Letter from Ukraine from Halyna Pastushuk

September 7, 2015


Dear Friends!


Despite my e-mail absence during the last two months (since July 10) I have been making mental bridges to all of you trying to compile another message. The decision I took one year ago remains valid, firm and strong as I see the war developing in new dimensions and directions. I know you all are following the news, and therefore all the information I provide in my messages is not meant for barely informing you. It is meant primarily to keep you alert and to remind you of Ukraine and suffering Ukrainians amidst your peaceful daily routine. It is also meant to wake you up from thinking “now after Minsk II things are getting better in Ukraine, there is less war” – nothing of that kind. The current situation has many dangerous invisible currents. This war is over when the present Russian FSB (or rather, KGB) regime is. No sooner.

August was full of various events I was unable to comment because I was often away from my computer or trying to take the best of the summer heat we were unusually blessed with here in Lviv this year. Taking into account the events in Georgia in 2008 and last year events nearby the Ukrainian town of Ilovaisk, it looks like for Kremlin decision-makers August is the favorite month for implementing surreptitious evil plans….if not by shelling then by fooling…




On Mon, August 3, the former Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, based in a Moscow hotel, announced the formation of a “Ukraine Salvation Committee,” calling for “total regime change” through early elections and vowing to “restore order in our home.” Azarov, who was former President Viktor Yanukovych’s prime minister until he was toppled by “Euromaidan” protests in February 2014 and fled to Russia, spoke on August 3 at a news conference in Moscow and an interview on state-run Rossia-24. “The Salvation Committee believes it is impossible to restore accord in Ukraine without changing the country’s political leadership,” Azarov said. He called the pro-European protests that drove Yanukovych out a “coup,” echoing the Kremlin’s term. It was the first formal proclamation by allies of Yanukovych of an effort to regain power from the country’s pro-Western leaders — though Azarov said that the ousted president and other senior members of his circle would not be involved which means that Yanukovych is out of the game now, even in the role of clown….

Azarov named Volodymyr Oliynyk, a former lawmaker from Yanukovych’s defunct Party of Regions, as the chairman of the newly established committee, and said that Oliynyk would be its choice for president. To remind you, Oliynyk was the guy who co-created and initiated in Verkhovna Rada illegal voting for so called “dragon laws of January 16, 2014” which helped to legalize persecutions of Euromaidan protesters.

Azarov, 67, served as prime minister under Yanukovych from 2010 to 2014. Both he and Yanukovych are wanted by Ukrainian authorities for crimes, among others, related to embezzlement and abuse of power, and an international warrant for Azarov’s arrest has been issued by Interpol. In April, Ukraine’s Security Service named Azarov and Oliynyk among former officials who allegedly financially supported “acts to destabilize the situation in Ukraine.”

            If you have time and feel like relaxing-entertaining you can have a look at the 1 hour 40 minute press-conference. It is really funny…albeit is it also, I must acknowledge, very sad and even tragic how primitively and aggressively tacky our enemy can be in his contrivances. That “salvation government” has no real power; it is like a weed that grows from the cultivated soil trying to choke up the cultivated plants. There is no return to the ‘old Ukraine’ but the way to the ‘new Ukraine’ is very long still…


Here it is in the original:


Here it is also in the original:


And here it is with simultaneous interpreting INTO ENGLISH (FOR YOU) with all original clownish mimics and reactions preserved:





Sadly, the last word in the investigation of the tragic MH17 airliner crash is not uttered yet. Moreover, the initiative to create an international tribunal was voted down by Russia’s vote in the UN. In the course of this summer works investigators found new evidence of possible direct Russia’s involvement:


From so many uninvestigated crimes I have already learnt that even if the evidence is evident it is not enough to condemn Russia. The evidence must be really abundant, sudden and solid, so that the Kremlin dogs would not have time to invent undermining argumentation.




As an average Ukrainian citizen I can say that reforms in Ukraine are slowly moving. It feels like an old rusty wheel is finally disturbed and dis-nested. One can listen to a lot of news, talks, shows but I trust my intuition, the air smells with reforms. There are people who have behind their killed relatives, shelled to death friends, neighbors and who have seen to much to be scared, they have nothing to lose in perseverance for reforms. It is much tougher to play games of corruption now than it was before. Of course, time has not come yet for serious firings of corrupt high officials but that’s the vicious circle of any anti-corruption reform: the power to fire is in the hands of those who must be fired first. To share with you a bit of those optimistic notes, here is an article about new Ukrainian police: http://carnegieeurope.eu/strategiceurope/?fa=60953

Ukraine gradually replaces entire police force to beat corruption http://www.cbsnews.com/news/ukraine-replace-kiev-traffic-police-force-america-trained-officers-bribery/

Here is the script of an interview with William Brownfield, the U.S. assistant secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs who has been advising the Ukrainian government on the police shakeup.  http://ukraine.usembassy.gov/statements/reforms-civil-institutions-08042015.html

All of you probably know that Mr Poroshenko appointed Michail Saakashvili, the former president of Georgia, to govern the most problematic (from the perspective of corruption matter) region of Odessa and combat the contraband schemes in the area. I have optimistic expectations that even if he fails to combat corruption there he will at least shake it. One of his current uncomfortable statements is that the state is run by the Ukrainian oligarchs and that Mr Kolomoiski (one of such oligarchs) has a hand in Odessa corrupt schemes. I like the fact that Saakashvilli is emotional, charismatic, not afraid of conflicts, and alive, hopefully he will bring to life the corpses that are moving like tortoises with reforms. There is currently a petition going around to give Saakashvili more power and make him prime-minister of Ukraine.




