It follows from publications of the Russian media, which began to appear with ever increasing frequency, that the so-called "DPR" and "LPR" have very sad prospects. Three years of war in the occupied territories have led to the most serious not only socio-economic, but also purely environmental problems, the development of which puts the region at the real threat akin to the Chernobyl disaster. Apparently, the question arises whether the Kremlin needs these problems…
"The war in the east of Ukraine will have severe environmental consequences"
Gazeta.Ru comes to such a sad conclusion, the correspondent of which spoke with experts about possible environmental threats of the conflict.
"According to a number of experts - engineers, miners and environmental specialists, - there are high chances that the Donbass will become a zone of man-made disaster in the medium term. It will be 15 thousand square kilometers of salt-water marshes, with destroyed pipelines, highways and railways, impossibility of capital construction and almost complete lack of own sources of drinking water. The process of degradation will be accompanied by dozens of local water hammers, equivalent to magnitude 3-4 earthquakes, involving the destruction of communications and constructions", - the media writes.
The problem is so serious that even the pro-Kremlin media cannot conceal it: "Furthermore, the matter may not be limited to the LDPR territory - there are serious trans-border risks for the southern region of Russia with the center in Rostov-on-Don and common with Ukraine Sea of Azov".
"The reason is in the uncontrolled "military" process of coal mines shut-down. Water hoisting (water pumping) in the Donbass mines has been greatly reduced in recent years, which led to the general rise of mine waters and flooding of the lower mining levels. "Dirty" mine water with a large number of salts already makes most of the reserve water sources in the region nonpotable, and also goes to Siverskyi Donets. Indices of the water salinity in the upstream, at the entrance of the river to the conflict zone, and in the downstream, at the border with the Rostov oblast, differ eight times. The water of Siverskyi Donets is not used as drinking in Russia, but it goes for irrigation, falls into the coastal supply intake and is used in melioration. The described scenario of degradation of the industrial region existed before, but the war has dramatically accelerated the catastrophic course of the process", - Gazeta.Ru states.
At the same time the media emphasizes: "Scientists in Kyiv, Donetsk and Moscow agree with this assessment".
"It is about changing the geological structure in the region, on which a person will not be able to decisively influence any more. According to experts, the situation should be studied in order to "competently withdraw from the Donbass", leading away people from dangerous areas in time. A special role in accelerating the catastrophic scenario can be played by the current blockade of the region by Ukraine, which can lead to the rapid shutdown of private mines that will lose the market outlet", - is noted in the publication.
The media quotes Yevgeniy Yakovliev Doctor of Engineering Science - the chief research scientist of the Institute of Telecommunications and Global Information Space of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, the head of the Ukrainian part of the group that conducted field study in November 2016. Yakovliev reminds of the "exceptional sources of danger", such as Yunkom mine in Yenakiieve where an atomic explosion was produced in 1979, "comparable in strength to the Hiroshima", Nikitovsky Mercury Plant, closed mine of which, according to some information, is already being flooded, closed state-owned factory in Horlivka, which allegedly produced explosives, on the territory of which semi-underground chemical-waste storages were left.
"Poisonous filtrates went into the mine workings along the cracks with rain and melt water in 1988, - Yevgeniy Yakovliev recalls the story of the Horlivka disaster. - Rescuers died even in self-contained atmospheric protection equipment which simply did not keep this infection! Such a toxic cocktail of substances was there. It was shut out to the maximum at that time, it was reported only about the death of 10 miners and 4 rescuers. It was "Alexander-West" mine, the mining work in that area was stopped completely, and part of the levels of the neighboring mines were also closed. Pollution of mine flows was registered in a radius of up to 15 kilometers".
"One of the hottest spots of war in the Donbass is located in the suburbs of Horlivka - in Zaitseve settlement. The Siverskyi Donets – Donbass canal bed is also located here. It is constantly being damaged in the course of artillery shelling, unceasing since 2014. The channel is open to the third-party contamination. If the waste from Horlivka falls into this channel or the waters from nearby Yenakiieve or Nikitovka infiltrate, unpredictable consequences of pollution threaten not only the DPR, but also the Ukrainian Mariupol", - is said in the publication.
Speaking about the situation with the flooding of mines, Yakovliev emphasizes that "nobody knows for sure what is happening there now".
