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 "WE WERE TORTURED NEXT TO THE OSCE CARS, BUT THEY NEVER NOTICED US” – DONETSK RESIDENT SVITLANA MATUSHKO SPENT SEVEN DAYS IN A DEATH WARD

Thousands of people on the terrorists-controlled “DRP” and “LPR” territories were arrested and put in prisons and camps. Arrests are being carried out for reports, smallest delinquency, with or without reason. Radio Liberty spoke with one of those who managed to be released.

Just like in times of Stalin terror, the terrorists themselves, those suspected in disloyalty or espionage, are being arrested. But Ukrainian patriots are treated the worst.

донецк плен матушко

Entrepreneur Svitlana Matushko, who was arrested due to false report, spent seven days in a death ward in a basement of ex-SBU building in Donetsk. She managed to move to Kyiv after being released and now in engaged with the Committee for displaced persons. Here is her story:

- I was born and lived in Donetsk. I supported Maidan from the bvery beginning. I attended meetings in Donetsk and explained to my friends what this all meant. My mom went to the so-called elections in the so-called DPR on Nov. 2. I was trying to explain to her: "Mom, you voted for the guy who wanted to kill your child." She didn ' t understand. She said: " I voted for peace."

- Svitlana, how did you get into prison?

- A man who flirted with me filed a report. People in camouflage uniform and with weapons came to my office and arrested me. They took all the equipment and documents. Two unwarranted searched were carried out at my house, and two at my office. They put me into the DPR basement - this is the ex-SBU building in Donetsk. I spent seven days in the death ward.

What they want is to scary off, as much as they can, the people of Donetsk who are loyal to Ukraine, in order for those to leave on their own. And to bring other people there, who would be loyal to Russia.

- Who was there in the basement with you, and how all of the prisoners were treated?

- They didn't beat me. There were ex police officers, SBU officers, drug dealers - all of them put into mass cell. A guy was brought with his wife for his name was found on "Moloda Batkivshchyna" (pro-European party - ed.) party list. He spent a week there with his arms tied, in handcuffs.

There was a terrorist girl sniper, 21 year old and pregnant. A karate teacher was reported by his ex-student. There were Donetsk businessmen there. After 20 days in the basement they were ready to present all their movable and immovable property to the insurgents. One was released, and the other's fate is unknown.

There was a student from Donetsk University with "proactive approach to life," who was thrown into the basement for his question to one of the terrorists' leaders, Gubarev, about how they were going to pay pensions and salaries to budget-funded positions? After the press conference ended, he was arrested.

You know what hit me most of all after I was released? At tha checkpoint near the building, there gather people whose relatives went missing. They wait for a guy with lists to find out whether their loved ones are here. And a meter from the place, there are two OSCE cars. At the same time, people are being tortured in the basement. What kind of representatives are they? Who do not inform the world of what's going on in the Donbas? Who don't see tanks, armored vehicles, "Grads" moving around the city in convoys, who don't see armed people in supermarkets?

- Why and when you were released?

- You know, I still do not understand. In the basement I was told that people like me do not get released from here. On the interrogations, we discussed politics, economy, and what they were going to do. I ask how do they plan to finance the pensions, salaries, social benefits, I told them that businesses were leaving Donetsk. Each time I was taken for an interrogation, I thought I was taken to execution. On the fourth day I was told that they won't shoot me. And I was let out on the seventh.

- Those people who arrested and interrogated you, were they Russians?

- A men who interrogated me the last, showed me his passport and said he was from Mariupol. The others didn't introduce themselves but they spoke Russian Russian, not like we Ukrainians speak.

донецк митинг

Donbas refugees gather in Kyiv for anti-'pseudo-elections' meeting on Nov. 2.

- How do rich people live in Donetsk now? Those who supported Yanukovych and then financed the DPR? Do they continue to support separatism? And what happened to their businesses and real estate?

- Rich Donetsk residents never supported Yanukovyc, because businesses were oppressed in his time. Yanukovych was supported by gangsters who once stole businesses away from someone and then called themselves businessmen. In Kyiv, I met our businessmen who left Donetsk after Strelkov came there. They organized Committee on Displaced Persons Affairs. "Overly decent people," as one of them described themselves.

Some of the rich people of Donetsk who never supported Yanukovych managed to take out the production, some stayed and are now paying taxes to DPR and to Ukraine in hope that it will end in a month or two.

- Do you think the DPR will last long?

- I don't think so.

But you cannot abandon the people who stayed there. I think we must somehow close the border with Russia and isolate them to avoid the supply of arms and troops from Russia. But people should be freed. I think Ukraine should do it.

Dmytro Volchek, Radio Liberty


 
 
 
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