Donetsk People's Republic

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For the 1918 entity, see Donetsk–Krivoy Rog Soviet Republic. For the 1919 separatist entity, see Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine.
Donetsk People's Republic

  • Донецкая Народная Республика (Russian)
    Donetskaya Narodnaya Respublika

  • Донецька Народна Республіка (Ukrainian)
    Donets'ka Narodna Respublika
Flag Coat of arms
Anthem: Vstavay, Donbass! on YouTube (Russian)
"Arise, Donbass!"
Territory claimed on 12 May 2014 (in light green) and currently occupied (dark green) by the Donetsk People's Republic
Territory claimed on 12 May 2014 (in light green) and currently occupied (dark green) by the Donetsk People's Republic
Capital
and largest city
Donetsk
Official languages Russian[1]
Ukrainian[1]
Ethnic groups
Religion Russian Orthodox (official)[2]
Government Parliamentary republic [3]
 -  People's Governor Pavel Gubarev
 -  Prime Minister Aleksandr Zakharchenko[4]
 -  Supreme Commander Vladimir Kononov
Legislature Supreme Council of the Donetsk People's Republic
Independence from Ukraine
 -  Declared 7 April 2014 
 -  Referendum 11 May 2014 
 -  Referendum ratified 12 May 2014[5] 
 -  Agreement to form a confederation with the Lugansk People's Republic signed 24 May 2014[6] 
Currency Ukrainian hryvnia

Russian ruble (proposed) [7]

Donetsk ruble (proposed) [8]

The Donetsk People's Republic (DPR or DNR) (Russian: Донецкая народная республика, Donétskaya naródnaya respúblika, Ukrainian: Донецька народна республіка, Donets'ka narodna respublika) is a self-proclaimed state in eastern Ukraine. It is a constituent of the self-proclaimed Federal State of Novorossiya (New Russia).

The entity shares a border with Ukraine, Russia and the Lugansk People's Republic,[9][10] declared on 7 April 2014 by a number of activists who at the time occupied the Regional Administration and the City Hall buildings in Donetsk.[11][12][13] Occupation of government buildings then spread to other cities in the region.[14]

The self-proclaimed state's activities are headed by the Donetsk Republic organization, a group which has been banned in Ukraine since 2007, and on 16 May 2014, the Republic as a whole was classified as a terrorist organization by the state.[15] The Donetsk People's Republic has been recognized only by the Republic of South Ossetia, on 27 June 2014.[16] On 15 April, the interim government in Kiev announced a military counteroffensive to confront the pro-Russian militants, and on 17 April, tensions de-escalated as Russia, the US, and the EU agreed on a roadmap to defuse the Ukraine crisis.[17][18] However, officials of the People's Republic ignored the agreement and vowed to continue their occupations until a referendum is accepted or the government in Kiev resigns.[19] Since the agreement, the Security Service of Ukraine continued to detain Russians entering the country with large amounts of money and military gear.[20]

On 11 May, status referendums were held in Donetsk and Lugansk, where separatist leaders declared that a vast majority of participants voted in support of the establishment of the People's Republics.[21][22] On 24 May, the two separatist republics signed an agreement confirming their merger into a confederation called the Federal State of Novorossiya.[6] Between April and July 2014 most of Ukraine's Donetsk Oblast was brought under the control of the Donetsk People's Republic, however the Armed Forces of Ukraine regained most of these areas in its early July 2014 post-ceasefire government offensive during the War in Donbass.[23] This offensive lead to the Donetsk People's Republic only controlling the areas near to the city of Donetsk.[24][full citation needed] In the pro-Russian forces August 2014 counter-offensive the Donetsk People's Republic gained territory again.[23] Although the rebels have lost control of most of Donetsk Oblast, over 50% of the total oblast population (about two million voters out of 3.5 million voters) still live under separatist rule since the DPR has been controlling major urban areas and cities like Donetsk and Horlivka.[25]

Background[edit]

Ukrainian Riot Police guarding the entrance to the RSA building on March 7
Ukranian military roadblocks in Donetsk oblast on May 8

