Donetsk separatist referendum organizer: “Return to Ukraine is inevitable, Donbas is Ukraine”

Former head of so-called DNR Central Electoral Commission Roman Lyagin, one of masterminds behind the 2014 separatist Donetsk referendum. Photo: FB Roman Lyagin

Roman Lyagin, the former head of the so-called DNR Central Electoral Commission, one of masterminds behind the 2014 separatist Donetsk referendum. Photo: FB Roman Lyagin 

News, War in the Donbas

Roman Lyagin, one of the masterminds behind the illegitimate separatist referendum in Donetsk, expressed his disappointment in Russia and in the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR). Now he says pretty much what pro-Ukrainian Donbas activists keep telling since 2014, that the Donbas is Ukraine.

First, the Ukrainian online newspaper Segodnya.ua published a recent Facebook comment by Roman Lyagin in which he calls the DNR “a parody of a state” being “kept afloat by internal terror”:

“Ivan, you are an adult person and I am sure that you didn’t get rid of your Ukrainian passport. What we call DNR is a parody of a state. In 2014 people voted to join Russia. If the referendum would be held today, its results would be the opposite. People were fooled, including by myself. Today DNR is kept afloat by internal terror.”

In their article, the newspaper called Lyagin the former head of the so-called DNR Central Electoral Commission. It was his position in the fake pro-Russian Donetsk government in 2014-2016.

Commenting on the piece by Segodnya.ua on his Facebook page, Roman Lyagin was even more lavish in praises of Ukraine (archived post):

Translation:
“To the authors of the article – I’m not “the former head of so-called…,” I am the organizer of the referendum and I am responsible for undermining the Ukrainian 2014 election. I did what I did by my convictions, devoutly and in full force. Because I believed in Russia which would not forsake us. But it has forsaken us and thrown us under the tanks. Thousands of people are being slaughtered like cattle for a TV picture.
The Donbas is not destined to go Crimea’s way [i.e. it won’t be annexed by Russia – YZ]! We were betrayed and sold!
For what did we fight and die? Let everyone answer to themselves.
And what, was everything in vain? Yes, the Russia we imagined doesn’t exist or maybe has never existed. In order to return to normal life, resume operation of the enterprises, returning to Ukraine is inevitable. The Donbas is Ukraine.”

In April 2016, having a conflict with members of so-called DNR government,  Roman Lyagin was dismissed and arrested in Donetsk. Later he was released and fled to occupied Crimea. This probably explains why Lyagin has become a DNR critic.

  • Illegal referendums on the status of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts were staged by Russian-hybrid forces on 11 May 2014 in many towns under the control of so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, self-proclaimed pro-Russian statelets in the Ukrainian territory.
  • Just a few polling stations were opened in each town to create an illusion of huge turnout for Russian TV.
  • The referendums were preceded by heavy anti-Ukrainian propaganda on local and Russian state-run TV channels, social media, billboards.
  • The results of Donetsk referendum were known in advance, on 7 May 2014, 5 days before the referendums, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) published a taped conversation of Russian far-right leader Alexandr Barkashov in which he requested 89% in favor of self-rule in Donetsk from Dmytro Boitsov, one of the separatist leaders. The requested results (89% for the “the Act of State Self-rule of the DNR”) matched with announced (89.07%).
  • The results of both referendums were not officially recognized by any country. Even the Russian government expressed “respect” for the results, but didn’t recognize them.
  • A poll held on 8-16 April 2014 by the Kyiv Institute of Sociology revealed that 41.1% of the Donetsk residents supported a decentralized unified state, 38.4% supported a federalized Ukraine, 27.5% were in favor of seceding from Ukraine to join Russia, 10.6% supported the current unitary structure with no change.
    Read also: Ukraine has not “lost” uncontrolled Donbas yet, new poll shows
  • Independent observers were not present to monitor the referendums.
  • Legally, territorial changes can only be approved via a referendum if citizens of the entire Ukraine participate in voting.

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  • Ihor Dawydiak

    While there are those who may quite understandably view the statement of Roman Lyagin with suspicion or even contempt as a loser or someone who has a desire to avoid prosecution, there is more than meets the eye. Could his “rediscovery” of Ukraine indicate similar views that are now held by the majority or even a strong majority of the local people living in Russian occupied Donbas? Then, what of Donbas itself? Should this war be viewed in an entirely negative manner or are there some positives that can be learned from this conflict? Has this war as well as the Russian military occupation of Crimea not promoted a cohesive Ukrainian State where not just ethnic Ukrainians but all ethnic groups including those of a Russian background to be adamant in protecting Ukraine and to equally opposed to Putin’s jackboots of imperialism? Finally, has this very destructive conflict not provided an even greater impetus for all Ukrainian citizens to understand that their future lies within the European Family of Nations along with greater democratization, the absolute need for true justice and the creation of a real social and economic powerhouse? Yes, Crimea and Eastern Donbas will be recovered and they too will learn the error of their ways and if for no other reason, ultimate prosperity.

    • Scradje

      Amen to that. It is to be fervently hoped that fuehrer putler or his successor will be forced to withdraw fully from all occupied territories and all the perpetrators of the many grotesque crimes by the fascist regime face justice. There should be no reward for thuggery in the 21st century.
      Btw Donbas was never pro-RuSSia; in the genuine independence referendum of Dec 1991, its inhabitants voted overwhelmingly yes: 84%. Only slightly down on the 91% national average.

