Why I Left Crimea

By Andrei Nechayevsky
Translated from the Russian by The Russian Reader (original post)

“I would like to live in a province near the sea, but not in a place where ‘unreliable elements’ are purged.”

I am from Donetsk myself. My wife and I moved to Crimea ten years ago. We built a house outside of Kerch, in the backcountry. There isn’t a soul there in winter.

Suddenly, in February 2014, Russian choppers were flying over us every night. Then troops marched through Kerch. I saw it with my own eyes.

There was this fabulous thing: Russian religious pilgrims, columns of buses filled with people who were supposedly traveling en masse to worship Crimea’s Orthodox relics. I watched them change into army uniforms in a church yard.

Kerch was inundated with completely atypical characters: there were a huge number of Cossacks. I was getting hassled in town on the street, something that had never happened before. Drunken, fairly strong men would come up to me and ask, “Where you from, lad?” And this “lad” is fucking forty-five years old!

I got the feeling that everyone had lost their minds. Continue Reading

Novorossiya’s ‘Leftist’ Friends

The frenzied world-wide front is expanding
 Mercy to no one, no one, no one!
Stanza from 1989 Russian anarchists’ song Vintovka – eto prazdnik (The Rifle is a Holiday) by the Russian punk band Grazhdanskaya Oborona (Civil Defense)

By Aleksandr Volodarsky, originally published by Chetvyortaya Vlast’ and Translated by Michal Pszyk

The annexation of Crimea, the “Novorossiya” project, and the fight against the “Kyiv junta” are not supported in Russia alone.  There are political forces around the world, both marginal and relatively respectable, which voice their support for the separatists in the Donbass.  At times, activists themselves travel to the war zone as volunteers, but they mostly hold demonstrations in support of the separatist republics and pressure their governments to renounce their support for Ukraine and “stop the aggression against Russia.”Continue Reading

Russian Avant-Garde in the Age of Disinformation

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Transcribed from the 28 February 2015 episode of This is Hell! Radio and printed with permission. Edited for space and readability. Listen to the full interview:

 

“This is the funny thing: when people don’t believe in anything, when they’re cynical about everything, they’re actually incredibly easy to manipulate.”

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Long Way From Maidan: A Report from Donetsk

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Transcribed from This is Hell! Radio’s 27 September 2014 episode and printed with permission. Edited for space and readability. Listen to the full interview here:

“There’s a lot of real old-fashioned class antagonism at the heart of this. When, on top of that class antagonism, you add an actual war with shooting, it becomes really ugly.”

Chuck Mertz: Our guest, live from New York City, is Keith Gessen, founding editor of n+1 magazine. Keith is co-editor of the new collection celebrating ten years of the cultural literary magazine n+1, Happiness: Ten Years of n+1. Keith also wrote the piece Why Not Kill Them All?” on Ukraine for the London Review of Books. Good morning, Keith.

KG: Good morning.

CM: You start your story about a Mikhail Mishin, who grew up in a large town next to Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, for several years playing football, rising to the Ukrainian second league. Eventually, as you write, “his father helped him find work in the sports section of city government, where he lobbied for money for sports facilities and attended their opening ceremonies, where he always gave a short speech about the moral and physical benefits of sport. No scholar of languages, he was never able to master Ukrainian fully, which perhaps would have kept him from climbing higher in politics if things hadn’t taken a strange turn for him in the Donbas region earlier this year.”


I think this is a good place to start, because we hear so much about a Russian-Ukrainian divide in Ukraine. How would you describe that divide?

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