Today, Slovyansk is totally in the hands of separatist thugs; Shtepa has been detained by them, 'for her own good.'
Ostrov.org describes the dire situation in which Slovyansk currently finds itself, in an article entitled: "Slovyansk siege, a few hours in a captured town"
Here's what they say:
Slovyansk is no longer controlled by Ukrainian authorities. The city is dominated by the separatist groups and has descended to an [anarchist] 'Gulyai Polye' enclosed on all sides by rows of barricades of tyres at the entrances to the city. The familiar young guys in masks and helmets, some with guns, some with sticks, are arrogantly spot-checking vehicles and carrying out inspections as they pass through.
These guyss react aggressively when they are called "separatists". Most of the participants in anti-government protests openly say they want to secede from Ukraine, but it is not clear whether they want a Donetsk Republic, or to go with Russia..
Since the start of the take-over of Slovyansk the number of people and cars seen on the streets has dramatically reduced. The unusual emptiness is striking..
It is difficult to assess how many separatists there are in the town, but could be about a thousand. Groups of armed men are constantly moving around the city by foot or in cars.
The situation, which not so long was diligently being stoked up by Party of Regions, in the end, it seems, has spun out of control. Mayor of Slovyansk Nelia Shtepa, who initially tried to appeal to the separatists and even declared support for them now speaks of them in an extremely unflattering manner. According to her, looting has started in the town, and uncontrolled criminal elements have seized power.
The separatists say Shtepa has been deposed and Sloviansk now has another mayor. It seems negotiations with the separatist are not going well for the "Regionals" to whom they respond almost as badly as to the government in Kyiv.
The main problem is the reluctance of separatists who have seized the town to negotiate with anyone at all.
Slovyansk remains under a voluntary siege, and if it goes on like this, then in the near future its residents will realise the full depth of their desperate situation.
In the past few days in Slovyansk a whole series of banks and shops have not been able to operate; deliveries of goods have stopped because suppliers fear robberies. Timely payments of pensions etc. to residents are now hardly likely.
Your bloggers comments: The patience of local officials and local businessmen must be wearing thin by now. But who can return Slovyansk, and similar towns now controlled by separatists to their dozy previous state?