The assassination of Alexander Zakharchenko and its consequences
Dedicated to Natalia Volkova, head of the youth wing of the “Stronghold of Donbass," badly injured during this incidence of deplorable violence
Americans in general know nothing about the deeper historical consequences of death regarding great men and women, except, perhaps, individualistic death. The last time Americans understood the deeper understanding of death and a nation's national character was during the American Civil War. Americans are prone to the creation of a myth about their heroes or enemies, especially regarding their deaths.
And so, while millions of Americans were lamenting and eulogizing U.S. Senator John McCain, while millions of other Americans were gathering in memory of the late African American singer Aretha Franklin, a young head of state of the Donetsk People’s Republic was assassinated -- that is, murdered -- in his country. Most Americans, typically sentimentalists caring little about the details of history or their leaders’ actual moral character other than what social media spoon-feed them, would not likely know of Alexander Zakharchenko whose life was brutally snuffed out at age 44. If they did know he was a separatist and a communist in his politics, they would care even less about his death, let alone be interested in his qualities as a man.
And yet America's bourgeois leadership are not above using noble words borrowed from an Ernest Hemingway novel to speak about bravery, and courage, erroneously applying these glittering generalities to the craven and dangerous Senator McCain who supported the Kiev junta, despised the working people of Donetsk and Luhansk, and before his death was the main instigator in assuring the Kiev junta they would receive immense arms, aircraft and naval ordnance through the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019. The Military Times, a conservative online news outlet, noted in June 2015, when the American senator visited the Ukraine and met with the President of the Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, “U.S. Sen. John McCain has said during a visit to Ukraine it is shameful Washington's European allies have not done more to assist Ukrainian forces in their quest to defeat Russian-backed separatists in the east.” [i]
As a historian, I must qualify my own ignorance of the actual personality of Mr. Zakharchenko: I cannot presume to know whether he was a stable or unstable leader in the Donbass region, whether he was arrogant or modest in his behavior holding such a high and even dangerous position, which eventually cost him his life. In the political sense, his death was not an individualistic death -- be was wedded to the common interests of the people in Donetsk and all of the Donbass region.
Thus, death, and the character of a great man who has died, are not a study of philosophy by the American people, but as the French historian Alexis De Tocqueville observed, “the unaided effort of his own individual reason.” That is, the American reason has no interest in history, nor interest in the facts of a man’s life, but instead, as more or less because they are of the same composition of identical character, they believe they can explain everything around them and about the world in general. They then are limited in their observations about existence and death. In the United States there has been no dynamic, democratic revolution where form and content of ideas and beliefs are creatively unified.
Obsessed with their religion, whatever that religion may be, Americans are fearful to define death except in the most metaphysical or romantic way. Fearing death as they do, Americans also fear defining a great man without discussion. Hence they are destroyed by their own narrow, subjective reasoning of what constitutes a great man. In modern times, Americans cannot understand a revolutionary like the Prime Minster of Donetsk who was killed in his favorite café by assassins.
We eulogize great men and women in our time. We voice a love for the American Republic as if it were taken from a chapter of Tacitus’ Annals. We as Americans pray and weep on national television for the world to see, while former American Presidents quote Hemingway, as if their lives and those of their countrymen depended on those words of an iconic literary figure to stabilize a divided and dying country. The irony is that Hemingway -- whom I read too much in my youth, and in old age care more for his short stories than his egotistical novels, other than For Whom The Bells Tolls, which was more of a romance of the Spanish Civil War than the harsh realities of civil war -- would have been more interested in the character of Alexander Zakharchenko than John McCain. In short, Alexander Zakharchenko was the Robert Jordan of our era.
Wikipedia, a source on the internet to find out about Mr. Zakharchenko’s life if you are a Westerner, begins with the cynical declaration, “.... The biography of Zakharchenko is as credible as the biography of other pro-Russian activists and soldiers of fortune… and based only on reports of Russian mass media of recent years. He supposedly graduated from technical college and then worked as a mine electrician. Zakharchenko successfully traded chicken legs and broilers in the market almost all his life until Russia began the operation of Novorossia in Donetsk… Since May 2014, Zakharchenko has played a major role in the insurgency against Ukraine's central government. On 24 July 2014, he was awarded the rank General Major in the DPR armed forces, shortly after he was wounded in the arm during fighting with Ukraine government forces. ” [ii]
What should not be lost is the phrase “as credible as the biography of other pro-Russian activists and soldiers of fortune." The skeptical and assassinatory tone of this alleged biographical entry seeks to discredit and diminish the death, indeed, the very life, of Alexander Zakharchenko amid the rubble of a blown-out café.