According to Lucian Kim of Slate, " ... the Maidan protest, characterized by the Kremlin as a Western-sponsored armed coup, is being crudely imitated in towns across the Donetsk region. “If the guys on the Maidan could revolt, why can’t we?” has been the pro-Russian supporters’ motto ... ".[26]

Similar attempts to seize the Regional State Administration (RSA) building have been occurring since pro-Russian protests began in the Eastern and Southern regions of Ukraine in the wake of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution. Pro-Russian protesters previously occupied the Donetsk RSA from 1 to 6 March, before being removed by the Security Service of Ukraine.[27][28] According to Ukrainian authorities the seizure of RSA's are part of "a script which has been written in the Russian Federation" to destabilize Ukraine and bring in Russian troops executed by "about 1,500 radicals in each region who spoke with clear Russian accents".[29]

Regional public opinion[edit]

In a poll conducted by Kiev International Institute of Sociology in the first half of February 2014, 33.2% of polled in Donetsk Oblast believed "Ukraine and Russia must unite into a single state".[30]

According to a poll conducted by the Institute of Social Research and Policy Analysis, 66% of Donetsk residents view their future in a united Ukraine, 4.7% support separatism, while 18.2% support joining Russia, while 31.6% wanted a united Ukraine with expansion of autonomy for Donetsk region, with only 18.6% in support of current status[31] A second poll conducted 26–29 March showed that 77% of residents condemned the takeover of administrative buildings, while 16% support such actions. Furthermore, 40.8% of Donetsk citizens support rallies for Ukraine's unity, while 26.5% support rallies which are pro-Russia.[32]

Flags of the Donetsk Republic and Russia in Donetsk

While support for regional independence is low, only a third of polled Donetsk inhabitants identified themselves as "citizens of Ukraine", preferring instead "Russian-speaking residents of Ukraine" or "residents of Donbass".[33]

The New York Times stated on 11 April 2014 that many locals consider it a 'crackpot project'.[34]

The Kiev International Institute of Sociology released a second study with polling data taken from 8–16 April. 18.1% of Donetsk oblast residents support the recent armed seizures of administrative buildings in the region, while 72% disapprove of the current actions. Roughly 25% in the Donbas region said they would attend secessionist rallies in favor of joining Russia. Most in Donetsk believe that the disarmament and disbanding of illegal radical groups is crucial to preserving national unity. 12.4% are in favor of Ukraine and Russia uniting into a single state, ; 27.5% in Donetsk were in favor of regional secession from Ukraine to join Russia, 38.4% support federalization, 41.1% support a unitary Ukraine with decentralization of power and broadening of rights of regions, and 10.6% support the current unitary state.[35][36]

Pro-Russian protesters in Donetsk, March 9th

Demands[edit]

According to the Kyiv Post, a number of militants in a standoff with police in Mariupol demand the abolition of biometric passports and an end to vaccinations.[20]

Denis Pushilin, the self-proclaimed chairman of the republic stated that he does not envision Donetsk People's Republic becoming an independence state, instead preferring to join a renewed Russian Empire.[37]

A line to enter a polling place in Donetsk city, 11 May

11 May autonomy referendum[edit]

On 7 May, separatist rebels in Donetsk and Luhansk said that they will proceed with the referendum that will be held 11 May, disregarding Vladimir Putin's appeal to delay it.[38] "The referendum will take place as planned. The ballots have been already arrived at the polling stations," said Vasily Nikitin, from the press service which is organizing the referendum in Luhansk.[39]

The referendum organizers claimed that 89% voted in favor of self-rule, with 10% against, on a turnout of nearly 75%. The results of the referendums were not officially recognised by any government, including those of Ukraine, the United States, the countries of the European Union, and Russia.[40] Germany and the United States stated that the referendums had "no democratic legitimacy",[41][42] while the Russian government expressed "respect" for the results and urged a "civilised" implementation.[43][44]

On the day after the referendum, the Republic's council proclaimed Donetsk to be a sovereign state and "ask[ed] Russia to consider the issue of our republic's accession into the Russian Federation."[45] It also announced that it will not participate in the presidential election to take place on 25 May. In response, "the Kremlin called for dialogue between the government in Kiev and the south-east regions of the country, suggesting that a Crimea-style annexation of the region for Moscow is not on the cards."[46]

History[edit]

Foundations[edit]

Pro-Russian protesters occupying the Donetsk RSA building on April 7, 2014
Veterans[citation needed] of the Soviet war in Afghanistan play a song in support of the protesters.
A map of the Donetsk Oblast in the occupied RSA building, defaced with the word "Russia" in Russian.
Fighter jets of the Ukrainian Air Force fly over the occupied RSA building, April 7th.

