Moscow's Argumenty i Fakty devoted several publications to Ukraine last week, one of which concerns the 75th anniversary of the famous "Death Match", played by Kyiv football players against the German Flakelf team. Having retold the details of event, "to make the picture complete", the newspaper concludes the publication with the words of a certain KGB major who stated in 1971 that "the glorification of former football players of Dynamo Kyiv in the press and cinema is a serious mistake"… Other Russian media were also looking for "serious mistakes" in Ukrainian history last week. And of course, they frightened again – with Banderites, Right Sector, and people from Privat, who "chase up debts"…
About loans and Russian seasonal work
Komsomolskaya Pravda maintains that "Privat began to get to the residents of Donetsk again - allegedly twice a week, people who "chase up debts" arrive in the capital of the DNR". However, the newspaper provides no evidence of this.
"From the very beginning of the military conflict, Kolomoyskyi's bank tries to wheedle debts out of the so-called "seps", who stayed living in their homes. Calls were to those who are on the front line and to those who live in the beaten areas. The residents of Donetsk even started competing in jokes. "Yes, I will repay, I will come to Kyiv by tank", "Come to me to live in Putylivka, I have a huge plasma, you can take it!", "Give me back my pension and I will pay it all!". All the banal answers are countless. But the arrival of collectors in Donetsk is being discussed now in social networks. Allegedly, people who "chase up debts" come to the capital of the DNR twice a week", - KP writes.
"As the poll of KP, which we made on the debtors of this bank, showed, the collectors did not reach them. For sure, such bogus stories are aimed at people to get scared and somehow start paying off their debts. But the interest that the bank raises is gigantic. "I had to return $31 before the war – I used a credit line, and two years later, it turned out that my debt became $297, - Oksana from Donetsk tells. - Now they tell me that men from Lviv will come to take the debt. They are stronger than those from Dnipro. So I should be afraid! But I am here in Donetsk, I live not far from the airport, I am afraid of nothing!", - the newspaper concluded.
Gazeta.Ru was hit hard by a remark of the Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine Volodymyr Omelian, who said that Ukrainians "have nothing to do" in the annexed Crimea, occupied Donbass and Russia. So Gazeta.Ru decided to find out "why Ukrainians go to Russia".
To start with, the media cites Crimean officials, who claim: "We equate Ukrainians with foreign tourists. For example, in 2016, Crimea was visited by about 16.5% of foreign tourists, including Ukrainians as the majority".
And then it assures: "The authorities of peninsula expect that following the results of 2017, the number of tourists will be close to last year's numbers. It can be said that Ukrainians do not obey their authority. They go to Russia massively, including for seasonal work. According to the Main Directorate for Migration Affairs of the MIA of the Russian Federation, 1.934 million citizens of Ukraine were registered for migration last year. 504.1 thousand of them came to work officially. Another 31.1 thousand came to study".
"According to the results of 2016, Ukraine took the third place by the number of labor migrants who came to Russia, giving way only to the traditional leaders — Uzbekistan (1.434 million) and Tajikistan (837.7 thousand). According to the data for the first half of this year, there were 215.5 thousand Ukrainians on temporary residence permits in Russia and almost 126 thousand had residence permit (according to the results of the previous year, 108.7 thousand Ukrainian citizens had a residence permit). Another 100.7 thousand Ukrainians received Russian citizenship last year, and for the first half of 2017, there were 41.5 thousand such people", - Gazeta.Ru claims.
The media also assures that "Russia remains a country that provides Ukraine with a stable inflow of currency, which is mainly sent home by labor migrants".
"Last year, $1 billion was transferred from Russia to Ukraine, according to the Central Bank of the Russian Federation. The average amount of one transfer was $211. The extent of transfers in the opposite direction amounted to $225 million, that is, Russia was a supplier of currency for Ukraine. This year, 844.6 Ukrainians were registered for migration for the first half of the year. According to official statistics, 245.6 thousand of them came to work. For the first quarter of 2017 (the Central Bank has not yet published the data for April – June), $202 million was transferred to Ukraine from Russia", - Gazeta.Ru notes.
The media believes that "the words of the Ukrainian Minister of Infrastructure are built into the logic of final breach of relations with Russia…".
