Ukraine in search of “collaborators” – World Socialist Web Site


The Ukrainian government is stepping up its hunt for pro-Russian “collaborators,” bringing charges against hundreds, if not thousands, of its own citizens, especially in areas that have recently returned to kyiv control. Defendants risk prison terms, in addition to heavy fines, seizure of property and loss of other rights. According to data recently released by the Attorney General’s office, the government has opened more than 18,000 cases related to “national security crimes”, which include treason, sabotage, “assistance to the aggressor state”. and “undermining the territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine.

The Ukrainian government, hailed throughout the West as the embodiment of freedom and democracy, is waging a war not only against a foreign power, but against part of its own population.

At the end of October, the principal of a secondary school in Kharkiv was accused of collaborating with the enemy because he had told the instructors that they would reopen the establishment, organize lessons in Russian, use Russian textbooks and apply Russian educational standards. A week earlier, another local man had been charged with acts of treason because, as the head of a municipal road repair workshop in Balaklya, he had put state-owned equipment to the disposal of Russian forces. Kharkiv was under occupation at the time.

In many cases, individuals are targeted solely to express some form of political support for Russia. Articles published in RBK-Ukraine between October 8 and 25 report that all of the following people face some form of collaboration charge: a resident of Yuzhnye who tried to convince acquaintances that the expansion of Russian sovereignty on Ukrainian territory was fair; a woman who argued more than once with a group of people about her view that Ukraine’s independent existence was wrong; a Kharkiv resident who repeated Russian “propaganda” that the invasion of Moscow was justified. A news anchor from Luhansk 24, a pro-Russian news service, has been told he is under investigation for collaborationism.

Other lawsuits of this type are to come. “Law enforcement continues its work to expose Ukrainian citizens who support Kremlin policy,” noted on Oct. 15.

Charges of ‘aiding the enemy’ are also leveled against people who are reportedly trying to keep their communities alive in times of war. A 32-year-old man also from Kharkiv is being prosecuted for allegedly agreeing to voluntarily maintain a pharmacy and a depot containing humanitarian supplies while the city was under occupation. The head of the small village of Valenkove faces charges because “acting on the instructions of the representatives of the Russian Federation, the woman collected data and requests from local residents to solve organizational and humanitarian problems”.

Indictments punishable by 15 years in prison or more – for joining anti-Ukrainian partisan forces, telling the Russian military the location of Ukrainian forces, denouncing “patriotic” Ukrainians and providing economic and other resources to the Russian side – are also dealt with. out. A detainee, captured on the charge of having been “employed” by a “people’s militia of the occupiers”, died because he tried to flee and blew himself up while stepping on a Russian mine.

Regions of Ukraine with large Russian populations are targeted in the hunt for collaborators. According to Pressorg.25, most of the “recently established investigation offices have been opened in Luhansk, Zaporozhye, Donetsk, Kharkiv and Kherson regions”. In August, The New York Times published an article about the work of pro-Ukrainian militias working behind enemy lines. According to the newspaper, one of their missions, in addition to killing alleged collaborators, is to monitor educators suspected of promoting a pro-Russian line. “The supporters”, however, “will not attack the teachers”, they write. On the contrary, they “sought to humiliate them through leaflets which they often post on electric poles with somber warnings to collaborators, as part of their psychological operations”.

Ukraine’s recent laws on collaborationism are extremely broad. They include such items as “public refusal of the implementation of armed aggression against Ukraine, the establishment and approval of the temporary occupation of part of the territory of Ukraine”, ” public calls to support the decisions and/or actions of the aggressor state, armed formations, occupation administration of the aggressor state”, “implementation of the propaganda of the aggressor state in establishments of teaching”, “voluntary occupation of a non-executive position (not related to the exercise of organizational, administrative or economic functions) in illegal authorities established in the temporarily occupied territory” and “participation in” or “organization and conduct of events of a political nature, implementation of information activities in cooperation with the aggressor state and/or its occupying administration, aimed at supporting the aggressor state and/or evading its responsibility in the armed aggression versus Ukraine”.

Especially for those in areas that have come under occupation, it is easy to break laws that essentially prohibit any engagement with Russian military or political authorities, much less the expression of political thought that contradicts the official line of the kyiv government. .

Penalties include depriving persons of the right to hold various offices or other positions for up to 15 years, confiscation of property, arrest for up to six months, imprisonment for three to 15 years or life and sentenced to two years of correctional labor.

Charges, trials and penalties are proceeding at a rapid pace. The Telegram channels of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine and other state offices are filled with almost daily photos of new defendants. Under conditions of martial law, destruction of infrastructure and the exodus of more than seven million people – including, no doubt, many lawyers – it is impossible for anyone caught in this maelstrom to receive a fair trial. Guilty findings and sentences quickly follow the charges. Online footage shows the defendants include elderly people and women, many of whom appear visibly poor.

Photos of the defendants released by the state are blurry but often still identifiable. The Ukrainian military is currently using facial recognition technology provided by the United States to monitor its own population and torment the families of dead Russian soldiers by finding their online social media accounts, contacting their relatives and sending them images. of their corpses. By posting photos of those accused of collaboration on social media, state officials are creating conditions in which friends and family of the accused can be found and subjected to collective punishment.

At the same time, efforts are under way to deprive parliamentarians of opposition political parties, which were banned by President Zelensky in May, of their seats, on the grounds that they are sympathetic to Russia and, done, collaborators.


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