Saturday, June 3, 2023

Diplomacy, the means used by Russia to weaken the identity of Ukraine

A member of the Civil-Military Cooperation organization shows a passport that is believed to belong to a Russian soldier and was found next to his body in the Ukrainian town of Sinikha, in the Kharkov region, on April 8, 2023.

Viktoria would be forced by Moscow’s Russian forces, who control the town where she lives in eastern Ukraine, as a tool used by Russia to tighten its control over the occupied territories.

This 43-year-old woman, who prefers not to give her last name, lives in the Donbas town occupied by the Russian army, which controls a large part of these regions in eastern Ukraine.

She claims that Russian soldiers were almost forced to obtain legal documents from Russia.

“Viktoria, he says, does not want to remain a citizen of Ukraine.”

But when he tried to search the house and the car, the local pro-Moscow authorities in his town demanded Russian papers.

So he began to transfer his birth and marriage certificate to Ukraine, but he was unable to complete those procedures, leaving the town in January to live in the army camp in Kiev.

The act of using diplomats as a means of pressure is not a new tactic of Russia.

Documents of this type have been distributed to residents of southern and eastern Ukraine since 2014, when Moscow seized control of the Crimean peninsula and local pro-Russian regions in the Donbas. It does the same in the separatist regions of Georgia or Moldova.

– Queues overnight –

Since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, this pressure mechanism has been concentrated, especially since September, when Moscow annexed four regions of Ukraine, which it partially occupies in the east and south.

According to experts and residents interviewed by AFP, the pro-Russian authorities in those areas require Russian documents to carry out activities of daily life, such as obtaining a job or social assistance or having access to public health.

Russian President Vladimir Putin decided in April to demand that Ukrainians in the annexed territories have or apply for Russian citizenship. If they oppose anyone, they will be treated as foreigners who will need residence if they do not want to be expelled.

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Since then, “queues” have formed in front of passport delivery services,” Aliona, 40, explained in a telephone interview with AFP.

“My friends went there recently and eight in the morning there were already 48 people waiting in front of the passport office. People started queuing overnight,” says a shop worker.

Aliona had previously obtained a Diploma from the self-proclaimed Republic of Donetsk, but “now we need a Russian Diploma for everyone”.

Russia said in late November that it had distributed some 80,000 passports in the annexed, and partially controlled, regions of Lugansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhia and Kherson.

– “Under threat” –

Ukrainian NGOs believe that obtaining Russian maps is a strategy to survive as a large part of the population is affected.

“We know that most of these documents are threatened,” says Mikhailo Fomenko, a lawyer for the Donbass Association Sos.

“They want to erase the Ukrainian identity,” adds Alena Lunova, from the NGO Zmina.

According to Sergei Gaidai, the pro-Kiev governor of the Luhansk region, which is controlled almost entirely by the Russian army, Moscow is using a diplomatic weapon for its purpose of defending the Russians from Ukraine, one of the arguments given by Putin to justify the war. raids on the peaceful territory of Ukraine returned.

The European Union has warned that it will not recognize the passports distributed by Russia in the occupied territories of Ukraine, that is, it will maintain the same status as with the pro-Russian separatist territories of Georgia.


Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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