      • Dagwood Bumstead

        A majority of the Crimeans, though not as large is in the Donbas, also voted for independence in December 1991- something that came as a shock to Yeltsin. When he, Kravchuk and Shushkevich met in Belarus a few days later, Kravchuk could present the figures for the independence vote. Yeltsin specifically asked about the Crimean vote to which Kravchuk replied “Yes, Boris Nikolaevich, the Crimea also voted in favour of full independence.”
        It should also be noted that at the last free election for the Crimean parliament in 2010 the current self-appointed Prime Minister of the Crimea, Aksyonov, got only 4% of the vote despite campaigning with a separatist pro-Dwarfstanian programme.

        • Scradje

          Yes. I think it was a 55% yes vote in Krym in 1991. That settled the issue in perpetuity. Putinoid scum should relocate to pootlerstan.

        • Dave Ralph

          Europe and the US will never allow Crimea or the Donbass to be admitted back into a pro-Western Ukraine. The populations of those territories are nothing but a threat of criminality/corruption and a headache for the West generally. The whole strategy of the West is to force the Putin regime to foot the bill for those black holes.

          • Dagwood Bumstead

            Those that actively collaborated with Dwarfstan such as this crook won’t stay, nor will their supporters. They will scram over the border to avoid prosecution and long stays behind bars. And I doubt very much whether the Donbas refugees who chose Dwarfstan as their sanctuary will return, nor should Kyiv allow them to. Many have taken Dwarfstanian citizenship by now so Kyiv can refuse them as undesirable aliens.

      • Sania

        crudje the clown from hell, still singing condoms songs without end…

        • Eddy Verhaeghe

          Flagging you down is the sensible thing one can do… Because there’s no discussion possible with someone that has sexual innuendo and ad hominems as a trade mark.

          • Sania

            No, you do not right
            I do flagging the free, human rights (especially for children), peace, modern music and painting
            I can have discussion with man who did read Herodotus, Titus Livius, Dostoevsky,knowing Hals, Cezahnn, SRC and Rocky Ericson
            To make bla-bla I do not want

          • Sania

            do not forget to give me most hard and smart question

      • Czech Mate

        If ruSSia is not punished for its war crimes chances are it will repeat the crimes later. This must be prevented by the only instrument there is left: punishment and THEIR subsequent accepting they were in the wrong.

        This is called justice!

  • zorbatheturk

    Nasty looking piece of work, that joker. Wouldn’t buy a used Lada from him.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      I wouldn’t even buy a NEW Lada from him! To be fair, though, I have to add that I wouldn’t by a new Lada from anyone.

  • Tony

    Beware the Trojan Horse, russia wanted to reintegrate Donbass into Ukraine as a dysfunctional oblast that drains Ukraines resources and gives the kremlin veto in Ukraines internal politics via Donbass voting power.

    Too much blood was spilled to give the kremlin any chance of implementing such a strategy.

    Thus, Donbass and Luhansk should only be reintegrated as temporarily special territories that have very few rights while they undergo de-russification and Ukrainianization, pull out all the weeds, disasemble russian networks and thoroughly debunk russian propaganda in the minds of the population. Only then is Donbass and Luhansk ready to fully rejoin Ukraine.

    • focusser1

      Russia broke it, Russia can fix it. Nothing of any value remains in Donbas, everything was stolen by the Russian mafia.

      • Tony

        Sure, but if the people of Donbass want a bright future as part of a democratic, rule of law Ukraine as opposed to kleptocratic mordor then give them a way to work for it.
        Rebuild Donbass on their own while cracking down on russian influence and building up Ukrainian national influence. Very important, they should have zero voting power in Ukraine during this transition. Let them acknowledge that their own passivity and lack of patriotism allowed russia to get a foothold and let them accept their economic wounds as a reminder that they need to do better, that democracy only works when people take command of their states destiny and do so responsibly.
        If they cant do that, then no one will want them because they cant take responsibility.
        However if all that gets done, then there’s no reason Donbass shouldnt be a part of Ukraine. Sure their economy is broken but such things can be fixed with effort and time, what’s more important is that the mindset is right.

      • Dagwood Bumstead

        But Dwarfstan doesn’t have the cash to rebuild what it destroyed in the so-called LNR and DNR and the liberated part of the Donbas, nor does the dwarf want to.

  • Murf

    Not just no but HEL NO!
    They listened to the soothing words of disingenuous people. They betrayed their country and choose treason over loyalty.
    hey participated in the deaths of 10k Ukrainians. Turned the Donbas in to an industrialist wasteland.
    And all they got for it was table scraps.
    Now that they have figured out that is the extent of Putin’s generosity they want to kiss and make up.
    Forget all of the humiliation, death and destruction and bygones be bygones.
    Until the next Russian leader starts whispering treason into their eager ears.
    We are not children we are adults.
    We don’t wear diapers. We get up each morning and put our Big Boy pants on
    We make Big Boy decisions.
    We pay the Big Boy price for those decisions.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      Not to worry. This thug and his colleagues Zakaharchenko, Pushilin, Khodakovsky, Plotnitsky and Co will flee to Dwarfstan when the Donbas is liberated and won’t come back. They know only too well that they can expect long terms behind bars for their activities.
      Ditto for Aksyonov and his crooks when the Crimea is liberated.

      And there’s the very real chance the dwarf will have them bumped off to prevent them spilling the beans on Dwarfstan’s criminal activities in Donbas and Crimea. They know too much.

    • Czech Mate

      yep that is my view as well. THEY must PROVE to Ukraine they are worthy to be accepted on their KNEES. But in the short term-absolutely not to be trusted!

  • Czech Mate

    No reunification without the punishment for those who were actively promoting Putler’s war and terror. It is that simple.

    Only one side is guilty of the crime.

  • Quartermaster

    Crimea is also Ukraine and will be back home as well.