Refugees from Donbas as seen by the volunteers

Recently, Facebook posts have become more frequent about the fact that those who have come from the eastern regions act somehow strangely, they are rude and dissatisfied with everything, even though they themselves have always been the least politically active citizens of Ukraine.  Continue reading

Volodymyr Groysman: “In the nearest 5-10 years Ukraine will be the most interesting country in Europe” 

Volodymyr Groysman’s tenure as vice Prime Minister could have ended after the 100 days that he had worked in Arseniy Yatseniuk’s team. Immediately after the inauguration, President Petro Poroshenko asked him to lead his Administration. Groysman refused, motivating it with the necessity to finish what he started in the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. Essentially, the reform of local government. 

“If we are to give power to the oblasts, we will get feudal principalities; no, the power should be delegated to territorial communities directly,” says Groysman. In “civilian life,” so before Maidan, the young mayor of Vinnytsya was considered one of the most successful mayors in the country. Mobilised to the government, today he works in the office he inherited from Olexandr Vilkil and Boris Kolesnikov.

Groysman has already prepared the theoretical basis of the reform, the realisation of which in practice is being halted by war. In addition, purely political circumstances are unfolding as well: the new Constitution, re-election, without which any means will be half-baked.

This interview is the dissolution of stereotypes. The stereotype that decentralisation is something extremely complex and complicated, that one cannot make sense of that. That it is not beneficial to regular citizens, but the local elites, which are simply fooling the regular citizens. That decentralisation and coherent budget policies are discordant. That Donbas is unique in its demands to be “heard in Kyiv.” 

“I remember the social investigations that were conducted from time to time in central Ukraine. In particular, in Vinnytsya. The measures of non-acceptance of the central government: the President, Prime Minister, its other representatives, is stably over 50%. Anti-ratings were simply off the scale,” says Groysman.  Continue reading

Donbas: divorce and maiden name? 

Olexandr Kochetkov, for UP

“Our situation is good. But not hopeless.”

Alexandr Novikov, “Dialogues in the elevator” 

One out of three terrorists in Donbas is taking photos with the MPADS. And only the “Hindenburg” dirigible is a better target than the huge and slow Il-76.

The author does not know the surname and military rank of the person who gave the order to deliver the military replacement to Luhansk airport by air. But in any army, except for ours, the case would have reached tribune.

The issue is not only the losses, which are unacceptable for the ATO. But also the blow landed to the military spirit and faith in the commanders, which our soldiers have experienced at the “eastern front.”  Continue reading

Donbas civilians forced to join terrorist militias

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Photo: dt.ua

In the village of Dmytrivka, in the Shakhtarsky district, 50 men have been mobilized by terrorist militias under threat of execution, reports Espreso TV, June 15, citing Censor.

“I’m a resident of Donbas, namely from the Shakhtarsky district, village of Dmytrivka. On June 14, in the evening around 17:00, ‘our brothers,’ namely Chechens, started going through our village and forcibly taking into their army men aged 16 to 65. Anyone who refused was threatened with being shot. Women gathered together and protested, but they ignored it, to put it mildly, and said that all the men joined voluntarily,” Tetyana, wife of one the “mobilized” men in Dmytrivka told the news source Podrobnosti, Espreso reports. Continue reading

“Chechenization” of Ukraine: what for? 

Russia is already spreading the “experience” of occupied Chechnya to Donbas.

Obviously, sending Chechens to the far away and completely disconnected Ukraine was a decision made by the Russian Federation government also with the goal to bury the issue of Russia’ military crimes in Chechnya forever – bury it under the tag of the “bandit people,” which would like nothing more than “to go to war, no matter where and what for.”

