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Bearded Drag Queen Grips Russia Amid Eurovision Fever

May 23, 2015

Conchita Wurst has said she would “love to spend at least a week” with Russian President Putin in order to grasp what it means to “be President Putin.”

Russia must love drag queens.

By Carl Schreck

Russia just can’t quit Conchita Wurst.

After the Austrian drag performer triumphed at least year’s Eurovision Song Contest, Russia’s culture minister fretted about explaining Wurst’s win to his kids, while Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin mockingly said it “showed supporters of European integration their European future: a bearded girl.”

This year, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church has plunged into a national discussion of the hirsute, cross-dressing crooner, warning that if this year’s Russia’s Eurovision entrant wins, “all of those bearded singers” who “impose that which is repulsive to our culture” will come to Russia for next year’s event.

“We need to support lullabies and patriotic and spiritual songs. We need our own contests and must promote our own culture, including those that show it to the whole world,” Patriarch Kirill said in a May 21 speech in Russia’s central Ulyanovsk region.

The Russian Orthodox Church has become a powerful pillar of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s rule, promoting itself as a bulwark against what it portrays as pernicious liberal Western values.

Vienna is hosting this year’s event thanks to last year’s win in Denmark by Wurst, the stage name of 26-year-old openly gay performer Thomas Neuwirth. Wurst will co-emcee the finals on May 23.

Her victory came less than a year after Russian enacted laws denounced by Western governments and rights groups as discriminatory toward LGBT individuals and amid reports of a spike in grassroots antigay violence in Russia.

Wurst has again sparked widespread derision — but also support — in Russia after its contestant, Polina Gagarina, posted a video on her Instagram account showing her exchanging kisses with the Austrian singer.

Prominent St. Petersburg lawmaker and antigay activist Vitaly Milonov said in a May 19 interview with the Govorit Moskva radio station that Gagarina has no right to speak for Russia.

“Don’t you dare soil Russia by hugging Euro-perverts,” said Milonov, the author of controversial legislation banning the spread of “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” to minors, a version of which was adopted in St. Petersburg before it became a national law in 2013.

Being Vladimir Putin

With its kitschy, bubblegum songs and campy costuming, the Eurovision contest is a virtual twin of Russia’s “popsa” music that is a programming staple on state-owned television networks.

Like American Idol in the United States, it has also catapulted Russia’s entrants in the contest to lucrative post-Eurovision careers back home, and every year the event inspires in Russian fans heartfelt patriotism and fervent interest in scandals surrounding the contest.

TAKE OUR QUIZ! How Well Do You Know Your Eurovision?

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Quiz: Are You Too Cool For Eurovision Kitsch?

Wurst ignited a fresh surge of bile in the Russian-language blogosphere with a Facebook post in Russian earlier this month that appears to have since been deleted. In the post, Wurst thanked “all of my Russian-speaking fans for your unstoppable support.”

The Kremlin-loyal television network NTV transcribed several of the responses to the post, including calls for Wurst to be “burned at the stake.”

Another commenter added: “Who let that monstrosity on stage? Where is Europe headed? Dear lord, people, come to your senses.”

It wasn’t all vitriol, however.

“Thank you, Conchita,” one Facebook user wrote. “Especially for such cheerful comments.”

Even the Kremlin has been roped into the wave of Conchita fever.

At a May 21 presentation of her new album, Wurst said she would “love to spend at least a week” with Putin in order to grasp what it means to “be President Putin.”

Asked what he thinks about such a proposed meeting, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow on May 21: “I don’t think anything about it.”

News about Russia’s participation in Eurovision is communicated to Putin as part of a broader picture of the daily news, Peskov added. “But, of course, the president is not in a position to follow it closely.”

‘Let Them Sing And Dance’

One prominent Russian politician who appears to have changed his tune on Wurst is Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the flamboyant leader of the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party.

Last year, he called Wurst’s victory “the end of Europe,” which he said has “turned wild.”

But Zhirinovsky leaped to the singer’s defense on May 20 after fellow lawmaker Oleg Nilov said on the floor of Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, that the “bearded monstrosity Conchita will fill up our screens and newspaper pages all week.”

“OK, an Austrian singer-songstress with a beard and mustache: What difference is it to you?” Zhirinovsky said. “We need to be more gentle here. All of Europe enjoys this, and like Russian bears we reject all of this. Let them sing and dance. People will decide with their votes, so let’s not incite such hatred. All minorities deserve respect.”

