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"You have underliberated us". A typical story of a Donbass town 02/24/2017 10:02:00. Total views 1972. Views today — 2.

On May 22, 2014, pensioner Anatoliy Vodolazsky took the fishing rod and the Ukrainian flag, wrote a farewell letter to his family, and went to the Lenin’s monument in the main square of Druzhkivka.

Then Druzhkivka was not actually controlled by the Ukrainian government. The self-styled commandant Vasilievich from the Crimea ran the town.

In front of the monument to the Bolshevik leader, Vodolazkiy used the fishing rod as a flagpole and fastened Ukrainian flag to it. "The rally" lasted only for a few minutes. Soon armed men arrived and took him away in an unknown direction.

***

At the end of June 2014, pensioner from Druzhkivka Vasyliy Zander called his wife from the basement-torture to report that in 15 minutes he would be executed.

Zander got into the hands of supporters of the "Donetsk Republic" after refusing to shake hands with his friend, saying: "I will not greet you. You are a separatist. You took arms against my country".

They came for Zander at 4 am to the territory of the enterprise, where he worked part time as a guard.

***

On July 1, 2014, entrepreneur Mykola Merenkov was at his parents' house in Druzhkivka, when armed men broke into it, claiming to give them car keys and documents on the property.

In the basement, where he was placed, he was told that they will save lives of his wife and daughter, if he hands his property over to other people.

Merenkov was left in the basement to wait for the execution.

Druzhkivka-2014

Newspaper Druzhkivka Worker is the official printed newspaper of the Druzhkivka City Council. Its content of 2014-2016 period clearly delineates the turns of political events in the town.

On March 29, 2014, Druzhkivka Worker quoted the statement of the mayor Valeriy Hnatenko at an extraordinary meeting of local activists and the deputies: "Today, the number one goal is to prevent the split of Ukraine, to preserve its integrity. It is necessary to radically curb separatist sentiment and act only within the limits of the current Constitution of Ukraine. This is a manifestation of the highest form of democracy. If someone wants a referendum at the local level, it should be understood that for this you first need to amend the basic law. Then, these actions will be truly legal".

On April 17, Druzhkivka Worker, together with pro-government Druzhkivka on Palms and pro-opposition Our Druzhkivka published a "Message from Deputies of Druzhkivka City Council to Donetsk Regional Council". Valeriy Hnatenko, Borys Yuzhik (the chief editor of Druzhkivka Worker) and a number of deputies of Druzhkivka City Council demanded, to hold a regional referendum "on the status of the Donetsk oblast as a region of Ukraine" and "on the recognition of the Donetsk People's Republic", as well as "to recommend the management of cable television to broadcast Russian TV channels".

On April 19, they again quoted Valeriy Hnatenko: "The different calls from different initiative groups accumulate in the requirements of the federalization of the oblast or decentralized authority with broad powers to the regions, or autonomy, but any of these requirements must have a legal basis, otherwise it will be doomed to perpetual chaos, if not worse. Therefore, I believe that we need a legitimate head of state, which will determine the country's development in general and the regions through the will of the citizens via referendum... Change the flags is the other issue. Alas, sometimes people do not take into account the fact that it is a public symbol of a country. If Druzhkivka citizens are not satisfied with the current leadership of Ukraine, it does not mean they can abuse its symbols. Therefore, I believe that the decision of the City Council to put only the flags of Druzhkivka and the Donetsk oblast is correct. At least, until the stabilization of the situation in the country".

Hnatenko called people who had seized power in the region as "armed groups of pseudo liberators". Druzhkivka Worker also wrote that "the mayor said that today there are no people representing the Russian special forces or other security services in the town, there are no armed groups from the western regions. In general, the situation is controlled. The barricades at the entrance to Druzhkivka are provisional measures, it would probably be a good point to provide electricity, toilets, containers for garbage there. This issue is being discussed".

