Transcarpathian Gambut
Alexander DONETSKY | 05.08.2014 | WORLD

Transcarpathian Gambut

The third wave of mobilization is launched in Ukraine to compensate for losses suffered in Donbass. It hits big bumps on the way.  Nobody wants to be cannon fodder for the ruling regime to add to the death toll of thousands.  People run away from different regions of the country, even the ones situated far from the conflict zone, to find refuge in Russia. Many of them are male citizens of the right age to be called for military service.   

The situation in the western part of Ukraine, especially theTranscarpathian region, has become explosive with people’s discontent getting ripe. The region has buried 70 countrymen losing their lives in the Donbass battles. The anger against the regime is growing… 


 The territory of the Transcarpathian region (Sub CarpathianRus) has been part of Austro-Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Romania. The population is mixed. There are large Hungarians, Slovak, Romanian and Roma (gypsy) communities. The Rusins make up the majority. Unlike the United States and Europe, Ukraine refuses to recognize the very existence of such people. During census and issuing IDs many of Rusins were forcibly made to be registered as Ukrainians.  Kiev refused to recognize the results of the 1991 referendum on granting the Transcarpathia autonomy. It all fuels the rising resentment.     

The Rusin and Hungarian movements for autonomy were given a new impetus by the February coup in Kiev. The Maidan supporters made things deteriorate by their repressions against the Hungarian minority of the Transcarpathian region. As a result, the Rusins and Hungarians coordinated their activities and joined together to protest the third phase of mobilization announced by Poroshenko.

One of Rusin leaders Petro Getsko says 90, 9% of Transcarpathians don’t recognize Petro Poroshenko as a legitimate president of Ukraine. Asked about the unraveling of events in Donbass, where the punitive operation is proceeding, 76, 9% responders said that now yellow-blue, not brown, has become the color to symbolize fascism - the plague revived in Ukraine in our time.   

The people of Transcarpathia refuse to comply with the decisions of the Ukrainian leader who calls for war against other Ukrainians. They block roads, including international highways, siege enlistment stations and other administrative buildings.

The roads in the Tereblya -  Tyachivs'kyi district, Mukachevo-Rogatin highway near Sinevir populated area were blocked by members of families of those who has been called for service. On July 30, the head of local administration in Sinevir tried to unblock the road and convince the local people to comply with the presidential order. The protesters cut the tires of his car. Chop-Kiev highway near Rakoshino and Strabichevo is denied to transport, as well as the road going around from Mukachevo to Uzhgorod through the village of Chervenevo and the road through Chop from Mukachevo. The protesters threaten to block the railway near the village of Goronda and the mountain crossing through Carpathian Nizhnie Vorota which is an important pass from the Transcarpathian region to the rest of Ukraine. A few days earlier the protest actions had taken place in the populated areas of Dombrovka and Chernevo of Mukachevo district in four populated areas of Khust, Muzhievo and Gat'Beregovsky districts.

Mass protests took place in the town of Beregovo mainly populated by Hungarians, the demonstrators from Beregovo, villages Dyida and VelikiyeBerega encircled an enlistment  center. Marta Chok says, “11 men aged 18 to 45 were called for service. They people demonstratively tore up call-up papers, women crossed the highway. The transport going to Hungary had to find another way to get to the place.” 

The Rusins and Hungarians are not the only ones to protest the conscription.  The Roma refused to be called for service to kill the people of Donbass. They started to erect barricades.  The local head of enlistment station was made to admit the conscription was illegal and had to stop the draft procedures in the district he was responsible for. 

The conscription is in force only for common people. According to reports from Kiev, the former interim president and incumbent parliament speaker Alexander Turchinov has recently fired an enlistment official who dared to send a call-up paper to draft his son. The address to people of the head Mukachevo enlistment center is taken away from YouTube under the pretext of author’s rights violation, Kiev has ordered to normalize the situation in Mukachevo and re-start draft at any price till August 5.

The Ukrainian law envisages tough punishment for draft dodgers and those who resist to be called for service.   But the discontent continues to expand. People ask what should they fight for?  Why the children of high standing officials are not called to fill the military ranks? For instance, the son of Viktor Baloha, who is considered to be the boss of the Transcarpathian region.  Why should only the poor be the ones to lose lives? One of the girls among protesters said her father and one of her brothers were drafted at the same time. The family has six children.

The protesters are called the “agents of Moscow”. Everywhere in the Transcarpathian region they are looking for “Russian journalists”, “separatists” and “agents of Russian Federal Security Service - FSB.” Around 10 men are accused of activities aimed at creating obstacles on the roads. Central Ukrainian media outlets are under censorship, or what is cynically called “a moratorium on criticism of government”, they ignore the events in the Transcarpathian region, pursue the journalists who try to tell the truth.  AlinaEpremyan, a US journalist working for RT RUPTLY, was deported from Ukraine on August 1. The video journalist worked in the West of Ukraine - in the village of Rakoshyno Transcarpathian region. There she was filming a story about the protests against sending men to the East of the country for participation in the antiterrorist operation. As in the case with Graham Phillips, the SBU has removed all her records. Phillips was deported to Poland with the ban on entrance into Ukraine for three years. The repressions feed people’s anger. Lieutenant Colonel Yeremchyuk was beaten up by protesters in the Rakhovsky district. Acting Mayor of Uzhgorod VictorShchadey from Baloha clan and his deputy Alexander Volosyansky were forced to resign. They were made leave the building by public utilities workers armed with brushes.

Sergei Ratushnyak,the former mayorof Uzhhorod, Sergey Ratushnyak used his Facebook page to call on the people of the district to block all the four mountain roads leading to Galicia and the airport till the status of autonomy is not granted in accordance with the referendum of 1991. He believes the region can be independent economically thanks to the transit payments for the use of seven gas routes going from Russia to Europe through its territory with the security provided by getting hold of local weapons stockpiles.  

The region has a specific feature. The large ethnic minorities: Hungarians, Slovak and Romanians have close ties with the neighboring states. The Rusin-Hungarian autonomy is supported by Hungarian political party Yobbik.  It believes that the autonomy status is the only way to find a solution to the region’s problems. According to Petro Getsko, 71, 4 % of the region’s population support this point of view.

If the protest goes on the rise and the Kiev regime tries to use punitive actions to quell it, like it does in Donbass, Hungary and Romania will not leave alone their co-nationals living in the western part of Ukraine.   To avoid the divisions inside NATO the United States and its European allies will have to turn a blind eye on the support of “separatists” by Budapest and Bucharest to keep Kiev away from opening the Western front. 

It will demonstrate the double standards of NATO, the image of the United States and the European Union will inevitably be damaged, but everything will be done to keep Hungary, Romania and Slovakia inside the Euro Atlantic structures.   This unraveling of events will discredit Ukrainian authorities, provoke unrest in other regions of the country, stymie the Poroshenko’s war plans and undermine the attempts of Washington and Brussels to demonize the self-defense forces of Donbass and Russia.   

What if Washington and Brussels will have to sacrifice the Transcarpathian region to get a more valuable prize? What will they choose – to give a green light to a war at the European Union’s border, or agree to cut the territory of Ukraine by excluding Transcarpathia – time will show.

Tags: Ukraine