Even more ironically, the cafe was called called the “Separ café” which means “separatist” in English. Sadly, Alexander Zakharchenko was finally separated from his country by violent means. He was Prime Minister of a socialist-inspired republic which based its constitution on some of the best intentions of the political principles of the Soviet Union. Mr. Zakharchenko was not a soldier of fortune, but a tested and seasoned revolutionary who grew up in humble circumstances, who worked hard for a living long before he gained fame on the battlefield, long before he became Prime Minister of his beloved Donetsk People’s Republic.
In his youth, Alexander Zakharchenko worked in the coal mines of Donetsk, and like other ordinary working men in his homeland, fell in love with a Donetsk woman and left four children behind in his violent death. But his violent death will have drastic consequences not only for Donetsk, but for all of Ukraine and Europe.
There is no such thing as "coincidence," it is simply Fate misnamed. Not by coincidence was Alexander Zakharchenko killed on the exact very same day as the first eulogies of John McCain were being held in Arizona. Other than the Russian intelligence services somehow being involved in the killing of the Donetsk Prime Minister in order to create a covert deception, as the Western newspapers and internet news outlets are quick to point out, then it leaves only the Kiev military leadership and the Ukrainian intelligence services that would have orchestrated the death of this promising leader. Certainly, internal divisions always exist in the struggle for power during the emergence of a revolutionary country, and that also cannot be discounted. However, if the killers, the assassins. were those from Kiev, then the United States military intelligence services -- in my personal opinion -- would have known of the perfidious plot, as nothing gets past them without their consent, especially since it is the United States regime, under the adventurous auspices of Donald Trump, who would likely have also known of the assassination plot. Since his own house is in disorder and capable of collapsing over his odious political body, Trump has much to gain from a political assassination abroad, even if that victory is a veiled threat against a separatist nation with the audacity to break away from a country like the Ukraine.
Although bitter adversaries, John McCain and Trump had one thing in common -- they both detested communism and any form of socialism, and they both were committed to giving arms to the Kiev junta in the Ukraine. Only two days after the murder of rebel leader Alexander Zakharchenko, a report in The Guardian stated, “Washington is ready to expand arms supplies to Ukraine in order to build up the country’s naval and air defence forces in the face of continuing Russian support for eastern separatists, according to the US special envoy for Ukraine.” [iii]
The Guardian report went on to quote American diplomat Kurt Volker, presently serving as U. S. Special Representative for the Ukraine, who "argued time was not on Putin’s side. [Volker] insisted pro-western, anti-Russian sentiment was growing in Ukraine with every passing month. And he made clear that the Trump administration was 'absolutely' prepared to go further in supplying lethal weaponry to Ukrainian forces [besides] the anti-tank missiles it delivered in April.” [iv]
Now Alexander Zakharchenko is dead, but the Donetsk People’s Republic is alive and a thorn in the side to military commanders of NATO and the oligarchs of the Ukraine and the Kiev junta. The young Alexander Zakharchenko did not die on a hilltop in Spain waiting for the fascist troops on horseback to cross over a bridge, where they would eventually see the American Robert Jordan waiting for them with his weapon, his heart beating strongly in that late afternoon. It is a different time in a different era, a different epic of soldiering and death. The young Alexander Zakharchenko was killed on the last day in August, as he walked into his favorite café. He was not on a hilltop, in a romantic way, awaiting the fascist enemy, he was walking into a café to have a meal and speak casually and frankly with his comrades. Unlike Hemingway's Robert Jordan, Alexander Zakharchenko had been a worker, he had survived wounds from battle. But he would not survive the last day of August nor the head wounds he received from the bomb blast.
For Alexander Zakharchenko, there would be no moment for the rest of his life to reflect upon, no moment to size up the enemy while adjusting the submachine gun, for he carried no submachine gun as he walked casually into the café, no time to say to himself that he was living now, that was he aware of where his enemies were coming from, as the heat of the August sun comes across his face, and then the loudness of a blast, and there is no heartbeat to hear, no pine needles or the romantic green slope of a meadow to cast a look upon the approaching enemy, only the hard concrete against his shattered face, only the death of the here and now, for death is not a literary event. Alexander Zakharchenko’s heart stopped beating without a place in the sun.