Criminal attacks on Yushchenkos supporters in Lugansk
26.02.05 | Valeriy Denshchik, the Lugansk regional organization «Zeleny Svit»
On 28 November, during the planned and agreed with the authorities peaceful protest meeting in support of Yushchenko, which was held on the central square of Lugansk, two participants of the action were beaten by some criminals.
One of the victims got a serious head trauma as a result of a strike with a metal object, an eye of another one was injured.
On 29 November, at 13:00, a group of 25 activists of public movement and party organizations, taking into account the provocation that had occurred the day before and in order to prevent the conflicts, decided to warn the Lugansk dwellers about canceling of the meeting in support of the democratic election and against falsifications. At the same time about 400 excited young people – adherents of V. Yanukovich, who gathered near the headquarters of the Party of Regions, started to approach the activists of the democratic public movement.
About 13:10, when we began to disperse, about 40 persons of criminal appearance from the crowd of Yanukovichs supporters, armed with hammers and bats, rushed into the group of the public activists and brutally beat them. The attackers were beating women, children and accidental witnesses. They kicked their victims, beat them with hammers and bats, jumped on them like on trampoline…
Militiamen were standing aside and did not interfere, neglecting their service duties, as they say, by order of their commanders. As a result, about 10 persons got serious bodily injuries. The permanent head trauma was inflicted on representative of the OSCE Mr. Motsniy. A video camera was stolen and a cell phone was broken.
The Lugansk dwellers, who saw that, were shocked. Horror was in their eyes, they understood the bitter truth. An elderly woman cried: «Well, we have elected a good President!», meaning the candidate, who had been proclaimed by the CEC to be the winner of the election.
On 29 November, in the evening news on the channel LKT, the participants of the feature (one of them was politologist Bodrov, a coordinator-organizer of the provocative actions of adherents of the pro-power candidate) openly lied, trying to blame the representatives of democratic forces for the aggressive actions. Allegedly they had beaten the blue-whites, or even nothing criminal happened at all. And if something happened, it was something like a competition between two sport teams.
It seems that these commentators followed the Goebbels logic: «The more you are lying, the more they would believe you», thus continuing to distort the real events of last weeks. This has been another criminal step of the pro-power team, which started the pre-election campaign from zombing of public consciousness with fascist-Bandera horrors, helped to falsify the election results and continued to lie even in the case, where blood of innocent people, who expressed their political convictions, has been shed.
From «PL» editorial board: In what follows we quote evidences of the participants of this meeting in Lugansk.
On 29 November in Lugansk two meetings in support of two candidates to Presidents post – Viktor Yanukovich and Viktor Yushchenko had to be held at the same time (at 13:00) and at the same place (near the monument to T. Shevchenko, not far from the Lugansk regional state administration).
Being a journalist of the informational agency «Ukrainski novyny, I work in Lugansk for more than 18 months and attend such actions very frequently. On 29 November, before going to the meeting, I decided to ascertain whether the meetings would be held. Only one appeal was handed to the Leninskiy district executive committee about the conduction of a meeting on this day – from the Socialist party of Ukraine that supported candidate from opposition V. Yushchenko.
I came to the square in time, at 13:00, and saw about 60 supporters of Yushchenko with the orange symbolics. They did not start the meeting yet, explaining that they were going to go away, since they had got the warning about probable provocations. At the same time a column of Yanukovichs adherents (about 300 persons) with blue ribbons moved from the building of the regional state administration. They quickly approached to Yushchenkos supporters. At once a group of young men in black leather jackets and black knitted caps appeared from the column. From this moment the events started to develop very swiftly. The men attacked a boy with the orange symbolics. I automatically extracted the cell phone, but had no time to phone anywhere. One of the attackers pounced on me and took away my phone, scratching my fingers. I saw how another man trampled the phone hatefully. Somebody grabbed me by hair from behind and threw me on the ground. When I rose, I saw that one of my friends was lying on the asphalt, and four youths kicked him. All this lasted for about 7-10 minutes. Other «strangers» beat the boys and men with the orange symbolics. Here I want to point out that the incident took place near the entrance to the building of the regional administration in presence of 35-40 militia officers. By the way, the militiamen paid to attention to the bandits.
When I saw the beating of my friend, I turned to a militiaman, who stood in a meter from the place of fight, seized his sleeve and asked at least to drag my friend aside from the attackers. The militiaman turned away. The boy got free on his own, and we ran away. Some woman offered her phone for calling a motor ambulance. I took the phone and managed only to dial the number of my agency, when the attackers ran up to me crying: «Catch her! She has a phone again!». I was thrown on the ground, the phone fall down in a snowdrift, but continued to function, so the workers of agency could hear everything that happened later.
I got several kicks in my back, then I grasped the phone and ran away.
We took a taxi and went to a hospital.
Two days later I handed a complaint to the town militia department, but I doubt that something will change. Now I observe only retardation of the case, and if to take into account the reaction of militia on 29 November… It is beyond belief, but in evening of 29 November the militia did its best to refute, through mass media, the information about the attack.