In the meantime, Patriarch Kirill may face another few days of handwringing over the prospects of armies of “repulsive,” “bearded singers” traveling to Russia in 2016.

The country represented by the contest’s winner is given the right to hold the event the following year. Less than 24 hours after Kirill made his remarks about Wurst, Russia’s entrant, Gagarina, secured a spot in the Eurovision finals.

With reporting by RIA Novosti, TASS, AFP, AP, ntv.ru, echo.msk.ru, mixnews.lv, and bloknot.ru

Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/conchita-wurst-russia-eurovision-fever/27030576.html

Why Mariupol Will Not be the Next Frontline

May 23, 2015

Alexander Zakharchenko (C), separatist leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, visits the Kholodnaya Balka mine in Makiivka, outside Donetsk on October 29, 2014. Zakharchenko warned that separatists will take Mariupol if Ukrainian forces continue their “aggression.” REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev

It’s put up or shut up time for Russia.

If Russia intends to establish a land corridor to Crimea, it will take a huge influx of Russian forces into Donbas. A force this size will be unmistakeable, there is no disguising it. The strain on the Russian economy will be immense. The cost to Russia, in terms of international repercussions, will exceed imagination.

So. Mr. Putin. Put up or shut up. Better yet, just shut up.


May 21st, 2015

BY RUBEN GZIRIAN

Analysts and journalists have begun to ask where the Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine will go next now that the second ceasefire agreement has failed. Skirmishes on the frontline in Shyrokyne, less than ten miles from Mariupol’s city limits, have raised concerns that Mariupol will be the next target. Geographically and commercially speaking, Mariupol makes sense. It’s the busiest commercial marine hub on the Azov Sea and considered a must-have for Russia if a land corridor to Crimea is ever to be realized. Mariupol would also be a symbolic coup for the separatists. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko named the city the provisional capital of the Donetsk region in 2014. The separatists have also threatened to take the city. Alexander Zakharchenko, head of the Donetsk People’s Republic, warned that separatists will take Mariupol if Ukrainian forces continue their “aggression.”

Except it won’t. Mariupol won’t become the next frontline for two reasons. First, the separatists don’t have the military capabilities; second, taking Mariupol would require an influx of troops that the separatists can’t possibly deploy without assistance from “Russian volunteers.” The Kremlin would lose all plausible deniability of involvement in the conflict if it were to deploy 100,000 troops to eastern Ukraine.

Mariupol represents a completely different challenge for the 30,000-35,000 fighters that constitute rebel forces in eastern Ukraine. The battles in Debaltseve, Shyrokyne, and Pavlopil have served as primary examples of the types of environments most favored by the separatists. At Debaltseve, separatists relied on small assault groups backed by artillery and armored vehicles. But even in the case of Debaltseve, analysts in Russia and eastern Ukraine noted that the separatists were exhausted and probably lacked the reserves to “finish the job.”

In other instances, the confined, close quarters fighting that characterized the battle for the Donetsk International Airport in January catered to the small battalion-sized units that comprise the rebel forces. More importantly, the airport terminals provided ample fortification that allowed the separatists to employ small-unit defensive tactics, which nullified the size advantage of the Ukrainian forces.

An advance on Mariupol would require the rebels to adopt tactics that are currently impossible without a large influx of manpower. Moreover, the question of where this influx would come from exposes the limits of Russian involvement in eastern Ukraine. On February 2, Zakharchenko announced a plan to boost the separatist fighting force to 100,000 men. The announcement raised questions as to how and from where the separatist leadership could find 100,000 able-bodied recruits. The answer was actually in Zakharchenko’sannouncement: “Mobilization is the first stage; there will be volunteers first and we will see what do next.”

An offensive in Mariupol would require prolonged Russian engagement, unlike Russian involvement in Ilovaisk and Debaltseve. The deployment of senior Russian officers to plan the assault, as was the case in Debaltseve, would be insufficient. The element of surprise, which allowed Russian heavy armor to inflict heavy losses on the Ukrainian forces in Ilovaisk, would also be gone. According to John E. Herbst, Director of the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council, the Russians would need to “use huge firepower to take the heavily fortified city” and it would result in “many [Russian] casualties.”

