Luhansk People's Republic
|Luhansk People's Republic
Territory claimed on 12 May 2014 (in light green) and currently occupied (dark green) by the Luhansk People's Republic
|-||Prime Minister||Hennadiy Tsypkalov|
|-||Chairman of Supreme Soviet||Aleksey Karyakin|
|Independence from Ukraine|
|-||Established||27 April 2014|
|-||Referendum||11 May 2014|
|-||Declaration of Independence||12 May 2014|
|-||Agreement to form a confederation with the Donetsk People's Republic signed||24 May 2014|
|Currency||Ukrainian hryvnia Euro|
|Time zone||Moscow Time (UTC+3)|
The Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) (Russian: Луга́нская Наро́дная Респу́блика, tr. Luganskaya Narodnaya Respublika, LNR; IPA: [lʊˈɡanskəjə nɐˈrodnəjə rʲɪˈspublʲɪkə]; Ukrainian: Луганська Народна Республіка, Luhanska Narodna Respublika) is a self-proclaimed state in eastern Ukraine, bordering the Russian Federation, the (also self-proclaimed) Donetsk People's Republic, and Ukraine itself. Along with the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic and the Republic of Crimea, the Luhansk People's Republic is one of what the Ukrainian government calls the "temporarily occupied territories".
Following the Euromaidan protest movement and the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovich in the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, local Antimaidan and pro-Russian protests intensified, culminating in the proclamation of the Luhansk People's Republic on 27 April 2014. The authorities of the Republic later held a referendum on 11 May to seek legitimacy for the proclamation, and subsequently declared independence on 12 May 2014. On 24 May 2014, the self-proclaimed government agreed to a merger with the Donetsk People's Republic into an unrecognized confederation known as Novorossiya (thereby making a reference to the corresponding historical region and its name). The Republic is recognised only by South Ossetia, which itself only has limited international recognition. On 20 May 2015 the leadership of the Federal State of Novorossiya announced the termination of the confederation 'project'.
The northern part of Luhansk Oblast, which is predominantly Ukrainian-speaking, has remained under Ukrainian control. Although the LPR lost control of much of the Oblast, and currently govern less than half of their territorial claim, the Ukrainian government estimates that about 64.4% of the population of the Oblast live under separatist rule. This is because the LPR's stronghold in the southern part of the Oblast is also the most densely populated area in the Oblast, and is the location of major cities like Luhansk, Alchevsk, and Krasnodon. According to LPR estimates, the Republic rules over 1,220,000 citizens, roughly in line with the Ukrainian government's assessment.
- 1 History
- 2 Government
- 3 Human rights
- 4 Reactions
- 5 See also
- 6 References
Occupation of government buildings
One-thousand pro-Russian activists seized and occupied the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) building in the city of Luhansk on 6 April, following similar occupations in Donetsk and Kharkiv. These activists demanded separatist leaders that had been in previous weeks be released. In anticipation of attempts by the government to retake the building, barricades were erected to reinforce the positions of the activists. It was proposed by the activists that a "Lugansk Parliamentary Republic" should be declared on 8 April. This never occurred, however. By 12 April, the government had regained control over the SBU building, with the assistance of local police forces.
Several thousand protesters gathered for a 'people's assembly' outside the regional state administration (RSA) building in Luhansk city on 21 April. These protesters called for the creation of a 'people's government', and demanded either federalisation or incorporation into the Russian Federation. They elected Valery Bolotov as 'People's Governor' of Luhansk Oblast. Two referendums were announced by the leadership of the activists. One was scheduled for 11 May, and was meant to determine whether the region would seek greater autonomy (and potentially independence), or retain its previous constitutional status within Ukraine. Another referendum, meant to be held on 18 May in the event that the first referendum favoured autonomy, was to determine whether the region would join the Russian Federation, or become independent.
Proclamation of the Republic
During a gathering outside the RSA building on 27 April, pro-Russian activists proclaimed the "Luhansk People's Republic". The protesters issued demands, which said that the Ukrainian government should provide amnesty for all protesters, enshrine Russian as an official language of Ukraine, and also hold a referendum on the status of Luhansk Oblast. They then warned the Ukrainian government that if it did not meet these demands by 14:00 on 29 April, they would launch an armed insurgency in tandem with that of the Donetsk People's Republic. As the Ukrainian government did not respond to these demands, 2,000 to 3,000 activists, some of them armed, attempted to seize the RSA building, and a local prosecutor's office, on 29 April. The buildings were both ransacked, and then occupied by the protesters. Protestors waived local flags, alongside those of Russia and the neighbouring Donetsk People's Republic. Some police officers that had been guarding the building defected supported the activists, providing little resistance to the takeover.
