How to implement Ukrainization in occupied Donbas



Analysis & Opinion, Ukraine, War in the Donbas

It is impossible for us to live with occupied Donbas as before. The glass has shattered to pieces and however we try to glue it together, it will never be the same again. The truth is that nothing lasts forever… Ukraine is changing. Europe and the world are changing too. In the context of these changes, Ukraine will not be the same as before.

However, several issues remain on the table. One of the main reasons why such a conflict happened in the Donbas is a certain infantilism, at least on the part of eastern Ukrainians who refused to take the future into their own hands and decide their fate. What do I mean by this?

When crowds in the Donbas shouted: “Putin, bring in your troops!” and “We want Putin!”, their cries meant that they were not at all ready to shape their destiny, their path to the future, or they were incapable of doing so. This reflects the mindset of the post-Soviet man whose actions and thoughts are dictated by the “great Stalin”. This is a deeply patriarchal society where everything beyond the Urals is decided by the “Older Brother”. Such people live like sheep on a big farm… and that’s what the occupied territories of Donbas have become today.

The rest of Ukrainian society has grown and is ready to shape its own future. This is the Ukraine which stood up, fought and has consolidated its infrastructure over the past two years. It has become more mature and more responsible.

Have the people who remained in the occupied territories matured? Have they fulfilled their “dreams”? Sometimes, this seems like a rhetorical question.

Some Donbas people justify their infantilism by saying they are unimportant and insignificant, or they are old…pensioners. “We don’t decide anything. No one listens to us. Our voice is never heard.” But, these are lame excuses, a way to escape responsibility and questions that have risen with the passage of time.

In future, if we want to build a new relationship with Donbas, several questions will arise: “Do you want to work with us and build a common future together? Are you really capable of creating a new future for yourselves, or would you rather become a deadwight for the rest of our country like before?”

You failed with Russia, so do you want to do the same with Ukraine?

If Donbas refuses to work with the rest of Ukraine to create a common future, the Donetsk puzzle can be easily solved, that is we must stand and say a loud “Good bye!” I don’t think Ukrainians are once again ready to welcome Donbas back into the fold to face an unknown future with its oligarchs breathing down their necks. Donbas must find the answers to these questions on its own.

The rest of Ukraine must also consider these questions. Do we really want to continue living with such a Donbas? Are we ready to give Ukrainian citizenship back to those who burnt their Ukrainian passports? Can they continue to live in Donbas, but must not be allowed to decide the fate of a country that they’ve betrayed.

Some Donbas residents have already given their answer. Such people have left that black hole, the dark tunnel that leads to nowhere. They’ve left their homes and settled in other regions of Ukraine or abroad, or even in Russia. They’ve given their answer. They’ve made their choice. Now, it’s up to the rest…

Their response will be reflected in how occupied Donbas accepts Ukrainization. Ukrainization does not merely refer to a policy of facilitating and spreading the Ukrainian language and promoting Ukrainian culture and a national identity. It also refers to growing up and maturing…

And here’s the last point: all this does not apply to Ukraine’s sovereignty and its territories. Occupied Donbas is a sovereign region of Ukraine and will be returned, just like Crimea.


Translated by: Christine Chraibi
Source: Obozrevatel

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  • Dagwood Bumstead

    The remaining population of the so-called LNR and DNR can’t answer the question “Do you want to work with us and build a common future together?” because the thugs controlling the occupied territories won’t allow them to do so freely. Pushilin, Zakharchenko, Plotnitsky & Co, together with the FSB, will stamp on any dissent. The only allowed future is one under the control of their criminal gangs. They won’t leave until they are kicked out, and until they are any discussion is pointless.

    • Quartermaster

      If Ukraine is able to lay hands on the GRU officers imported by Putin to start the war in Crimea and the Donbas, they should be given a “fair trial and fine hanging.” Anyone that aided them should also meet the same fate. Their actions have resulted in the deaths of thousands, and allowing them life, even in prison, would be highly unjust.

    • MichaelA

      isnt the place a mess now?
      do you really want it back?

  • Murf

    Let em’ go.
    Crimea and Donbas have been bastions of backward looking Putinism.
    They have been a millstone around Ukraine’s neck.
    Thanks to their voter support PoR was able to undermine the Orange Revolution. Had Putin not over reached and taken Creimea and Donbas out of the Ukraine political process they would have undone the Maidan.
    I have been saying since Illoviansk to forget about Donbas.
    At this point Ukraine needs political unity more than territory.
    Good riddance to bad rubbish.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      I’d say that Yushchenko is as much to blame for undoing the Orange revolution as Proffessor Viktor and his PoR. Don’t forget that Yushchenko was thwarting Yulia at every step. Yulia was quite prepared to tackle the oligarchs and made enemies of at the very least Akhmetov, Pinchuk and Firtash, and probably also of Boiko and the others.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      Kyiv should never renounce its sovereignty over the Crimea and all of
      the Donbas. Sooner or later they will return. France had to wait from
      1871 until 1918 before Alsace and Lorraine were returned, the Baltics
      had to wait from 1940 until 1991 before they regained their
      independence. I think the Crimea and occupied parts of the Donbas will
      be returned far sooner.

      Dwarfstan’s economy is in deep trouble.
      Even if the sanctions, paltry as they are, are lifted today things won’t
      improve. Dwarfstanians have seen a significant drop in their incomes
      and can’t afford luxuries so trade between EU and Dwarfstan won’t revive
      quickly. The dwarf is making the same mistakes the leaders of the USSR
      made by increasing spending on the security services and armed forces-
      but the country can’t afford this as Alexei Kudrin pointed out in 2012.
      Now, with oil at less than half the 2012 price, Dwarfstan can afford the
      expenditure even less. The dwarf’s “solution” is to slash budgets for
      health care, education, infrastructure etc with as a result that the
      country’s collapse will accelerate. He has also slashed the subsidies to
      Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and the Crimea. Ans his wars in
      the Donbas and Syria are eating away money at an alarming rate, with the
      reserve funds being empty by the end of the year acording to Finance
      Minister Siluanov. Then what? No more pensions? More hospitals and
      schools closed?

  • Alex George

    Not many people at all in eastern Ukraine supported Putin. It was the russian-speaking people of Ukraine most of all who rejected Putin’s “protection”.

    That is why Putin only holds 7% of Ukrainian territory including the Crimea.

  • Nowhere Girl

    Don’t forget that this is destroyed land. And it hasn’t started recently. The russification and sovietisation of Donbas is also a consequence of the Holodomor. This region was completely different before.