As Kiev intensifies its “anti-terorrist operation” in Donetsk and Lugansk, pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine have taken to kidnapping their opponents, paradaing around Russian tanks and firing upon the Ukrainian army. (On June 14, separatists shot down a miltiary transport plane with 49 people on board; all of them died.) And that’s not all they’re doing—they’re also pushing out rap videos with ideological messages to justify their bloody violence.
Kidnappings, murders and robberies have become de rigeuer in the dangerous eastern regions, where separatists and their self-appointed governors have vowed to “put these lands in order.” The favored line in Donetsk these days is that the government in Kiev is a “bloody fascist junta” that attacked “young independent states.” But apparently not everyone is being fooled—Igor Strelkov, the self-crowned Minister of Defense of the imaginary “Donetsk People’s Republic,” has already complained that few locals want to join his paramilitary squads to fight the Ukrainian army. So how to drum up fresh recruits for the cause?
The “Rap Appeal of Lugansk People Guard” was recorded in Bryanka, a little town in Lugansk region. One could call it a classic of the genre. People in camouflage sit at a table with hand grenades, machine guns and a prominently-displayed Orthodox icon on it. They also have some separatist flags in the background. “We, Bryanka sub-unit, Lugansk, send our regards to all our brothers, which are with us in this topic. Don’t lose your hearts, guys, we’ll gain a victory!” they say before singing a song with lyrics like the following:
We don’t need your NATO, we don’t want gay parades for our children.
Local residents, avengers, we are on the watch of order in our abode
Dark night, flames from barrels, we are not sad, we are sharpening our knives.
Please, nurse, pour some boiling water, we are fighting for the just cause.
European Union, take good note of discomfiture with the East of Ukraine,
and as long as I and Blue Tooth exist we are for Russia-Belarus union!
Brother Slavs, we are on the verge, “[O Father] who art…” is heard in our midst.
Russians with us and red flag too, but you still sit on your sofa.
Listen, Vasya, stop boozing! Disasters are creeping in our land.
Looks like they disregard our opinion. Let’s try to hit their throats!
These sorts of songs are stock-full of cliches from Russian propaganda TV, from the “NATO is our enemy” lines to the belief that Western countries are under the thumb of a “gay dictatorship.” They peddle in the lie that the EU plans to seize Ukraine and like to appeal to a special “Slavic brotherhood” to claim kindship with Russia.
Andrey Donskoy is a musician and commando from Krasnoarmeysk, a town in the Donetsk region. He joined the “Russian Orthodox Army” (ROA) to defend “respectable values.” The precise nature of such values can be surmised from the speech of a Moscow ideologue, Alexander Dugin, who considers ROA an instrument for the realization of his theories. “You must kill, kill and kill Ukrainians, I told you so as a professor,” Dugin said recently in one of his video addresses. In his own video Donskoy shows a typical scene of what the “Lugansk People Guard” has been up to: a pile of weapons upon the table and separatist flag on the background. But for once we see something new: The singer reloads the bolt of his machine-gun in time with the music.
Freedom is a rare bird in these lands,
not defending it you could lost everything.
No compromise in struggle with nazik [the slang name for people who support Kiev]
I send my regards to southeastern paziks [guys, dudes]
Come on, stand up, brother, father, toll the tocsin [alarm bell]!
Grad [rocket launcher] works against our machine-guns.
At heart they know who is hero here,
Who is with you till the end, victory and glory.
We’ll not give up our people, Russian Orthodoxy!
Donskoy uses typical clichés of modern Russian nationalism: almost all the world is against the Russian people, the Ukrainian government is full of fascists and is going to eliminate all the ethnic Russians in Donetsk region—so locals should take up arms as soon as possible. But there is one important point in the song: Orthodox Christianity is considered the only legitimate religion and it must be defended from its enemies with weapons. The separatists are a kind of Orthodox Taliban: They have very similar convictions and act in the same way. They even kiss the Russian Orthodox Bible before battle. Recently, the head of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), Valentin Nalyvaychenko, said in a press conference: “The leaders of illegal military units acting in Ukraine are poisoned by Eurasian fundamentalism ideology. They prepared with a whole generation of the Russian military, which is sure that they should eliminate Ukrainians in Ukrainian territory—those who have different views and walks of life than in their pro-fascist Eurasian imagination. The danger is that is professed is like new wave of the Orthodoxy—the orthodox fundamentalism.”
If Taliban is allegedly sponsored by some Arabian countries, the Russian Orthodox Army obviously has support from Russia.