Donetsk in the dark

There’s nothing on TV in the hotel but ‘no signal’. I only realised that after the internet had been down for half an hour already, and I started to worry. Information blackout is the first step to a coup, an invasion, a revolution – and didn’t I see myself how a crowd of civilians and self-defence groups took over the Donetsk region broadcasting building yesterday? Today, I read just before the Internet crashed, unidentified armed men took over the digital broadcasting tower.

I’m paranoid enough already, after a trip today to Slavyansk. Nothing bad happened. On the contrary, I got given a bouquet of lilacs, a sandwich and a cup of tea. The squares were full of playing children. The men with guns were politely unforthcoming. People made jokes about kidnapping me (very funny). I watched from the other side of the road as self-defence guys manning a road block caught a ‘homosek’ – the joke (hilarious!) name for ‘pravy sek’ – that is, Pravy Sektor, those bogeymen of East Ukrainian nightmares. I don’t know who he was really. He was bundled away by armed men in balaclavas in a commandeered police car, badge and stripes removed. No one seemed to take much notice.

Still no TV – not even Russian channels. But the internet is back. Maybe the coup hasn’t happened quite yet.




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