Putin’s obsession with mayors of occupied cities: 11 kidnapped, 1 executed


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Meritopol is a city of over 150,000 inhabitants located in southern Ukraine, only a few kilometers from Ukraine. Territories occupied by Russia in 2014 belongs to the Crimean Peninsula.beside Khersonwas one of the first minimal cities to fall into the hands of the Army Vladimir Putin, but contrary to what happened in regional capitals, the aggressors did not satisfy the complacency of local leaders. Instead, the mayor, Ivan Fedorovwho refused to cooperate with the invading army and called for urban resistance, was kidnapped with a bag on his head in the middle of the Town Hall Square on Friday 11 March.

Fedorov spent six days in a small room in the local Melitopol prison, listening to other detainees being tortured and completely cut off from the rest of the world. His obligation was to go there and admit his city to the Russian Federation, but he kept refusing. Fedorov is luckyHis kidnapping was recorded on security cameras, a move President Zelensky immediately condemned, and even a group of MEPs called for his release from Russia. His case became such a national issue that eventually, Ukraine accepts exchange of nine Russian prisoners in exchange for mayor’s freedom.

not so lucky Olga Sukenko, the mayor of Motizin, just 50 kilometers west of Kyiv. On Monday, his body was found in a mass grave along with that of his son. A few meters further, in the sewer, the body of her husband was found. All three showed signs of violence before dying by Russian troops. This pattern is repeated across the country: as many as 11 mayors are currently abducted by invading forces, according to the Ukrainian government. Possibly more.

decisive importance

Why is there so much obsession and cruelty to popular representation in Russian-occupied cities?The reason is simple: Ukraine is a great power going through war There are countless fronts, city and city, almost a battle between neighbors. Russia cannot go and occupy every city and pretend to have a new authority obeying its orders. This will be a huge and long job. However, it requires internal collaboration. This is where different mayors come into play.

let’s put example of khersonagain, where russian troops entered at the end of february Before the authorities handed over the city. How many deaths did this decision save Putin from? The Mayor’s Office is the state’s representative on duty in the city. To beat the mayor is to beat the country. Getting their cooperation is all about making the enemy’s means work in your favor. Opposite is Mariupol: Weeks of ruthless fighting, with thousands dead on both sides, as Chechen mercenaries and volunteers try to “clean up” the city of any resistance.

Faced with the impossibility of going to Kyiv, Putin had to attack Ukrainian autonomy wherever he could. When Russian troops enter a city, it demands absolute loyalty from the authorities. Without this loyalty, they could lose control of the city at any time. It must be a harrowing decision: Betray your country and risk a possible solution later…or refuse to cooperate and end up shot in the back of the head in a mass grave?

However, it was still an important decision in the course of the war. Ukraine counts on popular rebellion; without it, the power of brute force will eventually triumph. Russia is counting on capitulation; without her, the campaign will be much longer and more tortuous. So in this way.

Two types of Ukrainians

Every mayor kidnapped, every mayor tortured and murdered is a role model for other mayors in the region. Putin’s war is a war of terror against civilians, including the heads of every occupied city. There is no mercy for those who disobey. It would be impossible to accept the conditions demanded by the occupying forces in the next town, the mayor of the day. The fear of being next is a very powerful fear. If the military is incapable of defending the city, many people wonder, why do I have to use my life to defend it?

Even so, the difference in treatment is not accidental. Let us return to the case of Melitopol and Ivan Fedorov. We are talking about a city belonging to Novarossiya (“New Russia”), a native Russian speaker, with whom some cooperation should in principle be expected. Aside from luck, Fedorov used the commander’s patience to get along with people they thought would return to their senses sooner or later.In this sense, andThe Fate of Olga Sukenkolike many civilians buried in mass graves A Russian army gallops by near Kyiv, It has a lot to do with their race.

Mayor Motyzhyn and her family were buried in a grave in the middle of the field.


Putin and his ideologues continue their rhetoric that Ukrainians are by definition Nazis, a message that Russian nationalists have been peddling since World War II. They are all Nazis and they all hate Russians. In the Kremlin, they hope they will find relief and complicity, at least in the south and east of the country, where Russia has a majority and a Russian-backed candidate sweeps every election. They don’t understand why this is not the case, maybe the violence they are used in the area stems from that feeling of betrayal. Now, west of the Dnieper remains for them irredeemable barbarian land. Sukenko and Co. Everything we had to know about what we saw on the Eastern Front was multiplied on the Western Front. To Russians, resistance fighters in Kharkiv, Odessa, Mariupol or Dnipro are “misguided brothers”; people in the rest of the country are animals. View.

Vitali Klitschko, an example of resistance

In addition to this, the importance of the local authorities themselves in a country with different cultures and different traditions must be emphasized. A country that is often ungovernable and has a dangerous tendency to unleash corruption. The mayor has considerable autonomy and his position does not depend on the ruling party. As an extreme example: Vitali KlitschkoMayor of Kyiv, Chairman of the Democratic Reform League. Klitschko is a charismatic former boxer who is almost a separate entity in the Ukrainian state. He has been mayor of Kyiv since 2014 and will be re-elected on a massive scale in 2020. However, his party did not win a single seat in the 2019 parliamentary elections.

Kyiv defense hero Klitschko is Poroshenko’s friend and Poroshenko’s enemy. He has harshly criticized Zelensky and now cooperates with him against a common enemy. His dream is to become the president of his country and integrate it into the European Union. He has never been ambiguous about his intentions… But, at the moment, what is successful in Kyiv is not successful elsewhere in the country. We’ll see what happens after this war. We will see from the outset which territories the Ukrainian government controls and whether it does not fall under a dictatorship, ie continuous martial law.

If the Russians massacred and kidnapped the mayor in order to invite the local authorities to surrender, then Klitschko’s bravery and courage, who has won everything in life and will likely escape from it, is an example of the opposite. An example for all mayors of Donetsk or lugansk or Dnipropetrovsk or Zaporozhye or Nikolayev They saw that the front was slowly approaching their city, and they didn’t know how to overcome their panic.

Rebel territories are territories that force you to deploy troops and spend resources. Submissive areas are areas where you can confidently stay and continue to conquer. Much of the war depends on the decision of local authorities between rebellion and submission. Ukrainians know… Russians know too.


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