On Sunday, 6 April 2014, between 1,000 and 2,000[13] pro-Russian protesters attended a rally in Donetsk pushing for a Crimea-style referendum on independence from Ukraine.[47] It was claimed by Ukrainian media that the proposed referendum has no status-quo option.[48] After which, 200 separatists[49] (according to Igor Dyomin, a spokesman for Donetsk local police, about 1,000[13]) pro-Russian protesters stormed and took control of the first two floors of the building, breaking down doors and smashing windows. The administration headquarters were empty, with only guards inside, as government officials would not work there on Sundays.[47] The separatists demanded that if an extraordinary session was not held by officials, announcing a referendum to join Russia, they would declare unilateral control by forming a "People's Mandate" at noon on 7 April, and dismiss all elected council members and MPs.[50][51][52] The people who voted within the RSA were not elected to the positions they assumed.[53] According to the Russian ITAR-TASS the declaration was voted by some regional legislators, however there are claims that neither the Donetsk city council nor district councils of the city delegated any representatives to the session.[54][55]

On 6 April, the group's leaders announced that a referendum, on whether Donetsk Oblast should "join the Russian Federation", would take place "no later than May 11th, 2014."[56][57] Additionally, the group's leaders have appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin to send Russian peacekeeping forces to the region.[56][57][58]

On the morning of 8 April, the 'Patriotic Forces of Donbass', a pro-Kiev group that was formed on 15 March earlier that year by 13 pro-Kyiv NGOs, political parties and individuals,[59] unrelated to Donetsk Republic organization who proclaimed independence and seized the council,[60] issued a statement on its Facebook page, "cancelling" the other group's declaration of independence, citing complaints from locals, a move that was generally interpreted by Ukrainian media as coming from the pro-Russian party.[61][62][63] Their announcement stated that they would quash the potential state's establishment, cancel the referendum, and, on their part, stated that the declaration is illegal.[61] Protesters reportedly gave up some weapons too.[63] Despite this, the Donetsk Republic organization continued to occupy the RSA and declared themselves the legitimate authority, and upheld all previous calls for a referendum and the release of their leader Pavel Gubarev.[64][a] In the afternoon of 8 April, about a thousand people rallied in front of the RSA listening to speeches about the Donetsk People's Republic and to Soviet and Russian music.[65]

According to an article from the Kyiv Post on 10 April, most of the protesters are 50 years or older, while inside the RSA building, many of the occupiers are younger but from other cities like Mariupol, Kherson and Mykolaiv. The occupiers include both men and women.[48] According to "Novosti Donbassa", unstated number of Russian citizens, including one leader of a far-right militant group, have also taken part in the events.[66] The OSCE reported that all the main institutions of the city observed by the Monitoring Team seemed to be working normally as of 16 April.[67] On 22 April, separatists agreed to release the session hall of the building along with two floors to state officials.[68] The 9th and 10th floors were later released on 24 April.[69]

On the second day of the Republic, organizers decided to pour all of their alcohol out and announce a prohibition law after issues arose due to excess drinking in the building.[70]

On 30 April, Donetsk Republic chairman Pushilin flew to Moscow and held a press conference.[71]

