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A message from inside Ukraine

Published On: Mar 04 2014 07:55:23 PM CST
Updated On: Mar 04 2014 08:00:09 PM CST

Ukrainian student Sergiy Gogolenko

Sergiy Gogolenko was a student at UC Davis studying abroad from his native Ukraine. As part of a program sponsored by a Northern California Rotary club he visited the Northstate where he stayed with a local Red Bluff man. When Sergiy's onetime host, Ev McDonough learned of the situation in Ukraine he sent Sergiy this message:

Hi, After reading today's headlines I am concerned about your country and you. In three weeks another group of international students from Davis will be visiting. My cats and I would enjoy another Sergiy. My best to you, Ev

After a day of waiting Ev received this message from Sergiy, detailing his observations on the unrest in Ukraine:

Hi Ev,

So glad to get a message from you! Yeah, wish to be this lucky guy, who visit you this year! At least, it might be very cool to get a couple of photos from this new Rotary Trip as a reminder about lovely time in lovely Red Bluff city with its amazing citizens and other guys. Miss you, folks, and that time.

This is so much pleasant to know that someone on the opposite side of the Earth is concerned about my country.

So now some words about the atmosphere in Ukraine. This is so much pleasant to know that someone on the opposite side of the Earth is concerned about my country. First of all, me and the most of ordinary Ukrainians are totally Ok, but, yeah, the situation with Ukraine as a country is somewhat tough. Nevertheless people believe that they will live in the same country in the future. I'm in the second largest East Ukrainian city -- Donetsk, where everything is fine so far. Actually, Donetsk is the only one big city in Ukraine which was totally calm over the last three months except this Saturday. This Sat there was a pro-Russian meeting with about 3 thousand participants. The same stuff happened in all major eastern and southern Ukrainian cities right before Russian senate legitimate Putin's petition allowing Russian military intervention  in Ukraine. But on Sunday everything was calm again. Only a few tents appeared in front of the main administrative building and almost no people there. Everything is much more complicated in Crimea. Some "unknown" well equipped soldiers encircled all Ukrainian military bases and administrative buildings in this peninsula. Ukrainial soldiers are deprivated from electricity and asked to go out or take Russian side. Each Ukrainian soldier is allowed to leave the base but nobody can come in including those who carry food. People in Crimea are encouraged to take Russian citizenship by these "unknown" soldiers and new Crimea "government" (it is enough to write and sign an application).

People in Crimea are encouraged to take Russian citizenship by these "unknown" soldiers.

And some people really do change citizenship (fortunately for Ukrainians just a few "new Russian citizens", unfortunately these include some officials, and 9 out of about 700 elite police officers). Crimean tatars decided to join Ukrainians. But actually, Crimea is really a region where ethnic Russians dominate (about 2/3 of population). Crimea is getting prepared to referendum about sovereignty, joining to Russia, or staying with Ukraine (if the latter item will be in bulletins). Ukraine and Russia are getting prepared to something. Both countries are on heightened alert. Ordinary Ukrainians wait.

Fortunately this "war" is only a "media war" so far. In contrast to Ukraine, in Russia almost all media are under control of acting Russian government/president. So everything is one-sided on their TV news,... so much one-sided. Russian TV news claim that eastern and southern Ukrainians are deprivated from Russian TV channels, whereas I watch these news on their TV channels. Russian medias started to show actively the videos of Saturday's meetings in order to convince listeners that half of Ukraine is covered by "anti-Ukrainian protests" which is of course non-sense... and so on and so far. But who cares, they just want a support from ordinary Russian citizens. Moreover, Russian news still annonce that the "unknown" soldiers in Crimea are from self-protection groups, similar to groups of pro-Ukrainian protesters in Kyiv. I mean probably all mass media show things in blurred colours, but the way Russian mass media do it, is realy funny for those who live in Ukraine. It looks like we are not their target audience.

Fortunately this "war" is only a "media war" so far.

Too much politics for an email. Must be boring. :) Sorry.

 

Best,

Sergiy