"Probably, Volodymyr Omelian expects that those hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians who are going to Russia for work will now go to Europe. But the problem is that the visa-free regime does not provide for automatic work permit. It is possible to leave and stay for work in the countries of the European Union only either in the presence of a contract and a working visa, or illegally. At the same time, Ukrainian illegal migrant workers will face fierce competition for the low-skilled jobs with refugees from the Middle East and Africa. Ukrainians are forced to use all kinds of tricks to stay in Europe. For example, Ukrainian family was granted refugee status in Germany, pretending to be a Syrians. After the deception was revealed, the status of refugees, together with social payments, was taken away from them. "Closing" of Russia will increase the number of such "Syrians". However, it is unlikely that Ukrainian officials will change their position", - Gazeta.Ru concludes.
Under such a doomed headline on the pages of Nezavisimaya Gazeta, a certain Alexander Khramchikhin, the deputy director of the Institute for Political and Military Analysis, dilates on how "the virus of Ukrainian independence devours its own carriers".
"A thesis, addressed to the national government propaganda is very popular in some circles of Russian society: "Why do you say so much about Ukraine, maybe it is better to look at yourself?" This thesis is completely absurd. It is brought forward by those people who seriously believed that there was a Revolution of Dignity, which should be an example for Russia, in Ukraine in February 2014. These people still either cannot or do not want to recognize that in fact, a criminal-oligarchic coup, which really should be an example for Russia, was in Kyiv: an example of what should not be done in no case… Generally, it is possible and necessary to "look at yourself". But definitely comparing yourself with others… At the same time, you need to compare both with positive and negative examples. Among the latter, the main example is namely Ukraine, which is a negative example in almost everything. There is simply no analogue of such a comprehensive and deepest failure, which was demonstrated by independent Ukraine, in the modern and contemporary history of mankind. Taking into account its ethnic and mental affinity with Russia, this example deserves much more attention than it is given by us now. Of course, when considering it, it is desirable to filter off the propaganda", - the author of Nezavisimaya writes.
He states that "one of the sides of this negative example is military building".
"Over the past three years, the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) have undergone more changes than in the entire previous 22-year history. By the beginning of the civil war, the Armed Forces of Ukraine were completely ruined by the efforts of all four previous Ukrainian presidents (although Yanukovych was, of course, the only one to blame). The fact that they were able to fight at least somehow can be considered a miracle. The reasons for this miracle were a significant patriotic uplift that took place in 2014 and, most importantly, that the Ukrainian army remained Soviet, that is, able to fight under any conditions and regardless of how its own political authority goofs on it. However, that was not enough in order to win the war", - Khramchikhin writes.
He notes that "during three years of war, the AFU has acquired quite considerable and important experience of a cruel ground contact war with a very strong and serious opponent", but, for some reason, the author does not point out who this "enemy" is.
"The situation with weapons and equipment is quite bad in the AFU. All the same Soviet legacy is the only thing that saves them. It turned out to be so gigantic that even mass utilization, selling abroad, and now huge losses in the war, did not destroy it, albeit they reduced it three or four times. However, it is possible to fight with the rest for a long time. Nevertheless, this resource is ended… It is the restoration of Soviet technology that is the only way to refill the combat units and even the formation of new ones. Technically, still quite powerful Ukrainian military-industrial complex (MIC) is practically incapable of producing the same equipment from scratch", - Khramchikhin considers.
Further, he states that "the production of equipment which is more complex than Molot mortar is beyond the strength of Ukrainian MIC".
"In particular, in the summer of 2014, Lviv Armor Vehicle Factory promised to launch the production of Dozor-B light armored personnel carrier in the amount of 100 units per year. This vehicle is quite simple. Such vehicles really can and should be produced hundreds a year. Indeed, 10 units, which were hardly managed to cram into the army (it did not want to take Dozor because of extremely poor quality), had been produced. That is all. Today, the factory has neither money nor vehicles", - the political scientist from Moscow claims.
"The situation with BTR-4 is quite strange. It is extremely difficult to understand how many of them were received by the troops during three years of the war. It is possible that all was limited to those 42 export vehicles that Iraq abandoned in 2014 because of the cracks in bodies… Kharkiv Factory promised in 2014 40 Oplot tanks for the AFU in the first year, and then 120 units per year. Up to the present day, not a single vehicle was produced. With a huge schedule delay, the manufacture of a single export contract for these tanks (for Thailand) is being done", - Khramchikhin continues without specifying where he got such data from.