On 7 May, Russian president Vladimir Putin publicly asked pro-Russian separatists to postpone the proposed referendum in order to create the necessary conditions for dialogue. Despite Putin's comments, pro-Russia militants calling themselves the Donetsk People's Republic said they would still carry out the referendum.[72] The same day, Ukraine's security service (SBU) released an alleged audio recording of a phone call between a Donetsk separatist leader and leader of one of the splinter groups of former Russian National Unity Alexander Barkashov.[73][74] Barkashov's following is believed to be in sharp decline since the beginning of 2000s.[75] In the call, the voice said to be Barkashov insists on falsifying the results of the referendum, that he had communicated with Putin, and that it cannot be postponed.[76] Yuri Vendik of the BBC noted[73] that a 5 May post on Barkashov's social media page recounted a phone call from "our brothers and comrades-in-arms in Donetsk" that sounds exactly like the SBU intercept. Barkashov later confirmed that he was in Donetsk during the alleged taping, and has stated his group is organizing volunteer troops to fight "the vicious Kiev junta."[77] SBU stated that this tape is a definitive proof of the direct involvement of Russian government with preparations for the referendum.[73]

Ukrainian authorities released separatist leader Pavel Gubarev and two others in exchange for three hostages being held by the Donetsk Republic.[78]

Expansion of territorial control[edit]

Main article: War in Donbass
Territory in Donetsk Oblast under the control of the Donetsk People's Republic (in dark maroon), pro-DPR and/or anti-government unrest (in light maroon), as of 30 August 2014.

An insurgency expanding the control of the Donetsk People's Republic has spread throughout Donetsk Oblast.

Burning residential apartment building in rebel-held Shakhtarsk, August 3rd.

From April to July 2014 the unrecognized republic controlled most of Ukraine's Donetsk Oblast stretching south from the city of Mariupol on the Azov Sea north to Sviatohirsk and Sloviansk near the border with Kharkiv Oblast. However, much of this territory has been brought under control of the Government of Ukraine[when?] and the area under the control of the rebels has been mainly reduced to Donetsk city.[79] Armed Forces of Ukraine took control of Mariupol early in the conflict and it now serves as the capital of Donetsk Oblast due to the ongoing conflict between Government and Separatist factions.[80]

On 1 September 2014, DPR rebels announced that they would respect Ukraine’s sovereignty in exchange for autonomy.[81] But they withdrew this offer a few days later.[82]

Human rights[edit]

War crimes accusations[edit]

On 23 July, The Local reported: "The Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross said Wednesday that it considered Ukraine to be in a state of civil war ... The formal classification means participants in the fighting between government forces and pro-Russian separatists in the east could eventually be prosecuted for war crimes in international courts."[83]

On 24 July, Human Rights Watch accused Ukrainian government forces and pro-government militias of indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas, stating that "The use of indiscriminate rockets in populated areas violates international humanitarian law, or the laws of war, and may amount to war crimes."[84][85]

Allegations of anti-semitism[edit]

On Passover eve, alleged members of the Donetsk Republic,[86] carrying the flag of the Russian Federation, passed out a leaflet to Jews that informed all Jews over the age of 16 that they would have to report to the Commissioner for Nationalities in the Donetsk Regional Administration building and register their property and religion. It also claimed that Jews would be charged a $50 'registration fee'.[87] If they did not comply, they would have their citizenship revoked, face 'forceful expulsion' and see their assets confiscated.[citation needed] The leaflet stated the purpose of registration was because "Jewish community of Ukraine supported Bendera Junta," and "oppose the pro-Slavic People's Republic of Donetsk."[86] The incident was reported by Jewish community members,[88] and security at the synagogue confirmed that the men returned again on 16 April to further press their point.[89]

The authenticity of the leaflet could not be independently verified.[90] On the New York Times, Brendan Nyhan described the fliers as "most likely a hoax" and referred to the media coverage of an "apparently bogus story".[91] According to Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the leaflets looked like some sort of provocation, and an attempt to paint the pro-Russian forces as anti-semitic.[92] The chief rabbi of Donetsk stated that the flyer was a fake meant to discredit the self-proclaimed republic,[93] and saying that anti-Semitic incidents in eastern Ukraine are "rare, unlike in Kiev and western Ukraine".[94] France 24 also reported on the questionable authenticity of the leaflets.[95] The Israeli newspaper Haaretz noted in its headline that the flier was "now widely seen as fake".[96] On The New Republic, Julia Ioffe also dismissed this as "a provocation", noting that it was likely to be a "tactic to smear the so-called anti-Maidan" movement.[97]

Donetsk People's Republic chairman Denis Pushilin initially confirmed that the flyers were distributed by his organization, but denied any connection to the leaflet's content.[87] Pushilin later denied at a press conference that the DPR had anything to do with the flyer, calling it provocation and a "complete lie".[98]

The barricade outside the Donetsk RSA.