The long trace of the unfinished Russian-Chechen War is becoming more and more obvious on the “soil” of Eastern Ukraine. The grievous crimes committed by the Russian military-political forces on Chechen land, which have gone unnoticed by the main international institutions, have “metastasised” first in the aggression against Georgia. And now, with even more rascality, they are being committed in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine.  Continue reading

Deindustrialisation in Western countries and the fate of Donbas

London – The war in Donbas will end some day and the most industrialised region of Ukraine will sooner or later have to decide how to live in a world which is frequently called “post-industrial.” 

Mines and heavy industrial productions give the possibility of providing jobs for a huge number of people. However the experience of successful developed countries of the world shows that future is not guaranteed for the mines and plants.

The UK, and Wales especially, have a lot in common in terms of their past with Donbas, and may become an example for the future.

In the 19th century Wales, following England, underwent industrial revolution.

In 1851 two-thirds of the Welsh families had nothing to do with work in agriculture. Strong hands, male, for the most part, were needed in mines and metallurgic productions.

The Welsh in Ukraine

The Welsh businessman John Hughes arrived in the steppes of Eastern Ukraine in 1869 to the region which we now call Donbas.

70 other Welshmen and himself founded the village of Yuzivka and started the steel industry, which, together with coal extraction, became the basis of heavy industry on the territory of Ukraine.

Yuzivka is now the city of Donetsk, with a population of over a million. There have not been any Welshmen for a long time there, but Donbas is now experiencing approximately the same processes as Wales.

The national statistics service of Great Britain noted in their population census that in 1841, 36% of working population in Wales and England were involved in the production sphere. However in our time (as of 2011) this number constituted only 9%.

In the 21st century the leading economy sectors of many developed countries are those that are part of the service industry: finances, telecommunications, transport, tourism, healthcare, education etc.

As of 2011 in England and Wales, the service sphere involved 81% of the workforce, and only 9% were part of the industrial sphere.

The process of such change was not easy and many even now disagree with the policies of Margaret Thatcher’s government, who decided to rid the losing industries, such as coal mining, of governmental support. Her government closed the unsustainable mines and privatised the rest.

The trade unions of coal miners of South Wales and Northern England led a de facto war to protect the workers. The last peak of this fight took place in 1984-1985.

Margaret Thatcher proved that she did not want war with the miners, but a more effective economy, where the market decides which industry or which business brings revenue, and therefore is necessary, and which is losing and therefore has no right to exist.

Deindustrialisation of the West

The combination of the process of closing the losing mines and other businesses as well as the privatisation of national companies in the heavy industry, energy and communication, turned Britain into a post-industrial state.

Deindustrialisation or forced structure reforms deeply influence both European con tries and North America.

Mark Adomanis, American expert commentator in issues of economics and demographics, talks about the political consequences of the changes.

“In many Western and other developed countries such regions very quickly lost their political weight, because in America, for example, political weight is concentrated where there is economical growth and there is a big population. As soon as these regions started losing people, which moved to the so-called “sunny states”: California, etc. As America is very liberal economically, they very swiftly lost their economical weight and political significance. In Ukraine it is different – oligarch groups and clans, which control the heavy industry, have de facto captured state power and were able to create an incredibly beneficial regime for themselves, in particular a price regime for the produce of these industries. I think that this cannot go on forever, for the internal price on Ukrainian coal to be five times larger than the coal prices on the world market. And the more we postpone the solution of this problem, the more painful the change process will be. It will be more difficult to carry them out later,” said Mark Adomanis in an interview to Radio Svoboda.

With structural reforms, the government’s task lies in providing strict rules which would create the conditions for business and guarantee the protection of investments. Factors such as provision of the necessary infrastructure, both transport and communication, are important in this affair.

Possibly, the key sphere in the long-term perspective is education and in particular the ability to requalify the workers, as well as to provide their mobility within the country.

National equality and oligarchs

American economist, laureate of the Nobel Prize in 2001, Michael Spence is one of those who are convinced that porr countries may catch up with the richest and most developed countries in the world under certain conditions.

