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The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Ukraine Liveblog Day 59: Gun Battles in Mariupol

Publication: Ukraine Liveblogs
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The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Kazakh Businessman Offers Reward for Murder of anti-Russian Ukrainian Oligarch

Yermek Taychibekoff, a Kazakh businessman and public figure, who also has a blog called "Russian empire", has offered a huge reward for the capture or "liquidation" of Ihor Kolomoyskyi, a Ukrainian oligarch and the recently appointed Governor of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast. Kolomoyskyi has been somewhat outspoken in his criticism of the Russian state, describing President Putin, on March 3, as a "schizophrenic shorty.

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[Yermek Taychibekoff]

Taychibekoff insisted that the payment would on be given on "a result", and that the  "hunting season" would end, along with the offer of the reward, on May 1, 2014.

Taychibekoff's offer of a reward for a political assassination has been publicised on the Russian state TV channel, Rossiya 24.

Taychibekoff has since increased his offer to 5.2 million rubles.


Over the course of the day, the prize money for the liquidation of Kolomoyskyi has increased to 5.2 million Russian rubles. Many are phoning in, writing, willing to invest for a common cause.
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Agreement on Ukraine reached in Geneva

Representatives from Ukraine, the European Union, the United States and Russia have reached an agreement tonight on "initial concrete steps to de-escalate tensions and restore security for all citizens."

The full text of their statement follows:

The Geneva meeting on the situation in Ukraine agreed on initial concrete steps to de-escalate tensions and security for all citizens.

All sides must refrain from any violence, intimidation or provocative actions. The participants strongly condemned and rejected all expressions of extremism, racism and religious intolerance, including anti-semitism.

All illegal armed groups must be disarmed; all illegally seized buildings must be returned to legitimate owners; all illegally occupied streets, squares and other public places in Ukrainian cities and towns must be vacated.

Amnesty will be granted to protestors and to those who have left buildings and other public places and surrendered weapons, with the exception of those found guilty of capital crimes.

It was agreed that the OSCE Special Monitoring Misson should play a leading role in assisting Ukrainian authorities and local communities in the immediate implementation of these de-escalation measures wherever they are needed most, beginning in the coming days. The US, EU and Russia commit to support this mission, including by providing monitors.

The announced constitutional process will be inclusive, transparent and accountable. It will include the immediate establishment of a broad national dialogue, with outreach to all of Ukraine's regions and political constituencies, and allow for the consideration of public comments and proposed amendments.

The participants underlined the importance of economic and financial stability in Ukraine and would be ready to discuss additional support as the above steps are implemented.

The Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Andriy Deshchytsia, said:

We disagree with Russia on many things, but what we agreed today is to put an effort, joint efforts, to launch the process of de-escalation in eastern Ukraine. And Russia committed it to be part of this process. So it will be a test for Russia, if Russia wants to really show that it is willing to help the stability in these regions.

However, the Kyiv Post reports that Viktoria Siumar, deputy chief of the Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council, has said that, regardless of the results of the Geneva talks, the anti-terrorist operation under way in the Southeast will not cease, saying:

Of course not. What does one have to do with the other?

The Kyiv Post follows:

Siumar said that the Russians no longer control the situation in Donetsk Oblast, just like the Ukrainians, implying that they can not help with disarming militants and freeing buildings. She said there are eight gangs in the Donetsk Oblast Administration alone that have no single leader for negotiations and no single set of demands, which makes the situation difficult to solve at the diplomatic level.

Indeed, The New York Times reports that some of of the separatists have already dismissed the agreement:

Vasili Domashev, who described himself as an aide to the commandant of a building under occupation in Donetsk, said that since no representative of the newly declared and wholly unrecognized People's Republic of Donetsk had been invited to the Geneva talks, the republic would not be bound by the decisions made there.

Though Western governments maintain that Russia holds sway over the groups here, Mr. Domashev said that was not the case. 'Lavrov and Kerry decided, but who are they to us? We are the Donetsk Republic. We have people who make their own decisions."

"We will not leave," he concluded. "We do not trust Kiev. We really don't trust them."

Is Russia merely playing for time so as to either better prepare a military option, or to keep the disruption going in eastern Ukraine up until the May 25 elections. Speaking to the Kyiv Post, Andrew Wilson, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, says that:

It doesn't add up, Russia's primary task since all this (separatist movement in southeastern Ukraine) began has been to disrupt the vote either by preventing it, minimizing (voter) turnout elsewhere, or have Kyiv impose a state of emergency.