According to Donetsk city chief rabbi Pinchas Vishedski, the press secretary of the self-proclaimed republic, Aleksander Kriakov, is "the most famous anti-Semite in the region,"[99] and believes the men were 'trying to use the Jewish community in Donetsk as an instrument in the conflict.'[88]

According to Michael Salberg, director of the international affairs at the New York City-based Anti-Defamation League, it is currently unclear if the leaflets were issued by the pro-Russian leadership or a splinter group operating within the pro-Russian camp or someone else.[86] National Post reported: "Jewish leaders in the city have said they see the incident as a provocation, rather than a real threat to their community of about 17,000 people."[100]

Ukraine's Security Service announced it had launched an investigation on the matter.[101]

On 17 April, pro-Russian separatists aided by Russian military specialists seized a TV tower providing signals to cities in the Donetsk region. Ukrainian channels were removed from air, with 'Russian propaganda channels given the frequencies'. On 20 April, which the Euro-Asian Congress noted was Adolf Hitler's birthday, activists boasted about their imminent "victory" in anti-Semitic terms. "Here, from Sloviansk, we are inflicting a powerful information conceptual blow to the biblical matrix...to Zionist zombie broadcasting." They then presented a lecture by former Russian Conceptual Party Unity leader Konstantin Petrov, who the EAJC described as a "anti-Semitic neo-pagan national-Stalinist sect".[102]

Sectarian attacks[edit]

The Donetsk People's Republic has adopted a "constitution" which states that the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate is the official religion of the self declared state.[2][103] Donetsk separatists consider Christian denominations such as the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate, Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Roman Catholics, and Protestants, as anti-Russian and see them as obstacles in the path of the separatist goal of uniting the region with Russia.[103]

According to Bishop Jan Sobilo, in Kramatorsk a Catholic chapel was fired upon and parishioners are afraid to attend worship services.[103] Donetsk's Uniate Church priest, Father Tikhon Kulbaka, states he received two text messages with explicit threats. Also, the address of his chapel and his phone number have appeared on pro-Russian websites.[2][103] Another Catholic priest, Pawel Witek, was kidnapped for a day where he was interrogated and accused of being a "Polish sniper" sent by the Polish government.[2][103] Members of a Gospel Church were forcibly dispersed at gunpoint by Donetsk insurgents on 23 May.[2] A Protestant clergyman Sergiy Kosyak was held at the RSA building in Donetsk and interrogated, threatened, and beaten in a room marked "NKVD" for several hours by five men and one woman with clubs, batons, and whips. His injuries included a brain concussion. Kosyak stated that "religious intolerance is on the rise" and believed his religion was a motivating factor of the attack.[2][103]

Patriarch Filaret also spoke about "numerous death threats against the Kiev Patriarchate clergy and believers" in the Donetsk areas controlled by the rebels.[103]

Metropolitan of Donetsk and Mariupol, Illarion, has refused to take sides in the conflict.[103]

Attacks on Romani (Gypsies)[edit]

The News of Donbass reported that members of the Donbass People's Militia engaged in assaults and robbery on the Romani (Roma/Gypsy) population of Sloviansk. The armed separatists beat women and children, looted homes, and carried off the stolen goods in trucks, according to eyewitnesses.[104][105]

"They drove up in several cars and they had automatic weapons and pistols. They began shooting at the windows and they shot the locks off the doors, burst inside and started beating everyone - children, the elderly, men and women," Natalia Vorokuta, a member of a Romani women's cultural outreach group, told Romea.cz in describing events in Sloviansk. "They had to stand with their faces to the wall while the men threatened them and yelled that they had to immediately give them everything they have: Arms, drugs, gold and money. They threw everything they looted and stole into the vans and drove off," Vorokuta said, adding that the pogrom had an 'obviously racial subtext'.[106]

