Return to Transcripts main page

CNN'S AMANPOUR

Ukraine: Picking Up the Pieces; Putin's Next Move; The End of Innocence; Imagine a World

Aired February 25, 2014 - 14:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour.

Ukraine remains in the grip of crisis three days after a popular uprising drove President Viktor Yanukovych from power. The opposition has again delayed naming a new interim government after pledging to do so today. There are discouraging reports of political disarray and parliamentary squabbling. And the ousted president is still missing.

That's him there on this wanted poster attached to a car there in Kiev.

Acting president Oleksandr Turchynov warns Ukraine is sliding into the abyss, facing a possible catastrophic default because it is in such a deep financial hole. Ukraine's neighbor, Russia, which prised the nation away from the E.U. with a $15 billion loan in November has withdrawn that offer and no one knows quite what hand President Putin will play now.

But Russia accuses Yanukovych of being driven out by an armed mutiny of extremists and terrorists. The Russian foreign minister again vowed not to intervene militarily, but tension is already high between pro-Russian and pro-European Ukrainians. Clashes have broken out in Crimea on the Black Sea. Top-level European and American officials are in Kiev, trying to head off a firestorm.

Let's go straight to Kiev now and Lesya Orobets, who's a member of parliament. She supported the ousting of Yanukovych and you may remember her from this image. She was famously caught on camera wearing a flak jacket in parliament during the heat of the uprising.

Lesya, welcome back to the program. And let me ask you straightaway how can your nation ask for the desperately needed financial aid if not even a government has been formed yet?

When will this happen?

LESYA OROBETS, UKRAINIAN MP: We do believe we will reform the government on Thursday and this is the final day for us to hold negotiations. We do that for the first time ever to transparently discuss the government before it is actually appointed or elected. And definitely it takes time.

AMANPOUR: Now the president, the acting president, has said that a coalition of national faith must be -- must be informed.

Can that be possible? Can a coalition of different members that can appeal to all Ukrainians take government?

OROBETS: You know, we Ukrainians do not feel scared with the unrealistic tasks, Christiane. Three months ago, no one could have told that such Maidan could happen and that Yanukovych regime will be over. But definitely the government of national faith is a very hard solution because we have to unite the country over one government with huge risks. I mean, economic and security.

AMANPOUR: Now the acting president has also said that he's going to be talking to law enforcement about what he calls a very serious threat of separatism.

And there are deep fears amongst the pro-Russian and the ethnic Russian Ukrainians, for instance in the Crimea. You just saw the clashes that have already broken out. They're worried about laws that parliament is passing. They're worried that Russian as a language will be abolished and other such things.

Is there something you can say and do to reassure the Russian-speaking and the ethnic Russians Ukrainians?

OROBETS: Maidan united all nations in Ukraine, all ethnicities and Russian speaking is not rare in Maidan. And what happens in Crimea is not about language. It is about Russia trying to get some piece of Ukrainian territory under its auspices.

And definitely the issue of separatism is such high -- is so high that Russians glad it's over the parliament of Crimea panels who are right now.

AMANPOUR: So how do you see this --

OROBETS: We are afraid of military intervention and Putin is trying to find a pretext for that.

AMANPOUR: Well, I was going to ask you that because obviously the West has warned them not to do that. The foreign minister, Lavrov, has ,again, reiterated non-intervention. But you say you're afraid that that actually might take place.

OROBETS: Nothing actually puts us scared to Russian-speaking or Russian citizens or our territory. And we are ready to unite a country over economic crisis and dealing all the other problems. But right now we have not only the internal enemies, but we have external enemies by pressure and they are just looking for a pretext to attack.

They fail to have support in the east of the country so they are trying to do that in the Crimean peninsula. So it actually begins as all were this is something that was predicted months ago.

AMANPOUR: Going back to this financial hole that Ukraine is in, it is practically broke. Who knows what Russia will do in terms of potential sanctions, potential hiking of gas prices, but beyond that, the West needs you to make very painful reforms and sacrifices.

You have said it is a time for painful sacrifice. Is Ukraine prepared to do that in order to get the much needed aid from the West?

OROBETS: We didn't have other choice. We have to make unpopular steps and we have to have this government taking those steps, not just in order to have financial aid, but to have the kind of reforms to get us out of this economic crisis.

This is very much important also to get some financial economic -- and economy independence from Russia, because we are right now dependent not only on the credit money, but also on gas. We are not new in this trade war which Russia have organized for us since 2005.

But we need your assistance and the American and Europe, your assistance to get our border. I mean, Russian border, from our territory to somewhere between Ukraine and Russia. This is not the -- just the issue of Ukraine. This is the issue of the whole region's stability.

AMANPOUR: Lesya Orobets, member of parliament, thank you very much indeed for joining me.