There’s no way that Russian President Vladimir Putin would approve a plan that would expose the Kremlin’s involvement. He has repeatedly denied that Russian troops are fighting in eastern Ukraine, and an admission would expose his country to greater sanctions and international ire.

The next offensive will likely occur north of Donetsk. Located 10 miles north of Donetsk but controlled by Ukrainian forces, Avdiivka has a population of less than 35,000 but is home to the Avdiivka Coke and Chemical Plant, one of Europe’s largest coke producers. Seizing the plant would not only be a strategic coup for the separatists, due to its role as the major supplier of coke for the Donbas steel industry, but it would also strengthen the relationship between the separatists and Rinat Akhmetov, one of Ukraine’s richest men and owner of the Avdiivka plant. Moreover, residents may be receptive to separatist control; most locals watch Russian satellite television as Ukrainian television channels do not work in the city.

Mariupol as a frontline represents a bridge too far for separatist ambitions and is “all speculation without foundation,” according to Adrian Karatnycky, a Nonresident Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Transatlantic Relations Program. Swallowing up more accessible targets like Avdiivka will allow separatist leadership to promote their narratives of legitimacy and resilience while still receiving support from Russia.

Ruben Gzirian is an Eastern Europe analyst at Navanti, an applied analytics company that is based in Arlington, Virginia.

Source: http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/why-mariupol-will-not-be-the-next-frontline#.VV-uH5mZmYc.mailto

Caveat Lector

May 23, 2015
tags:

I was cruising through my news feed in Facebook today, and some reasonably intelligent people were complaining about the extreme bias and worth of various news sources.

Friends on the far right, Conservatives and Republicans, all seem to collectively say that the mainstream media is liberally biased.  Okay, I can live with that, I know where they are coming from.

Friends on far left, Liberals and Democrats, seem to focus only on Fox News. They nickname it Faux News and say it’s worthless and…  the list of insults is lengthy. I understand their position.

Incredible. “The media lies”. Folks, this is what I do for a living. If you’re talking about the media here in the US of A, for the most part, none of the media here lies. They may tell you their version of the story, they may leave out certain “inconventient truths”, they may even expose you only to facts which support their perspective, but for the most part, the media in the US does not lie. Not deliberately, and for the most part it’s not even propaganda.

Sure, we’ve seen the occasional deliberate lie, but they developed something on the Washington Post called “Pinnochios” – fact finders – and their use is spreading. We’ve seen the occasional journalist who makes up facts to make a killer story, some have been famously fired. We’ve seen the fudged documentation. We’ve seen the bias of the writers, editors and publishers. We’ve all disagreed with this story, that press conference or some press release issued from the US Department of State or the White House. I’ve screamed at my computer a few times, “can’t that idiot see what he’s doing?”

Deep in my heart I know the President is doing what he thinks best for this nation. I may disagree with his policies and a lot of his Executive Orders, but he does mean well (in his own misguided world, occasionally).  Same for Congress, when they work (that should be a big “if”).

Congress and the White House are being saturated with information, pro and con, good and bad. I just downloaded an app which gives me updates on how my elected officials are voting on certain issues and it allows me to share directly, my opinion, with my representative and senator. Whether they read my input or not, that’s another story.  My guess is some poor staffer has to categorize and track all the inputs and nobody really reads what I write.  I can always write a letter (what does a stamp cost, I haven’t mailed a letter in years) or call on the phone (yeah, right).

But, back to the media. I see just as many distortions from MSNBC as I do on Fox, even though I only view their online sites because I refuse to be beholden to sit through their crap. If I can’t read it and control how much I see and read, I don’t suffer through it.

My mother puts one station on and sits through it.  At commercials she pours a glass of water or does something else, but when the news is back on, she’s watching. She has one perspective.  When she and I have discussions, occasionally they turn out to be arguments, she just can’t conceive of an alternate reality, that close to 50% of this great nation has a different opinion. She is set in her ways, and I forgive her.  She’s 88 years old.

I also don’t naively sit not knowing what I am looking at. If the site has a Liberal, Conservative or even a *gasp* neutral perspective, I know that. If you don’t, you’re negligent and are being fed the propaganda they want to nurse you on.

Caveat lector.  Let the reader beware. 

