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Putin’s war in Ukraine looks very different in Pskov than it does in Moscow, new book shows

Putin’s war in Ukraine looks very different in Pskov than it does in Moscow, new book shows

A new book, entitled Russia and Ukraine. Days of Eclipse, which collects articles about Putin’s war in Ukraine that were published in Pskovskaya guberniya regional newspaper between 2014 and 2017 shows that that conflict looks very different in Pskov than it does in Moscow, a regional variation few have paid much attention to.

The Russian-language book was presented at Moscow’s Sakharov Center, Aleksandra Semenova says, with some of those behind it fearful that the police might raid the place to stop this from taking place. Fortunately, that did not happen – or at least it hasn’t yet.

Pskov opposition politician and commentator Lev Shlosberg said that it would have been better if this book had not had to appear because it would have been better if the tragic events in Ukraine had not occurred and those whose deaths are recounted were still alive. Moscow historian Andrey Zubov agreed, noting that the war had “dehumanized” opponents.

The book’s various authors said that they had been able to publish only a small part of the information which they had received from people in Pskov oblast alone, but even that much shows how false the accounts of the Russian authorities are and how their efforts to classify everything ultimately fail.

The gravestone of a paratrooper from Russia's 76th Guards Air Assault Division killed in action in Ukraine on August 30, 2014 (Image: novoyagazeta.ru)
In a Pskov cemetery that houses graves of paratroopers from Russia’s 76th Guards Air Assault Division killed in action during Putin’s military aggression in Ukraine. (Image: novoyagazeta.ru)

Ukrainian journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva said that Moscow’s denial of its role in Ukraine reflected a kind of “shamanism: if one doesn’t pronounce the word ‘war,’ then it doesn’t exist and there are no losses” beyond those of a few “volunteers.” Of course, such things fool only a few people and only for a short time.

“Despite the tragic nature of the events which were discussed at this meeting,” Semenova says in her report, “the session ended on a positive note: In their concluding speeches, the journalists for the Pskov newspaper and Lev Shlosberg expressed the hope that the war in Ukraine will soon end, “’a hope that unites all those gathered there.’”

Shlosberg said that the new book will be given for free to all who want to read it. In Moscow, those who do can turn to the Sakharov Center or to the press secretary of the Moscow branch of the Yabloko Party, Igor Yakovlev.

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