“We need to have a functional market system, for business interest to exist. The right to private property and encouragement of investment are necessary. A relatively stable situation in the country with direct laws that are fairly implemented is needed. You also need a high level of savings and investments. If we look at fiasco countries, we can see that the economy did not grow where there were political problems, and they did not approach the development of the economy. There may be different circumstances. It may be that the government is given to a group of people that are only concerned with enriching themselves. The reason may be the squabble over natural resources, control over property. There may be a simple issue of stealing. In the extreme cases wars, the lack of national equality etc. may become negative factors,” explains the economist.

Michael Spence said this in an interview long before the highly negative factors, such as Russian aggression with the loss of the Crimean peninsula and military action in Donbas, emerged in Ukraine.

His mention of political and economical consequences of national equality problems also give grounds for serious debate over the east of Ukraine.

The current Ukrainian problems are only unique to a certain extent, as the economy is developing by global rules.

Mark Adomanis says that even the problem with the oligarchs has analogues in particular in US history.

“It is possible to gradually gain control and rid yourselves of the influence of oligarchs, how it happened in the US with industrial barons. Morgan and Rockefeller did not disappear. They were slowly involved in the system that limited their activities. They gradually ended up under political pressure and were forced to behave better for their own interests. They understood that if there had been no change on their part, assertive action could have been taken against them and, possibly, they could have had their property taken away, or something similar. Ukrainian oligarch groups have such deep roots in the Ukrainian system that getting rid of them faster than over a decade will be impossible,” thinks Mark Adomanis.

Source: Radio Svoboda

Translated by Mariya Shcherbinia

Modernisation or burnt ground, what awaits Donetsk Oblast

Donetsk oblast, until recently, has been a region that developed rapidly – a good investment climate, a sport capital, socially responsible business and resonant cultural events – this is what the land was associated with in the thoughts of Ukrainians. Numerous state and nongovernment programs were planned for the following years (infrastructure projects, development of civil society, scheduled sporting competitions on a continental scale). However life has added its correctives. Already the region has decided against a number of projects. At the moment they are not talking about the development of Donetsk oblast, but simply the retention of its livelihood and at least some economical attractiveness. 
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Russia is supporting chaos in Donbas – expert

Moscow – On June 11th, a meeting under the slogan “We stand for Donbas” is being gathered in Moscow. According to the organisers of the meeting, the goal is to “express support to the brotherly people of Novorossiya, the citizens of the newly-created PRD and PRL and all Russians in Ukraine.” It is expected that the meeting will be attended by the leadership of the so-called People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. Meanwhile the majority of Russians supports the separatists in the East of Ukraine. And experts conclude: the Kremlin’s aim is not the annex of Donbas following the Crimean scenario, but the support of chaos in this Ukrainian region. 
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“Donbas” military base 

Anna Agafonova, economist, member of the business community IZOne, Donetsk

It seems to us that what we are living now has not been seen before, it seems that Donetsk’s case is unique. But other countries have already survived all this. 

The reasons for what is happening in our country are the same as the reasons that led to World War II. In the beginning of the previous century, in Europe, as a result of instances of industrial monopoly the capital and power were concentrated in the hands of oligarchs and technocratic managers.

Liberal economies, oligarchy, corruption and lack of social lifts cost thousands of people their lives. The events in Ukraine can be easily compared with the police and private security service shooting of the peaceful demonstration “Hunger March” of the fired workers at the factories of a well-known figure, Ford. Continue reading

How Ukraine is creating a second national identity

When everything happening in Donbas will have ended, nothing will be over. The death count cannot be annulled, personal memories cannot be eradicated. Portraits with black ribbons will remain on the shelves of old polished closets. “And this, son, is your father’s camouflage, he fought in it.” What for? Who cares – children’s memories are the most powerful and real. The families of the fallen will measure the future with the past, it will start defining the present as well. Time does not heal anything – it only promotes what one has survived into the category of myth. And a myth is characterised by the fact that it cannot be rationalised with facts. Continue reading