Demonstrations by pro-Russian activists began to spread across Luhansk Oblast towards the end of April. The municipal administration building in Pervomaisk was overrun on 29 April 2014, and the Luhansk People's Republic flag was raised over it. Oleksandr Turchynov, then acting president of Ukraine, admitted the next day that government forces were unable to stabilise the situation in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. One the same day, activists seized control of the Alchevsk municipal administration building. In Krasnyi Luch, the municipal council conceded to demands by activists to support the 11 May 2014 referendum, and followed by raising the Russian flag over the building.
Insurgents occupied the municipal council building in Stakhanov on 1 May 2014. Later in the week, they stormed the local police station, business centre, and SBU building. Activists in Rovenky occupied a police building there on 5 May, but quickly left. On the same day, the police headquarters in Slovianoserbsk was seized by members of the Army of the South-East, a pro-Russian Luhansk regional militia group. In addition, the town of Antratsyt was occupied by the Don Cossacks. Some said that the occupiers came from Russia, but the Cossacks themselves said that "almost nobody" had come from Russia. On 7 May, insurgents also seized the prosecutor's office in Sievierodonetsk. Luhansk People's Republic supporters stormed government buildings in Starobilsk on 8 May, replacing the Ukrainian flag with that of the Republic. Sources within the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs said that as of 10 May 2014, the day before the proposed status referendum, Ukrainian forces still retained control over fifty percent of Luhansk Oblast.
The planned referendum on the status of Luhansk oblast was held on 11 May 2014. The organisers of the referendum said that 96.2% of those who voted were in favour of self-rule, with 3.8% against. They said that voter turnout was at 81%. There were no international observers present to validate the referendum.
Declaration of independence and subsequent developments
Following the referendum, the head of the Republic, Valery Bolotov, said that the Republic had become an "independent state". The still-extant Luhansk Oblast Council, on the other hand, called for immediate federalisation of Ukraine, asserting that "an absolute majority of people voted for the right to make their own decisions about how to live". The council also requested an immediate end to Ukrainian military activity in the region, amnesty for anti-government protestors, and official status for the Russian language in Ukraine. Valery Bolotov was wounded in an assassination attempt on 13 May. Luhansk People's Republic authorities blamed the incident on the Ukrainian government. Government forces later captured Alexei Rilke, the commander of the Army of the South-East. The next day, Ukrainian border guards arrested Valery Bolotov. Just over two hours later, after unsuccessfully attempting negotiations, 150 to 200 armed separatists attacked the Dovzhansky checkpoint where he had been held. The ensuing firefight led Ukrainian government forces to free Bolotov. No formal declaration of statehood had been received by the United Nations as of 20 May.
On 24 May 2014 the Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic jointly announced their intention to form a confederative "union of People's Republics" called New Russia. Republic President Valery Bolotov said on 28 May that the Luhansk People's Republic would begin to introduce its own legislation based on Russian law; he said Ukrainian law was unsuitable due to it being "written for oligarchs". Vasily Nikitin, prime minister of the Republic, announced that elections to the State Council would take place in September.
Stakhanov, a city that had been occupied by LPR-affiliated Don Cossacks, seceded from the Luhansk People's Republic on 14 September 2014. Don Cossacks there proclaimed the Republic of Stakhanov, and said that a "Cossack government" now ruled in Stakhanov. However the following day this was claimed[by whom?] to be a fabrication, and an unnamed Don Cossack leader stated the 14 September meeting had, in fact, resulted in 12,000 Cossacks volunteering to join the LPR forces. Elections to the LPR Supreme Soviet took place on 2 November 2014, as the LPR did not allow the Ukrainian parliamentary election to be held in territory under its control.
On 2 January 2015 Forces loyal to the Luhansk People's Republic ambushed and killed Alexander Bednov, head of a pro-Russian battalion called "Batman". Bednov was accused of (an arrest warrant for Bednov and several other battalion members had been issued by the separatists' prosecutor's office) murder, abduction and other abuses.
In Antratsyt the leader of Don Cossack militant group controlling the town, Nikolai Kozitsyn, stated on 4 January 2015 that the territory controlled by his group had become part of the "Russian empire", and that Russian president Vladimir Putin was its "emperor".
On 12 February 2015 DPR and LPR leaders Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky signed the Minsk II agreement. In the Minsk agreement it is agreed to introducing amendments to the Ukrainian constitution "the key element of which is decentralisation" and the holding of elections "On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, based in the line set up by the Minsk Memorandum as of 19 September 2014" Representatives of the DPR and LPR continue to forward their proposals concerning Minsk II to the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine. Plotnitsky told journalists on 18 February 2015: "Will we be part of Ukraine? This depends on what kind of Ukraine it will be. If it remains like it is now, we will never be together."
On 20 May 2015 the leadership of the Federal State of Novorossiya announced the termination of the confederation 'project'.
The State Council of the LPR ratified a temporary constitution on 18 May 2014.