"The situation with ammunition, which is spent in huge quantities, is not so clear. It is unknown how many units there were, how many were spent and how many were produced (if they were produced at all), how many was lost in March of this year during the explosions in Balakliia and how many were illegally sold to a third party (including in the DNR and the LNR)… Thus, the MIC of the Ukrainian army cannot be relied on. Supplies of Soviet equipment from Eastern Europe are possible, but there is no sense in it so far. Moreover, there is no sense in supplying Western weapons of 1970s and 1980s: it is not better than the Soviet one, and the Ukrainian military needs a considerable amount of time to master it. As for the latest Western weapon, no one will give it to Ukraine (it is too expensive and available in quite limited number in the Western armies themselves), and the whole military budget of the country will be used to buy just a few samples", - the author of Nezavisimaya assures.
Further, he reasons about… Russia's "defencelessness" in front of the Ukrainian army and how the Russian army is rapidly deploying in order to secure itself.
"No matter how much Kyiv propaganda told about the "Russian aggression", the border with Ukraine was "wide open" on the part of Russia in 2014, Russia was completely unprepared for a direct military confrontation with Ukraine. Units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine could easily get quite close to Moscow, not meeting units of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation on their way, there were simply no of them in this region. Similarly, Rostov-on-Don was not protected from the north, where, incidentally, the headquarters of the Southern Military District is located. Fortunately, this was above Ukraine's strength at that time, but the situation has changed now… The 20th Army with headquarters in Voronezh was promptly formed (more accurately – restored) at the border with Ukraine. The units and formations that were included in it were either deployed from the eastern part of the Western Military District and the western part of the Central Military District or from the storage bases of weapons and equipment or formed onsite. The process of forming of new formations has not yet been completed. The 8th Army with headquarters in Novocherkassk is promptly being formed In the Rostov oblast as well".
"Of course, the potential of units and formations of the Ground Forces and the Aerospace Forces of the Russian Federation, which are deployed along the Ukrainian border, is technically inferior to the potential of the Ukrainian army. In fact, almost all combat effective Ukrainian units are at the front in the Donbass. The potential of the 8th and the 20th armies, the 105th air division (with headquarters in Voronezh as well) and air units of the Southern Military District is quite enough to restrain any gamble of Kyiv authorities at the first stage, if they really want to run into a war with Russia after all. After that, other units of the Western Military District, as well as of the Southern and Central Military Districts, will solve the problem radically and finally. All the more so as the overall balance of forces between Russia and Ukraine has changed dramatically: while Ukraine was breathing new life into Soviet scrap metal, and then losing its significant part in the Donbass, Russia produced and delivered completely new equipment, which Ukrainian soldiers do not even dream about, to the troops", - Khramchikhin states.
He does not hide that "in fact, it is quite easy for Russia to seize even the whole Ukraine by military means, but it is absolutely impossible to maintain at least a small part of it economically. This is understood in the Kremlin more than well".
The author of Nezavisimaya believes that "provoking Russia on a direct war is a great option for Kyiv, that instantly allows to solve all the internal and external political problems, the number and complexity of which increases rapidly".
"However, three circumstances restrain Poroshenko and Co. from open provocation. The first is the fear of losing not to Russia, which will remain aloof, but to the militia, what the Ukrainian president may not be forgiven (primarily, by his close associates). The second is even greater fears that if it is succeed in provoking Russia, then it will become angry seriously, in which case Petro Poroshenko will have a good chance not to have time to reach Boryspil. The third – the West will not understand, especially Europe, for which the very fact of war in this part of the world is completely unacceptable".
