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Donbas’ underdeveloped ‘democracy’ 

Donbas’ underdeveloped ‘democracy’ 
Article by: Oksana Granit
Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina

When the enemy becomes laughable, they stop being dangerous. We can surely say that with such political tendencies and intellectual level, which is characteristic of Donbas leaders on part of the local separatists, the ‘DNR,’ the ‘LNR,’ headed by Novorossiya, will fall apart by themselves. Ukrainians should only be patient… at least until the elections, which are being prepared in the unintelligible republics.

As was discovered, the electoral fever has affected not only legitimate Ukraine, but also the oblasts which are under the separatists’ power. Vladimir Inogorodsky, who calls himself the ‘LNR Press Secretary,’ stated that approximately within a month, the ‘LNR’ planned to hold elections of the head of state and elections to the Council of the Republic. To the question, “What about elections in the ‘DNR’?” he said that the ‘LNR’ and ‘DNR’ were two separate states which have their own legislation, including electoral laws. And each state would hold the elections when they want to.

We note that ‘DNR,’ essentially, Donetsk oblast, includes, according to 2013 measures, about 4356 thousand people. Out of which about 57% consider themselves Ukrainian and 38% consider themselves Russian. ‘LNR’ or Luhansk oblast has, according to early 2014 statistics, a population of about 2233 thousand people, out of which 58% consider themselves Ukrainians and 39% consider themselves Russian.

And now imagine that in both oblasts the 57-58% of the Ukrainian population does not participate in these ‘elections’ because:

  1. they went further to Ukraine to get away from combat;
  2. of political convictions.

Which is no more, no less than about 3778 thousand people.

Besides, non-aggressive citizens of Donbas, who identify themselves as Russian, have left for Russia. We will not claim that they are all of these 38-39%, however there will be about half a million here. In total, the ‘LNR’ and ‘DNR’ are aimed at a population of about two and a half million. As such, one can think that 5% of the population is disturbing the entire country and leading to such staggering numbers of casualties. Of course, this could not have happened without foreign intervention. Fear in the face of this intervention is characterizing of both ‘DNR’ and ‘LNR’ leaders. Pavel Gubarev, when talking about Novorossiya’s future and the forthcoming elections, tried to avoid naming names and concrete facts. And having let it slip that Motorola was a known separatist, a Russian citizen, he fearfully changed the subject.

The impression Pavel Gubarev’s interview made was ambiguous. It was a little offensive that such underdeveloped ‘democracy’ became the reason of a global catastrophe both in Ukraine and the rest of the world. To some degree, I wanted for these pitiful, hypnotized people to see the light and turn their weapons against Ukraine’s real enemy, who is their enemy as well.

Judging from the fact that “strange things are happening within the republics’ leadership,” Pavel Gubarev decided to explain to potential voters what the separatists were building: Novorossiya or separate republics, and how they were going to go on living. “Or everything will return to the way it was before, Akhmetov and other renegades come back and rule over us, hiding behind the title of ‘DNR’.”

“There are forces who want Novorossiya, including Russia, there are such forces who want ‘oligarchical international rule.’ They already decided everything. I also know what it will be like, I have good intuition… I see the final project of Novorossiya: it will include territory from Luhansk, Kharkiv, to Odesa. With ridding Ukraine of its sea-coast and its historical myths. Including the myth about Zaporizhya Cossacks – they were Russian people, they did not consider themselves Ukrainian. But let’s return to the topic. Oligarchs are playing. No, the people will not make a mistake at the elections. They will try to spread lies about me. I will possibly have to advertise at gunpoint. But I believe in the intuition and wisdom of the people. Novorossiya’s program was written back in May, and it will join the union of anti-oligarch republics. The elections will be fair. But even if they aren’t, I will still continue my fight. Not a single oligarch will be able to return and install here a marionette which would protect oligarch businesses,” Gubarev says. “The rebellion is divided: there are those who are bleeding out on the front line and fighting against the Ukrainian army, and there are brigades that took away cars and businesses.”

Gubarev emphasizes the idea, claiming money does not interest him. Meanwhile, he absolutely naïvely says that his opponents “are lying that I buy suits. I don’t wear them. I bought a pair of jeans when I came out of jail, and they had to drag me to the market. I hate the market, I spit on materialism, I panic in fear of it.” Naïvete, mixed together with the feeling of power and impunity promises Donbas an interesting life after the so-called ‘elections.’

“Fairly we will get no less than 70%. If it is otherwise – we will fight. We need fair elections to avoid armed attempt to capture power,” says Gubarev. “There is no trust in the parties, only civil organizations will be included on the lists. The barrier will be 5%.”

Gubarev hopes that the Council will include people who survived Sloviansk. After the establishment of Novorossiya, Gubarev promises mass repressions, the implementation of the death penalty: “only mass repressions can get rid of corruption. We should use Singapore’s experience – only mass repressions.”

And on dialogue with the Ukrainian government: “There can be no talk of the special status. Let the Ukrainians be governed by what they passed. What we will pass will govern us… It was clear already in January that we had to go to war. The last hope was in the Kharkiv assembly, but everyone there was scared, nobody took up leadership, the leaders came from the people. People’s leaders should remain in power.”

In the end result, we can draw the following conclusions from what we have heard:

  • There is no political consensus between LNR and DNR. They obviously don’t like each other.
  • Novorossiya as an idea is alive mostly in Russia, and in Ukraine it is something etherial and ineffective.
  • The separatist leaders will benefit more from joining the Ukrainian army and fighting against Putin, in order not to be used by both sides: then there will be no amnesty or salvation.
  • The childish war for justice is over and the adults have come out to fight: if the Ukrainian separatists get this, they can save the souls and lives of the remaining undetermined Ukrainians who are ready to participate in the elections for God knows what and whom.


Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
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