The Donets Basin (Ukrainian: Донецький басейн, translit. Donetskyi basein; Russian: Донецкий бассейн, transliterated Donetskiy bassein), known commonly as the portmanteau words Donbas (Ukrainian: Донбас) or Donbass (Russian: Донба́сс), is an informal historical, economic and cultural region of eastern Ukraine, comprising the northern and central parts of the administrative Donetsk Oblast, the southern part of the Luhansk Oblast and the extreme east of the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast. The Donets Basin is in the northeast part of the eponymous Seversky Donets River (Russian Seversky Donets; also short Donets) flowing through it into the Azov Sea via the Don River.
A coal mining area since the late 19th century, Donbass has become a heavily industrialised territory suffering from urban decay and industrial pollution. In March 2014, following the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, large swathes of the Donbass became gripped by unrest. This unrest later grew into a war between Russian militants & pro-Russian separatists affiliated with the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics, and the post-revolutionary Ukrainian government.
Until the ongoing war, the Donbas was the most densely populated of all the regions of Ukraine (excluding the capital city of Kiev). Before the war, the city of Donetsk (then the fifth largest city of Ukraine) was considered the unofficial capital of the Donbas. Large cities (over 100,000 inhabitants) also included Luhansk, Makiivka, Horlivka, Kramatorsk, Sloviansk, Alchevsk, Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk. Now the port city of Mariupol is the interim administrative center of the Donetsk Oblast. The interim center of Luhansk Oblast is the city of Severodonetsk.
The first permanent settlements in the Donbas were established by the Don Cossacks. In the second half of the 17th century, Muscovy built fortifications on the Donbas frontier with the Ottoman Empire. In the mid-18th century, both banks of the Donets were settled by Serbian colonists, and the region was known as Sloviano-Serbia. Subsequently, when many Serbs left the area, the Russian government began settling Ukrainian peasants. ... At the beginning of the region's industrial boom, most workers came from central Russia rather than Ukraine.
The name of the region originates from the coal-field discovered in late 19th century. The area became known as the Донецкий каменноугольный бассейн (Donetskii kamenougolnyi bassein - "Donetsk coal basin") after the Donets river flowing across the region.
In 1676, the first town of the Donbas emerged: Solanoye (now Soledar) which was built for the profitable business of extracting newly discovered rock-salt reserves. In 1721 vast and rich coal fields were found, which started the "industrial boom" which allowed the region to flourish into the first half of the 20th century
The coal deposits were discovered in the early 18th century and are being exploited since 1770. The deposit s were an important prerequisite for the development of the Russian Railway network towards the end of the 19th century.
Despite heavy flair of Soviet-time propaganda, the region had always been multi-national and multicultural. Donetsk city itself was founded in 1869 by a Welsh businessman, John Hughes, who constructed a steel plant and several coal mines in the region; the town was thus named Yuzovka (Юзовка) in recognition of his role in its founding ("Yuz" being a Russian or Ukrainian approximation of Hughes).
The Krug - the assembly of Don Cossacks - proclaimed the independence of the Don Republic on May 18, 1918. The Don Republic ceased to exist in 1920 after the Don Cossacks, who formed an essential part of the White Army, were defeated by the Red Army in the Russian Civil War of 1917-1922. Much of the Cossack population was subjected to a genocide via the Decossackization in 1919-1921 and in the Holodomor in 1932-1933, contributing to the "disappearance of the Cossacks as a nation". In 1922 most of the region became part of the newly formed Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic within the Soviet Union.
Since the early 1930s worked in the mines of the Donbass hundreds of German miners, who had committed there in the face of unemployment in the Ruhr area. As far as they were not returned to 1935/36, they were almost all victims of the Stalinist purges.
After Holodomor swept Ukraine in 1932-1933, the Donbass region was left severely underpopulated, and Soviet rulers moved thousands of poor people from Russia to Donbass cities. This caused severe demographic discrepancy of population in the region, where in rural districts many villages to this day remain Ukrainian-identifying and -speaking, and in cities many are Russian-speaking with strong ties to Russia. For example, in Donetsk oblast in 2001 the ethnic groups within the Donetsk Oblast were: Ukrainians – 2,744,100 (56.9%), Russians – 1,844,400 (38.2%), Greeks – 77,500 (1.6%), Belarusians – 44,500 (0.9%), others (2.3%). At he same time, the languages spoken within the oblast were: Russian — 74.9%, Ukrainian – 24.1%. This is seen by some as one of the roots of today's separatism problems.