On the same day, April 19, Druzhkivka worker published Borys Yuzhik’s quotes about the Druzhkivka pro-Russian rally: "Several supporters of federalization and the creation of Donetsk People's Republic came to town from oblast center. I must admit: the rally was almost civilized, without any extremism and, characteristically, each speaker was heard. Some agreed with some arguments, some denied them. But there were also speeches, which received general support. How can you calmly accept the fact that the economy of the industrial region of Donbass swiftly flies into the abyss or the Kyiv leadership does not want to hear the opinion of the eastern regions of Ukraine? All this, of course, encourages people themselves to take up the economic system of their native land, where more than 80% of production is focused on the Russian market. Even a novice economist will understand that reckless run to Europe will be a crime against the millions of Ukrainians who live in the southeast, who will be left without work and therefore without a livelihood".

“Readers of Druzhkivka Worker have the right to know what kind of campaign materials are distributed among the protesters, – the chief editor of the municipal newspaper wrote. – I will not replicate agitation in pure form here, like "Donbass, get up!", but these two texts, I am sure, are very interesting. They are "The act of proclamation of state independence of the Donetsk People's Republic" and "Declaration of sovereignty of the Donetsk People's Republic". It is difficult to call these two documents perfect in legal terms, they are rather "intentions", the essence, which was planned to submit for a local referendum. Therefore it is very important to know the opinions of experts: lawyers, politicians, public figures, and people, concerned for the fate of Donbass. Their responses will be published in Druzhkivka worker".

On May 17, Druzhkivka worker published an article titled "Illegitimate, but the most mass scale" about the recent "referendum". "The wheel of history cranked another step..." - the author of the article concluded.

On June 21, Borys Yuzhik in an address to the readers reported that "today the newspaper Druzhkivka Worker is published in frontline environments. In order to avoid possible provocations, the offices of radio editor and newspaper editor will be taken under the protection of the town self-defense squad. Druzhkivka Worker is printed in a printing house in Donetsk, and you can imagine the difficulties we experience, bringing the actual newspapers to Druzhkivka... We have one purpose - our subscribers, the residents of Druzhkivka and surrounding villages must read the new issue on Thursday. There is not a request, but a demand for postmen: every fact of delay in delivery of Druzhkivka Worker will be analyzed and severely curbed. It guaranteed by the town self-defense squad".

On June 21, Druzhkivka Worker published an article of local history teacher Pavlo Morozov, in which he wrote that "it is no secret that the borders of the states that have appeared on the map after the Soviet Union collapse, often have a random configuration. Entire regions inhabited by Russian people appeared under control of independent national republics. Everybody knows about the Crimea, presented to Ukraine by Khrushchev. But almost no one remembers how the Donbass was forcibly incorporated into Ukraine... Today in Kyiv entire books are published, designed to justify the affiliation of this region to Ukraine. A fortune is spent on "Ukrainization" of the so-called eastern Ukraine, the heart of which was and has always been the Donbass. But the real history of the Donbass, the heroic and tragic at the same time, unfortunately, is completely unknown. It means that tens of thousands of residents of Donbass hardly realize how justified and legitimate claims of Ukraine on their ancestral Donetsk lands".

Promising to tell the readers the history of Donbass as he sees it, Morozov suggested that "maybe when this question is somewhat clearer, we will be able to somehow look at the past, present and future of Donbass not aloof, as if from the outside, but as on our own pain. As people, forcibly taken away from their historical motherland, the smart people, strong, proactive, capable of many good deeds. And I would like this "newly discovered knowledge" to inspire each of the residents of Donbass for action... "

The introduction to this article read "cycle of materials of the historian Pavlo Morozov", and called to "Turn on your brain, read, analyze, and be proud of the rich history of our native Donbass".

However, the readers did not have time to "turn on". On July 5, the Ukrainian army entered Druzhkivka.

Until then, several more issues of Druzhkivka Worker had been published, which disappeared from the electronic archive of publications after July 5.

