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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

[LINK] “Russian dissidents seek asylum in Kyiv”

At Open Democracy, Anna Yalovkina suggests that as Russia shifts towards totalitarianism, a broad array of Russian dissidents are fleeing towards a friendly, largely Russophone, post-revolutionary Ukraine.

From the moment the Maidan started in Ukraine, Russian authorities rushed to pass judgement on the emergent revolution, supporting President Viktor Yanukovych in any way they could. Russia’s leadership feared that the revolution could spread to Russia. Accordingly, Russian state media responded with a massive information campaign against the Maidan, convincing citizens that Ukraine had suffered an illegitimate coup and that all members of the opposition are ‘fifth columnists’ and ‘agents of the West.’

The Russian government’s apprehensions were, in a certain sense, justified. Despite mass propaganda, some citizens in Russia began calling for a Maidan in their own country. After the change of leadership in Kyiv and the outbreak of conflict, the majority of the Russian opposition came out in favour of Ukraine in its war against separatist forces in the country’s Donbas region.

But in a country where writing a provocative Facebook post, attending a protest action or making a public declaration out of line with the government’s position are potential grounds for criminal prosecution, individuals and groups have started to make their way to Ukraine.

A certain ‘clique’ of Russian émigrés has emerged in Kyiv. Despite their ideological differences, they’re all one degree of separation or less from one another, and they gather at a certain cafe in the old city centre to discuss politics and their plans for the future of Ukraine and Russia. One wants to simply split up Russia into independent republics, another wants to make Russia part of Europe, and the third is anxious for reform.

But they are united, at least, by a shared dissatisfaction with Putin’s government and an inability to return to their homeland.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 20, 2015 at 9:56 pm

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