It must also be noted that the agreement of the vacation of "occupied buildings and spaces" does not seem to apply to Russian-occupied Crimea.

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Further on Anti-Semitic Leaflet in Donetsk

We've been covering throughout the day the story of a disturbing leaflet in Donetsk that appeared to be issued by the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic" and supposedly required "all Jews to register" in the region. 

While the leader of the "People's Republic" disavowed the leaflet, some reports maintained that the group's members were still somehow involved. The Times of Israel and Ynet reported the issue as follows, based on a local Jewish website in Ukraine:

In a response to a request by a Ukrainian Jewish website, Pushilin, the interim government's regional chairman, confirmed that the flyers were distributed by his organization, but denied any connection to the leaflet's content.

But we found the original website referenced, Yevreisky Kiev [Jewish Kiev], and discovered there's a mistranslation. Here's what the original said:

Journalists from the media project "Jewish Kiev" contacted Denis Pushilin for commentary. He confirmed that a leaflet signed by the organization which he heads really was distributed in Donetsk. And confirmed that neither he nor his organization has anything to do with it.

That's the literal translation, and even in the Russian it might be misconstrued, but Pushilin's actual admission was only that such a flyer existed. He then went on to deny that either he or his organization had anything to do with it. He added that the title for him -- "People's Governor" -- which he does not use was further indication of a forgery to smear his group.

Simon Shuster of Time magazine has followed up:

But even if it looked like the start of some racist purge, the flier was more likely part of an ill-conceived extortion plot or a propaganda ploy against the separatists. For one thing, the sign-off at the bottom of the flier — “Yours, the People’s Governor of Donetsk, Denis Pushilin” — seemed off. This was a reference to the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic, which was formed a week and a half ago by a group of armed separatists who seized the headquarters of the regional government. Theirs is perhaps the smallest breakaway republic in the world, as its territory is confined to that one building and a small patch of the plaza around it. Since April 7, they have barricaded themselves inside with a cache of weapons and demanded a referendum on secession from Ukraine. At the bottom of the flier was a reproduction of the stamp these separatists use on the press badges they have issued to journalists.


Denis Pushilin, however, is not the man who calls himself the “People’s Governor” of this pseudo-state. That would be Pavel Gubarev, who bestowed that title on himself in early March, during a separatist rally in the center of Donetsk. Three days later, he was arrested on charges of separatism and taken to jail in Kiev, where he remains. The alleged author of the anti-Semitic flier, Pushilin, is his ally and comrade-in-arms. But he has never gone by the title of “People’s Governor.” (His preferred title is the “co-chairman of the temporary coalition government” that he and his allies declared inside that building.) For his part, Pushilin denied on Thursday that he or his organization had anything to do with these fliers. “In reality this is a fake, and a pretty unsuccessful one,” Pushilin told the news network Russia Today. “It was all done with Photoshop.”
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Oligarch Offer Cash to Fight Separatists
Some oligarchs have been accused of playing both sides of this conflict, effectively blackmailing Kiev for support against separatists. At least one oligarch seems to be fighting hard against that image, as he has vocally attacked Vladimir Putin, and he is now promising to reward those who stand against Russia.

The Kyiv Post reports:

Military patriotism among Ukrainians is now being financially rewarded. Dnipropetrovsk Oblast governor and billionaire Igor Kolomoisky is offering cash bonuses for those who fight against pro-Russian separatists.

“We have decided to pay Hr 500,000 to the members of the Mariupol military unit that stood against the attack. We ask the unit commander to contact us. Or by the end of the day we will find you ourselves,” Dnipropetrovsk Deputy Governor Borys Filatov wrote on his Facebook page on April 17...

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Daily Beast Speaks to Donetsk Jews About Leaflet

The anti-Jewish leaflet (see updates below) had a very particular instruction - Jews were to bring documents, and $50, to room 514 in the administration building in Donetsk that is held by the pro-Russian separatists who call themselves the "Donetsk People's Republic." The Daily Beast had a bright idea -- so they sent someone to room 514. The office was empty.

But The Daily Beast did find more information:

According to Rabbi Vyshedski, the press secretary of the self-proclaimed republic, Aleksander Kriakov, is “the most famous anti-Semite in the region.” Schneerson wondered how separatists who are trying to position themselves as “anti-fascist” and claiming it’s Kiev that’s run by neo-Nazis could pick Kriakov as their spokesman.


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