On 23 April, more attacks on Romani were reported in Sloviansk, including a man shot in the leg.[107]

The militants claimed they were acting on orders from 'People's Mayor' and militant leader Vyacheslav Ponomarev.[104][108] Reports of the attacks were confirmed by Prime Minister Yatsenyuk, as well as a heightened level of xenophobic rhetoric at separatist rallies.[109] Ponomarev confirmed the attacks and said that they were only against Romani he alleged were involved in drug trafficking, and that he was 'cleaning the city from drugs.'[110]

The European Roma Rights Center reported that on 29 April in Slovyansk, a Romani man was shot while trying to defend his home and remains in a serious condition.[105]

In Sloviansk, Romani have since fled en masse to live with relatives in other parts of the country, fearing ethnic cleansing, displacement and murder. Some men who have decided to remain are forming militia groups to protect their families and homes.[106]

On 9 May, the US mission to the OSCE condemned credible reports of pro-Russian groups establishing "a disturbing and ongoing pattern of anti-Roma violence." The organization called on Russia "to use its influence with pro-Russia separatist groups to cease their destabilizing activity that could be perceived as enabling violence and intimidation targeted at Roma."[105]

Ukrainian Prime Minister Yatsenyuk said that his government would not tolerate incitement of ethnic hatred and would take all legal measures to prevent the import into Ukraine of anti-Semitism and xenophobia. He instructed law enforcement agencies to identify those distributing hateful material and bring them to justice, as well as those involved in the attacks on Romani.[104][109]

Attack on gay club[edit]

On 10 June, it was reported that armed militants from the Donetsk Republic attacked a gay club in the capital of Donetsk, injuring several. Witnesses said 20 people forced their way into the club, shooting male and female visitors.[111]

Prejudice against Ukrainian speakers[edit]

On 18 April, Vyacheslav Ponomarev asked local residents of Sloviansk to report all suspicious persons, especially if they are speaking in Ukrainian language. He also promised that the local media will publish a phone number for reporting.[112] Material inciting hatred towards pro-Ukraine activists was also found near the Regional State Administration (including posters about the "horrors and atrocities of Euromaidan and Bandera").[citation needed]

Abductions[edit]

The Committee to Protect Journalists said that separatists had seized up to ten foreign reporters during the week following the Malaysian plane crash.[113] On 22 July 2014, armed men from the DPR abducted Ukrainian freelance journalist Anton Skiba as he arrived with a CNN crew at a hotel in Donetsk.[113]

Problems of governance[edit]

OSCE monitors met with the self-proclaimed mayor of Sloviansk, Volodymyr Pavlenko, on 20 June.[114] According to him, sewage systems in Sloviansk had collapsed, resulting in the release of least 10,000 litres of untreated sewage into the river Sukhyi Torets, a tributary of the Seversky Donets. He called this an "environmental catastrophe", and said that it had the potential to effect both Russia and Ukraine.[114]

The DPR imposed martial law on 16 July.[115]

The Ukrainian Government is paying wages and pensions for the inhabitants of the Donetsk People's Republic.[116][117][118] Although the closing of bank branches led to problems in receiving these.[119][120][121] Especially since the National Bank of Ukraine ordered banks to suspend financial transactions in places which are not controlled by the Ukrainian authorities on 7 August 2014.[122] Only the Oschadbank continued to function in territories controlled by the DPR.[122]

Leadership[edit]

Chairman of the People's Council Denis Pushilin speaks at a Victory Day (9 May) rally in Donetsk.

The Donetsk Republic organization, a group banned in Ukraine since 2007, heads pro-Russian separatist activities. The group's leader, Andrei Purgin, was arrested weeks prior on charges of separatism.[123] The political leader of the state is the self-declared People's Governor Pavel Gubarev,[124][125] a former member of the neo-Nazi Russian National Unity paramilitary group and former Communist Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine,[126][127][128][129] who was also arrested on charges of separatism and illegal seizure of power but released in a hostage swap.[130][131] Denis Pushilin is the chairman of the government,[132][133] while Igor Kakidzyanov has been named as the commander of the "People's Army".[134] Alexander Borodai, a Russian citizen claiming to be involved in the Russian annexation of Crimea, was appointed as 'Prime Minister'.