A year ago I started this mailing project called “Letter From Attacked Ukraine” (LeFrAtUk) in painful reaction to the death and injury of hundreds of my citizens in the so called “Ilovaisk pocket” or “Ilovaisk boiler” when on Ukraine’s Independence Day (August 24) Putin sent 3.5 thousand regular Russian troops without identifications over the border to support the pro-Russian rebels who were definitely losing their war with the Ukrainian army. Many Ukrainian battalions (both regular and volunteer) were found trapped and the initially successful operation became a failure with huge technical and human losses: 366 dead, 429 injured, 128 in Russian captivity, 158 still considered as disappeared; the cost of technical devices and machinery destroyed is up to 298 mln 300 UAH (circa 16 mln USD).  On August 29 it was agreed that the Ukrainian troops would leave the encircled site with ‘closed weapon’ through so called “green corridors”, and during the departure this ‘agreement’ was brutally violated – they were just shelled dead from a close distance making it a horrible vision of convoy jammed with burning cars, scattered bodies and destroyed tanks. In case you can read in Russian here is a material by survived witnesses: http://tsn.ua/special-projects/ilovaisk/

These are stories from Western press, videos (and some pictures) in English (and German) showing how it was a year ago, when a tidied up for September 1 school turned into a mess with ammunition and dead bodies: http://www.interpretermag.com/the-battle-of-ilovaisk-a-turning-point-in-russias-war-on-ukraine/




When I started preparing this message in mid-August the situation in the font was getting worse. According to the reports at night of August 13-14 the number of shellings grew to 150 per day (from the side of the enemy) and on August 16 it reached the peak of 175 (the highest number since the battle of Debaltsevo in February 2015).  So, the Minsk II agreement was a clownish paper. Do not ever take it serious. It was rather a temporary strategy of pulling the wool over world politicians’ eyes. One of the things Putin bargained at Minsk II are the changes (amendments) to Ukrainian constitution aiming at decentralization of the state. The state indeed requires decentralization but the initiative is dangerous as it may altogether legalize the DNR and LNR as regions with special status. A serious clash with many victims occurred in Kyiv near Verkhovna Rada on August 31 because of controversy around these amendments. There was a riot which resulted in one casualty and 120 injured victims. Someone through a military grenade into the people guarding the building which instantly killed one man and seriously injured another…Some people reported to a journalist they were standing on the meeting for 50 UAH…bizarre things.




The majority of Ukrainians are still struggling with a situation of having their incomes dwindling three times due to the fall of UAH rate against USD. It is ridiculous that the current government draws the poverty line, i.e. minimum subsistence level, at 1378 UAH for a grown up, 1455 for children between 6 and 18, 1167 for children under 6, and the minimum pension for survival of the retired people is 1074 UAH. I do not know the kitchen of such calculations but 1 000 hryvnas hardly equals 50 USD now. A kilo of butter costs here 70-80 UAH, a loaf of bread is between 8 and 20 UAH. If you do not believe in miracles come and see how Ukrainian survive and even enjoy their lives….




Underneath see links to the information I found interesting for sharing with you:

Russia and NATO war games increase risk of real clash:



A heart-breaking video of food destruction in Russia as an act of showing off in response to western economic sanctions: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/11787482/Crushed-burned-and-buried-Russia-begins-destruction-of-contraband-food.html

My husband has returned from Poland and he says people there drink a lot of apple cider everywhere. This is how Polish apple producers found a way out from the situation with Russia’s embargo on Polish exported apples. Very wise…unlike in Russia.


Here is a link to the report by Boris Nemtsov (in Russian) about the real face of Putin and Russia’s FSB in the Ukrainian war finished and published by his friends: http://tsn.ua/special-projects/nemtsov/


Demoblized soldiers coming back home from the Ukrainian war front:



Today I came across a recent brilliant article about the situation in Russia. Its author, Yuiry Fedorov, is an analytical expert working for Radio Liberty. He speaks of the waning stage in Putin’s career and the forthcoming collapse of “great Russia”. I wish I had time to translate it for you into English. But those who read Russian can find it here: http://www.svoboda.org/content/article/27209828.html



Just like a year ago I keep thinking about the Ukrainian society in general, about the challenges it has already accepted and the ones it still has to accept. I have participated in the 3rd Eastern Partnership Congress of Culture which this year took place in Lviv on Sep 4-6, and it gave me a lot of food for speculation, mainly about the connection between the current situation in Ukraine and the general infantile attitudes of people when it comes to their social positions: social paternalism and fear to get rid of bad social habits (bribery, corruption, asking relatives to find a job etc). According to the recent statistic research, 68% of Lviv residents still find their hope for better future in the state institutions, in the officials they elect and appoint….and Lviv is famous for being least paternalistic.

If I think of Ukraine as an organism I see it strong and vital but it is bombarded by new challenges at the time when it still has not overcome the old ones, has not yet fully recovered from the diseases it inherited from the soviet times. It takes generations to get back to a normal life with relatively functional social ladder, and our enemy is not interested to see this happen. So, he is destroying all the sprouts as soon as they grow.

1 Comment

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One response to “Letter from Ukraine from Halyna Pastushuk

  1. Chris McGinnis

    Boy are are we clueless

    Sent from my iPhone


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