DONETSK -- I don't know how the landscape around Zenit looked back when the military position was first established, but these days it surely resembles the set of an apocalypse movie. Only this is real, not cardboard-made. The few standing buildings look like a poorly played Tetris game, with huge holes between their bricks. The fields like an old junkyard with rusty damaged armored vehicles and car skeletons. The ground appears like it came down with a bad case of chickenpox, all littered with craters from Grad missiles and mortar rounds. The trees have no branches, their arms amputated by shrapnel.
The overwhelming majority of eastern Ukrainians currently trapped in brutal winter conditions between separatist thugs and the Ukrainian army aren't Ku Klux Klan members, or fat cat bigots who delight in oppressing their ethnic Ukrainian neighbors. They are coal miners and steelworkers and children and pensioners. They are people who've watched their lives be shelled into oblivion by both Kiev's army and paramilitary brigades and Putin's warlords, and who are now isolated in what Amnesty and the UN describe as an unfolding humanitarian crisis. Painting them as a bunch of backward anti-Western hicks is neither progressive, nor tolerant, nor liberal, nor accurate.