Prankster shows how easy it is to take over a Ukrainian town hall


Screen shot from video below.



For weeks now, pro-Russia gunmen have taken over buildings throughout eastern Ukraine, and met with seemingly little resistance. Ukrainian journalist Valentyn Chernyavsky decided to see just how easy it was to do this by attempting to singlehandedly take over the town hall in his hometown, Cherkasy, about 200 kilometres south of Kiev. The results are both hilarious and troubling. 


Chernyavsky narrates his journey in a six-minute video posted to YouTube (in Ukrainian and Russian). He begins by dressing up in the typical camouflaged garb of a pro-Russia militant, complete with a fake AK-47 assault rifle. He even wears the orange and black ribbons favored by separatists in Donetsk.


Screen shot from the video below.


He then gets a friend to drive him into the city centre. He explains that the authorities have set up four checkpoints outside of town, but they easily avoid them by driving on side roads. They stop at a store to ask for directions. Chernyavsky, holding his rifle, asks a man, in Russian, “Excuse me, how do I get to the regional administration building?” The man politely gives him detailed directions. “Can I storm the building?” Chernyavsky enquires. “As you like”, the man replies. They continue driving, and ask a second person for directions, still in Russian. She, too, complies, though she gets annoyed when he asks whether “our guys who want to separate from Ukraine” are there yet.


Screen shot from video below.


When they finally arrive at the provincial government building, they encounter a policeman posted in the doorway. “Good day! Can I come in, please?” Chernyavsky asks. “Of course not. You’re not allowed to enter with a weapon”, answers the policeman. “May I seize this administration building?” Chernyavsky continues, politely. “What? Are you joking?” replies the officer. Chernyavsky says he’ll come back another time.


Screen shot from video below.


On his way out, he walks past two more policemen, who at first ignore him, but then turn back to ask him what he’s doing. Chernyavsky genially details his journey for them, and asks them, “weren’t you afraid of my rifle?” One of the officers tentatively responds, “No, we have pistols”.


Screen shot from video below.


Chernyavsky’s video quickly went viral among Ukrainian Internet users, and won him praise from the local governor, who said that security measures would be tightened in the city.



FULL VIDEO (in Ukrainian and Russian):



Translations via the New Atlanticist.