Donetsk People's Council was formed out of protesters who occupied the building of the Donetsk Regional Council on 6 April 2014.[50][51][135]

Ukrainian presidential candidate Oleg Tsarov, who had recently been expelled from the Party of Regions, traveled to Donetsk and said he was ready to become a leader of what he called the "South-east movement". Tsarov also assured separatists in Donetsk that will do everything to disrupt the presidential elections, which are scheduled for 25 May. "I'm sure that will be no elections," he said. He then promised that he would create a "central authority" within the center of Donetsk.[136] Despite his stance towards the elections, he also insists on running in them, which has been met by a negative response by protesters who demand a referendum and boycott of the elections.[137] On 14 April, police searched Tsarov's vehicle and found assault rifle ammunition.[138][139]

On 26 August, Gubarev left to Russia.[140]

Government[edit]

The first full Government of the Donetsk People's Republic was appointed on 16 May 2014.[1] It consisted of several ministers who were previously Donetsk functionaries, a member of the Makiivka City Council, a former Donetsk prosecutor, a former member of the special police Alpha Group, a member of the Party of Regions (who allegedly coordinated "Titushky" (pro-Viktor Yanukovych hooligans) during Euromaidan) and Russian citizens.[1] The system of government is described by its deputy defense minister Fyodor Berezin as aiming to build as military communism.[141]

Current distribution of posts[edit]

Legislature[edit]

The parliament of the DNR is the Supreme Soviet[148] (the same name as the parliament of the USSR[148]) and has 100 deputies.[153] On 22 July 2014 Boris Litvinov, who had previously held the position of "manager of the Council of Ministers", was elected speaker of parliament.[154] According to media reports, Litvinov is a former chairman of a branch of the Communist Party of Ukraine in Donetsk.[154]

Elections[edit]

Parliamentary elections of the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics are scheduled to be held on 2 November 2014.[153] People of at least 30 years old who "permanently resided" in Donetsk People's Republic the last 10 years are electable for four years and may be nominated by public organizations.[153] Ukraine has urged Russia to use its influence to stop the election "to avoid a frozen conflict". Ukraine is to hold a 2014 Ukrainian parliamentary election on 26 October 2014; these will be boycotted by the Donetsk People's Republic.[155]

Political parties[edit]

The first and so far only political party in the DNR is the Communist Party. The Communists have endorsed Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko’s candidature at the upcoming elections for premiership.[156]

Reactions[edit]

Domestic[edit]

Pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk, May 9th, 2014
  • Donetsk City Council (and nine district councils of the city) distanced itself from the RSA occupiers and they stated (on 7 April): "The Donetsk city council and district councils continue working in the legal field. We see ensuring the vital functions of the city as our main task".[55]
  • The Independent Trade Union of Miners in Donetsk announced it would not support the pro-Russian separatist movement.[157]
  • Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko pledged revenge against pro-Russian separatists after 19 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in a rocket attack. "Militants will pay hundreds of their lives for each life of our servicemen. Not a single terrorist will avoid responsibility," he said.[158]
  •  Republic of Crimea - Crimean Deputy Prime Minister Rustam Temirgaliyev expressed the hope that the Donetsk Republic (as well as other south-eastern Ukrainian regions) would form a 'Ukrainian Federation' and join the Union State.[159]
  • Seven village councils, as well as the districts of Dobropillia Raion and Krasnoarmiisk Raion in Donetsk Oblast requested that they be secede to Dnipropetrovsk Oblast. The councils intend to hold a referendum.[160] Dnipropetrovsk governor Ihor Kolomoisky announced that local referendums would take place to allow for his province to administer and provide service to cities in Donetsk and Luhansk which wish to secede.[161] A vote on joining Dnipropetrovsk is scheduled for 11 May to coincide with the secessionist referendum.[162]
  • A report by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released on 28 July said that based on "conservative estimates", at least 1,129 civilians had been killed since mid-April during the fighting, and nearly 3,500 had been wounded.[163] The New York Times reported that the high rate of civilian deaths had "left the population in eastern Ukraine embittered toward Ukraine's pro-Western government", and that this sentiment helped to "spur recruitment" for the insurgents.[164]

