As it is known, it is difficult to resist the temptation of money. This sin has been inherent to humanity since ancient times. The most well-known example is the biblical character Apostle Judas, who betrayed his teacher and spiritual mentor Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. But the Bible claims that the greater sin lies not with the one who succumbs to temptation, but with the one who creates it.
Russia, which boasts its religiosity, benevolence and sanctity before the whole world, incessantly shouts about its reverence for observing church canons and preserving the values of the traditional family, has revealed its true diabolical essence in the conflict with Ukraine. In addition to bloody sins, it bears the sin of human degradation.
From the early days of the seizure of Ukrainian territories, the local population was "hooked on the needle of dependency". Initially, it was the white trucks bringing humanitarian aid from russia to the long-suffering "people of Donbas". They provided so many food packages per family that people soon forgot that they had lost their jobs, a stable monthly income and simply a normal life. Or, if they didn't forget, they stopped feeling the acute pain of loss.
Then various social benefits began being paid. Yes, they were quite symbolic compared to food and utility bills prices, but on television, they tirelessly talked about how these allowances were significantly higher than in the "Nazi" Ukraine. And people willingly believed it because they had a real advantage over those who had left Donetsk: they had their own housing, and utility rates remained at pre-war levels for some time.
The residents of the "DNR" were also motivated to obtain passports of the fake "republic" with money. Payments of 10,000 rubles for school-age children could only be received by the "citizens", i. e. those who possessed the "republican passport".
When the campaign for issuing russian passports began, the kremlin came up with another bait to increase the number of "volunteers": if you receive a passport, you get 10,000 rubles. Just like that. Well, who would refuse free money! And indeed, after this promise, the people became more active. However, later it turned out that only those who had registration on the territory of the russian federation could receive the payments. For many, this proved to be impossible. After that, the queue for russian passports significantly decreased.
After the "passportization" of the most greedy individuals, to increase the number of "russians" in the occupied territory they decided to target people of reproductive age. More substantial amounts of benefits were introduced, known as the "maternity capital". This is a special program of the russian federation for state support of russian families with children in the form of monetary payments from the budget, which, starting from 2021, was extended to residents of the "LDNR" who managed to obtain russian citizenship. For the first child, the family was eligible for 483,881.83 rubles, and for the birth of the second child, this amount increased by 155,550 rubles, totaling 639,431.83 rubles.
In February 2023, putin expanded the scope and, in his address to the federal assembly, proposed providing maternity capital to families from the "new russian regions" with children born since 2007. The payment amount was significantly increased. Now, for the first child, the family is granted 586,900 rubles, and for the second child born after 2020, 775,600 rubles.
I think that not many would believe it, but there has actually been an increase in the number of newborns in Donetsk. Young mothers with strollers have appeared in almost every apartment building. Therefore, the news about the construction of a perinatal center in the "capital of the republic" does not seem funny at all. Although at first glance, this information should only elicit a condescending smile since, according to the prevailing version among russophiles, "Donbas has been bombed for 9 years" and "we are being killed". But it turns out that the people in Donetsk are willing to have children for money. And why bother thinking about the "happy" childhood they will have in a war-torn country?
In February of 2022, when the evacuation was announced and buses were transporting Donetsk residents to the territory of the russian federation, all "evacuees" were promised monthly payments of 10,000 rubles and comfortable accommodation in hotels and resorts. They did not deceive with the money, but only a few were lucky with housing. Many were brought to unheated buildings of children's health centers, some were given a cot in the rural school’s gym, and others were simply left in front of abandoned buildings. Those who were not prepared for such ordeals returned home within a week. They still had money for a ticket, left from those 10,000 rubles they were given as assistance.
The "special operation" called "evacuation" is still ongoing in the territory of the "DNR". It was launched on February 18, 2022, when putin instructed the government to provide monthly payments of 10,000 rubles to every refugee arriving in the Rostov oblast from Donbas. Nowadays it is not necessary to "evacuate" in order to receive these "refugee" benefits. The main thing is to come there and sign all the necessary documents. In social media, this service is offered for a certain fee and can be done in just one day.
The endless queues at the border between the "DNR" and russia eloquently demonstrate that the number of greedy individuals in the "republic" is not decreasing. Individually or in organized groups, they travel to the Rostov oblast once a month to enrich themselves by 10,000 rubles. Some try to justify their actions by saying that it is a kind of compensation for their ruined lives, and the "refugee" benefits would be handy for their family budget. But they forget that in exchange for these 10,000 rubles, they have renounced their Ukrainian citizenship. And this goes beyond the "something is better than nothing" way of thinking. Because essentially, they have betrayed their country, which is doing everything possible to drive out the invaders from the occupied territories and reclaim Donbas under Ukrainian jurisdiction.
When the dictator putin signed a decree on the deportation of undesirable citizens from the occupied territories, as a sweetener, they spread a rumor that pensioners who have russian passports would have their pensions recalculated. Of course, fairy-tale figures of minimum 28,000 rubles payments were announced, when half of russia's population receives pensions of only 12,000 rubles. And immediately it was clarified that potential "foreign agents" would receive 10,000 rubles, and only until July 1, 2024, and then they would be deprived even of these meager amounts if they do not accept russian citizenship.
It was time for gullible pensioners who receive the minimum pension to rush for russian passports. They lined up in orderly rows at the migration offices, and representatives of the mass disinformation services were quick to produce "truthful" stories about how many residents of Donetsk want to obtain russian citizenship. Although in reality, these people do not care about which country to be a citizen of. However regrettable it may be to realize, for many of them, the important thing is to snatch as much money as possible.
The Bible says that Judas soon realized that he had committed an unjust act. "When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. ‘I have sinned’, he said, ‘for I have betrayed innocent blood’. ‘What is that to us?’ they replied. ‘That’s your responsibility’. So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself". (Matthew 27:3-5).
"The chief priests picked up the coins and said, ‘It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money’. So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners". (Matthew 27:5-7). By the way, this place has another name – the Field of Blood – because it was bought with the money shed for innocent blood.
Will those people from Donetsk who betrayed their country for 30 pieces of silver ever repent? Not due to political convictions – it’s out of the question – but because of money? Will they ever feel the guilt for turning once-developed industrial region of Ukraine into a Field of Blood, a land soaked with the blood of innocent people?
Liusia Molchanova, Donetsk, for OstroV