The issues of Druzhkivka Worker, which no longer exist in the electronic archive

Cold war

The whole period when Druzhkivka was controlled by supporters of the "Donetsk Republic", businesswoman Iryna Kirikova managed to carry food and water for Ukrainian military through "republican" roadblocks, each time explaining to the local "militia" that she was going to feed her brother’s large family.

After Druzhkivka returned under the authority of Ukraine, Kirikova, the director of engineering college Viktor Bashtovyj and a number of other activists have begun to radically act against city officials, accusing them of separatism.

Confrontation of "two Ukraines" in a small town became clear at the end of the same 2014, when the mayor's office and city council, finding themselves in the changed realities, began to prepare for new elections. Then Druzhkivka Worker for the first time spoke out against local activists outside the "circle" of Valeriy Hnatenko. At the same time there appeared public organization Patriots of Druzhkivka, the founders of which were precisely those people whom Iryna Kirikova and Viktor Bashtovyj accused of collaboration with the ”DPR”.

On January 17, 2015, Druzhkivka Worker published an appeal to the residents of the town on behalf of a number of organizations close to the mayor. "At a time when Druzhkivka authorities in conjunction with the central authorities, the police and the Armed Forces of Ukraine maintain order, when all the forces are directed to the proper functioning of all town services, the destructive elements are again trying to stir up conflicts. Unable to understand that people need not shock, but peace and stability, they rally again and again, write denunciations and slander, again call for a revolution".

On August 16, 2015, in the midst of the election campaign, the municipal newspaper published the article titled "How many political parties are there in Druzhkivka?" The authors cited several registered in the early 2000s local branches of all-Ukrainian political forces, including those that had once collaborated with the Party of Regions. "What their charters, party slogans did good for Druzhkivka? Alas, the answer is unfavorable and ambiguous for our thinking readers", - was written there. Although the idea that the authorities that have made something useful, are already in the city council, was read between the lines, the anonymous article had one more message.

"However, the registration process continues, and readers want to know which political and social forces of the town registered in Administration of Justice in the current 2015. We will provide this information: 1. The public organization Druzhkіvka Hromada (12.03.2015, head - I.Kirikova); 2. Druzhkivka city organization of political party People's Front (30.03.2015, head - D.Balyk). 3. Druzhkivka city organization of the party Bloc of Petro Poroshenko "Solidarity" (23.06.2015, head - A.Zaytsev).; 4. Territorial organization of a political party Opposition Bloc (17.07.2015, head - V.Hrygorenko.); 5. Druzhkivka city organization of Oleh Lyashko Radical Party (17.07.2015, head -. V.Bashtovyj). Maybe these parties will deserve credibility of the residents with their deeds - only time will tell. And very soon. We plan to continuously inform our readers about the activity (or inactivity) of these political forces, their moral character, level and the party constancy of their leaders. Now they are public people. And you, dear readers, will help us too".

The local elections took place on October 25, 2015. Valeriy Hnatenko became mayor once more, but Viktor Bashtovyj also got the seat in the town council. The opposition grew gradually.

On November 14, 2015, Druzhkivka Worker wrote that, "unfortunately, judging by the number of "signals to the appropriate authorities", Druzhkivka, probably ranks first in the Donbass. The authors of these denunciations are well known to the residents: they were trying to destabilize the town council sessions, replicated the lie about the town and its inhabitants on television and at numerous websites. For some reason they believe that our people love Ukraine in the wrong way. Entrepreneur Iryna Kirikova informs the security service of Ukraine on the egregious facts in Druzhkivka. We will remind you about the business of the person: she is the owner of a smelly diner on 6 Kosmonavtov Str (in fact, Kirikova lets her premises on a lease - OstroV). The stench from this diner irritates residents of neighboring houses, they constantly complain to the city council and the police. But she has no time to manage the smell – she writes denunciations".

On January 16, 2016, the newspaper reported that "Druzhkivka Engineering College (director V.Bashtovyj) was unexpectedly visited by law enforcement officials. They sealed some premises, confiscated dozens of accounts folders, documents, attendance sheets, etc. According to the source of this educational institution, law enforcement officers suspect the college of issuing diplomas to people who were absent while exam sessions and almost did not take part in the learning process. Moreover, the law enforcers have information that all these crimes were committed for some funds".

