From a friend in Ukraine: Video about Russia’s prisoner or war

Dear friends of Ukraine!
I could not help providing you with a link to this 19 minute video which very briefly and clearly explains what’s going on with Nadiya and in general in Ukraine.
You can give this link to anyone who has questions and has not got much time to dive into the news.
Thank you for being there!

Halyna Pastushuk

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A friend in Ukraine remembers Maidan sniper victims of Feb. 20, 2014

I know that I have promised to devote one of my next letters to the topic of human dignity, especially in the light of current situation in my country. I am working on fulfilling this promise and at times it feels like I have to write a book…so much is there to say. This present message, however, I want to dedicate to those Ukrainians who were persecuted, beaten, tortured and shot dead during the Revolution of Dignity. I know they died not only for “a new Ukraine” but for “a new Europe”. For me, as a Christian, they died for the right to defend their God-given dignity. Some of them died even without realizing what awaited them on that day in Maidan but the majority died because they were ready to. My opinion, though, can be easily smashed by thousands of contrary views.

I come across many foreign articles depicting Ukrainian activists of Maidan as nationalists and fascists, as the ones who organized a coup in Ukraine, who used weapon against the police and turned a peaceful revolution into an armed uprising. Perhaps foreign journalists know better what had been happening in my country before the Maidan, they know better what was the essence of Maidan, and perhaps the Moscow perspective of the last winter events is much better perceived in the West and perhaps it is more psychologically convenient for an average westerner to think that Maidan was just a local showdown between east and west. Perhaps the Ukrainians who died in the last days of the Revolution were dying for money paid by the nationalists from the Ukrainian western regions or, by the USA. Perhaps…perhaps…perhaps…why not? Everything is relative in this world, things are so complicated…so unclear….It is so difficult to get to the truth, let’s be satisfied with half-truths, quarter-truths just to avoid uncomfortable waking up.

            I will not say much this time. I’d better be quite with my biting irony. Here is a 26-minute English language video with comment telling about the last days of the Revolution of Dignity. On February 20, 2014 around 100 people were shot dead by snipers and our present president Petro Poroshenko established this day as the day of Heavenly Hundred commemorating the one-year-ago events.

Watch this when you have time. I watched it a couple of times to remind myself of what happened. It has impact on my daily decisions… It is a tribute to the “Heavenly Hundred” – the first victims of terror signaling of the forthcoming war against the political dignity of Ukraine’s statehood. Share it with others. Today these events are skillfully wrapped in ridiculous interpretations but I appeal to your common sense.


For those interested to continue a master class from Belial I fished out another propaganda video on a whole propaganda site. A clear Russian-accent voice trying to imitate American English is applying a typical method of belying reality with the help of facts. Those who have ears, listen, those who have common sense, analyze:


Finally, I would like to apologize for my exaggerated news about the physical state of Nadiya Savchenko in my last message on Feb 10. I fell prey to a bit populist publication of Yulia Tymoshenko’s party. Nadiya is indeed in critical state but the injections keep her going. Here is Savchenko’s speech in the Basmanny court (Moscow) on that same day. As you can see, she did not only stand and walk, she could even smile and defend her position:

Pictures from the court:


Thank you for reading this message. You do not have to agree with me but I beg you: BE AWAKE, THINK, ANALYZE AND SEEK THE TRUTH. The war in Ukraine is not somewhere far away, it is in your heart and your mind. It makes difference whether you are on the side of the good or on the side of the evil. There is no buffer zone to hide by appealing to the fact that the military location is far away from you, in the Ukrainian region of Donbass.

Halyna Pastushuk

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Nadiya Shevchenko’s Russian imprisonment

From a friend in Ukraine:

Today is the 60th day of NADIYA (HOPE) Savchenko’s hunger strike.
Please support her in your thoughts. Even if she dies she needs our spiritual support in the last hours of her life. She weighs only 50 kg as for today. The analysis of her blood is very bad: the formula is changing. She refuses to stop her hunger strike and says: “I am ready to die in the name of justice”. The fact that she is not guilty is 100% proven during the trial. She has 100% alibi. All the facts are there. She is Putin’s top hostage. I am sure that every hour of her hunger strike gives an immense damage to Putin’s regime and his empire of evil, all this is happening in the invisible spiritual world and will add to its end, drop by drop, very slowly but irreversibly. So far, Putin is sadistically enjoying her suffering and watching how the world is turning around his will, paying attention to him, begging him to set her free. Nadiya is one of his aces to play. By what is happening to her he is terrifying Russians to sit still and bear his regime. Soldiers and their families are signing special papers in which they promise not to promulgate their participation in the military actions on the territory of Ukraine to keep the war in secret. 

