July, 13

Semen Semenchenko: This is not Maidan, - this is Sich

11/13/2017 05:43:00 pm
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There are tents near the Verkhovna Rada since October 17. There are people near the tents, predominantly in military uniform. But despite the statements of authorities on the impending coup, nothing radical is happening. Moreover, at a certain point, the Minister of Internal Affairs even lifted the cordon from this camp. What are the results of action over the past three weeks, and what are the participants going to do next? This was told OstroV by one of its leaders, People's Deputy of Ukraine Semen Semenchenko.

- What are the results of your rally as of today?

- The results are excellent. We did this with guys from the Donbass Battalion and civic activists. We managed to ensure the safety of people. Because it is known that Poroshenko hysterically reacted to any tents in the governmental quarter, and they was pulled down in previous years. After we gained a foothold, all those people whom the active part, so to speak, did not like, left the action - this is the second. The third - we managed to unite with that part of the former military men, who are now the motivation of this protest and create the Movement for the country liberation without traitors and oligarchs. The fourth – we were able to establish cells in Vinnytsia, Poltava, Lutsk and Starobilsk in the Luhansk oblast, which also set tents on the central squares and inform people about the action. We have planned the following phases of the action – boycott of Roshen and physical blocking of a number of criminal businesses of Poroshenko, which he has with Medvedchuk, Putin and Akhmetov. We were able to maintain order here and stop all provocations. I believe that from the situation in which we were involved as a mass of random fellow travelers, we passed into a natural and organic for us action with a good base for development and activity.

- Do not you worry that there is no such grassroots support of the population as it was during the Maidan in 2013?

- I think this situation should not be compared with the Maidan. First of all, three years after the Maidan, almost all mass… media worked to separate the active part of the population. Volunteer movements were disunited, driven a wedge between each other and thrown mud at. People have an argument, why there is no need to do something – "The Maidan was just recently and nothing was decided". The second – if half of the oligarchic media worked practically for the Maidan, and the rest – showed it, now they are keeping silent about us. The third is the war factor. Many people are afraid that during the war, a social protest, a protest against corruption can provoke a well-known "Putin will attack" story. And the most important thing is the time factor. It is impossible in such a short span of time, to overcome all that the oligarchic media have been doing to the people for three years. Recall the blockade – the maximum number of participants never exceeded 200 people at the same time. But it worked… So I think that we should not be compared with the Maidan, this is not Maidan, there is no need for mass standings, - this is Sich. This is a place for communication, a platform for training people, an information center…

- Well, the fact that you set your camp just around the Rada, - is not this a factor of pressure on the parliament, or is there no such goal?

- This is a factor of pressure on the Rada and that is why we think the Rada voted yesterday for a new election law. But this pressure is still not enough, we need more.

- So, are you going to reinforce this process?

- The pressure on the President and the Verkhovna Rada? – Of course!

- The fact that oligarchic media do not write about you and do not show you – is this an indication that the oligarchs do not support you? But the fact that Avakov withdrew "protection" from your camp – is this is not an indication that you have agreed with Avakov?

- First of all, this was not a protection, this was a cordon. Secondly, he did not withdraw it, there were more than 500 policemen and national guardsmen yesterday, a lot of buses, and now there are many in the yards. And thirdly, does he have any other way out? He does not have the ability to disperse all this by force, because there are not grandmothers with sunflower seeds, but veterans of war, who warned that they are ready to fight, if necessary. The same "Donbass" is the former part of the National Guard. Therefore, any dispersal will only add people here. So, yes, such manipulations about alleged agreements with Avakov are being thrown into society, but they are irrelevant. That is why I voted yesterday (on November 7 – ed.) for the resignation of Avakov, because I consider him a negative character.

- By the way, I wonder why did, in your opinion, only 30 deputies vote for the resignation? Even the opposition factions, who often talk about political repressions, did not give their votes.

- This is an indicator of how many system and non-systemic deputies. This is an indication that Russia very often creates an artificial "opposition", in Ukraine as well.

- Why did not the factor of your pressure play a role in this case?

- We did not demand Avakov's resignation. And the pressure factor is still not enough for a real impact on the deputies. But this is the first more or less systematic anti-oligarchic protest for three years, with all its drawbacks. This is only the starting point. Do not think that this is the finish, which should be evaluated already as the rally’s final.

- What is next? The tents are not demolished, but there is no development. There is a threat - either they will get used to you and will stop paying attention, or you will have to break up by yourself...

- This is not planned like the Maidan - "we stay and wait until Yanukovych leaves". We issued an ultimatum to Poroshenko: to introduce a bill on the Anti-Corruption Court; to begin prosecution of ministers, deputies, officials for theft; and to introduce a bill on impeachment. None of this was done, so we clearly announced the pressure across the country on the criminal business of Poroshenko.

- It is possible to assume - in case of a certain situation, - an increase of the tent camp near the parliament and an increase in pressure?

- It is not only possible to assume, it is already planned. In addition, we will put such tents in each major city, they will become points of anti-oligarchic, anti-corruption resistance in the country. I think that we will be able to achieve significant and very serious results no later than February next year.

- You voiced the argument that explains the fear of the population towards such actions - "Putin can attack". Do you calculate this possibility and the foreign policy consequences of internal destabilization?

- Firstly, Putin cannot attack, he attacked long ago. Secondly, we know that Putin is fine with the current authorities. And thirdly, we know that a going foot is aye getting. As for the "destabilization", I think that a peaceful protest (even the U.S. ambassador said this in an interview) with no armed assaults will not destabilize anything. The main destabilizer of the situation is the government. It does not want to fulfill its election promises, does not want to stop stealing, does not want to stop the capitulation with the Minsk agreements. It does not help Ukraine to become what people wanted it to be on the Maidan. You cannot imagine worst destabilizer than that.

- One can often hear that the Americans support your protest and even finance it. Did Lutsenko mean this, when he said that you are preparing a coup for foreign money?

- They also said that Olijnyk and Kolomoyskyi are funding us. In fact, all the funding is... (well, the Movement of New Forces is different, they have a separate camp) – it is simple: every day we put up a can and post an account in Facebook. Lieutenant Colonel Akymovych is our chief of staff, he is also responsible for the funds. This is how money is collected. We contribute it to the work of the military field kitchen, firewood and soap, panties, socks, towels... That's enough. Yesterday, for example, the guys gathered $950. But yesterday was Veche, so many people came. The day before yesterday we collected $120. But in general, this is enough.

- You stressed that "there" is the camp of Movement of New Forces. Are there any contradictions between you?

- This is due to the fact that we do not support Saakashvili. We respect him as the president of Georgia, who has done a lot for his people, we respect the people who came there for him. We have many mutual goals. But we have our own way. We have clearly banned party flags. Here, different people, mostly military, united in the supra-political movement for the country's liberation. The goals are somewhat different, people are somewhat different - accordingly, the plans are somewhat different too.

- Let us say that there is a situation when Saakashvili's supporters are launching parliament’s assault. Your actions?

- I doubt it is even possible. There is no point in this, even Saakashvili talked about this. I think that now it would be more correct to quote the program of Movement for Liberation: we will not allow any coups or repressions. Therefore, if they attack either people or the parliament, we will prevent it. Because people cannot be beaten, and parliament’s seizure does not make sense. We need to change the system, we must clean it from the inside, and not engage in administrative seizures, giving the reason to declare us agents of the Kremlin. We need to join forces, increase the number of people and we will achieve our goals for sure!

Interviewed by Serhiy Harmash, OstroV