I personally know more than 20 victims of the incident, who have handed the complaints to militia.
On 29 November 2004 I, together with my friend, Hanna Nizkodubova and Yuri Motsniy, went to the meeting in support of candidate to presidency Viktor Yushchenko. This meeting had to be conducted near T. Shevchenkos monument. When we passed by the building of the regional state administration, we saw a great column of young men, who carried the white-blue flags and cried out slogans in support of their candidate. On the square we saw 10-15 persons with orange ribbons. We approached these people, and they said that the meeting would not be held and then gave us visiting cards with an address and phone number, by which additional information could be obtained. After that we turned to the shop «Kurazh» and saw how some men started to beat a man with orange ribbon. Yuri Motsniy took his video camera and wanted to record this incident, but the attackers immediately stopped him and began to beat. Several seconds later Hanna Nizkodubova also got into the fight, since she took out a cell phone. A great crowd gathered, where not only Yushchenkos supporters were beaten, but also accidental passers-by. These people were beaten not only with feet, but also with iron rods and baseball bats. I and my friend moved aside, to the road, and when I turned to the square I saw that some youth pulled Hanna by hair and threw her on the ground. Then I saw Yu. Motsniy with the face covered with blood; a video camera was in his hands.
These people were beating very professionally, so almost all victims fell down and were bleeding after several blows. I and my friend at once took off our orange scarfs and crossed the road quickly. When we turned back we did not see a single person with the orange symbolics on the square.
Every day, at 1 p.m., meetings in support of Viktor Yushchenko were held in Lugansk near the monument to Taras Shevchenko. On 29 November I and several my friends decided to take part in one of such meetings. The way to the square runs near the regional state administration. Groups of militiamen stood near the entrance to the building and along the perimeter of the square. As soon as we came to the monument, a column with the white-blue symbolics advanced from the building of the Party of Regions. About 20-30 persons in black leather jackets parted from the column and directed their steps towards the adherents of Yushchenko (their number was about 30-40 persons). I saw how the attackers stroke in the face a student of the pedagogical institute, and, behind us, another man was knocked down and brutally kicked. People with video and photo cameras ran to him. The attackers knocked them down too, beat them with feet, broke cameras and cell phones. They pulled away some girl by hair continuing to beat her. A passing woman tried to protect a bleeding man, but the criminals drew her off and hit with some object in a cover. The cover opened and I saw 5-6 iron rods about 1.5 meters long. We hided the orange symbolics and crossed the road.
I want to add that militiamen observed all this, but did nothing, only turned away.
On 29 November, at 1 p.m., the central square of Lugansk was decorated with orange flags: people gathered there with the aim to support V. Yushchenko and those, who opposed the brutal actions of representatives of the power. As early as on 26 November it was rumored that, probably, the provocations would be organized by «sympathizers» of Yanukovichs team. However, up to Monday (excluding Sunday, when one person had been beaten by Yanukovichs supporters) the situation was more or less quiet, without any unpleasant excesses. The very first day of the new week startled with its unpleasantness: the demonstration of Viktor Yushchenkos adherents was brutally beaten and dispersed. Nobody could predict that.
On Monday 29 November, about 1 p.m. I decided to go to the meeting in support of V. Yushchenko for the third time. When I came to the central square of the town, I was surprised with great quantity of Yanukovichs supporters, who gathered near the building of the regional state administration. This crowd attracted attention with noise and the excessive activity of some people, who were obviously drunk. O. Velykiy, one of the organizers of the action, proposed not to conduct the demonstration in support of Yushchenko on this day in order to prevent incidents. Yet, we had no time to go away, because we were attacked by some robust men. They began to beat, without any reasons, a boy with the orange symbolics. A reporter, who stood near, tried to make a video record of this beating, but he was attacked too. The video camera was broken, and the journalist was beaten. In what followed, some elements of this camera were used for beating of other participants of the action. I was lucky to run across the street. It was awful to feel my helplessness, especially when I saw how they were beating my acquaintances, friends and other people.
Peaceful citizens, who passed by the square at that time, passengers of public transport and drivers were, I believe, shocked with these events. The actions of the unknown physically strong persons were extremely brutal: they cruelly beat the men and even women, who had come to express their position, and pursued the victims, when they tried to run away. It was most terrifying that the law-enforcers, who stayed near this place, did not react to the calls of the victims for help. They resembled the referees at a boxing match. They merely observed the situation.
In reality everything happened very quickly: everything lasted for about 10-15 minutes. Yet, it seemed to the personages of the event that it was a bad dream that would never end…
I do not want to blame anybody, since there is no reliable information either about the organizers of the mass beating or about the executors. The adherents of Yanukovich accuse the people from Yushchenkos headquarters, and the later insist on absurdity of these accusations.
I even read in the newspaper «Fakty» that «the oranges» had beaten the supporters of Yanukovich. Well, for some reasons, I am not very surprised with this insolent lie, because we hear the lie of such kind almost every day.
It is difficult to find the guilty and punish them in the country, where absolutely incomprehensible things occur regularly.