Today in the morning Nadiya was brought to the court. They want to prolong the trial till the middle of May 2015. Her lawyers brought an appeal to the EU court yesterday. 

Nadiya cannot walk or stand and she can barely speak but her spirit is very strong. Neither her lawyer, nor her sister and mother could coax her to stop the starvation. This is what she said:

“I took part in two wars and I am ready to die in the name of justice. Your prime-minister Medvedev said that if they cut off the SWIFT system, then Russia is ready to all kinds of measures. I am also ready for all kinds of measures. I survive barely by the power of my will. I shall go to the end.


Her exhausted and suffering body is extremely sensitive to every positive thought, to a prayer, to one day of hunger-strike in your life in her support. Another 5 members of the EU parliament joined a hunger-strike to support Nadiya.

I believe that everything happening in this world is very tightly connected. Do not fall prey to thinking that you cannot do anything. It’s up to you how you can help her. Just do something good today in her name…and may the Lord bless you.

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From the Russian Front 2015

Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that we  don’t hear about everything that’s going on in the world from our news outlets.  Let’s face it, Paris is the home of Agence-France-Presse and a number of foreign news bureaus. So what happens in Paris — or New York or London — makes headlines.The new and unexpected also makes the headlines.  (The very definition of “news.”) But let us look a bit beyond the headlines to what is happening away from international attention, what is still happening and has been going on for a year–the Russian attacks on Eastern Ukraine.  Here is a note from from the Russian front…the Ukrainian Russian front.

Letters from Attacked Ukraine. Letter 5: JE SUIS CHARLIE = JE SUIS VOLNOVAKHA
Halyna Pastushuk <>

January 15, 2015


Dear friends,

I have to bother your peaceful and busy pace of life with another message and address you with a bunch of sad news. This message was supposed to be posted a day before but daily cares and constant ‘living in the news’ hampered me from doing this. Today is announced a day of deep mourning all over Ukraine. We’ve got our “Charlie” three days after the French tragedy. On Jan 13 Russian terrorists attacked from GRAD a civil bus as if aiming at the Ukrainian check-point near the town of Volnovakha in Donetsk region. Their target, unfortunately, just like in case with the Malasian airplane in July last year, turned out to be also a bus with civilians. First the Russians boasted with a successful hit and 11 killed. After the sad discovery the news immediately disappeared from the internet and now the separatists refuse to accept the responsibility. 10 people dead at once, two died later in hospital, 18 severely injured.

More on this here:

and here:

This is a horrifying video of the bus after the mortar attack:

In three days of Islamic terror the French lost 17 citizens. In a very similar way, for the same absurd reasons, in a war caused by Russian terror, we lost 12 in one day…and how many more…how much more??? I express my solidarity with the French who are mourning their victims of terror. I hope this is a mutual feeling. It is very hard to realize, though, that unlike Alkaida and similar structures, LNR and DNR (two fake republics in the east of Ukraine) are not yet recognized as terrorist organizations, even after the crash of the Malasian boeing. This indefiniteness, this unclarity and obscurity, this fear to call things with their proper names is very hurting. The evil forces like when things are blurred and triple covered with fear and political correctness.Our president Mr Poroshenko is going to press the international community with this issue.

Oleg Liashko, the leader of the Radical Party of Ukraine, is calling all Ukrainians to organize a protest action this forthcoming weekend to show solidarity to the world, to show  that there is not civil war in Ukraine and we are united against our enemy.

