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Why pay demonstrators if you can use administrative resource?


Students and public sector workers complain that they are being forced to take part in political meetings. This, according to the Committee of Voters of Ukraine [CVU] can only be considered use of administrative resource.

A student from the Donetsk National University who did not wish to be named told Deutsche Welle that they had had their lectures cancelled, and been forced to attend an “antifascist rally”  “You had to sign that you would attend, otherwise, they said, you’d let down the lecturer”.  There had also been rumours that you could lose your student grant if you didn’t attend.

In another institute, the students say they were warned that attendance was compulsory by faculty deans. One of them explains that they all understood what the consequences for their future studies would be of not going.

People working in state enterprises speak of the same pressure.  This included, for example, pressure to attend a rally in Donetsk officially called “antifascist” which demanded a ban of the VO Svoboda Party. Around 10 thousand were gathered from around the oblast.

Some students, however, have dared to complain to their deans over being forced to join rallies. They have also complained to human rights organizations as was confirmed to Deutsche Welle by the Head of the Donetsk branch of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine, Serhiy Tkachenko.

Deutsche Welle quotes officials who swear blind that such behaviour is at the initiative of individual lecturers.  

Serhiy Tkachenko is convinced however that there is compulsion and says that there are plenty of complaints both from students, and from public sector workers.  While it isn’t direct compulsion as in 2002-2004, it is clear that those in power see the public sector workers as being their own resource.  The instructions, he says, come from above to ensure that meetings are well-attended., and nobody at local level wants to be seen not fulfilling these demands.

There is also danger in the creation of artificial causes, issues etc, like these “antifascist” demonstrations.

From the Deutsche Welle Ukrainian Service report here

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