Article by: Paul Goble
In what is likely part of a broader pattern, FSB officers in several cities in the Urals have called in for questioning Russians who have taken pro-Ukrainian sentiments online and have warned such people that they risk losing their jobs in today’s bleak economic conditions if they continue to do so, according to Kseniya Kirillova.
In a report on Novy Region 2 yesterday, Kirillova writes that “searches and interrogations have taken place among several [pro-Ukrainian] activists from Yekaterinburg and nearby cities.” In a report on Novy Region 2 yesterday, Kirillova writes that “searches and interrogations have taken place among several [pro-Ukrainian] activists from Yekaterinburg and nearby cities”.
One was called in after she posted a picture of Stepan Bandera on her Vkontakte page. Another was questioned after writing critical comments online about Moscow’s aggression in Ukraine. And a third faced what the journalist says might seem “a more prosaic” situation but one that may be even more disturbing.
The FSB called in Yury Kuznetsov and pointed out to him the risk he was running because “there is a crisis in the country and [at present] you have good work,” an implicit threat that he could lose his job if he continues to oppose Moscow’s policies with regard to Ukraine in any way.
Perhaps even more seriously, the Russian security service threatened his father’s position in its ranks. They pointed out that “your father is in our organization. He’s a respected man, he has worked many years, we know, and he is still working,” again implicitly threatening that all that could change as well.
Asked by the FSB why he is supporting Ukraine, Kuznetsov said he responded that his cousin, a Russian, lives in Ukraine and that his Russian nationality “has not interfered with his ability to make a good career” and that he has even been promoted in the time since the Maidan events.
Such actions of intimidation recall Stalin’s times, and it is perhaps appropriate that they are being reported today on what is the 135th anniversary of the birth of the Soviet dictator.