On January 23, Druzhkivka Worker told about press conference of Valeriy Hnatenko, where he reported that he filed a complaint against the slander on the part of Iryna Kirikova. "When I was elected for the next term, I announced an appeal to everybody: let us finally sit down at the negotiating table, I am ready to shake hands with everyone, - Druzhkivka Worker quoted the mayor. - Unfortunately, there are some residents, who are constantly complaining to different instances, repeatedly write to the President, the prosecutor General, the Interior Ministry, Security Service, and use untrue facts against me. Patience can not be infinite. There are concepts such as libel and insult, so I went to court to deal with this sutiation. I am ready to submit this appeal to any court of Ukraine, to avoid accusations of bias".

On February 9, in Sloviansk Iryna Kirikova met a delegation of young parliamentarians of the Euro-optimists group who had a tour around Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts. Deputies were sent to Druzhkivka, where they also participated in several short events. But before that they and accompanying journalists were brought to the premises of the former torture chamber, which was opened on display for the first time...

In the torture chamber

"He scribbled on the wall... Somewhere here..." Olha Merenkova, the widow of businessman Mykola Merenkov highlights with a flashlight dark basement walls, looking for the cell, where her husband had been kept for five days. "Olha! - someone shouts from the far cell. - Here!" The spot of the flashlight trails to the scratched out word "Merenkov". "Here he was detained, he was tortured here," – the widow begins to cry.

On the day when they robbed their house and took Mykola Merenkov to the torture chamber, his wife and daughter went to clean up their apartment in Druzhkivka, from which they fled.

Their shop and café "Donbass", due to the volatile situation in the town, had not already been open, but entrepreneurs wanted to leave Druzhkivka only in the event of active hostilities.

The apolitical Merenkovs thought that they had nothing to fear. But those who came for Mykola Merenkov, were not interested in settling political accounts. "For the needs of the republic" was required the SUV of the entrepreneurs and their café with basements, where it would be possible to detain prisoners.

A young officer of the local police Artem Shuljak was the head of the armed militants. In addition, besides "republican", there were also personal interests. Olha Merenkova says that when the same group broke into their apartment after the robbery and the kidnapping of her husband, Shuljak took, among other things, their gold jewellery.

Most of local officials and law enforcement officials stayed in Druzhkivka at that time and were aware of what was happening, but no one intervened. Even though the police and the prosecutor's office knew what had happened, Artem Shuljak kept serving in police for a few more weeks after the “DPR” militants fled Druzhkivka. Olha Merenkova says Shuljak sat in the next room, when she and her husband wrote statement for the police.

When the armed men took away Anatoliy Vodolazsky, breaking his fishing rod with Ukrainian flag, six or eight policemen who were "protecting" his action just stood aside to let the militants. No one was interested in the fate of Vodolazsky and hardly someone witnessed this incident. It was known nothing about the act of the pensioner from Druzhkivka until the video of his "meeting", which was shot by someone and put on the Web, had not caught the eye of the investigation team sent by Kyiv.

Vodolazsky was taken from the monument of Lenin to Kramatorsk, where he was beaten and knocked out all the teeth. Then he was sent to unload a car with sand. "One woman from Kramatorsk helped us greatly, – he remembers. – She is sent away – and she comes back and helps. She is told: "These are traitors and enemies, and you help them", but she still helps …". One of the "militiamen" insisted on the man's release after that, supposedly, having save his life.

Anatoliy Vodolazsky tried, but could not find that woman, and does not know anything about that "militiaman". But he saw photographs of two policemen of those who "protected" his action on the board of honor at the Police City Department after a meeting with investigators after returning of Druzhkivka under the control of Kyiv. Vodolazky says that they still work in the police.

When Vasyliy Zander was returned in the general cell after tortures and imitation of execution, he was taken to the hospital for bandage while bleeding after a while. But then he was coolly returned to escorting Zander armed men, although he asked: "Do not return. I will be killed there".