The ‘wrinkled women’ of Russia

May 22, 2015

Instagram #WrinkledWoman selfie

Hundreds of Russian women are posting selfies with scrunched faces on Instagram, as part of a protest against officials – including one who remarked about women aged 27 having wrinkles, and another who married a teenager aged under 18.

It began with an arranged marriage. On Saturday, Nazhud Guchigov, a 47-year-old local police chief in the Russian republic of Chechnya, married Kheda Goylabiyeva – who is 17 years old. The bride has gone on TV to say she was marrying the “manly and reliable” Guchigov of her own free will, but many commenting online disagreed – especially since Guchigov is already married, and so was marrying a second wife, as is permitted by the Muslim faith predominant in Chechnya.

The marriage was also controversial because polygamy is illegal under Russian law and the minimum age of marriage is 18 (although it is 16 in Chechnya).

The discussion online was so heated that it led Chechnya’s leader Ramzan Kadyrov to urge men to “stop their wives” from using WhatsApp – a remark causing further criticism.

Amid the uproar, the Russian children’s rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov came out to defend the marriage. “Let’s not be prudish. Emancipation and sexual maturity happen earlier in the Caucasus. There are places where women have wrinkles at age 27 and they look 50 by our standards,” he said.

Women online took offence at the remarks. Feminist activist and journalist Bella Rapoport scrunched her face and posted an Instagram selfie with a new hashtag (#сморщеннаяженщина) which means “Wrinkled Woman” or “Withered Woman”. Nearly 500 photos have been uploaded with the tag in the last week. In their posts, the women call Astakhov a “hypocrite” and blame him for allowing the marriage to a girl who many consider a minor.

“This hashtag is about the oppression of women. Women’s rights are violated in Russia, especially in Chechnya,” Rapoport told BBC Trending. She said she posted the selfie because she was angry to see women being “treated like an object”.

Instagram #WrinkledWoman selfie

“I’m not yet 27, but already very close. By Astakhov’s criteria, could be considered to be 49… And by the way I’m becoming wrinkled from the thought of Astakhov and people like him.”
Instagram #WrinkledWoman selfie
Instagram #WrinkledWoman selfie

More than 35,000 have signed an online petition asking Astakhov to be removed from office for “dodging his duty to protect the underaged from violence and making offensive remarks about women.”

Astakhov himself has issued an apology on his Instagram profile: “Women of any age are splendid and adorable,” he writes. “God created Woman so that we could love her, defend her, take care of her, glorify her. A clumsy comparison, a rash word taken out of the context of discours,e cannot change my attitude to the Fair Sex. I’ve loved, love and shall love and respect [them]! I apologize for the mistake I’ve made!”

But Rapoport isn’t convinced, telling BBC Trending the apology is “sexist” in her view and that she does not accept it.

The Kremlin has refused to comment about the Chechnya wedding. The response given to journalists by Russia’s presidential press secretary Dmitriy Peskov was: “we do not do weddings”.

Kheda Goylabiyeva and Chechen police officer Nazhud Guchigov, second right, stand in a wedding registry office in Chechnya's provincial capital Grozny, 16 May 2015.

The wedding of Kheda Goylabiyeva, 17, and Chechen police officer Nazhud Guchigov, 47, has led to a massive outcry online.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-32822662

The ‘wrinkled women’ of Russia

May 22, 2015

Hundreds of Russian women are posting selfies with scrunched faces on Instagram, as part of a protest against officials – including one who remarked about women aged 27 having wrinkles, and another who married a teenager aged under 18.

It began with an arranged marriage. On Saturday, Nazhud Guchigov, a 47-year-old local police chief in the Russian republic of Chechnya, married Kheda Goylabiyeva – who is 17 years old. The bride has gone on TV to say she was marrying the “manly and reliable” Guchigov of her own free will, but many commenting online disagreed – especially since Guchigov is already married, and so was marrying a second wife, as is permitted by the Muslim faith predominant in Chechnya.

The marriage was also controversial because polygamy is illegal under Russian law and the minimum age of marriage is 18 (although it is 16 in Chechnya).

The discussion online was so heated that it led Chechnya’s leader Ramzan Kadyrov to urge men to “stop their wives” from using WhatsApp – a remark causing further criticism.