Head of state
- Prime Minister – Vasily Nikitin
- Chief of the Donbass People's Militia – German Prokopyev
- Foreign Minister – Irina Filatova
- Minister of Education – Lesya Laptev
- Interior Minister - Yuri Ivakin
- Defense Minister - Igor Plotnitsky
Bolotov dismissed the government that had served since the proclamation of the LPR on 4 July 2014, with no reason given. Marat Bashirov was appointed acting prime minister, whilst other ministers were ordered to continue working until the appointment of a new government. Dmytro Semenov and Vasily Nikitin were appointed as acting deputy prime ministers. Bashirov received the task of establishing the structure of LPR executive agencies, and of ensuring that their official names complied with the LPR constitution within a week of his appointment. (Bashirov, born at Izhevsk in Russia in 1964, is a Russian lobbyist and a formerly served as an assistant to the chairman of the Federation Council's Committee on Foreign Affairs. Bashirov also has held senior positions at billionaire Viktor Vekselberg's Renova conglomerate and IES Holding.)
A new government formed in August of 2014 included:
- Prime Minister – Hennadiy Mykolaiovych Tsypkalov
- Chairman of the State Council – Oleksiy Viacheslavovych Karyakin
- First Deputy Prime Minister – Vasyliy Oleksandrovych Nikitin
Parliamentary elections to the legislature of the Luhansk People's Republic were held on 2 November 2014. People of at least 30 years old who "permanently resided in Luhansk People's Republic the last 10 years" were electable for four years and could be nominated by public organizations. All residents of Luhansk Oblast were eligible to vote, even if they are residents of areas controlled by Ukrainian government forces or fled to Russia or other places in Ukraine as refugees.
Ukraine urged Russia to use its influence to stop the election "to avoid a frozen conflict". Russia on the other hand indicated it "will of course recognise the results of the election"; Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that the election "will be important to legitimise the authorities there". Ukraine held the 2014 Ukrainian parliamentary election on 26 October 2014; these were boycotted by the Donetsk People's Republic and hence voting for it did not take place in Ukraine's eastern districts controlled by forces loyal to the Luhansk People's Republic.
The United Nations observed (in May 2014) an "alarming deterioration" of human rights in insurgent-held territory in eastern Ukraine. The UN detailed growing lawlessness, documenting cases of targeted killings, torture, and abduction, carried out by Luhansk People's Republic insurgents. The UN also highlighted threats, attacks, and abductions of journalists and international observers, as well as the beatings and attacks on supporters of Ukrainian unity.
In September 2014, the Parliament of the Luhansk People's Republic adopted a law that would introduce "criminal liability for homosexuality". According to that law, gay means being punished for 5 years in prison or "corrective" labour for a term of two to four years, however it is not clear when the law is effective.
In November 2014 Amnesty International called the "People's Court" (public trials where allegedly random locals are the jury) held in the Luhansk People's Republic "an outrageous violation of the international humanitarian law".
A 18 November 2014 United Nations report on eastern Ukraine stated that the Luhansk People's Republic was in a state of "total breakdown of law and order". The report noted "cases of serious human rights abuses by the armed groups continued to be reported, including torture, arbitrary and incommunicado detention, summary executions, forced labour, sexual violence, as well as the destruction and illegal seizure of property may amount to crimes against humanity". The report also stated that the insurgents violated the rights of Ukrainian-speaking children because schools in rebel-controlled areas only teach in Russian. The United Nations also accused the Ukrainian Army and Ukrainian (volunteer) territorial defense battalions of human rights abuses such as illegal detention, torture and ill-treatment, noting official denials. In a 15 December 2014 press conference in Kiev UN Assistant Secretary-General for human rights Ivan Šimonović stated that the majority of human rights violations, including executions without trial, arrests and torture, were committed in areas controlled by pro-Russian rebels.
In January 2015 Luhansk communist party criticised the current situation in the region. In their statement they expressed "deep disappointment" with how the situation developed from "authentic people's protests a year ago" to "return of corruption and banditism".
The government of the Republic asked for its independence to be recognised by fifteen countries: Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, China, Serbia, Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua. None of these countries have responded to this request.
- South Ossetia - On 18 June 2014, the president of the largely unrecognised state of South Ossetia, Leonid Tibilov, said that following a unanimous vote in the South Ossetian parliament, he would issue a decree recognising the Luhansk People's Republic as a sovereign and independent state, along with the result of 11 May referendum, and authorising the establishment of diplomatic ties. South Ossetia itself only has limited international recognition.
The government of the Luhansk People's Republic said on 12 June 2014 that it would attempt to establish a "union state" with Russia. The government added that it would seek to boost trade with Russia through legislative, agricultural and economic changes.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Luhansk People's Republic.|
- Donetsk People's Republic
- Luhansk status referendum, 2014
- 2014 pro-Russian conflict in Ukraine
- List of rebel groups that control territory
- List of designated terrorist organizations
- List of active separatist movements in Europe
- Novorossiya (confederation)
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