By John Friend
Since the 2014 Maidan coup in Ukraine, sponsored and backed by the U.S. government, those holding pro-Russian views have been systematically targeted by the Ukrainian government. Political dissidents in general have been persecuted as the Ukrainian regime has consolidated power and targeted and purged Russian-leaning politicians, political parties and media outlets, even going so far as to officially codify Ukrainian as the official language of the country.
Since the Russian invasion on February 24, the crackdown has only become more intense. Journalists have been targeted in addition to critics of the regime as well as pro-Russian activists and others who have been accused of “collaborating” with the Russian invaders.
Ukrainian soldiers arrest suspected pro Russia collaborators. Warning strong footage the victims are violently assaulted by the Ukraine police officers.
They are insulted, abused and humiliated. Some of them can be seen naked and beaten up. pic.twitter.com/gRA3gkREqr
— BBlues60 (@BBlues60) April 5, 2022
In March, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky outlawed political parties with links to Russia and also consolidated all national television channels to be administered directly by his regime in an effort to create a “unified information policy,” thereby essentially eliminating dissident or opposition outlets.
Mayors and other local officials who have attempted to work with the Russian military occupying parts of Ukraine have been targeted and some have been murdered. One of the leading negotiators for Ukraine, Denis Kireev, was murdered in Kiev after being accused of being a traitor following initial negotiations with Russia last month.
Independent journalist Max Blumenthal recently reported on the Zelensky regime’s reign of terror in Ukraine:
Western media has looked the other way, however, as Zelensky and top officials in his administration have sanctioned a campaign of kidnapping, torture, and assassination of local Ukrainian lawmakers accused of collaborating with Russia. Several mayors and other Ukrainian officials have been killed since the outbreak of war, many reportedly by Ukrainian state agents after engaging in de-escalation talks with Russia.
“There is one less traitor in Ukraine,” Internal Affairs Ministry advisor Anton Geraschenko stated in endorsement of the murder of a Ukrainian mayor accused of collaborating with Russia.
Zelensky has further exploited the atmosphere of war to outlaw an array of opposition parties and order the arrest of his leading rivals. His authoritarian decrees have triggered the disappearance, torture and even murder of an array of human rights activists, communist and leftist organizers, journalists and government officials accused of “pro-Russian” sympathies.
The Ukrainian SBU security services has served as the enforcement arm of the officially authorized campaign of repression. With training from the CIA and close coordination with Ukraine’s state-backed neo-Nazi paramilitaries, the SBU has spent the past weeks filling its vast archipelago of torture dungeons with political dissidents.
On the battlefield, meanwhile, the Ukrainian military has engaged in a series of atrocities against captured Russian troops and proudly exhibited its sadistic acts on social media. Here too, the perpetrators of human rights abuses appear to have received approval from the upper echelons of Ukrainian leadership.
While Zelensky spouts bromides about the defense of democracy before worshipful Western audiences, he is using the war as a theater for enacting a blood-drenched purge of political rivals, dissidents and critics.[…]
Gonzalo Lira, also known as Coach Red Pill, is a Chilean-American independent journalist and commentator based in Ukraine. Married to a Ukrainian woman, Lira has lived in Ukraine for several years, and was in Kiev on a business trip when the Russian invasion first began in late February. He has since made his way to Kharkov, Ukraine’s second largest city, where he has been in hiding for over a month as he has emerged as one of the world’s foremost critics of the Zelensky regime.
Prior to covering the conflict in Ukraine, Lira had a long history on YouTube where he was a popular commentator. In March, he openly talked about being targeted by the Zelensky regime, in particular the SBU and other so-called “neo-Nazi” militias aligned with the Ukrainian government. Lira alleged that security personnel attempted to visit the house he was staying at in March, and then went into hiding to avoid capture by Ukraine’s security services.
Due to the popularity of his YouTube commentaries, Lira quickly became not only a target of the Zelensky regime, but also the Western media establishment. The Daily Beast published what can only be described as a lengthy hit piece on Lira in late March, prompting Lira to release a YouTube video titled “The Daily Beast is Trying to Get Me Killed,” which currently has over 130,000 views. The full 16 minute video is worthy watching:
Lira, who is active on both Twitter and Telegram in addition to his regular YouTube commentaries, has not posted anything or returned messages since Friday, April 15, leading many to speculate he has been either apprehended by Ukraine’s security forces or killed. He always told his followers that if they had not heard from him in 12 hours or more, they should assume he has been apprehended and taken out by the Zelensky regime.
His top tweet on his Twitter profile highlighted a number of Ukrainian officials – including mayors, diplomats, political dissidents and others – who have been targets of the Zelensky regime and noted: “If you haven’t heard from me in 12 hours or more, put my name on this list.”
You want to learn the truth about the Zelensky regime? Google these names:
Mikhail & Aleksander Kononovich
If you haven’t heard from me in 12 hours or more, put my name on this list.
— Gonzalo Lira (@realGonzaloLira) March 26, 2022
Currently, Lira’s whereabouts are unknown. It is not clear if he has indeed been apprehended by Ukrainian security forces, as many suspect, if he has been killed as a result of heavy shelling and fighting in Kharkov or if he is simply in hiding or unable to connect to the internet.
Sarah Ashton-Cirillo, a far-left journalist currently embedded with Ukrainian military forces, claimed earlier this week that Lira had been captured by Ukraine’s security services, and denounced him as a “Russian spy” without the slightest bit of evidence before praising Ukraine’s security services.
Incredible news from Kharkiv!
He is (allegedly) a Russian saboteur posing as a "journalist," to destroy #Ukraine️.
Congrats to Ukranian security services. #StandWithUkraine️
— Sarah Ashton-Cirillo (@SarahAshtonLV) April 18, 2022
Other pro-Ukrainian influencers on social media have also praised Lira’s apparent capture in their blind hatred of Russia. As Max Blumenthal has noted, if Lira has been captured by Ukrainian security services, he would join a long list of other dissidents who have been targeted, “disappeared,” tortured and even assassinated by the Zelensky regime, a regime that has the full backing and support of virtually the entire Western political and media establishment.
If @realGonzaloLira has indeed been disappeared by Ukraine's SBU, he joins a long list of dissidents, leftists, human rights activists, and local officials kidnapped, tortured and even assassinated by Zelensky's death squads – and with Kiev's open support https://t.co/Z18eVLu9HF
— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) April 18, 2022