prison – he was threatened with 15 years of imprisonment. In the conditions of some threat to his life and safety Koba weighted all pros and cons and took an optimal decision.

As for Bulatov, the information is highly controversial. When I spoke with him on the phone earlier, Dmitriy answered almost every time. Now the phone is switched off, he is being searched. I don’t want to make any unsubstantiated assumptions.

Experts were interviewed by Anna POTEMKINA, SLED.net.ua

 

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