As concerns Valeriy Hnatenko, he has practically disappeared from the public space after the "referendum", giving a major role to Vasilyevich from the Crimea and the head of the Passport Office Vladimir Medvedkov who was known as the right hand of the commandant.

Artyom Shuliak became one of the few "DPR people" from Druzhkivka, who has been on trial. Nikolay Merenkov who had spent five days without food and water in a dirty condemned cell, afterwards got an oncology disease: he died exactly a year after his release. However, he, together with Olha Merenkova and one of their former employees, had time to testify against the policemen.

Many "DPR people" from Druzhkivka simply fled to Donetsk.

New twist

After the "excursion" to the torture chamber "Eurooptimists" went to meet the public of Druzhkivska in the auditorium of the technical school of engineering which is headed by Viktor Bashtovyj. And it became clear that the conflict that abruptly appeared in Druzhkivka in the first half of 2014, was still here. Groups of people who were not allowed in were standing at the entrance to the technical school and then at the entrance to the auditorium. As it turned out later, these were the city officials, deputies and representatives of pro-governmental public organizations.

The hall was already filled so that many had to stand in the passages. Local activists began to demonstrate the map of objects, which, according to them, the mayor had assigned, to the deputies. Then questions from the audience started. Whether because of the "support group" of the city government, which has gathered near the technical school, or because of the large crowds of people in the auditorium – elderly in the vast majority, the atmosphere was tense from the very beginning. The noise did not stop, everyone wanted to speak: there was no so much attention from Kyiv to Druzhkivka before. The head of the labor and social protection department of the City Hall of Druzhkivka Galina Nebogatikova has added fuel to the fire when she managed to squeeze to the microphone.

"Good afternoon! I am the deputy of the City Council…", –  further words were drowned out by the noise in the hall and shouts: "Shame!".

"Colleagues, let us not be like them when they do not give us a word, let us give them a word! – Iryna Kirikova put a word in. – I beg you, please!"

"I want to address the people's deputies, – Nebogatikova continued in bad Ukrainian. – I am the main controller, the head of the Social Services Office. Changes were made in funding and appropriation of subventions to the privileged categories of citizens of different cities and districts from January 1, 2016. These are travel privilege, thorough overhaul, sanatorium-resort health improvement. Druzhkivka need additional USD 740000 to finance the privileged categories of citizens. We have prepared an inquiry to the deputy Groysman. Maybe you would prefer to solve this issue? "

"But the laughing is not necessary, – the head of the Social Services Office suddenly said. – Ukrainian language is very melodious, and the fact that we are not able to talk… Including those who were laughing at, you are exactly the same! I want to address the deputy of the City Council, the director of the technical school of engineering Bashtovyj. This is an educational institution. The institution which currently has a curriculum, which should fulfill this curriculum. This event, this action that takes place here is not documented… Moreover, the city has alternative halls where you could meet and hold this meeting…"

The noise in the hall interrupts Galina Nebogatikova again.

"I have listened to all..! Moreover, the Verkhovna Rada adopted the law on decentralization. Druzhkivka passed all the stages, meetings with village and town councils were held, and it was an agreement of settlement and village councils to unite with the city of Druzhkivka. Tell me, please, you come here. We want to see peace and geniality from you… I have now an unpaid vacation. I am a public servant, and I have been laughed at now… – The last words are completely not heard because of the noise. – And I am not Mr. Azarov, I will not dishonor Ukrainian language".

While the official from Druzhkivka says, Dmytro Dobrodomov rises from a number of deputies near the scene to answer her.

"We are the first who want peace, – he starts. – This is for you to understand properly. We are the first who want our country to live for the clear rules, clear development, and the fact that there was a tragedy cannot be called in another way… The fact that there was a tragedy…"

"What a tragedy?" – Nebogatikova interrupts him with indignation and astonishment.

