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Ukraine Protesters Call on Russian Peacekeepers

Published: April 9, 2014 (Issue # 1805)



  • Activists waving an old Soviet flag in front of a barricade set up at the regional administration in Donetsk on Monday.
    Photo: Alexander Ermochenko / AP

Anti-government protesters inthe Ukrainian city ofDonetsk onMonday announced areferendum onjoining Russia set forMay 11 andcalled onRussian peacekeepers tointervene inthe country, triggering fears ofa Crimean scenario forUkraines eastern regions.

Themove followed theseizure ofthe regional administration buildings inDonetsk andKharkiv andthe security service building inLuhansk bypro-Russian protesters onSunday. Thetakeovers marked thebiggest success ofpro-Russian activists ina series ofprotests that have shaken eastern Ukraine since pro-Kremlin President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted inlate February andnew leaders appointed.

Theprotests also come ata time ofheightened tensions between Russia andthe West over what European andU.S. leaders see as Russias illegal seizure ofCrimea, which followed areferendum after appeals forRussian intervention similar tothose now being made inDonetsk, Kharkiv andLuhansk.

While president Vladimir Putin was accused byUkrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov oforchestrating theseparatist unrest inDonetsk, Luhansk andKharkiv, thepresident placed theblame elsewhere.

Addressing Ukrainian andCrimean affairs ata meeting ofthe Federal Security Service onMonday, Putin urged theservice tocrack down onwhat he described as thedestructive activities ofnongovernmental organizations.

This happened inUkraine, when nationalist, neo-Nazi groups andmilitants that were behind theanti-constitutional coup detat were financed fromabroad through nongovernmental organizations, he said.

TheFSB would now face thetask ofpreventing former criminals andrepresentatives ofvarious radical andextremist movements fromgetting intogovernment bodies [in Crimea], he said.

InDonetsk, theprotesters set up apeoples council onMonday that declared thecreation ofa republic ofDonetsk andset areferendum onbecoming independent andjoining Russia. Pro-Russian demonstrators also seized thesecurity service building inthe city onMonday.

InKharkiv, police seized control ofthe regional administration building onMonday morning but some pro-Russian activists remained inside andrefused toleave. Pro-Kiev demonstrators that support Ukraines new government also held arally inthe city but were dispersed bytheir pro-Russian opponents after violent clashes.

Protesters set up barricades inDonetsk, Luhansk andKharkiv, piling up tires andpreparing Molotov cocktails ina fashion similar tothat ofthe anti-Yanukovych protests inKiev earlier this year.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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