Copyright © 2021

The work of Euromaidan Press is supported by the International Renaissance Foundation

When referencing our materials, please include an active hyperlink to the Euromaidan Press material and a maximum 500-character extract of the story. To reprint anything longer, written permission must be acquired from [email protected].

Privacy and Cookie Policies.

The Battle for Donetsk is on March 16. Why is Akhmetov Doing THIS?

The eyes of the whole world are on Crimea, where on March 16th the Russians are conducting a referendum. But it would be better if those eyes would turn to another corner of Ukraine – to Donetsk. Let’s review briefly what’s going on in the eastern capital, according to what local residents are saying. Throughout Saturday March 15th it was virtually impossible to reach mobile phone subscribers. Mobile signals are being blocked. A full-scale radio war is happening. Crowds of people streamed into the city center, asking passersby the same question: “Where is Lenin Square?” This means that they were out-of-towners, but with a clear instruction, to go to the center. Many of these people looked peculiar, scaring Donetsk residents who fearfully pressed their backs into walls. The city is full of people who look like criminals and thugs. They say in Donetsk that on Sunday, March 16th, around 50 thousand provocateurs will stage mass unrests with certainty of casualties.

‘Rise, Donbas! We will tear to pieces the bandera scum!’

‘Luhansk residents! Everybody come to protect their native city!
Everybody to the demonstration!!! Attendance is compulsory!!! The future of the city will be decided!!!
Beginning: March 16, 12:00 on square of Heroes of the Great Patriotic War’ ‘people’s referendum on the status of Kharkiv oblast’ March 16, 2014
We invite you to the Luhansk referendum

The big idea of this operation is to erase the concept of ‘Heaven’s Hundred’. That is, to hurt and to kill such a number of people, that it will, with the help of controlled mass media blur and eventually destroy the positive image of Euromaidan. Preparations and ‘preparations’ have already been made throughout the city. Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and Ministry of Internal Affairs forces have been positioned to protect the most important administrative buildings and have been placed on full alert. At the same time, the fences and street posts in Donetsk are plastered with flyers reading “Down with the Kyiv junta!” Donetsk newspapers even wrote that “banderites” have killed Kyiv’s chief rabbi, who is actually alive and well, and even recently gave an interview to “Ukrainska Pravda” newspaper. Such lies seek to unsettle the Donbas Jewish community. Preparations to take over Donetsk, as well as other cities in the East and South of Ukraine, have been made.

‘Protect the interests of your native city, say ‘no’ to the Kyiv junta’ All-oblast rally Antimaidan, all to Zaporizhzhia’

What Is Akhmetov Trying to Achieve?

Given all this, the personal position of someone like Rinat Akhmetov is of utmost importance. It is his position that determines the answer to the question: for whom is the situation in

Donetsk being destabilized? Clearly this is done not in the interests of Ukraine, but rather ‘for Putin’ or ‘for Akhmetov’. If it’s ‘for Putin’, then shortly after bloody pogroms (arranged not without Akhmetov’s permission, or even with his participation) Russian troops will enter Donbas. And following Crimea’s analogy, they will bring on the bayonets’ ‘justice’ and ‘peace’. If it’s ‘for Akhmetov’, then the focus will be slightly different. Rumours have been circulating in Verkhovna Rada for some time that the richest man in Ukraine is aiming for Ukraine’s federalization.

That is, for separation of the biggest regions – Donbas, Kharkiv – into some kind of fiefdoms with extensive powers. Here are some of the various ways in which our country could be carved up.

Even in sleepily peaceful Mykolayiv, a city center demonstration is planned for March 16th. A single question is on the agenda – ‘Ukraine’s federalization’. Isn’t this a part of an agreed-upon show, being staged in all of Ukrainian territories, inhabited by Russian-speakers? Absolutely, this is exactly what this is. Moreover, many representatives of ‘the elite’ would have been satisfied even with a confederation instead of federation, like in Switzerland. Cantons there have exceptional independence, and the central government’s role is purely nominal. As in, Ukrainians are different just like the Germans, the French and the Italians are. Using Donetsk as an example, an attempt is being made to destroy Ukraine as a state. In this situation it’s important to understand who stands to benefit in such arrangements. One can’t help but think of Ukraine’s richest man, along with his business partner, until recently the owner of a Russian passport, Vadim Novinsky.