In my previous message I promised you to give links to petitions about saving Nadiya Savchenko from fake imprisonment. In her last letter of Jan 12, delivered from prison by her lawyer, she says she promised herself that the last day of her hunger strike can be either the day of freedom and traveling back to Ukraine or … death. She believes she will endure the physical exhaustion with the strength of her spirit. She says: “if one person thinks of me in supportive way it adds to my strength, if someone thinks of me bad (s)he only adds to my perseverance and anger”. PLEASE HELP NADIYA BY SIGNING A PETITION

Here is the latest information about her in English:

Here are links to petitions with I personally beg you to sign. One of our politicians launched a petition in White House site. Please, please, please find time to save our HOPE. Nadiya has starved for 33 days already. She lives on glucose injections and hot water because hunger strike is the only way she can protest:немедленное-освобождение-гражданки-украины-надежды-савченко-mid-rf

And here is one more piece of news. A German journalist, having applied the laws of human logic and investigative perseverance, plus some pictures from space, discovered a 4 square km military base from which Russia dislocates its forces into the territory of Ukraine. In October 2014 there were no signs of infrastructure at all. In October 2014 buildings and roads, together with heavy military transport units appeared.
No comment…


In one of my previous messages I told you that I had been struck with reactions of some people to developments in Ukraine. I continue talking to people, explaining, asking questions, giving answers, analyzing. Two ladies from Vienna asked my Ukrainian friend a very interesting question: “How can you live in the discourse of war? Why don’t you let them [Russians] take what they want and leave you in peace?” I find this question quite symptomatic and I suspect this is one of the reasons why many foreigners cannot just believe the war is on. I hear them spelling the war with the euphemism “Ukrainian crisis”. To say “war” is too harsh. I remember myself at the point when we had mysterious “green uniform guys” in Crimea in March last year. I thought to myself then: whatever, come what may, but not war! No, no, if they want to separate from us and go to Russia, let them go! I do not want blood to be shed, I do not want deaths. Hundreds of deaths after Maidan seemed too much because we all lived in the discourse of peace, just like you now. But this is exactly what Putin expected: they are all too innocent and peaceful to wake up and switch into the war mode before I really snatch a piece of land. I remember that Putin waited, he moved very slowly, like a vulture watching its prey: first two tanks on a road with the Russian flag, then unidentified green aliens on the peninsula, then talks about referendum, then guys with weapons threatening Ukrainian officers. Putin was teaching us a principle: I will go just as far as you let me. He was checking how far we all (Ukraine and the international community) could let him go. We were all deep asleep in the discourse of peace and negotiations, warnings, indignations, protests, etc.etc.etc. while Putin was in the discourse of bliz krieg. It is a fatal mistake to thing that we can pay off with a region or two from Putin. It is also a fatal mistake to think that Europe can pay off from war at the cost of Ukraine. History is repeating itself. We have buried almost all WWII veterans. There are few survivals, I guess, but did not it all start from the similar compromises? Was not Europe blind to Hitler’s challenge at the cost of the Chech Republic? And remember, Hitler was ‘respecting the free will of each state to decide its destiny’! And remember the Chechs had had just too much blood shedding before WWII to be ready for more. They gave in to avoid war. Did it stop Hitler? It is wrong to give in to the evil when it is very little. It is wrong to give in to the evil even if it seems innocent and not threatening. Evil has a quality to make its nest in the best of goodness, lay eggs there and then…when the dragons are hatched they grow very quickly and are almost impossible to overcome. I think in case of Putin the nest was that Europe was conducting a hypocritical policy with Russia, as if pretending not to see its real face in oil wars, in economic harassment, in home policy turning the state into a one-person regime. Everybody was enchanted with Putin’s smile and speeches. Oh, yesss. I took time to listen to the whole 3.5 hour international press conference he gave on December 18, 2015 in Kremlin:


I can tell it’s a hypocrisy master-class. Putin is extremely smart, charismatic and he uses even the most uncomfortable questions to his benefit. Tackled by the question about the presence of Russian soldiers in the east of Ukraine he says they “come there by the call of their heart” to help Ukrainians fight against fascists and nationalists. He has a talent to publicly wash his hands off with eloquence of his tongue. My Romanian friend, who is also a translator, once shared with me that she had been invited to translate at the top level during an official meeting in Bucharest where Putin was present. She confessed to me, to her sadness, that as a man he is very charming and has something that draws people around into a psychological whirlpool created by his personality.