At the beginning of World War II large industrial enterprises were dismantled in the Donets Basin and their skilled workers relocated for West Siberia to the Kuznetsk Basin in an attempt to protect them before the German attack. Thus, the Kuznetsk Basin turned into an Armorsmiths for the Soviet Army. Omsk, Novosibirsk and Krasnoyarsk and other cities after the Ural have become major industrial centers. During World War II the Donets Basin was a major Strategy(Military) target in Operation Barbarossa because of its rich coal mines. The Wehrmacht conquered it already in the early fall of 1941. Two years later, the Red Army in the Donets Basin-operation retook it.
On April 8, 2014, following the 2014 Crimean Crisis, pro-Russian activists occupying the Luhansk Oblast administrative building planned to declare independence as the Luhansk Parliamentary Republic, declared a Donetsk People's Republic in the Donetsk Oblast on April 7. As the Luhansk Parliamentary Republic ceased to exist, declared the Luhansk People's Republic and[who?] held referendums on separating from Ukraine on May 11, 2014. Neither of the referendums have been legitimized by any outside governments. Ukraine does not recognize the referendums, while the EU and US declared the polls illegal. Since mid-April 2014 the pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian army have fought in the War in Donbass.
For the heavy industry of Ukraine the Donbass today is as important as the iron ore occur the Kryvbas west of Dnepr. [(Unit) [ton | t]] coal promoted on the Russian side, the production has declined; it was in 1999 still about 10 million tons of coal 
Population, language and politics
The population of Donbass is mainly Russian-speaking. The Ukrainian language here is much less common, although Ukrainians represent a pluralty. In politics, the Party of Regions, the largest party with about 50% of the vote (in 2009).
The residents of Russian origin are mainly concentrated in the larger urban centers. In larger cities and especially in the oblasts of Donetsk and Luhansk dominates Russian s as their mother tongue, which is also used by many Ukrainians, Russian as a lingua franca. The importance of the Russian language in the cities of eastern Ukraine is because in the course of industrialization, many Russians immigrated in the newly founded cities of this area (in particular from the Kursk Oblast). So were about in the census in 1897 63.17% of the population of the city of Kharkiv Russian descent. The extent to which the rural e was forced Ukrainian population in the aftermath of the Soviet Union to emigrate and / or put her death by an allegedly systematic, organized by the regime of Stalin famine (Holodomor) into account, is a subject of continuing Research controversies, but is usually completely denied in these two oblasts. Nearly the entire Jewish population, unless fled, was wiped out during the German occupation in World War II.
The proportion of those who speak Russian as their mother tongue is higher than the ethnic Russians, since there are ethnic Ukrainians and other nationalities that indicate Russian as their mother tongue. The proportion is 74.9% in Donetsk, Luhansk in at 68.8% in the Ukrainian regions in 2001 there were large Russian minorities of 39 percent in Luhansk and 38.2 percent in Donetsk
According to linguist George Shevelov, in the early 1920s the proportion of secondary schools teaching in the Ukrainian language was lower than the proportion of the Donbas ethnic Ukrainian population - even though the Soviet Union had ordered[when?] that all schools in the Ukrainian SSR should be Ukrainian-speaking (as part of its Ukrainization policy).
Surveys of regional identities in Ukraine have shown that around 40% of Donbas residents claim to have a "Soviet identity". In May 2014 Roman Horbyk of Södertörn University concluded that "incomplete and archaic institutions" had prevented the Donbas residents who in the 20th century "[a]s peasants from all surrounding regions were flooding its then busy mines and plants on the border of ethnically Ukrainian and Russian territories" from "acquiring a notably strong modern urban – and also national – new identity".
Occupational safety in coal industry
The coal mines of Donbas are some of the most hazardous in the world due to enormous working depths (down from 300 to 1200 m) as a result of natural depletion, as well as due to high levels of methane explosion, coal dust explosion and rock burst dangers.
Intensive coal mining and smelting in Donbas has led to severe multi-faceted damage to the local environment and residential comfort. The most common threats throughout the region include:
- water supply disruption and flooding due to the mine water
- visible air pollution around coke and steel mills
- air/water contamination and mudslide threat from the spoil tips
Additionally, several chemical industry waste grounds in Donbas have become undermaintained and pose a constant threat of major emissions to the environment.
- Donbass Arena
- HC Donbass—an ice hockey team based in Donetsk bearing the name of the region
- Kryvbas—an important economic region in central Ukraine
- Ruhr Area—a comparable region in Central Europe
- War in Donbass
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Donbass.|
- "The coal-mining racket threatening Ukraine's economy" by BBC News
- Why Donbass Votes for Yanukovych, historical overview of the roots, culture and character of the Donbas by Alexandr Osipian