Skip to comments.‘I Had It Pretty Easy, Because I Was Let Go’: Simon Ostrovsky On His Detention in Sloviansk
Posted on 04/25/2014 5:23:42 PM PDT by annalex
By Simon Ostrovsky
April 25, 2014 | 5:00 am
On Thursday, armed gunmen who held me prisoner for three nights and three days released me into the streets of Sloviansk, in eastern Ukraine. My release was as unexplained as my capture.
On Monday night I was pulled out of a car at a checkpoint, then blindfolded, beaten, and tied up with tape. After spending hours alone on the floor of a damp cell with my hands tied behind my back and a hat pulled over my eyes, I was led into a room where I was accused of working for the CIA, FBI, and Right Sector, the Ukrainian ultra-nationalist group.
When I refused to give the password to my laptop, I was smacked in the arm with a truncheon. When I was asleep on the floor, masked men came to wake me up and tell me how no one would miss me if I died, and then kicked me in the ribs as they left.
But as it turns out, I had it pretty easy, because I was let go.
In the nights that I was held captive, a dozen other nameless detainees were ferried in and out of the cellar of the Ukraine state security (SBU) building by the pro-Russia militants who had taken it over. Some were journalists, some were drunks, and others were Ukrainian activists stupid or brave enough to visit whats become a stronghold for Russian nationalists within Ukraine.
I only got to know a few of them. Most had been in that cellar far longer than I had. They had been there for up to two weeks, and are most likely still there now.
Their names are Artyom Deyneha, a local computer programmer who was caught setting up a webcam opposite the building where we were being held; Serhiy Lefter, a freelance journalist who was abducted on the main square in Sloviansk in broad daylight; Vadim Sukhonos, a deputy in the Sloviansk city council; and Vitaly Kovalchuk, a former member of the Euromaidan self-defense corps, who by his own admission came to Sloviansk with a group of Right Sector radicals who tried and failed to capture guns from pro-Russia militants.
After I was released, I found out that the leader of the pro-Russia forces in Sloviansk, Vyacheslav Ponomarev, told journalists that we were being held as bargaining chips in negotiations with the interim authorities in Kiev. I dont yet know what he got for my release, but I hope it wasnt very much, because no one should be allowed to take hostages no matter what their political demands are.
Everyone being illegally held in that damp cellar, or any of the other buildings controlled by the self-proclaimed Donetsk Peoples Republic, should be released or handed over to the police immediately.
Watch the VICE News dispatch series Russian Roulette: The Invasion of Ukraine here.
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I have been watching Ostrovsky’s dispatches and was wondering what language he is speaking. Is It Russian and Ukrainian or both?
Is It Russian and Ukrainian or both?
Is It Russian, Ukrainian or both?
I just watched the first Roulette episode, where he speaks a few sentences to a Russian soldier (who doesn’t respond). Ostrovsky’s speech is that of educated native Russian speaker. If you point me to an episode where he is talking to someone Ukrainian I will listen. As a matter of fact, excepting Ukrainian West, the Russian language is understood broadly, but of course if the speaker is ethnically Ukrainian he would prefer Ukrainian, but still manage in Russian if he has to.
Watched #29. Only Russian from all sides, but of course he is only talking to putinists and the region is Russian-speaking.
Thanks. I will look and see if I can find one where he is talking to a Ukrainian. There is one where he is talking with people at Maidan probably less than a month ago.
Might take a bit.
I could not find the Maidan Dispatch but I found these:
Talking to Ukrainian Air force
RUSSIAN ROULETTE 18 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fur0PJKvOg
Pro-Ukraine protest in Crimea
RUSSIAN ROULETTE 7 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9Dk2emDU0o
Here’s the Maidan Dispatch:
RUSSIAN ROULETTE 21
He interviews a woman from Maidan Self Defense. It is in Kiev.
Girl talking about the provocateur and the shooting speaks in Russian, perhaps with an accent. Ostrovsky also speaks in Russian.
Right Sector chaplain — Ukrainian
Scene of arrest, shouting slogans — Ukrainian speech
Asking journalists to step back (RS boarding the bus) — Russian.
Female questioner and others while boarding — Ukrainian.
Minister Parubyi — Ukrainian.
It seems Ostrovsky only speaks Russian; of the unidentifiable speakers only the male barely audible voice behind the camera asking what the deal was during the boarding is Ukrainian, but I don’t think it was Mr. O.
Thanks. I hope we see more of Symon but I have my soubts.
Bookmark and bump thanks for the ping
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