- Author says Kiev's blockade of east Ukraine has given rise to widespread smuggling which Ukraine army officers are very much a part of
- While impossible to verify this is very believable and would fit perfectly with what we have seen of other conflicts in eastern Europe
- Between the trade and aid from Russia and smuggling from Ukraine bread is now reportedly actually remarkably cheap in Donbass - thank god people aren't at risk of starving as during last winter
'Yura Sumy' is a Ukrainian blogger from the northern Ukraine city of Sumy who relocated to Russia after the Maidan and civil war
The biggest headache for all sides in the conflict is the social tension caused by a rapid decline in individual welfare. The West has cultivated the concept of the consumer for decades. Both at home and in the colonies. Largely successfully. Those who adopted the ideology became its faithful adherents. The ideal consumer is not worried about what’s happening around him, which makes him valuable to the U.S. But he has to be constantly fed (as the Strugatskiy Brothers, science fiction writers, perceptively noted). The consumer must consume in order to remain loyal, controllable, and predictable.
On this score, the Junta is doing very badly. The consumer noticed his “ration” has shrunk, he has “lost weight”, and his practically atrophied brains have come back to life. And he started to ask questions. That’s a very dangerous thing for the West, it’s what it fears the most. It is losing support and therefore it is coming up with all manner of devices to keep the starving consumer under control. Here are the reasons for the blockade of the republics, which has been pursued through a variety of strategies.
The first strategy was the destruction of social institutions on territories not under Kiev’s control–the withdrawal of civil servants and banks in late 2014. It struck a serious blow against those local inhabitants who wintered over in LPR/DPR. These people were on the brink of survival, which was useful to the Ukrainian media as something with which to scare their own people. But the first “blockade wave” was overcome after retirees were paid pensions and the civil servants salaries.
Incidentally, one of the greatest taboos on Ukrainian TV, then and now, are not the local inhabitants’ praise for the self-defense militia, but reporting the price of bread in the republics: 2 hryvnya 80 kopeks. Inhabitants of Ukraine: did you know about that?
Kiev developed a new plan in the Spring of 2015. Ukrainian goods which were cheaper than Russian ones would no longer be supplied to LPR and DPR markets. The idea originated with the former MVD (Interior Ministry) general, volunteer battalion crime fighter, and comic Gennadiy Moskal. It was also his idea to turn off water supply to the rebellious regions. A sort of a fascist “gauleiter in an embroidered shirt”.
Kiev thought the idea good and proper and ordered it spread to Donetsk. It led to a conflict between Donetsk military administration head Kikhtenko and Poroshenko. Kikhtenko, also a retired MVD general, opted not to become a fascist like his colleague but retired instead. Zhebrinskiy, who came to replace him, is an old nationalist who adhered to Moskal’s guidelines, which only created a new problem for Kiev, namely smuggling at the frontline.
Everyone is participating in smuggling: LPR, DPR, SBU, National Guard, UAF, MVD. Everyone has their own channels, structures, markets. Every participant gets a cut.
But that’s not Kiev’s, and especially Washington’s, main problem. LPR/DPR and Junta officers are growing closer together. It’s a good thing for the republics: the delivery of cheap goods is accompanied by opportunities to recruit junta officers and establish communications channels.
I have a great deal of assurance that the purge of SBU “moles” in the DPR occurred thanks to leaks of information directly from SBU archives. That’s why gauleiter Zhebrinskiy launched the idea of creating food markets on the line of contact and he’s making a show of fighting corruption on the border. Though it’s too early to talk about results.