"If you think that battle action, separatism, killing of people and all the rest is not a tragedy…"

"In general – of course…"

"Look. I used to say, I used to argue. But I am not going to argue. I want to explain you that I worked as a journalist yesterday, as well as my colleague Serhiy. There are deputies here, who were in the public sector, dealt with legal companies just yesterday. We went to the Verkhovna Rada in order to try to change something. And it is very hard for us now. I have heard your words, the rhetoric of yesterday's "regional" survivors, I do not call them in a different way. – Dobrodomov is interrupted by a burst of laughter, applause and chanting of "Well done!", but he continues. – Your rhetoric… I am sorry, my friends, let us reduce the degree. I am talking about the rhetoric of others. It is hard for us in this country. Extremely hard. We collected the problems in the Luhansk oblast yesterday. We sat until the night and distributed who and what will do among us. Because there are extremely many problems. We want to be constructive. Not just to shout: "Everything is bad!", "Betrayal!", "The fool! – The fool yourself!" and so on. This is not us. This is the yesterday project. Do you think those yesterday politicians are from the other camp, are they different? No. You see it by yourself. And our goal for today: let us move on the constructive…".

Druzhkivka Worker has published an appeal to the Acting Head of the Druzhkivka Police Department on February 20, 2016, as well as to the office of Security Service of Ukraine of the Donetsk oblast and Public Prosecutor's Office of Kramatorsk prosecutor, accusing the staff of technical school and Viktor Bashtovyj in particular, that they did not allow some residents to a meeting with the deputies, abusing them, and allowing themselves to "represent the interests of a separate group and not the whole community."

Another similar text dated February 27, 2016 stated: "We, the deputies of the City Council from the Druzhkivka City Party organization of the political parties Nash Kray, Opposition Bloc and the party" Petro Poroshenko Bloc "Solidarity" in the city of Druzhkivka of the Donetsk oblast appeal to the city residents and law-enforcement authorities… Deputies (6 people) from the All-Ukrainian Union Batkivshchyna political party and Radical Party of Oleh Lyashko started to counteract the legitimately elected authorities and deputy corps almost from the first session. Instead of the course on a joint cooperation for the good of the city, this group, led by Viktor Bashtovyj (Druzhkivka city organization of the Radical Party of Oleh Lyashko in the Donetsk oblast), pursues policy of maximal separation and hostility mongering. Not having a support of the majority of city residents and media (except non-registered online media that are created on the Russian platforms, where false and unreasonable publications are placed in most cases), they chose the tactics of street rallies, blocking the City Council, paid-for TV reports. One such event was organized by V.Bashtovyj at Druzhkivka engineering technical school on February 9, 2016 in the form of a meeting with deputies of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine who call themselves "Eurooptimists'".

"All the deputies and heads of the city educational institutions were repeatedly checked by the Security Service of Ukraine on involvement in "separatism". All except V.Bashtovyj. Watching the activity of V.Bashtovyj, we want to mention that he is a repeated participant and sometimes an organizer of the unauthorized actions that cause a split in the community. Coming under the slogans of "true patriots" they spread discord and hostility among the citizens. Actions of the Radical Party and All-Ukrainian Union Batkivshchyna party not only do not unite the community, but separate it. These people aсt through the prism of stereotypes: wear vyshyvanka, put our flag on the windshield of car, wrap themselves in our flag, consider themselves "true patriots of Ukraine", invite TV channels and give the most absurd interviews and comments, without the construction, assemble and spread fabricated materials in social networks. Furthermore, it is a fact that the children of "patriots" moved to the Russian Federation. Proclaiming themselves patriots of Ukraine, they cannot freely speak in the national language, blaming all around of treason and separatism, sent their relatives to the occupants' country instead of blessing them to defend the borders of Ukraine from militants with honor!"

"The given persons keep symbols of the aggressor country, and possibly, the DPR"

A group of people with national flags gathered near the building of Druzhkivka City Court on March 3, 2016. There was a meeting at the suit of Valeriy Hnatenko against Iryna Kirikova. The judge considered the plaintiff's motion "on replacement of inappropriate defendant": the mayor called Iryna as Kіrykova in his lawsuit, although she is Kіrіkova in fact.

