By Paul Goble
Viktor Kadochnikov, a Russian blogger, poses 20 questions that he suggests those who support Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine should be asking themselves. If they do and if they are honest, they won’t be able to support the Kremlin leader’s policies any more.
Below, in summary form, are the 20 questions he says they should be confronted with.
- “Why are Donetsk and Luhansk ‘Novorossiya,’ but when a passenger jet crashes in its territory, it is instantly transformed into Ukraine?”
- “Mercenary activity is a crime in Russia. Why don’t ‘the militia men’–who come from Russia and are paid for combat–not fall under this provision of the law?”
- “How can one explain the fact” that Moscow has brought criminal charges [exclusively] against Russian citizens who are fighting for Ukraine but not against Russians who are fighting in Ukraine against the Ukrainian government?
- Do you consider the use by the [Russian] ‘militias’ of civilians as human shields something deserving of respect?
- “The war is costing Ukraine several million dollars a day. It is logical to assume that it isn’t costing its opponent any less. Do you really think that Russia isn’t giving the so-called Novorossiya military and financial help?”
- “Why is it that everywhere where the so-called militias ‘liberate,’ there is war? … Why are the so-called [Ukrainian] ‘punitive operations’ only where there are ‘militias’?”
- “Why must Ukraine hand over to [Russian] band formations territories that legally belong to it? If the Ukrainian military doesn’t want to do this, does that make them punitive detachments?”
- Given the number of times Vladimir Putin has changed his story on Crimea, “is it possible to believe him now when he asserts that there are no Russian forces in the Donbas? If so, then why?”
- How would you react if some American said–as Igor “Strelkov” Girkin has–that without their invasion, nothing much would have occurred?
- The Russian defense ministry has promised to provide five million rubles to the families of soldiers who “have died at the Ukrainian border. Are you not interested in why [the details of their deaths] are being hidden from you?”
- Given that Moscow forcefully disperses opposition meetings and imprisons its participants on made-up charges, how do you think Vladimir Putin would react if some group seized administration buildings and proclaimed the creation of its own statehood on Russian territory? Would Putin take measures or perhaps sit down with the terrorists “to negotiate” as he demands that Kyiv do?
- “Why does every Ukrainian patriot, who wears Ukrainian symbols, sings the Ukrainian hymn, supports the unity of his country and speaks against separatism automatically become a Banderite and fascist? Under what article of the [Russian Federation] criminal code?”
- Are all pieces of evidence of the presence of Russian troops in Ukraine–even those offered by Russian soldiers themselves–forgeries produced in the West?
- “Comrade Putin frequently has declared that Russia is not a side in the conflict and that he personally respects and supports the territorial integrity of Ukraine. If that is really so, then why hasn’t Russia closed the border from its side so that volunteers (and not only they) from the Russian Federation do not have the opportunity to cross it in order to fight against the territorial integrity of Ukraine?”
- The Russian government last August explained the appearance of Russian troops in Ukraine by saying that they had crossed the border by mistake. “Do you really believe this? What would be your reaction if NATO soldiers ‘accidentally became confused’ somewhere near Vladivostok?”
- “Why has Russia not once condemned the ‘Novorossiya’ militants and not once called on them to lay down their arms first? At the same time, officials of the Russian Federation have frequently called on Ukrainian soldiers to lay down their arms and leave the Ukrainian Donbas to the bandits. Why all [Russian] federal media gives positive coverage to only one side?”
- How do you explain the fact that the forces of the ‘DNR’ and ‘LNR,’ hard-pressed as they were last August, suddenly “opened a new front in the direction of Mariupol and seized Novoazovsk? Who did this in fact: the forces of ‘the militias,’ whom the Ukrainian army had successfully contained or Russian soldiers without uniform markings who supposedly weren’t there?”
- Why does Belarus, a state aligned so “close to Russia, support the territorial integrity of Ukraine and not agree with Putin’s imperialist plans? Why does Lukashenka, Putin’s ally in the Customs Union believe that there is no fascism as a mass phenomenon in Ukraine and say that it is necessary to destroy the militants fighting against Ukraine?”
- Do you believe Russian officials when they say that the 12 Pskov paratroopersdid not die fighting in Ukraine but rather “by chance” died from heart attacks, suicides and accidents all at the same time?
- “What are the ‘Novorossiya’ militants fighting for and what is the use of what they are doing?”