Well, the eggs are being hatched now, and the dragons are awaiting us in future if we continue to avoid the ‘discourse of war’ and persevere stubbornly in the ‘discourse of peace’.

So much for this gloomy letter….please don’t forget about Nadiya Savchenko!

Again, thank you for reading it and sorry for the sad news.
Halyna Pastushuk
Christ is among us


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Before the national election, a visit to Kharkiv

From a former student in the Borderland:

Kharkiv is worth a visit for anyone who wants to understand what is happening in the East… In the words of my friend, it’s something like Coke Light.

There’s a full set of striped ribbons (a Soviet symbol) on the walls, and the Ukrainian flags painted on the pylons of the bridge are marred with big Xs. A small guard surrounds the statue of Lenin. The metal rails for carriages and handrails have been removed; grates and fencing use little metal. … I asked a friend: “Why do you have so much room between the for hand-holds for climbing the steps? This is inconvenient! She said, “They removed the rails so no one could use them to beat each other.” The city lives its own life. Pretty quiet (it turns out, we were on the middle of ta rally we have not even noticed), and sometimes a little strange.

But, if you talk to people, they make things clear: “We don’t believe the Russian media, nor Ukrainian, either.”

“So who do you believe?”

“If three acquaintances confirm information independently then we believ that information.”

The same applies to the situation in Donbass. “There is a system alert,” one grandmother said. “Information is passed from hand to hand.”

In Kramatorsk, they get the information from the radio. “Mother’s Radio–Radio which is exclusively Russian. And the TV channels, too,” said my companion. Although, according to him, people have become calmer with regard to their reactions to gunfire outside, even the older generation.

The most important thing is that I brought from there is that reliable and good people from the East simply want their voices to be heard. But all they hear is scary talk. The reason: lack of independent media. The army is not held in high esteem because they over-react, like “militias” as they prefer to be called. “Recently in the cemetery we buried 20 local guys. Local guys, not terrorists, just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. They were shot at a roadblock. And no one takes the responsibility for such acts,” says my companion. “The referendum brought out many people, even those who are afraid before. They thought ought everything would be fair and square,” he said.

We all want the elections to be fair, but we do not exclude the possibility of election fraud.

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Open letter of Ukrainian Jews to Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin

Originally posted on Voices of Ukraine:

To the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin

Mr. President!

We are Jewish citizens of Ukraine: businessmen, managers, public figures, scientists and scholars, artists and musicians. We are addressing you on behalf of the multi-national people of Ukraine, Ukraine’s national minorities, and on behalf of the Jewish community.

You have stated that Russia wants to protect the rights of the Russian-speaking citizens of the Crimea and all of Ukraine and that these rights have been trampled by the current Ukrainian government. Historically, Ukrainian Jews are also mostly Russian-speaking. Thus, our opinion on what is happening carries no less weight than the opinion of those who advise and inform you.

We are convinced that you are not easily fooled. This means that you must be consciously picking and choosing lies and slander from the entire body of information on Ukraine. And you know very well that Victor Yanukovich’s statement…

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Helping Ukraine requires remedy for Cold War rhetorical hangover



Monuments to dead Ukrainian heroes like this dot the landscape in Ukrainian cities. This one commemorates a 1941 bombing. Here’s hoping they don’t have to erect more


Two weeks ago now, I got this message from a friend in L’viv, Ukraine: “They are shooting the protesters on Independence Square. I don’t know what to do!” As the death toll in Kyiv rose, as Putin postures, the political opposition to ousted Yanukovych stands resolute. Ukrainians are reaching out to the West by taking to FaceBook, Twitter, e-mail—all available media platforms. The West is slowly responding.

At my house, when we see images of violence in Ukraine, we do not see generic protesters in a far away land; rather, we see our friends on fire. They are friends we made during my 2011-2012 Fulbright in L’viv, a gem of a city located an overnight train-ride west of Kyiv. My son’s friend Vlad was in Kyiv’s Independence Square. So were families in whose homes we celebrated Christmas and Easter. They are professors and students; authors and booksellers; musicians and reporters; parents and children. Our friends speak of a country unable to move forward and unwilling to move back.