"The Court has sent copies of the suit materials to this address. Yes? Have you received copies of the suit materials?" – The judge asked Kirikova.

"But not on my name".

"Not on your name? Then… There was a receipt of the receiver… The signature is yours, as I understand, because there is a copy of the passport. This is you who receive it. Have you gained familiarity with the suit? Have you received a copy of the statement of claim and a CD with recording? "

"I have received it. But on the wrong name".

A voice from the audience:

"How could she read other people's letters?"

"Who is asking you? – The judge huffily says. – Are you Kirikova?"

"Please, forgive us".

"We are unlearned", – the comments emerge from the audience.

The meeting ends, but activists, having arranged there an improvised rally during the break, continue to discuss their cases and do not hurry to break up.

"That is all, comrades, go out!" – The employee of the court screams.

"Do not interfere".

"We are not comrades".

"You talk to the comrades and we are not comrades".

"We have a business! A criminal case will be listened now!" – The woman insists.

"Take the hooligans out!" – The people that are still in the audience are laughing together.

"Get out of here."

"Comrades! The judge comes out to hear the case!"

"Let us write a claim".

"A claim that we were offended by the word "comrades"!"

People with flags sing the national anthem near the entrance to the court. Iryna Kirikova right from the meeting goes to Kramatorsk to the meeting of the local activists with the staff of the regional administration and the envoys from Kyiv, from the Security Service of Ukraine.

"They say that they addressed nowhere, wrote nowhere, said nothing to no one… – Kirikova starts her speech in the Donetsk Regional State Administration moved to Kramatorsk, meaning  the claims of the part of Druzhkivka community to the city administration that has experienced times of the "Donetsk Republic". – I met Poroshenko, Avakov, all the services on July 8, I told them what has happened in our Druzhkivka: Help us to get off this terrorist government. These are betrayers of the nation! They brought this war into our homes. And they all did everything to fool the youth that starves and suffers now, that is not able to come back here because they feel like traitors. And our Hnatenko does not feel like a traitor. Unfortunately. And he has a cover somewhere. We searched out the Security Service of Ukraine in Sloviansk on July 8, 2014, and bring them in Druzhkivka from the first days of the liberation. As far back as I can remember I have not left Kyiv last year".

"These are the answers, – a thick folder with documents is before Iryna. She puts it on the table while she says. – Starting from the Presidential Administration where I talked with Yarema. Formal replies from the Prosecutor's Office, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Security Service. I am known there. I am probably the employee of the SBU. They have got Limonad cafe, where all the officials of the SBU have lunch. If you want to meet someone, you go in Limonad at lunchtime, take his hand and say: "I am from Druzhkivka. Let us do something for Druzhkivka!" They said that all the videos are needed – here they are! Each video! Each! Each! Each! This is the Security Service of Ukraine, have a look! This is to the fact that you do not protect us, the Ukrainians! We have been waiting for Ukraine, we have been waiting… But we do not see it here, – Kirikova starts crying. – You have liberated us not in full! And we want to… This is just one visit to the SBU. And I have got the whole folder here, have a look".

Druzhkivka Worker, July 3, 2016: "To temporarily assuming the responsibilities of the Head of Druzhkivka Police Department of the Main Headquarters of the National Police in the Donetsk oblast D.Nosov. Copies: to the Prosecutor of the Donetsk oblast, State Counselor of Justice of the third class A.Lyubovych, the Head of the Office of the Security Service of Ukraine in the Donetsk oblast, Colonel O.Kuts, the Head of the National Police Main Headquarters in the Donetsk oblast, General of Police of the third rank V.Abroskin.