Now the Soviet star no longer shines over Ukraine's parliament after activists removed it from atop the building today.

So what are President Putin's options in Ukraine now?

My next guest is the former Kremlin adviser, Alexander Nekrassov. He worked for President Boris Yeltsin during the massive upheaval of the '90s and more recently he's been an adviser to the Russian government on closer ties with the West.

Mr. Nekrassov, thank you very much indeed for joining me.

ALEXANDER NEKRASSOV, FORMER KREMLIN ADVISER: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: You heard what Ukrainian MP Orobets has said regarding the necessity for financial aid and worries about what Putin's next move might be.

You know them well.

Is there any threat of a military intervention?

NEKRASSOV: Well, first of all, this sort of language is not helpful, to say --

AMANPOUR: It may not be helpful, but people are worried about --

NEKRASSOV: -- but you see, the point is this: why should Russia interfere at the moment? President Putin does not need to interfere militarily because what is going to happen now, where he is witnessing it, is that this new regime, interim regime, the infighting has started. It will continue.

And there's going to be a serious problem for him to raise money anywhere because Russian money was offered to stabilize Ukrainian economy.

The West has not been confronted by a request for $35 billion from this interim president and his people. And the West has said no, no, no. We don't have that sort of money. The E.U. has said that the IMF is sort of thinking where to raise it.

So the situation is that Putin and the Russian government are just sitting there and looking at what's going on.

AMANPOUR: But you say it as if they're sitting there looking and waiting for it to collapse under its own weight. Surely that is not in Putin's interest, either. He doesn't want to see a completely chaotic, unstable Ukraine.

And people are concerned that he might actually tip it over that edge by, as I said, raising gas prices or imposing economic embargoes, you know, the whole border scandal.

NEKRASSOV: Well, first of all the agreement with the previous regime was, yes, that the gas prices were 30 percent -- would be 30 percent lower. Now this new regime has not discussed anything with Moscow. So we don't know what is going to happen and Russia has all the right to sell the gas for market -- world market prices.

Now why would Putin would want to have instability in Ukraine which is bordering Russia? So they don't want that. So that's what they are doing, is that they are calling actually on all sides to be calm.

But you can't blame Moscow and the Kremlin for suddenly saying, well, what happens if the interim government collapses? Well, I'm sorry. They decided to take power. They ousted an elected president. He can be a bad president, some people say, but he was elected.

AMANPOUR: But you can imagine that nobody who is responsible for killing more than 80 people is actually any more a legitimate president? I mean you --

(CROSSTALK)

NEKRASSOV: No, no; let me tell you this: the Russian viewers have a different footage. They saw those protesters armed and they were armed before the police was issued live ammunition. So 20 -- nearly 20 police dead shows you that there was some armed gun power on the other side as well.

AMANPOUR: Clearly there were militants in the opposition; that's absolutely right. But you touch on something very, very tricky here and that is the diet that the Russian people have been fed by the Russian state media.

Even now their president and their prime minister and leaders are calling this an armed coup, that these are Kalashnikov-wielding balaclava- clad, you know, terrorists and extremists. That doesn't sound like they are trying to calm the situation. It sounds like inflaming the situation.

NEKRASSOV: Well, I'm sorry but I've seen that footage and I saw --

AMANPOUR: No, and I'm just asking you about the diet of words that are being used to the Russian people.

NEKRASSOV: Well, we have citizens' rights starting that discussion about Russian troops supposedly --

AMANPOUR: But you warned them not to enter?

NEKRASSOV: -- and I can't really say that, you know, there are Russian officials who have been inflaming the situation. I think that if the Russians' officials were actually inflaming the situation, you would have seen scenes in the East much more violent and dangerous than we're seeing now.

So I don't really think that you can blame Russia for inflaming the situation. What we actually -- what I want to say is this: first of all, the European Union started this debate after the deal was not signed by Yanukovych, by the way, a very bad deal.

And I can tell you, I was advising the finance minister. I read that agreement. It was terrible. It would have destroyed Ukraine's industry and it would have caused a lot of grief.

So that was his legal right to -- not to sign it. Immediately after that, the E.U. started blackmailing the government in Ukraine and saying you have to choose between Russia or us. And the Russians then said, OK. Let's do compromise. Let's sit the three parties together, Russia, E.U. and Ukraine. Let's work this out. No way, said Brussels (ph).

AMANPOUR: All right. Now let's move forward because you can also say that Russia has the drip-drip of economic aid to Ukraine every several months and it's a game that's clearly played by both sides; Ukraine's in the middle.

What needs to happen now to rescue Ukraine to allow Ukraine to have legitimate relations with the West, keep its good relations with Russia as well?

