While plotting the downfall of the Soviet Union, months before the referendum which gave Ukraine its independence and empowered Yeltsin to complete his struggle for power, Yeltsin addressed the status of Donbass, Odessa and Crimea with his Ukrainian counterpart and co-conspirator. When confronted with a crystal clear statement that Ukraine was not willing to give up any of its territory, Yeltsin stated that “with a bleeding heart, Russia must pay the price of giving up the Russian cities of Kharkov, Donetsk, Mariupol and Odessa to gain its own independence” and his counterpart only noticed later that Yeltsin did not mention Crimea in this statement. Several months later, during their final personal meeting in Minsk before the collapse of the Soviet Union, both future presidents agreed that there will be no resettlement of citizens between their countries and the current borders will be accepted by all parties involved.
During his flight back to Moscow, Yeltsin told his aide that he would “bring back the mines and farmlands of Donbass to Russia when the time is right and make sure the harbors of Mariupol, Odessa and Sevastopol will once again fly the Russian flag” but that for now he would go along with the agreement. His aide noted in his memoirs that Yeltsin didn’t even bother to mention the people involved and that he wondered how Yeltsin was planning to come back on an agreement he had just committed to. As a result of this agreement, former citizens of the Soviet Union living in Donbass woke up on New Year’s Day as citizens of Ukraine without being asked for their will. A country with which they had neither emotional nor historical ties for in all they were, they were Russians in their hearts and their souls. Forced to be citizens of a country they didn’t belong to, a country which never truly accepted them and abandoned by the future presidents during negotiations over power.
It is those people who Val Lisitsa speaks up for, it is those people who Val gives a voice when nobody involved in the current political environment is willing to listen. Those citizens of Donbass, who were and are deprived of their Human Right of Self-Determination, are the people to whom Val feels connected most and all Val wants is that they will finally be granted that right which is firmly anchored in the Charters of the United Nation, the right of self-determination. And if the outcome of that right of self-determination will be that the majority will democratically decide to remain citizens of Ukraine in the current system and rulings, Val will be the first to accept that, as difficult as it will be for her. That is the Val I know and respect.
Val does more than speak up for these people she feels connected to in the depths of her soul. She provides comfort with her music, she lobbies for their case, she speaks up against untruth and propaganda. And that, my dear friends, is not received well in the circles which don’t want to hear what Val and the people she gives a voice have to say. How does one best counter the uncomfortable truth? With lies!
There are many lies about Val. Some are just silly, like the mentioning of a wrong nationality and citizenship. Other lies are harming and hurting Val personally and professionally. Lies upon lies, spread in media and all thinkable online platforms. Spreading faster than anyone can counter. Picked up and multiplied at the speed of light. Repeated until the masses start to believe the lies and lies become truth in the eyes of the unknown. This is how propaganda is designed to work…
And then there is this one lie, this big unacceptable lie. The consciously planted lie to damage Val permanently and punish her for speaking up for those no one wants to hear. The lie that Val would have expressed support for those who have attacked flight MH17. There is no bigger lie that could be told about Val, there is no lie which could hurt and damage Val more. There is no lie which could hold more damaging untruth than this lie, this horrible unacceptable lie!
Because the truth is, that Val has always expressed her sympathies and support for the victims and their loved ones. Val has expressed her support for the traumatized people in the crash area, the forgotten ones in the memorial services for Flight MH17. And Val expressed her frustration and anger about how the attack on Flight MH17 has been abused to further escalate the war against the people she has chosen to speak up for.
Speaking for myself, I have found comfort in Val’s warm and calm words during the hectic days after the attack on Flight MH17. My heart filled with anger, my brain losing track of all the claims and statements about who did it and how and why without even a single line of evidence, it was Val who I turned to. Reading her words, listening to her music and recordings, blessed with a personal comforting message from Val when I was about to burst. I allowed myself to flow away with her music until I calmed down again.
It was Val who brought me to tears when she gave the people of Donetsk a beautiful concert with the sounds of war in the background, risking her own life to provide them a few hours of comfort with her talent. A talent given to her by God Almighty, a talent she worked hard for to develop so she can share it with us. A talent which allows Val to reach a large audience worldwide, the same audience Val is reaching out to with her message and the voice she gives the people of Donbass.
And in these days, Val is confronted with being banned from sharing that talent with us based on lies. Lies which are created with the single purpose to prevent Val from providing comfort with her music and performance, the ultimate goal of these lies is to take away her platform and audience, to prevent her from telling the uncomfortable truth about Donbass and the suffering of the innocent people. Intended to discredit Val so her words are no longer accepted, the lie designed and created to silence Val. The ultimate lie that Val would have expressed support for those who attacked Flight MH17 is used to achieve this. Val never did and Val never will do such a thing. But that doesn’t seem to matter. What matters is that Val continues to repeat an uncomfortable truth and therefor she is punished, silenced by those who refuse to accept the truth and their own responsibilities. By spreading and repeating lies!
I want to express my unconditional support and respect for Val and my gratitude for her courage to speak up for those who have no voice in the political agendas of this world. I call on everyone with a heart and a mind of her or his own to see for yourself before you decide about Val. See for yourself what Val did and didn’t say. Make up your own mind without the lies about Val. And listen to her music, grant yourself the reward of being moved by her talent because this is what others want to take away from you, take away from Val.
Thank you, Val. You are a hero of our times and an inspiration in everything you do!