28.06.2016 we, the deputies of Druzhkivka City Council, had the opportunity to be present at a solemn event dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Constitution of Ukraine. The Chairman of the Regional State Administration Pavlo Zhebrivsky, his deputies Ihor Stokoz and Serhiy Popov and other guests of honour from the Donetsk Regional Administration were invited by the residents of the city to share the festive mood. This celebration has a special meaning for every citizen of our state because, despite the heat, the younger generation of Druzhkivka has not left aside. Young talents of our city gave confidence by singing Ukrainian songs that everything will be fine in our country in spite of difficult times. But not considering the presence of children or speeches of the guests that a lot of Ukrainian guys protect our sovereignty, constitutional rights and freedom of every citizen of Ukraine today, ensuring the territorial integrity of our state, there still were citizens among the audience, who, in our opinion, are purely pro-Russian minded separatists. A Russian flag was shaken out by the citizens of Druzhkivka A.Vodolazsky and I. Kirykova during the rewarding behind the governor's and mayor's backs in order to create a shameful representation of thought that pro-Russian mood dominates in Druzhkivka. Considering the actions committed during a solemn event, we draw your attention to the fact that apart from the actions that are intentionally aimed at discrediting the state and local authorities, the given persons keep symbols of the aggressor country, and possibly, the DPR. We, the deputies of Druzhkivka City Council believe that the attempt to disrupt the solemn event dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Constitution of Ukraine in our city is nothing but a pre-planned action that is evidenced by the coordinated actions of the Community of Druzhkivka public organization, work of provocateurs and immediate spread of the information to Russian and pro-Russian media (there is a video confirmation of these facts)".

Full circle

Activists of Druzhkivska who opposed the city administration celebrated the Independence Day of Ukraine away from the official events on August 24, 2016. The day before someone said laughing that Valeriy Hnatenko arrived at the ceremonial presentation of awards to the Ukrainian military in vyshyvanka. The time has changed, and now Viktor Bashtovyj, Iryna Kirikova, Anatoliy Vodolazsky are "separatists" in the municipal newspaper. But Hnatenko did not win the court with Kirikova. The mayor simply has not paid the court fees, so the process stopped as it were on his own.


Anatoliy Vodolazsky with a new flag on the Independence Day celebration in Druzhkivka, August 24, 2016


Vasyliy Zander on the Independence Day celebration in Druzhkivka, August 24, 2016

The Mayor of Druzhkivka personally behaved all the time not as dedicated separatist, but rather as a talented and experienced political staffer, long ago accustomed to "fluctuate with the party line" – a feature of many Ukrainian mayors, which the system itself effectively teaches. Valeriy Hnatenko who blessed the "referendum" in Druzhkivka, managed to come off with a whole skin, when his colleagues from the close to Druzhkivka Sloviansk and Toretsk went on trial.

The old government quickly merged with the new. Artem Kryschenko, now the former Head of Druzhkivka Police, when coming to the new post in the recently returned under the power of Kyiv Donbass city, established contacts with local activists, but soon changed sides. Maryna Kryschenko, his wife, found a job in Druzhkivska City Hall and became a member of the local "Solidarity" of Petro Poroshenko, a list of which was headed in the local elections by the publisher and editor in chief of another city newspaper, Druzhkivka on Palms, Viktor Haiduk. As well as Druzhkivska Worker, Druzhkivka on Palms demonstrated a restrained loyalty to the "Donetsk Republic" in the first half of 2014.




"Druzhkivka on Palms", editions from June 25 and July 2, 2014

The person who delivered weapons from Sloviansk to Druzhkivka and worked in the Commandant's Headquarters of Druzhkivka has entered the list of "Solidarity". He still "votes" in the online surveys on his page on Odnoklassniki for the "Russian" Crimea, "mandatory" "trial of the junta" and a map where the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine are painted in the colors of the Russian flag.


Screenshot from the account on Odnoklassniki of one of the candidates for deputies of the City Council of Druzhkivka from "Solidarity"

Druzhkivka on Palms newspaper agitates for Valeriy Hnatenko at the election of the mayor of Druzhkivka where the promotee of Petro Poroshenko party Viktor Haiduk was the candidate for the post of mayor.

Yulia Abibok, OstroV