The name “Ukraine” means “borderland.” The region has been overrun by waves of invaders for much of its recorded history, starting with the Vikings. I first visited in 1998, when stores were open but empty of merchandise, people trembled as they walked by the police (until independence, the KGB), and meeting foreigners on the street was rare. What a change in 2011! Stores were bustling, streets full of families and lovers, and the country busy preparing to host foreigners for the 2012 European soccer championship.  Yanukovych had even agreed to negotiate membership in the European Union. But at the last minute, he succumbed to Putin’s economic threats, and sold Ukraine to Russia.

The hopeful Ukrainian public, however, proved neither as fickle as Yanukovych, nor as feeble as he would have liked. Taking to social media, people organized massive protests in the public squares or maydens around the country. They called their movement “Euromayden” and paired the blue-and-yellow flag Ukraine yellow-on-blue flag of the European Union. The patchwork coalition of Yanukovych’s opponents represents the far right, the far left and just plain folks in between. They populated Kyiv’s mayden through snow and ice since November. After spending New Year’s Eve there with her family, one friend called it the most exhilarating time of her life—she felt the kind of hope she believed would carry Ukraine closer to Europe and to intellectual and economic freedom. But with this week’s violence comes the desperate fear that hope is lost.

Western governments have called for dialogue– first between Yanukovych and his opposition, and now between Ukraine and Russia– but dialogue is impossible without committed Western support. True dialogue can occur only when the two parties command equal power, and respect each other. The power difference between bullying Russia and the bullied Ukrainian government can equalize only if the West stands behind Ukraine. Then the equal-power requirement for dialogue may be met.

Still, the requirement for respect remains elusive. Part of that problem lies with the way we talk about the parties in conflict. It’s about the choices we make when we use names. Whether we admit it or not, English-speakers suffer from a Cold War hangover. Evidence appears daily that North Americans still think of Eastern Europe in terms of the Cold War. For example, since this crisis began in November, I have heard television and radio reporters in both the U.S. and Canada refer to Ukraine as “The Ukraine.” I heard it on NPR on Sunday. Yesterday, when I appeared on Time Warner Cable’s News14Carolina, the anchor who introduced the piece referred to Ukraine the same way. I’ve got news for them: The Ukraine was a Soviet republic; Ukraine is a European country east of Poland. Similarly, newspaper style guides that dictate spelling in the news we read continue to use the Russian version of Kiev rather than the Ukrainian, Kyiv. The Soviet Union influences our thinking, even from the grave.

During Soviet times, some Soviets referred to Ukraine as “Little Russia,” and many pro-Soviet Russians still do–including Putin. The terminology rhetorically links the histories and identities of the two countries in a way that helps Putin justify his complaints about Western “meddling” in the independent Ukraine, as if his interest in Ukrainian state affairs were an extension of his work in Big Russia.

Contrary to our mothers’ counsel that names will never hurt us, names do hurt us. Names can assign power, for example, giving power to some and taking power away from others. The way it works can be as obvious as the way verbal abuse builds up the power of abuser while tearing down the power of the abused, and as subtle as the creation of an attitude that encourages one country to come to the aid of another–or invade it. When we identify a country as a “former Soviet republic,” we perpetuate the attitude that Moscow still dominates it. We do the same by preferring the Russian-language spelling conventions for Ukrainian names. This Cold War attitude encourages us to interpret the crisis in Ukraine as a domestic dispute over in the Russia house, and so it plays into Putin’s plan for EurAsian domination and his seeming denial that Russia has lost any geopolitical power since 1991.

While names can hurt, they can also help. Using specific terms that demonstrate we care about the power of naming can help Ukraine shed its problematic past associations. When we abandon the outdated attitudes about the opposition between Western and Eastern Europe that we still reveal in our language, then we encourage the kind of attitude that encourages our governments to respect Ukraine as an independent nation and behave accordingly. It will allow Western governments to provide the support the Ukrainian opposition needs to participate in true dialogue with the government to achieve the dignity and freedom citizens of an independent country deserve.


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