"The situation seems to be dead-end for Kyiv, but it is not so indeed. The oligarchic group in power, having made a coup three years ago, did not plan either the loss of the Crimea or the war in the Donbas, but the one and the other became a real gift of fate for it. Politically, it allowed the ruling oligarchs to acquire the highest, from viewpoint of the West, title of "victim of the Russian aggression". The main thing is that the war has become a great business. In addition to the above-mentioned business on a failed defence order, business is being made on the sale of equipment and uniforms for soldiers and officers, on the trade with the DNR/LNR through the front line, including weapons and military equipment (a large part of the militia equipment is not seized, but simply bought from the AFU). This business covers the highest state power, the leadership of the Ministry of Defence and the MIC, a significant part of the officers and even rank and file at the front and the volunteer movement. No one wants to give up the business, especially under the conditions of catastrophic economic situation in the country. And finally, it was thanks to the war that the Ukrainian oligarchic-anarchist democracy turned into a military-oligarchic dictatorship", - the author of Nezavisimaya believes.
The author draws the expected conclusion: "In Ukraine, there is simply no subject of state, and therefore, of military building. Namely this makes discussion of the AFU prospects a rather pointless practice. The reasons for all this lie in recent history. The Ukrainian idea, especially the idea of Ukrainian statehood, is openly artificial, and the only purpose of this idea is a crack-down on everything Russian... Until 1917, this idea was mainly imposed from the outside (primarily from Germany and Austro-Hungarian Empire) for geopolitical purposes - to weaken the Russian Empire. But the real life was given to it by the Soviet Communists. It was them who drew completely artificial borders for the Ukrainian SSR, including purely Russian regions. They spent all the 20s and the first half of the 30s of the 20th century pursuing a policy of violent Ukrainization. Nothing like this has ever happened in any of the other Soviet republics. And one of the main ideologists of this policy was Stalin. It was done with the same goal - suppression of everything Russian, because it also interfered with building communism".
"In fact, the Ukrainian idea has become a kind of a "virus" programmed to destroy Russia. And the virus worked: it was the Ukrainian referendum on independence on December 1, 1991, that made the future existence of the USSR impossible. The so-called Belavezha Accords merely legally formalized this fact. But the virus has not been reprogrammed and has not turned into a normal organism. It began to destroy itself. This is what we see today", - Khramchikhin concluded.
"There will be no Malorossia, but the idea is good"
This was the title of Gazeta.Ru’s publication. The newspaper tried to understand "why the head of the DNR Zakharchenko refused the name "Malorossia".
"The name of the new state "Malorossia", the creation of which was announced by the head of the DNR Alexander Zakharchenko, causes a negative attitude among many, therefore, it was decided to abandon this name. At the same time, Zakharchenko pointed out that he does not consider the discussion about the "re-establishment" of the new state in vain", - Gazeta.Ru recalls.
"Zakharchenko announced the creation of a new state on the territory of the "discredited state Ukraine" on July 18, 2017. Later, Acting President and Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the DNR Alexander Timofeev read out the excerpts from the Constitutional Act of Novorossia. This happened at a meeting of plenipotentiary delegates of the self-proclaimed republics of Donbass and representatives of another 19 regions of Ukraine. "It was so unexpected! - the source in the DNR’s government told Gazeta.ru. - Everyone is very worried. This situation is similar to 2014, when a lot of things also happened without preparation and completely unexpectedly", - the newspaper states.
"The event was not announced to the journalists accredited in the DNR. The local media was not invited in advance. Representatives of two Russian federal media, as well as the local Ministry of Information, were in the small room of the Shakhtar Plaza Hotel. The leadership of the LNR denied its participation in the project, adding that the leadership of the unrecognized republic adheres to the idea of the need to implement the Minsk agreements. Subsequently, Russia's plenipotentiary representative in the contact group for the settlement of the situation in Ukraine Boris Gryzlov also said that the creation of Novorossia does not comply with the Minsk process", - Gazeta.Ru describes Zakharchenko’s adventurous initiative.
"Two days later, Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov held a meeting with experts, during which he assessed Zakharchenko’s initiative. This was told by the head of the Center for Political Conjuncture Alexei Chesnakov, who took part in the meeting. "All this "hype" about the imaginary Malorossia is useful. The main thing here is that the Donbass is fighting not for secession from Ukraine, but for its integrity. For the whole of Ukraine, not for its part. That is, there is a civil war between people who differently see the future of Ukraine", - Chesnakov quoted Surkov".
