Roman Konoplev: Victims of the empire bluff


Author: Roman Konoplev

For what Dmitry Rogozin keeps silent?

The head of Transnistria, Eugene Shevchuk, arrived to Moscow with another visit. The official sources report, that the head of the region is going to discuss, among other questions, the situation with the enterprises of the region that are owned by Russian citizens. About 150 thousands of citizens of Russian Federation who live in Transnistria are also in the limelight. It is a well-known fact that the enclave can’t exist on its own and needs all kinds of help from Russia. When Igor Smirnov was the president of Transnistria, the region used to be named as “long-suffering” by Russian-language newspapers. When the new head of the region was elected, the region faced even more problems. However, month after month the situation is becoming more and more complex.

Dmitry Rogozin became the Special representative of Russia in Transnistria on 21 March 2012. This appointment excited the-hurray-patriotic impulses and declarations that Transnistrians are henceforward to be protected, that everything will change soon and that even the long-sufferance will disappear. Still, the wind of change didn’t blow in the right direction. It is not considered respectable to discuss the results of Rogozin’s activities in Transnistria – Tiraspol is only admiring Rogozin’s personal characteristics, physical attraction and his respectable status. The ruches of soft nothings hide the yawning emptiness. None of the Russian officials ever commented on the catastrophic situation in which Russians and Russian citizens live in Transnistria.

Economic life

The enterprises, owned by Russian citizens, lie sidelong. I’m referring to the intentions of the new authorities of Transnistria to nationalize large enterprises. The industrial giants are brought to their knees because of the gas prices increase. The government of Transnistria is boosting the prices. The gas payments must come, but not to the “Gasprom” company, but to the region’s accounts. The “gas money” has always been used by Transnistria to cancel the budget gap. In 2013 Transnitria is existing without any budget – Shevchuk is distributing money by himself, his pocket government is in conflict with the Parliament. But there is almost nothing to distribute – the gas account is empty. It means no social system at all. The pension payments are at risk. Most of the 150 000 Russian citizens living in Transnistria are pensioners. Russia is providing them with 10-20 US dollars help every month – a sort of supplementary pension. But the food prices in Transnistria are not lower than in any Russian region. Sometimes, the prices are even higher. The average pension in Transnistria today – is the equivalent of 100 US dollars in the local money. If the financial collapse happens, even this beggarly sum will be devaluated.

Russophobia politics

The new head of the region is not an ethnic Russian. This factor may seem insignificant in the multinational region. But one should not neglect it. Eugene Shevchuk is a Ukrainian with the passport of citizen of Russian Federation, he got his education in the Ukraine and thus eluded the participation in the conflict between Transnistria and Moldova. Then he worked as a militiaman in the Transnistiran province. Some time later he became top-manager of the biggest company in the region – “Sheriff”, and after that he was promoted to politics. Shevchuk became the leader of the largest party in the republic – “Obnovleniye” (“The Renewal”). Then he came into personal conflict with Igor Smirnov, found like-minded people in business and pubic structures and came to power with the help of the “media funds” – the result of the situation when he had been in the status of the official successor for 7 years before the elections of 2011.

People’s Democratic Party “PRORIV!” (“Breakthrough”) headed by sociologist Dmitry Soin, became the first political victim of Shevchuk’s époque. This organization initiated “Russian March” in Transnitria, for the first time in the history of the region in 2006. “PRORIV!” has been an opposition party for the last couple of years, was under repression at the time when Smirnov was still at power. During the last presidential campaign the party opposed both Smirnov and Shevchuk and at the very beginning of the campaign it supported the candidate of the party “Obnovleniye” – Anatoly Kaminsky. After that Dmitry Soin suggested himself for president. In recent years “PRORIV!” has been orientated at democratization of the Transnistrian politics and at strengthening the role of parties and political competition, at following European values in the sphere of civil rights and freedoms. After the elections Soin won the reputation of one of the few and consistent critics of the activities of the new head of the region and his followers. In the November of 2012 the new authorities of the region liquidated “PRORIV!” on the cooked-up grounds having ignored all the necessary processes of law. The new authorities lay criminal information against Soin, inspire raiding usurpation of the organization’s property. As the result, Soin is under press and has to leave the region. He has to take to the Ukraine and stay there. He might be afraid that his Russian passport can’t guarantee that Moscow won’t extradite him to Tiraspol as a present to Shevchuk.

Where and from whom do Russians in Transnistria supplicate protection?

It is curious to relate that Russians ask to protect them not from some abstract “Romanian nationalists” with portraits of Konstantin Codreanu, as sometimes propagandist Moscow channels and “talking heads” of Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs report. Russians living in Transnistria ask to protect them from the local authorities, from Tiraspol regime.

Russians from Transnistria are tired of futile attempts to appeal to deaf and blind Kremlin. They have to ask European Court of Human Rights to help them. It should be noted that when it comes to cases with people living in Transnistria, the European Court of Human Rights makes Russian Federation defendant before the Court (judgments delivered in the case of Ilashku and another case – connected with the problems of Transnistrian schools where teaching is maintained in Romanian language). It is Russian Federation that is hold liable for the situation in Transnistria by European structures. It is hold liable because of the Russian Army located in the region and because of the Russian citizens that hold central governing offices in Tiraspol.