Amid the uproar, the Russian children’s rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov came out to defend the marriage. “Let’s not be prudish. Emancipation and sexual maturity happen earlier in the Caucasus. There are places where women have wrinkles at age 27 and they look 50 by our standards,” he said.

Women online took offence at the remarks. Feminist activist and journalist Bella Rapoport scrunched her face and posted an Instagram selfie with a new hashtag (#сморщеннаяженщина) which means “Wrinkled Woman” or “Withered Woman”. Nearly 500 photos have been uploaded with the tag in the last week. In their posts, the women call Astakhov a “hypocrite” and blame him for allowing the marriage to a girl who many consider a minor.

“This hashtag is about the oppression of women. Women’s rights are violated in Russia, especially in Chechnya,” Rapoport told BBC Trending. She said she posted the selfie because she was angry to see women being “treated like an object”.

Instagram #WrinkledWoman selfie
“I’m not yet 27, but already very close. By Astakhov’s criteria, could be considered to be 49… And by the way I’m becoming wrinkled from the thought of Astakhov and people like him.”
Instagram #WrinkledWoman selfie
Instagram #WrinkledWoman selfie

More than 35,000 have signed an online petition asking Astakhov to be removed from office for “dodging his duty to protect the underaged from violence and making offensive remarks about women.”

Astakhov himself has issued an apology on his Instagram profile: “Women of any age are splendid and adorable,” he writes. “God created Woman so that we could love her, defend her, take care of her, glorify her. A clumsy comparison, a rash word taken out of the context of discours,e cannot change my attitude to the Fair Sex. I’ve loved, love and shall love and respect [them]! I apologize for the mistake I’ve made!”

But Rapoport isn’t convinced, telling BBC Trending the apology is “sexist” in her view and that she does not accept it.

The Kremlin has refused to comment about the Chechnya wedding. The response given to journalists by Russia’s presidential press secretary Dmitriy Peskov was: “we do not do weddings”.

Kheda Goylabiyeva and Chechen police officer Nazhud Guchigov, second right, stand in a wedding registry office in Chechnya's provincial capital Grozny, 16 May 2015.
The wedding of Kheda Goylabiyeva, 17, and Chechen police officer Nazhud Guchigov, 47, has led to a massive outcry online.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-32822662

At Moscow University professors and students disrupted a lecture leader “Antimaydana”

May 22, 2015

Student protest against Russian propagandist at Moscow University.

(Translated by my Chrome browser)
elderly

In Moscow, the students and teachers of the Russian State Humanitarian University (RGTU) staged a protest against the speech of one of the leaders of the movement “Antimaydan” Nikolai Starikov and demonstratively left the hall. Write about it on Twitter professors and students of the university, which also posted photos and video action.

Translation: Fortunately, there were students and teachers, angry political propaganda in the walls of the university. They unfurled a banner.
The students began to leave the lecture Starikov, who came to regale their regular portion of the Kremlin propaganda about the machinations of the West against Russia, despite the appeals of one of the employees of the university did not miss classes, and not to leave the lecture.

– You are the organizer gang! – Shouted Starikov from the audience. In response, promoter accused of sympathizing with the students Maidan.

“The reaction of students and teachers: posters, cries of” shame “mass exodus” – tweeted one of the students RSTU.

Transation: I met Nikolai Starikov RSUH: https: // youtu.be/AAlTL-pt8Dg  reaction of students and teachers: posters, cries of “shame”, a mass exodus.
Students also brought with them posters to protest the performance of the university in the walls of the Kremlin propagandist.

elderly

Source: http://vlada.io/vlada_news/v-moskovskom-universitete-prepodavateli-i-studentyi-sorvali-lektsiyu-lidera-antimaydana/

Russian Soldiers Captured in Ukraine Feel ‘Abandoned’ by Moscow

May 22, 2015

Russia has abandoned soldiers in Ukraine.

This news would destroy the morale in the Russian army if it became widely known.  Of course, I am quite sure this is being spun by Russian propagandists to say these are professionals, acting as they should.

Here is what RIA Novosti is saying:

“The petition senior investigator on the application of a preventive measure in the form of detention suspect Alexander Alexandrov meet. Apply preventive measure: the detention <…> until 19 July 2015 inclusive,” – the judge read out in court Valentina Malinovskaya.