"The project also caused concern in the West. U.S. State Department spokesman Heather Nauert stated: "We saw statements that the so-called separatists want to create a new state in place of Ukraine. This, of course, worries us, but I have no other comments apart from that".
"The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin suggested that the Malorossia creation is a Russian attempt to repeat the "Abkhaz scenario" in the Donbass. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron almost immediately announced the inadmissibility of statements on the Malorossia creation. They also stressed the importance of a complete cease-fire in the Donbass and the withdrawal of heavy weapons", - Gazeta.Ru concludes, making it clear that Zakharchenko "abandoned" Malorossia because the Kremlin simply shushed him.
"Why do Ukrainian security forces fight each other?"
Argumenty i Fakty newspaper was also curious about that, because "in Donetsk they warned that the fighters of the banned in Russia Right Sector are starting a "retaliation operation" against the Ukrainian military".
"The chairman of the operational command of the DNR Eduard Basurin reported about the planned attack on the position of the AFU by the radicals. According to him, the militants of the Right Sector intend to take revenge on the Ukrainian military for the death of their comrades after shelling by the military on August 6... In his turn. press secretary of the Right Sector Artem Skoropadsky suggested to "stop drinking overdue hawthorn infusion, because the information about the attack is a "hallucination". And yet experts believe that there is no smoke without fire", - AIF concludes.
"There is another version of why the Right Sector decided to take revenge: it has already been voiced by some Ukrainian media. Allegedly, it is connected with the recent execution of one of the Right Sector officers by a higher-ranking military officer after his refusal to advance on the position of the LNR. The incident occurred in the vicinity of Zolote settlement in 10th separate mountain assault brigade of the AFU. According to the official representative of the People's Militia of the LNR Andrey Marochko, the deceased serviceman defiantly threw down his weapons. After that, the commander of the platoon shot him in the back with a machine gun. The officer fled and was later arrested after an attempted armed robbery of the store in Zolote", - AIF retells the tales.
"Whatever caused the mobilization of the Right Sector fighters, the scandal was hushed up", - the newspaper asserts.
"In any case, civil war has been going on for three years. Armed people, who, in the absence of active military actions, openly drink and loot, are no good. The authorities also play an important role. Poroshenko and his entourage, on the one hand, are actively using volunteer battalions to plug holes in problem areas of the front, but on the other hand, they are afraid of them. What if these thugs get to peaceful cities to "change the power" again?!", - AIF tries to scare the readers.
The publication insists: "Both political scientists and military analysts assume that the Right Sector will somehow get into an armed conflict with the regular army".
Vladimir Kornilov, the director of the Center for Eurasian Studies, quoted by the newspaper, has long been known as an ardent Ukrainophobe.
"Ultimately, sooner or later, the Ukrainian authorities will have to solve the problem associated with these battalions, "volunteers", Right Sectors, Azovs and so on. But will the current government have enough power keep the Right Sector at bay? I doubt that. The AFU also contains the National Guard and units subordinated to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. There will also be competition between them. I do not know who will provoke the massacre, but one little thing will be enough for them to start gnawing on each other", - Kornilov said.
At the same time, a "military expert" Alexey Slavitsky believes that "there will not be a full-scale clash between the gang and the army".
"The Right Sector militants are better prepared and armed, but they do not have heavy weapons... So, if necessary, the army can easily destroy them. I am sure that the gang will work in a different way: it will organize new mass provocations at the frontline in order to provoke the LDNR on the offensive", - Slavitsky is certain.
"When a full-fledged war resumes, the Right Sector will solve its disagreements by traditional methods: threats, blackmail and murders. Autumn in the Donbass will be hot", - the "military expert" predicts.
"The Death Match": a feat or a myth?
The same Argumenty i Fakty decided not to pass by the 75th anniversary of the day when in Kyiv "on August 9, 1942, a football match was played between teams Start and Flakelf, which in postwar historiography was called "The Death Match".
"From the point of view of the propaganda effect, the legend about "The Death Match" had really outstanding ratings. Could it be otherwise? One has only to imagine this picture: impudent brutal Nazis summon to the battle (match) the players of Dynamo Kyiv, who managed to survive in this slaughter. Our guys take the challenge and smash the enemy. The defeat causes a fit of rage towards all those who allowed themselves not to kneel down before the representatives of the "Aryan race" and, moreover, to win. Immediately after the final whistle, they are shot from the machine gun... ", - AIF writes.