The period of Smirnov’s ruling in Transnistria is marked by rather slovenly attitude of the Transnistrian authorities to the situation in all the spheres of life. European Court of Human Rights is soon going to examine the case of Yuriy Totsky. The citizen of Russian Federation Totsky is well-known in Transnistria – he has been trying to appeal to official authorities of Transnistria to find those guilty of his child’s death. His daughter Yana died in 2001 at her own wedding day, after having eaten poisoned mushrooms that had been bought at the market where specialists had given the right to sell them after fictitious quality control. 16 people were poisoned at the wedding. But not a single guilty in the tragedy was punished by law-enforcement bodies. Solidarity.

After commencement of action in the European Court of Human Rights, the new authorities of Trasnsnitria organized the frightening house-check at Stepan Popovsky’s home – he is the lawer who’d sent the documents to European Court of Human Rights. It is no wonder because it is the 13 case when Popovsky sent the documents about human rights violation in Transnistria to ECHR.

The times of the new head of Transnistria – Eugene Shevchuk, are marked not by carelessness, but by sadistic attitude to Russian citizens. The case of Aleksey Trubnikov received broad resonance in the region. The young 35-year-old businessman, the citizen of Russia, was illegally arrested and tortured in Transnistrian prison. He died in the remand prison on 21 November 2012. His lawyer Vladimir Maimust sent letters to Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Rogozin with a request to put in a word. The answer is – deathly silence. Maimust is threatened, pressed by Tiraspol authorities that fabricate criminal prosecution against him. Russia keeps silent.

Dmitry Soin, the leader of the party “PRORIV!” that was illegally liquidated in Transnistria, being under repression is also going to appeal to European Court of Human Rights. At one of the parliamentary sessions, the new head of KGB of Transnistria, Vladislav Finagin, threatened Soin, dangling the paper where Soin appeals to the authorities of European Union. Despite the status of the deputy of the Parliament, Soin had to leave Transnistria. He promised to appeal to ECHR with a request to protect the rights of the party “PRORIV!” for political activities.

The case of Oksana Ionova, the citizen of Russia and ex-head of Central Bank of Transnistria, was also sent to ECHR. She was entrapped by the proposal of new post in Transnistria, and on 13 March 2012 she was sent to prison and tortured. In particular, when Ionova reported about health problems, she was examined by a gynaecologist before eight men – custodial supervisors. It is not Somali, it is Transnistria today.

The cases when the rights of Russians and citizens of Russia in Transnistria are violated, are left without any attention of the authorities of Russian Federation, of its Special representative Rogozin, of Russian television and press. It is only social networks where one can find information about problems of Russians. The official Moscow is ignoring any incidents. Rightless Russians ask Europe for help.

Why does it happen?

Following in Ramzan Kadyrov’s footsteps

Eugene Shevchuk in his interviews on television is preaching the same values as his Chechen colleague Ramzan Kadyrov. And even more. According to Shevchuk’s last declarations, he is a stickler of the recovery of the USSR’s mightiness and greatness, of uniting all the ex-soviet republics to the new Empire – Eurasian Union, Customs Union and so on. All the propagandist sources of Transnistria are expressing honeys, but at the same time one can watch total mop-up operation against political opponents, human rights violations, prosecutions of the independent organizations, including those where Russian citizens play the key roles – Russians and citizens of Russia, those, who have constantly been used by Transnistrian authorities to blackmail Moscow demanding cash investments. However, the authorities of Transnistria abominate Russians, they are afraid of Russian citizens and try to force them out of the region.

At the same time somebody in Moscow is reporting about the successes and control of the situation. They report that Transnistria is fulfilling the mission of “reasoning Moldova” to enter Eurasian union. These people, the lobbyists of Tiraspol in Moscow, understand that “reasoning Moldova” to enter Customs union – is the only role of Transnistria. They do not care about anything else. To please the interests of this small group of people the lives of Russians living in the region are exposed.

Not long ago Shevchuk insistently demanded in public that Kremlin must include Transnistria to Russia. It is rather logical. The officials who live thanks to Transnistrian situation decided that 4 billion US dollars that had never been returned to Russia are not enough. The region can’t earn enough to satisfy the ever-growing appétit of the local activists. It would be profitable to get regular allowances, like one more Chechnya.

The empire-orthodox-orientated honeys from Eugene Shevchuk and his companion Nina Shtansky cost too much to Russians. Not only to those Russians living in Transnistria, but to Russians, living in Russia as well. They are going to pay for the existence of one more bottomless corrupt nest, where the interests of diplomats, militarymen and all kinds of swindlers, who have been capitalizing on misfortune of Russian citizens living in the near abroad for the last decade, intertwisted.