Foreign[edit]

  •  Canada - Prime Minister Harper said that the events are "strictly the work of Russian provocateurs sent by the Putin regime." Canadian foreign affairs minister Baird described events in Ukraine as "brazen and co-ordinated actions" by . He said: "I don't know who the Russian Federation thinks it's kidding when it tries to pretend that it has nothing to do with them," and that there are "very clear and disconcerting parallels" between the developments in eastern Ukraine and those that took place before moved to annex Crimea." He said to reporters "there's no doubt, for a good number of weeks, provocateurs and frankly thugs have been crossing the border" into Ukraine.[165]
A rally in support of Novorossiya territories in eastern Ukraine, Moscow, 11 June 2014
  •  Russian Federation – On 7 April, Russia's foreign ministry said that Ukrainian authorities keep "blaming" the Russian government for all its troubles and stated that "Ukrainian want to get a clear answer from Kiev to all their questions. It's time to listen to these legal claims".[53][166] It also stated it was "carefully observing" events in the east and south of Ukraine, and again called for "real constitutional reform" that would turn Ukraine into a federation.[167] In an 7 April opinion piece in The Guardian Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov wrote that it was the west, and not Russia, that was guilty of destabilising Ukraine and that "Russia is doing all it can to promote early stabilisation in Ukraine".[167][168] The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a stern condemnation "criminal order" by Kiev for armed aggression against Donetsk, "The Kiev authorities, who self-proclaimed themselves as a result of a coup, have embarked on the violent military suppression of the protests,", demanding that "the Maidan henchmen, who overthrew the legitimate president, to immediately stop the war against their own people, to fulfill all the obligations under the Agreement of 21 February,"[169]
  •  United Kingdom – British Foreign Secretary William Hague said there is no doubt that Moscow is behind the destabilization of eastern Ukraine. "There can't really be any real doubt that this is something that has been planned and brought about by Russia," he said, adding that Russia was deliberately "violating the independence and sovereignty of Ukraine, and that "I don't think denials of Russian involvement have a shred of credibility."[170]
  •  United StatesUS Secretary of State John Kerry said on 7 April 2014 that the events "did not appear to be spontaneous" and called on Russia to "publicly disavow the activities of separatists, saboteurs and provocateurs" in a phone call to his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.[53] A spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council claimed that the separatists appeared to be supported by Russia. "We saw similar so-called protest activities in Crimea before Russia's purported annexation," she said in a statement, adding: "We call on President (Vladimir) Putin and his government to cease all efforts to destabilize Ukraine, and we caution against further military intervention."[171] US-Ukraine ambassador Geoffrey R. Pyatt characterized the pro-Russian militants as terrorists.[172]

Political experts[edit]

  • Ukrainian-American Alexander J. Motyl, professor of political science at Rutgers University argues that Russia's direct and indirect involvement in the violence in eastern Ukraine qualifies as a state-sponsored terrorism, and that those involved qualify as "terrorist groups."[173] Motyl also said in an interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on 20 February that Ukraine would be "better off" without "those three problematic provinces -- the two in the Donbas, Luhansk, and Donetsk and arguably even the Crimea".[174]

Recognition[edit]

  •  South Ossetia - On 27 June, South Ossetia officially recognized the independence of the Republic, and authorized the establishment of diplomatic relations with it.[175] However, South Ossetia only has limited recognition itself so far.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The group stated they:
    1) do not recognize the Ukrainian authorities;
    2) consider themselves the legitimate authority;
    3) "sent into retirement" of all law enforcement officials appointed by the central government and Governor Serhiy Taruta;
    4) "prescribed" in the 11 May referendum on self-determination Donetsk;
    5) require the issuance of its leader Pavel Gubarev and others are detained separatists;
    6) require Ukraine to withdrawal its troops and paramilitary forces;
    7) start the process of finding mechanisms of cooperation with the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia and other separatist groups (in Kharkiv and Luhansk).[64]

References[edit]

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