Earlier, Ukrainian security officials said that on May 16 arrested in the Donbas two alleged Russian military. Chief of Staff of the People’s Militia self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Lugansk Sergei Kozlov said on Sunday that security forces captured Kiev on the territory of the LC two fighters of the People’s Militia. On Tuesday, the Defense Ministry said that the prisoners are citizens of the Russian Federation, but Alexander Alexandrov and Yevgeni Yerofeyev at the time of his arrest on May 17 were not valid members of the armed forces of the Russian Federation.

– http://ria.ru/world/20150522/1065957624.html


 

Two Russians captured in eastern Ukraine have said they feel abandoned by Moscow, which has not sent any envoys to visit them even while scores of representatives from major international organizations have come to the hospital where they are recovering from their injuries.

Yevgeny Yerofeyev and Alexander Alexandrov have both said that they were on a military mission in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine — which is the center of fighting between rebel militias and Ukrainian troops — and were hoping that Moscow would show more interest in their fate now that they have been captured by Kiev’s forces, according to video interviews with the independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper published online Friday.

“I am just saddened by this situation, that we have been forgotten, abandoned, that they want to write us off,” Yerofeyev, who said he is a captain in the Russian army, told Novaya Gazeta.

The Russian Foreign Ministry, however, said earlier this week that its embassy in Kiev has asked to meet with the detained men and to provide them with “necessary help in accordance with the norms of international law.”

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry responded that it would “study and consider” the request, according to spokesman Oleksiy Makeyev, the Interfax-Ukraine news service has reported.

The soldiers may not have been aware of the diplomatic ping pong, expressing frustrations with Moscow’s failure to send its envoys, especially after scores of international organizations and even Russia’s media have done so.

“The situation is such that everybody has visited. The United Nations visited, the Red Cross visited, the OSCE,” Yerofeyev said from his hospital bed, flipping through a stack of business cards. “Everybody asked how I was doing, whether I was alive and well, whether I was getting treatment. Everybody came, except the embassy [of Russia].”

“I understand that they have abandoned me as an army serviceman, to hell with that,” he said. “But I am still a citizen of my country. And I would like to see some kind of a representative here.”

Alexandrov, who said he has the rank of a sergeant, told Novaya Gazeta that the only message he had for the Russian authorities was “maybe that they would visit me.”

“I think they know there are citizens of the Russian Federation here,” he added.

In another twist in a tangle of conflicting narratives that shrouds the Ukrainian conflict, both men insisted that they never resigned from the army and had been on active duty in eastern Ukraine — even while their family members in Russia said on state-run television that the men had resigned from the military around the beginning of the year.

“He was a contract soldier. He resigned in December,” Alexandrov’s wife, Yekaterina, told state-run Rossia television from the city of Togliatti, where he had served.

She said her husband had told her that he was offered a “good job” in Samara, and was leaving to complete some training courses “somewhere in Voronezh,” according to the televised interview.

Alexandrov said he was “shocked” by his wife’s account when told about it by a Novaya Gazeta reporter, adding that he has been unable to get in touch with her since his capture, because “calls don’t get through.”

The story of the soldiers’ supposed resignation — which matches a claim made by the Russian Defense Ministry — was seconded by Yerofeyev’s father, Vladimir, in a separate interview with the Rossiya television channel on Thursday.

Vladimir Yerofeyev said that his son had resigned from the military “after New Year’s” and was heading for Ukraine’s separatist Luhansk region.

“I didn’t try to dissuade him,” the father said. “He is an adult and an officer. He knows what he is doing.”

After being pressed by a Rossia correspondent as to whether his son was “really an officer,” Vladimir Yerofeyev added: “A former one.”

Alexandrov and Yerofeyev told Novaya Gazeta they were on an intelligence-gathering mission in eastern Ukraine, on the orders of the Russian military. Yerofeyev added that the mission was a “failure,” given their capture, and that “one of the best scenarios” for him would be to resign from the army when he returns home.

While Ukrainian officials said the men would face trial on “terrorism” charges, Alexandrov told Novaya Gazeta that he hoped they would be treated as prisoners of war, and exchanged for Ukrainians imprisoned in Russia.

“I would like to be a prisoner of war,” he said. “I like that status better than, say, the status of a mercenary or a bandit.”

Source: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/russian-soldiers-captured-in-ukraine-feel-abandoned-by-moscow/522022.html

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