The soap-bubble of the Empire

The ancestress of Transnistria – Moldavian autonomous SSR was created at the territory of the Ukraine because of Kotovsky’s and fugitive Romanian bolsheviki’s fancy. They lobbied in Moscow the creation of new autonomy as a part of plan of Bolshevik advance to the West, of widening influence. To this end Stalin’s historians invented Moldavian nation, separate from the Romanian. To export the Bolshevik revolution many things were done. The Ukraine lost part of its territory, then it received something in return. Still, Stalin saw the MASSR only as an instrument of expanding influence. The Soviet authorities, expanding its influence to Bessarabia, sent thousands of disloyal people, including many Russians, to die in concentration camps.

It is necessary to remember this fact when another group of believers of the idea of expansion appears. Especially, if one pays attention to the fact that the versions of Stalin’s historians are actively used by those who see the role of Transnistria as one more empire base. In Soviet Moldavia an unofficial, but dominating ideology was aggressive vulgar moldovenism. This moldovensim was even more Russophobian than the ideas of Romanian far rightists. Moldovenism – is the ideology of Moldavian fringe urban population groups. The theorists of united Moldavia as part of Eurasian Union see the moldovenism as the main state ideology. Today Russians are immolated for the good and greatness of new Empire.

The head of Transnistria found many enemies and potential victims during a short period of his ruling. He wants to look hard and great, and he is ready to demonstrate the population his repressive appetites. Criminal cases are being brought before the court. Ex-officials are sent to prison, and it is not worth speaking about some anti-corruption talents of the new head of Transnistria – not a single of his friends has been sent to prison, even among those who has become very rich. Those of his friends who are constantly found mixed-up with some crimes, including driving under the influence of liquor and riding down people. All that reminds the manners of todays’ Chechnya. Eugene Shevchuk’s clan is clearing the space to bring to life their own ambitions in business and politics. This clan is building its monopoly. With Moscow’s connivance. Hundreds of criminal cases are initiated in Transnistria against the unwanted. The cases are initiated on different grounds, including totalitarian ones – like clause on “Libel”. It is one of the most soft arguments, why Shevchuk’s opponents are being prosecuted.

The new leader of Transnistria is good at talking about Eurasian values, Orthodoxy, new analogues of the USSR. That’s why Moscow can forgive him many things. In the past, there were situations when people were kidnapped from the territory of the Ukraine and where brought to court in Transnistria. The todays authorities of PMR threaten their opponents and say that they are ready to kidnap them not only in the Ukraine, but in Russia as well.

Some time ago Shevchuk proposed Moldova to become part of Transnistrian Moldavian Republic, and to enter then the analogue of USSR. It is far from joking. It is the official line of those who promote Shevchuk’s interests in Moscow, of those who persuade Kremlin that they lead Shevchuk in a string.

As the result Transnistria can become not the second Switzerland, but one more Chechnya.

Colossal financial tranches will flow from Russia, and most of them will be crooked, of course. Moscow will have not only to send money as a price for Shevchuk’s love for Eurasian Union. It can happen that on the basis of “friendship and cooperation in the name of common empire interests” Russia will extradite some of its citizens to Tiraspol. And the list of those who are or can be on trial in Transnistria is rather vast. For example, ex-minister of state security of Transnistria, Vladimir Antiufeev, is in the list. There are other people of a lower rank. Some journalists are in the list as well. The authorities of Transnistria are afraid of the freedom of speech. The access to independent political Internet-resources is blocked in the region.

Those who agitated against Shevchuk during the election campaign because of different reasons are now in the lists of the persecuted. A 22-year-old man, the citizen of Moldova, was sent to Transnistrian prison for 2,5 years. Alexander Koliban was arrested for distribution of leaflets on 9 June 2012. On the same grounds Dmitry Gasanenko, the citizen of the Ukraine, was arrested in Transnistria on 26 of October 2011 and sentenced for 3 years in February 2012. After 5 months of hell in Transnistrian prison, Gasanenko showed his repentance on TV and he was granted freedom. Russian citizens stay in Transnistrian prison in horrible conditions. The sanitary standards are not fulfilled, sometimes prisoners don’t get food for weeks, even water is a deficit. The prison in the region is a source of earning money. Not to let a relative die in prison, one should pay much money. Sometimes it is possible to pay several tens of thousands of US dollars and they will let you go and even give you a ride to the border.

The list of those who can be fed to Transnistrian authorities for the good of Eurasian Union is waiting for its time. For the sake of what? For the sake of unstoppable appetites of the corrupt workers of diplomatic and law enforcement structures bent on empire? For the bluff of greatness of the soap bubble, the analogue of the former USSR? For the situation when Russians, like at the times of communists, would be a sort of manure when another swindler project on “export of influence” would be implemented?

Unfortunately, this is the picture of what is happening.

Roman Konoplev is a Transnistrian and Russian publicist and political analyst. He lived in Transnistria from 1978 to 11 April 2012. Graduated from International Institute of Economics and Law (Moscow) and Bryansk State Technical University. Konoplev took part in the activities of opposition movements in Russian Federation.

Дата публикации: Чт 28 Мар 2013

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