A journalist of Lutsk’s newspaper “Volin Post” Sergiy Shapoval spent more than three weeks in captivity of Donetsk separatists. He was captured on the 26th of April after he tried to subscribe as a volunteer in Donbass people’s militia. Shapoval was going to join separatists to write a report about people who support the protest.
According to Sergiy, there is a real spy-phobia among separatists: they interrogate all volunteers fearing that members of the “Right Sector” will join them. After they found Sergiy’s journalist ID, he was tortured by electric shock, and for greater impact they put a wet cloth on his shoulder.
During interrogation there were present journalist of Anna News. After the torture, as if nothing happened, they recorded a video with the beaten journalist. Sergiy was forced to say that he is OK and that he is in Slavyansk.
Later this video was removed for YouTube. In total there were recorded 4 videos, in which Shapoval spoke a prepared in advance by separatists and Russian journalists text. They were also publishing articles on Sergiy’s behalf, which were portraying separatists move in a positive light.
Sergiy Shapoval told in his interview to Hubs who and what are these separatists.
Are the ideas of the People’s Republic of Donetsk supported in Donetsk?
Ordinary people in Donetsk do not support People’s Republic of Donetsk. Do you remember on Maidan there were hundreds of volunteers, who cooked and brought food.
In Donetsk the militants make their own sandwiches, and there are few announcements a day from the stage that they need women to cook food. I saw and heard it all, because I was in a room, which windows overlook the main entrance to the Donetsk Regional State Administration.
They didn’t even had enough mattresses. Some militants slept on the floor; they could not organise their everyday life.
In the evening there are patrols in town, presumably to protect the rule of law and at the same time take phones from locals. In the morning they show off who stole better phone.
The parking in front of the Regional Administration is packed with stolen cars. How do I know this? They talk about it – stolen cars.
Are separatists really afraid of the “Right Sector”? Or they understand that the rumors about this organisation are exaggerated?
This is their universal horror story. Whoever is caught is declared to be a member of the Right Sector. Whatever happens – this is all the Right Sector. They are wound up by the Russian TV, which even calls the National Guard the Right Sector.
Who are the people on the rally in front of the administration?
When I came there in the end of April there were many romantics, idealists, adventurers. The audience is 25 to 33 years old.
After the fire in Odessa’s House of Trade Unions on the 2nd of May there was a surge of volunteers. The corridors were packed with people. Some miners squads came.
After the referendum all thinned out. Now there are only young people there. Even on Saturday and Sunday, when there should be many people, there are only a couple of dozens of them. Maximum a hundred, when there is a meeting.
Compare this to the self organisation of participants in EuroMaidan, where they were able to create some structures, organise everyday life, cooperate. Separatists are only capable of impulse, which thins down rather quickly.
This is a very glaring fact. Separatist, who say that they will go all the way to the Polish border, take off their Georgian ribbons when them move more than 100 metres away form the Regional Administration. I have seen it myself. When I asked one girl why it is the case she answered – Don’t you understand how many fascists are here?
Then why the Regional Administration is still not freed?
Because they have machine guns. There are a lot of arms there. I have seen Kalashnikovs, I have seen antitank grenade and objects, which looked like anti-tank mines
There was information in the media that almost in every office in the Administration there is a prisoner. Is it so?
Yes, I have heard cries, heard how they lugged someone though the corridors. One can stand near the building and see how they walk people with hands cocked and heads wrapped in cloth. And so every day. In the best case scenario these people are forced to wash toilets, in the worst – they are tortured.
I was tortured in the editorial office of the newspaper “Life”. They have such editorial office and there I was tortured. Then, after interrogations, Russian journalists came, put a flag on the wall and told me to speak into camera and say that I am in Slavyansk. And say the text that they wrote for me.
What do people in the seized Regional Administration say about Akhmetov?
Bad thing in general. They were saying that he fires people form the mines for taking part in rallies. They also hate the Party of Regions and Tsaryov.
What does the place of protests, the tents village looks like?
Tents village is a loud name for it. There are two or three tents.
There is a stage, but it is always empty. Not like it was on Maidan, where everyone wanted to come out and say something. There, they either play “Get up, enormous country” (old Soviet song – ed.) or a granny reads her poems or a granddad tells how much he should like to throttle Liashko. Or they show reports and news of the channel “Russia 24″
A song “A war with people is bad. Maidan zip it” is very popular. They also have their own “Heaven’s Guard” and slogans “Glory to Russia – Glory to Donbas!”.
The Regional Administration itself is smashed. Everything, which could be taken out was taken out.
How did you mange to break free?
I would not be able to break free by myself. I would get caught and would be killed, that’s why I simply sat and waited. Yesterday a man came and told me that I have to eat and wash and that I was to be swapped. Three hours later a man in civilian came for me. He led me to a car. We went to what looked like the Donetsk airport. There were many people there, I recognised Victor Medvedchuk and Nestor Shufrich. I came to Medvedchuk and asked – why do you need this, why did you free me? He answered that this is his position – to help people who are in need.
What is your forecast for the development of events?
Separatists can be easily finished off. If they are not given any surge, like the one in Odessa. They are demoralised, they do not know what to do. They do not see any outcome. People’s Republic of Donetsk, for which they live half hungry and die exists only in the Donetsk Regional Administration.