"In Ukrainian villages, whispers of collaboration with the Russians"

Published on :

On the front page of the American and European press, this Friday, May 6, a little discussed subject which made the front page of the Washington post: the hunt for alleged collaborators in Ukraine. And also the French legislative elections which offer the English press the pleasure of probing French society and questioning its taste for sadness.

The +: Receive the France 24 press review every morning on your iPhone or on any other mobile phone. And also by becoming a fan of the Facebook page.

It is a dive into a liberated and “traumatized” Ukraine, according to journalists from the washington postwhich takes the form of a heavy travel diary: “In the Ukrainian villages, the whispers of collaboration with the Russians”.

the washington post offers a dive into these localities which have been liberated from the Russians (or from which the Russians have left), and here is how the two reporters of the daily describe the atmosphere there: “the fog of war has been replaced by the mist of suspicions and conspiracies”.


In one village, for example, a woman recounts how she surprised a neighbor at night firing flares at the side of a road. The next day, a column of Russian tanks entered the locality by the exact place where this man was standing, who has disappeared since the departure of the Russians. She wonders: “Maybe he did it for the money? I don’t know.”

In Psiky, another liberated village, reporters from washington post are greeted with this warning: “Be careful, it’s full of ‘Ruscists’ here”. A local term that mixes “Russians and fascists”. In this village of barely 800 souls, the headmistress of the school is said to have said to the Russians: “We have been waiting for you for 8 years to restore order!”, before her establishment served as their base. On the walls of the school hung photographs of young people from the village who had served in the Donbass. One of them was taken into the woods by the Russian soldiers and was shot. But he survived, the bullet having lodged in his shoulder. He says: “I told this director that she had no future, because I intend to strangle her with my own hands.”

The nuclear threat hangs over the conflict in Ukraine. Beyond the concerns caused by the simulation of nuclear-capable fire by the Russians this week, the correspondent of the newspaper The world in Moscow explains to us that the scenario of a nuclear attack is evoked every day in Russia, as one subject of debate among others. On Channel 1, a presenter shows an animation depicting how the UK would be blown up by the Poseidon submarine missile. On another channel, a journalist presents a comparison of the time that Russian nuclear warheads would take to reach Western capitals – 106 seconds for Berlin, 200 seconds for Paris, 202 seconds for London. Comment from a set expert: “Impossible to intercept, they won’t even have time to turn around”.

This is not the first time the world has faced the threat of nuclear war, and that is why Le Figaro offers us this history article titled“These third world wars from which the world narrowly escaped”. According to the daily, he would have escaped no less than seven times. There is of course the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, but there is also 10 years earlier during the Korean War, the day an American airman got a little too close to Vladivostok. Or in 1956, when Soviet planes flew over Syria in the midst of the Suez Canal crisis.


It also recounts the day when, in 1969, a presumably drunk Richard Nixon ordered a tactical nuclear strike against North Korea… The American General Staff received a phone call in the wake of security adviser Henry Kissinger, who suggested they wait until the US president is awake and sobered up. The strike never happened….

In France, the news fell in the middle of the night: the union of the left was born for the legislative elections. The Socialist Party joined the alliance led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, and it is of course on the front page of the website of the main left-wing daily in France, Release. The national council of the PS voted this night for or against joining the “Nupes”, the New Popular Ecological and Social Union, which already brought together La France insoumise, Europe Écologie – Les Verts, the Communist Party and the NPA.

This vote was open to the press. Release made a report of the debates, with in particular an exchange involving the First Secretary of the PS, Olivier Faure, in favor of the union. “You are insulting me!” Shouted a socialist while the deputy called on his camp for clarification, choosing between Mélenchon and Macron. In his speech, Olivier Faure will specify: “there was a doubt in the opinion which had been expressed for five years but which we did not want to hear”.

Elections in France are always an opportunity for Anglo-Saxon correspondents to analyze the particularities of French society. And for once, it’s not about the 2,380 varieties of French cheese, but about a psychological trait specific to France: self-denigration. The blues, the gloomy… In short, a collective depression, which perplexes the Anglos-Saxons, to the point of making slogans: “Bleak is chic”(“Sad is chic”) or “Happy to be unhappy”.

The world explains to us that the Anglos-Saxons tend to judge France much more positively than the French themselves, with supporting figures: employment, inflation, fight against Covid-19, where France is often well placed compared to its European neighbours.

For researchers, quoted in the newspaper, the explanation is to be found in the history of France, starting with the trauma of the Second World War and the collaboration, a period after which the French would have collectively lost confidence in them. But also, a certain past power. Conclusion for the historian Robert Frank: “it would be a question of finding a middle way between arrogance and depression”.

Find the Press Review every morning on France 24 (Monday to Friday, at 7:20 a.m. and 9:20 a.m. Paris time). Also follow the Revue des Hebdos every weekend in multicast.

Leave a Reply