Russian company relocated to Siberia 2,000 Ukrainian miners with their families

Bird-eye view of the city of Neryungri in Yakutia, where Donbas miners and their families were relocated. Photo: 

International, War in the Donbas


According to the head of the Russian industrial holding Kolmar, Artem Levin, as cited by the Russian newspaper RBC, his company relocated 2,000 miners with their families from Russian-occupied parts of East-Ukrainian oblasts of Donetsk and Luhansk (ORDLO) to the Russian region of Sakha (Yakutia).

Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), a Siberian region of Russia.

The Russian company, which is owned, in particular, by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s friend Gennady Tymchenko, doesn’t hide the fact that it employs miners from the Russian-occupied Donbas. The holding’s website even has a whole section on employment opportunities “for citizens of Ukraine and the Donbas republics.” In 2016 alone, Kolmar hired 200 Ukrainian miners, according to Interfax.

“The shortage of staff is great: historically in Yakutia, there were no underground and enrichment workers, we have to invest a lot in education and training,” the holding stated back then.

The relocation of 2,000 miners and their families to Yakutia took place as the Russian company decided to gradually get rid of the worker rotation system of extraction. The holding helped the miners obtain Russian citizenship and sent them to the city of Neryungri in the south of Yakutia, some 5,450 kilometers away from their homeland.

The fact that Russian recruiters offer the ORDLO miners employment in mines in the Russian Federation in exchange for citizenship under a simplified procedure has already been reported by Ukraine’s Ombudsman’s Office.

The website of the holding Kolmar has a special section on job opportunities “for citizens of Ukraine and the republics of the Donbas.” (archived)

“Complete crews of coal miners are leaving ORDLO for the Russian mines. They explain this by saying that at Russian mines, wages are paid more or less on time, while the occupiers in ORDLO have not yet paid their wage arrears, while it’s almost impossible to go to other countries during the pandemic,” the representative of the Commissioner of the Verkhovna Rada for Human Rights in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, Pavlo Lysianskyi, explained.

At the same time, the Russian authorities shut down more than 40 mines in ORDLO over the last year alone, and the unemployed workforce is used in Russia for orchestrating artificial competition.

Over the past five years, more than 200 miners lost their lives and over 2,000 got injured at work in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.

Editor’s Note

Russia continues its gradual depopulation of the occupied Donbas by relocating the region’s working-age inhabitants under the Kremlin’s state program to Russia’s problem regions for fixing local demography issues there. Meanwhile, the opposite process has been running full steam in occupied Crimea, where Russia keeps relocating its citizens in order to change the peninsula’s ethnic composition. For now, according to experts, one-third of the Crimean population is Russian migrants.

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