By Graham Phillips, originally published on 13th February 2014 – (see below) –
Mental health in Ukraine is an ever-sensitive subject given the country’s deficient system for diagnosis and treatment. However, there have lately been worrying some worrying signs of mental health issues coming to the fore at Euromaidan. 3 months in the cold, sometimes freezing, with poor hygiene and sanitation conditions – that perhaps due to many protesters having destroyed many of the porta-toilets provided to deploy in ‘warfare’. It’s all clearly having an effect.
Take the kidnapping accounts of Euromaidan – confused from the start, characterised by contradiction and change of detail with each retelling. Take Igor Lutsenko, who on January 21st first came out with: “I climbed out of the forest where my kidnappers threw me and am in a good mood, without a mobile phone and in average condition. Nothing serious, but being with kidnappers for 15 hours was very hard, morally and physically…. After several hours in the garage, Lutsenko said he was taken farther out into the woods where he was told to kneel against a tree and pray, in an apparent mock execution. At that point his abductors disappeared and he staggered out of the forest, almost fainting at times.”
By January 31st, Lutsenko, pictured, seemed to have become a bit disorientated, now saying: “That’s when 10 hours of intimidation and beating in this box of torture started,” Mr Lutsenko told the Financial Times, describing the abduction as “very professional”. The men’s hands and legs were bound, plastic bags were placed over their faces and their assailants, Mr Lutsenko said, “tried to beat out of us information about who was financing the protests, who the decision makers were. Left with a concussion, bleeding internally and his teeth knocked out, Mr Lutsenko was eventually dumped on a remote road in sub-zero temperatures. A passing driver picked him up a few hours later. “I was incredibly lucky,” he sighed.” One account has Lutsenko escaping, to find Facebook access in a nearby village.
Now, of course his fellow ‘kidnap victim’, Yuri Verbitsky, pictured, was found dead on January 23rd, with opposition media outlets keen to emphasise he had been tortured. Given the nature of news reporting coming out of Euromaidan, with the main Ukrainian media functioning as opposition portals, it’s impossible to grant these accounts any degree of veracity. No question that people have died on Maidan, the body found outside Globus in early December, the man found hanging from the Christmas tree in late January. Yet severe conditions, and in-fighting between factions, have clearly been key in this.
Lutsenko’s incoherent, contradicting accounts of the kidnapping of he and Verbitsky make that harder to believe that they were kidnapped than that it was simply staged. Despite the conflicting reports of the injuries which had supposedly had him hospitalised, Verbitsky’s cause of death was actually hypothermia. Verbitsky’s being found dead of hypothermia on Maidan would have been damaging to the opposition, his being found kidnapped and killed gave them a huge boost, with Verbitsky himself awarded a hero’s funeral in his native Lviv. The Euromaidan PR operation is a highly-effective machine, disseminating information swiftly through its multi-languages presence on all major social networking sites.
Then of course, Dmitry Bulatov, AutoMaidan organiser supposedly kidnapped on January 22nd, held for 8 days by the inevitable ‘unknown men with Russian accents‘. Bulatov, found of course in a ‘village near Kiev‘, as ever, attempted to take things up a bit, with tales of his attempted crucifixion. It all began on his first day of kidnapping, seemingly: “On the first day, they put me on the floor, covered my nose, put a wet cloth on my goggle and started beating me and I started choking with my own blood. Then the interrogation started. The interrogation took place every day”.
Yet, he seemed to have been given a break from all this, as on January 24th he used his credit card (which he had made no mention of having stolen), and from the IP address which he accesses his Vkontakte account, spent $39 downloading music from iTunes. Bulatov’s has spent the time since his release ranting in the manner of a a man who is clearly not all there. As for him having his ‘ear cut off’, he has indeed had a slither of his ear removed, but his Lithuanian doctor would not confirm the crucifixion, and added that Bulatov had no broken bones.
As for the supposed severity of Bulatov’s injuries? Well, in Euromaidan, activist injuries are never quite what they seem. Tetyana Chornovol, pictured, the opposition activist involved in extreme opposition violence (as Bulatov was) whose injuries in the alleged beating she received on December 24/25 were described as life-threatening? Less than a month later, she was out and about once again, banging on about the property she accuses Yanukovych of owning like a demented episode of Through the Keyhole. As for her injuries, less than 2 months after she’s as good as new. Her mental health is another area, as both Chornovol and singer Ruslana seem to be having their own contest on Maidan these days, who can out-mad the other.
Lviv-native Ruslana, for her part, seems to think that just about everyone in Ukraine is pursuing her, flipping between listing her various persecutions to plugging the magazine covers and television shows she has appeared on. Her appearance increasingly blowsy and dishevelled, her speech ever more disconjointed (video originally posted now removed by user), she has made repeated reference to fearing the same will happen to her as Bulatov. By which she takes us not to mean being given an amount of money to lie low for a few days, spending some of that on iTunes. Anyway, Ruslana of Eurovision won the contest in 2004. Ruslana of Euromaidan 2014 looks like she should be surrounded by cats outside a Metro station.
Ruslana is name-checked incidentally, in a self-made video by a naked young lady daubed in the Ukrainian colours. In the video, in which she speaks right to camera it’s unclear whether it’s more of a cry for help for Euromaidan, or simply a cry for social service intervention.
Then, of course, most recently, there’s the ‘I Am a Ukrainian‘ video. Glossily produced, artfully edited, staged and set, you can’t fault the production values. The content is another question, with the poor girl put up to the task of being the latest oppressed victim of Euromaidan, clearly not the full hryvnia (even before Euromaidan’s ongoing state-of-crisis takes the currency to new lows).
In the 2 minute video, she praises those having fought and killed Ukrainian police, most recently murdered a judge (shot in the back), members of Ukraine’s most extreme right-wing groups, as ‘brave, civilised people‘, reference to fantastical police raids and abductions at night, like some sort of Lady and the Tramp dog-catcher. She further reveals a key fear of … being disconnected from the internet. Well, quite. Anyone who’s been on Maidan will confirm the most difficult thing there is not being automatically connected to one of a number of free wifi providers set up.
One thing many on Euromaidan have lost their connection to though, is reality. It’s One Flew Over the Maidan’s Nest down there, as the lunatics run deranged.