NEKRASSOV: Well, let me quote President Gorbachev, who said two days ago, let all foreign advisers leave Kiev and let the Ukrainians sit down together and sort out their problems. I think that was --

AMANPOUR: Do you really think that will work?

NEKRASSOV: -- oh, I think it was a very wise suggestion because we have too many politicians from the European Union, from America, coming and meeting the --

(CROSSTALK)

AMANPOUR: But let's face it --

NEKRASSOV: -- this is -- this is --

AMANPOUR: -- please, let's face it. The majority of the Ukrainian people want a relationship with the West. They see themselves as European. They want something different. Is there a way, do you think, that Ukraine can forge a future that is a sensible future with both East and West, with Russia and the West?

NEKRASSOV: At the moment, it looks very doubtful because -- simply because many people in the East don't really understand what has happened. President Yanukovych, although unpopular among some circles and sectors -- you know, President Hollande of France is even less popular -- we don't call on him to be removed.

He had only one year left in office. He would have probably lost that election. Why was there need to this sudden change of power? And these people --

AMANPOUR: Well, that came at the barrel of a gun, Mr. Nekrassov.

NEKRASSOV: -- (INAUDIBLE) power. They are not professionals. I don't really see how they're going to change anything.

AMANPOUR: So what are you seeing now?

NEKRASSOV: Don't forget another thing. We had the Orange Revolution in Ukraine.

AMANPOUR: Yes, which I covered.

NEKRASSOV: (INAUDIBLE) people who are descendants of that revolution and --

AMANPOUR: What next?

NEKRASSOV: -- and guess what happened? The Orange Revolution collapsed.

AMANPOUR: What next?

NEKRASSOV: The president lost the election. And so on. What next is that people need to stop this sort of arguments like we've heard from Ms. Orobets about troops coming in. This is not going to happen.

And if this government is going to be formed on Thursday, the worst thing that could have happened is that if it finds problems in raising money or getting appropriate unity government, they will start using this sort of threat of attack by Russia as a policy rather than just statement. That would be dangerous.

AMANPOUR: Thank you very much for your insight, Alexander Nekrassov, former Kremlin adviser. We'll obviously keep watching this.

And after a break, we'll turn to South Africa, where the sensational Oscar Pistorius murder trial will soon get underway. But the dark cloud of violence against women the Rainbow Nation is taking a terrifying shape over the very youngest, child on child sexual violence, an unforgettable portrait when we come back.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program. A high court in South Africa has decided that cameras will be allowed in court when Olympic star Oscar Pistorius' murder trial starts next week. This infamous case is sure to attract worldwide attention.

But every day in South Africa the terrible crime of rape and shockingly child rape goes virtually unnoticed anymore. But my next guest has devoted the last 10 years of her life making sure to document the terrible evidence for all time.

In her new book, "My Piece of Sky," photographer Mariella Furrer uses powerful photographs, interviews, artwork and poetry to give voice to the victims and hold out the possibility of accountability for the perpetrators.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

AMANPOUR: Mariella Furrer, welcome.

MARIELLA FURRER, AUTHOR: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: Thank you for being here. You know, I was just looking at this massive book and I'm thinking many of us have documented the unspeakable crimes that are done to children or women around the world.

But what you've done is exhaustive; it's 10 years of your life, at least. But also you have a personal stake in this. You yourself were sexually assaulted.

FURRER: Well, I was 5 years old. It was in Kenya and I was molested by a stranger, a tourist, I think it was some white man in a little caravan. He touched me. But it felt good. It felt good and that filled me with guilt and remorse. And it impacted me in so many ways that I wasn't really aware of at the time growing up.

AMANPOUR: In the preface to this book, you quote Maya Angelou, the great American poet and author. She says, "There is no greater tragedy than bearing an untold story inside of you."

And you've decided to try to shake off that tragedy by bearing witness to the crimes committed to others.

FURRER: Absolutely. I think the most important thing about this body of work really is to try to get people to speak out about their abuse, to have the courage to speak out about it, because there's a lot of shame and guilt attached to it, because in speaking out, they will rid themselves of that burden of guilt and shame, but also put an end to the perpetrators that have abused them, but will continue to abuse because as long as we don't speak out, the perpetrator will continue.

AMANPOUR: Let's just talk about some of the terrifying statistics, 45 percent of rapes reported to the police are child rapes and 50 percent of children will be abused before the age of 18. This is according to South African authorities.

It is mindboggling. It's staggering. What have you found in your investigation? It's not just confined to a ghetto somewhere.

FURRER: No. I mean, child sexual abuse, first of all, is a global problem. It is -- it transcends any social, economic and racial boundaries and it's everywhere. I think even with the statistics, the realities we don't know. These are the reported rapes but you're going to find that most child sexual abuse is unreported.

AMANPOUR: I was fascinated to read about how all of this affected you. You write at times you would be in tears and paralyzed by the information that you had collected.