Novinsky (left) and Akhmetov (right)

Mind you, Viktor Yanukovych and Rinat Akhmetov are from the same group with a criminal past. The ‘Family’ – that’s them. Except that Yanukovych has escaped from Ukraine to Russia, and Akhmetov has stayed in the bastions of Donetsk. The arrest of Dmytro Firtash has shown that Akhmetov can be fooled just as easily, even if he received personal assurances of safety from Putin. Perhaps this is why he prefers to stay in the background? Perhaps this is why he nominated for governor Serhiy Taruta, a seemingly authoritative and influential person? Perhaps this is why Taruta will seemingly not be able to deal with unrest in Donetsk, and it will so happen that a referendum in Donbas will need to be organized. “I have always supported peace, but the people have called for Russian troops,” – that’s what Akhmetov will say after the referendum. Or this: “I have always supported peace, but federalization happened because that’s what the people wanted”.

The same Serhiy Taruta that “won’t be able to deal with Donetsk”

Both statements will be direct and blatant lies. Akhmetov just doesn’t want to stop the destabilization of Ukraine’s East. He is interested in it. Within a very short timeframe, Igor Kolomojskiy has stopped any hints of provocations in Dnipropetrovsk. This is despite the fact that Kolomojskiy’s influence in Dnipropetrovsk is a thousand times less than Akhmetov’s influence in Donetsk, where a mouse won’t squeak if the Dark Lord doesn’t wish it. If only this was Akhmetov’s will, all “provocateurs”, “manifestants” and “supporters of federalization” would shut up immediately. And it wouldn’t matter how many Putins are behind them. Precisely Akhmetov’s exceptional influence in Donbas explains why the central Ukrainian government can’t restore order in the region.

Moreover, Akhmetov provides support to Kharkov’s government (remember statement in support of Gepa [nickname for Kernes]), where we are witnessing almost the same events as in Donetsk. The government literally cannot do anything. All of Donetsk security forces are controlled by Akhmetov, and that says it all. What “banderites” in Donetsk, what are you talking about?

It can’t be ruled out that it’s Akhmetov who’s helping to get together 50 thousand people. That it’s Akhmetov who will let innocent people die. That it’s him who is agreeing to obtain personal benefits at the cost of hundreds of lives. Exactly the same way as he built his business empire in the 90s, founded on blood. It doesn’t matter much in which way he will get his benefits. Whether it be due to transferring Donbas to Russia’s control, or due to creating his own fiefdom. And maybe even due to an agreement with the new Ukrainian government. From the point of view of Ukraine, all of these versions are unacceptable. They mean that the government loses control over Ukraine’s East for good. If the government is unable to stop this process, then it can miraculously announce to the whole world the name of the ‘hero’ who is destroying Ukraine. Of that person, who doesn’t want for Ukraine to exist without ‘The Family’, without lies, bandits and total domination of Akhmetovs. And this means that if RinatAkhmetov will one day be taken off the plane somewhere in London (say, on FBI’s request), we won’t be surprised. For glory will deservedly be bestowed on the hero.

By Andriy Vyshynskyj

The original in Russian is available at

You could close this page. Or you could join our community and help us produce more materials like this.  We keep our reporting open and accessible to everyone because we believe in the power of free information. This is why our small, cost-effective team depends on the support of readers like you to bring deliver timely news, quality analysis, and on-the-ground reports about Russia's war against Ukraine and Ukraine's struggle to build a democratic society. A little bit goes a long way: for as little as the cost of one cup of coffee a month, you can help build bridges between Ukraine and the rest of the world, plus become a co-creator and vote for topics we should cover next. Become a patron or see other ways to support. Become a Patron!
Related Posts