Claiming that "it is possible to find many contradictions in the story", the AIF recalls that "the legend of "The Death Match" existed in its pristine form for about half a century".
The newspaper gives a detailed account of the background: "Dynamo Kyiv players were not among the most prominent Soviet football players", and that "by the time the Germans seized Kyiv, many former pre-war Dynamo players were already in the position of prisoners of war".
AIF says that the captive players Kuzmenko, Trusevich, Klymenko, Korotkov, Balakin, Shchegotsky, Shatsky and Sukharev "strangely enough, were released in return for loyalty to the new government". There were no other options for getting out".
"The football players stayed together, and soon all of them managed to get a job at the bakery - a rare success at those hungry times. After some time, the guys began to play football in their spare time. They called their new team Start”, - AIF continues.
"At about the same time there was another team Rukh in the occupied Kyiv, and soon they both had the idea of creating the Ukrainian Football League. In early June 1942, the Nazis approved the holding of regular football matches", - the newspaper writes. At the same time, AIF notes that Start immediately became the leader of the league, having won matches with Rukh, the Hungarian garrison team, the German artillery unit team, RSG (the railroad team), MSG.Wal. (Hungarian military unit team) and GK SZERO (Hungarian units’ team)”.
"Finally, on August 6, a purely Aryan team Flakelf (soldiers, air defence officers, pilots and mechanics of the Kyiv airfield) played against the undefeated Start”.
"Start won with a score of 5:1 and "it became clear that its confident victories irritated the German command".
"On August 9, the occupation authorities appointed a rematch between Start and Flakelf. It was this game that was called "The Death Match", - AIF reminds.
"The legend says that before the game, a German officer entered Start’s locker room and, under penalty of death, demanded to lose the match", but the players did not agree and won with a score of 5:3.
"Eyewitnesses told that the crowded stadium Zenith roared, people were chanting anti-fascist slogans, and the Germans arrested the most violent fans, shot in the air from submachine guns and pistols... However nobody touched the football players. After the match, they were photographed and went home. The winners even drank moonshine right in the locker room", - AIF notes.
The newspaper adds that on August 18, 1942, all the players who worked at the bakery were arrested.
"It is clear that the rumor immediately linked the two facts together, but there are actually many versions. So, according to one of them, Dynamo regularly organized sabotage, threw broken glass into the bread for German organizations. According to the other version, the players were suspected of having links with the NKVD".
"Whatever it was, football players/factory workers Trusevych, Putistin, Kuzmenko, Klymenko, Goncharenko, Tyutchev, Svyrydovsky, Balakin and Komarov ended up in the Gestapo torture chambers. A month later, they were transferred to the Syretsky concentration camp, where they were used for various jobs. Korotkykh was the last who was arrested. Later it turned out that he had a real chekist past: his photo in the uniform of the Soviet special services was found. He was subjected to brutal tortures and died after a heart attack directly in the torture chamber", - AIF writes, informing that later Trusevych, Kuzmenko and Klymenko were killed in the concentration camp.
"In 1965, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR awarded the survivors of the death match with medals "For Military Merit". The deceased players were awarded with medals "For Courage". But the controversy around this story still exists".
The newspaper clearly casts a shadow over the dead players and the survivors by adding "an extract from the report of the KGB operative Major N. (data classified) to the chairman of the Committee of State Security of Ukraine Colonel-General Fedorchuk (1971)".
"Referring to you with this report, I mean the unnecessary, in my opinion, speculation by the mythical "feat" of the Dynamo Kyiv players in 1942. It is clear that the players remained in the occupied territory without attempting to leave with the retreating units of the Red Army, in the ranks of which their presence was so necessary in such a difficult time. Then they willingly supported the initiative of the traitors of the Motherland, who, under the auspices of the occupation authorities, created a club of masters of sports from the remaining athletes in Kyiv, and the city football team, which included players from Dynamo and Lokomotiv. With such data, everything that has been done so far in terms of glorifying former football players of Dynamo Kyiv, seems to me a serious mistake", – AIF quoted the KGB operative official.
The review was prepared by Mykhailo Karpenko, OstroV