What was it that struck you the most in the gut?

FURRER: The resilience of these children who have undergone the most horrific forms of abuse, all types of abuse, child pornography being (INAUDIBLE) -- it's just -- on a daily basis, have to deal that every day they wake up they're reminded through either a scar on them or a tattoo that dad has put on their, you know, saying daddy loves you or things like that --

AMANPOUR: The rapist dad?

FURRER: Yes.

AMANPOUR: And another thing that is staggering about what you've discovered is that it is not just younger and younger children -- I mean, infants who are being sexually abused, but that it is younger and younger children who are the perpetrators as well.

FURRER: Absolutely. You would find quite a high percentage of the perpetrators are children. So it's child-on-child. So it's really important that schools and parents keep an eye out on their children because if there is problem and they're sent to counseling and taught appropriate sexual behavior, they will not be a problem.

It's that we're not catching these children in time.

AMANPOUR: There is a very touching picture. It's of a police officer. And tell me this story. Here he has his head in his hands and he's obviously talking to a mother, a relative, who's in distress.

FURRER: So this is Stroppie Grobbelaar, one of my favorite South African cops. He is in the police search and rescue unit, dog unit. And we've spent about a month at this point, searching for a little girl who went missing and was last seen walking hand-in-hand with an unknown man.

But every evening after the search, he would come back to this mother to tell her that they're still searching, not to give up hope. But in the end, we never found the girl or her body.

AMANPOUR: How intense is the law enforcement, the prevention? I mean, because some people think, you know ,this is so endemic that police don't really care about it.

FURRER: The police I worked with are so dedicated to protecting -- to the protection of children, I mean, to the extent that they're going through divorces; they're working overtime. They're not, you know, day in and day out, they deal with this, which obviously --

AMANPOUR: Changes their lives, too.

FURRER: -- it changes their lives. It's a difficult, you know, there are no crimes worse than crimes against children of this nature.

AMANPOUR: And to that end, you have spent time with the worst criminals, therefore, the perpetrators.

FURRER: Yes.

AMANPOUR: But you have said that it's not black-and-white. Sometimes after endless sessions of therapy and watching them, they asked you, do you hate us now? And you responded.

FURRER: No. Which --

AMANPOUR: Why not?

FURRER: -- you know, when I was working with the police and these children coming in, I was like, my goodness. If anyone comes in now I will kill them myself.

And actually when you start working with them, this is very different to other people who work them on -- because they definitely do not feel -- I don't feel affection for them, but I could see the different facets of each personality, and one in particular I remember was a perpetrator from Namibia who would have been a friend, you know, he was witty, intelligent, funny and he abused children.

AMANPOUR: You've described how this work has actually made you physically ill.

FURRER: Well, I have post-traumatic stress disorder. I suffer from depression. It's extraordinary, the impact of carrying other people's stories with you. And there's a great difficulty for me to release these stories because I feel they've been given to me and that they're very sacred. So it's difficult to let them go.

AMANPOUR: Well, you're not letting them go. They're here and they will be the evidence for many people who need to know about this. Mariella Furrer, thank you very much.

FURRER: Thank you very much for having me. Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

AMANPOUR: And you can see more of her powerful photos online at amanpour.com. And remember, we did focus on South Africa, but this is, as she said, a global problem.

And after a break, imagine a family reunion over 60 years in the making. It happened this week in a land divided by decades of distrust and daily threats of war. For one brief moment, North Korea opened its borders and embraced its neighbors to the south. Compassion or cold calculation? When we come back.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, last year as the U.S. and South Korea began their annual joint military drills, all hell nearly broke loose; North Korea vowed to retaliate with nuclear attacks. And just this week another round of war games began. Now imagine a world where heated threats have given way to heartfelt tears.

In a stunning, some would say calculated about-face, Pyongyang toned down the angry rhetoric and let down its guard ever so slightly on Sunday, allowing busloads of South Korean citizens to cross the DMZ. It's the world's most fortified border.

There they were reunited with relatives, many of whom hadn't seen each other since the end of the Korean War over half a century ago.

But three emotional days in a mountain resort, hundreds of South Koreans who were chosen by lottery and North Koreans who were handpicked by the government for their loyalty, exchanged hugs, kisses and stories with their family members, all with the added urgency and sadness of knowing they would probably never have this chance again, even though there have been other such reunions in the past.

None of the participants has ever been allowed to meet a second time.

Humanitarian gesture or cynical charm offensive? The reunions ended today as the South Koreans once again boarded their buses for home. They reached out one last time to the family they may never see again and headed back across the border that still divides them, with one last wave goodbye.

And that's it for our program tonight. Remember you can always contact us at our website, amanpour.com, and follow me on Twitter and Facebook. Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.

END