The scientist stresses that in practice this means: "First and foremost, additional deformations of buildings, cracks because of subsidence. There will be deformations of life support systems, communications, buildings and other infrastructure. Moreover, pollution will begin because of the movement of saline water from the bottom upwards. It is already following the drinking levels in Stakhanov, Snizhne, Krasnodon. And then - by the outflow to the Siverskyi Donets and its tributaries. This stream will poison and already poison drinking water in the Donbass and will then carry this "dirt" to Russia".
"Water and environmental risks are increasing for Russia, a threat to its southern granary is being created in the Rostov oblast. But the territory of the self-proclaimed republics can become simply inviable", - Yakovliev warns.
"The lower levels in Donetsk and throughout the region are already being flooded. And most of the mines that still work now mine coal by pieces from the upper levels without going into water hoisting - it is expensive, there is no proper state control. Now I collected information by the phone that the water hoisting in the region is 400-450 million cubic meters per year. This is half of the pre-war. So the region will be completely eliminated within ten years with the continuation of military operations and water hoisting at this level", - Yakovliev convicts.
And adds: all the efforts of mining scientists today are aimed at "the competent withdrawal from the Donbass". "It means knowing, calculating what, where and when will start happening - and to take people away in time. Because we will not be able to influence on the existing geological situation and the processes that have begun", - the scientist admits.
He adds that 88% of the reserve water sources in the region are already nonpotable.
"You know, I remembered Chernobyl all these two weeks of field study. I worked there. So there is an understanding in the Chernobyl zone in 30 years that radiation has partially gone into the earth, a part of isotopes has disintegrated, and we will return to live on 90% of those territories in prospect. The proportion is reverse in the Donbass - 90% of the territory will not be suitable for life here, primarily because of the lack of clean drinking water", - the scientist concluded.
"Apple defines the DPR as Russia"
Komsomolskaya Pravda publishes an "optimistic" interview with the "Minister of Communications of the DPR" Viktor Yatsenko.
"I looked around: a typical office room. Only a huge, one-meter long bayonet with a saw at the top of the blade stood out against the interior, such bayonets were called "butcher" in the First World War. The minister also stood out against the scenery – a young guy in a well-fitted combat uniform. The hair is a little bit longer than statutory… A secretary with a bottle of hair spray burst into the office: "Let me fix the fringe! You will be filmed!". The minister brushed aside at first, and then decided that it would be easier to endure the work on image", - the KP correspondent describes the meeting with the "minister".
Yatsenko enthusiastically tells the Kremlin newspaper how he had an idea "to make his own operator" which later became known as Phoenix "during the battles for Shakhtarsk on August 14 when Ukraine put the connection in the battle area".
"Who had printed SIM cards for you so in time? Russia? ", - the correspondent simply asks the "minister".
"Oh, this is business. There was a queue of the people who wanted to print SIM cards for us: "We will print it for you. We will give you a discount and SIM cards for three standards at once". You see – we are a market! Two and a half million people live here. Everyone understands this!", - the "minister" answers.
Speaking about the situation with the leaving of Ukrtelecom from Donetsk, Yatsenko assures that the situation developed as follows: "We introduced external management on the first day of the month at the direction of the Head and the Council of Ministers. We tried to find a compromise. That is, taxes are paid here, people get their wages here and we pay some external traffic that goes to Ukraine. But we were not understood. Moreover, Ukraine tried to disable all equipment – the key core was destroyed programmatically, licenses, settings, the operating system itself. We have restored it all, connected all the subscribers that were".
"According to the minister, as of today, the Comtel external management company has already paid the second salary and taxes – $52 thousand. The development of 3G Internet is planned, only the equipment that was thrown by Ukrainian operators is not suitable for development – it is of 10 years old. And Russian operators are not in a hurry to market yet", - KP explains. The "minister" Yatsenko complains at the same time: "They are afraid of sanctions, they are still tied to the Western equipment – Siemens, Cisco… China also takes an ambiguous position…".
"At the same time, the West itself is not afraid of its own sanctions. Facebook, for example, recognized Phoenix and organized with us the interface of SMS gateway. And our Facebook users receive SMS on Phoenix. Apple company has also slightly sacrificed its principles in the Donbass. You can safely shop here at their corporate store, Apple itself defines the DPR as Russia", - the "minister" states to the newspaper.
Yatsenko explains his "successes" by the fact that "there is a very cool IT school here", and promises like Ostap Bender: "One of the key creators of Linux is from Donetsk. The first Russian software installation media is from Donetsk, the creator of the Red Alliance is from Donetsk. We involve young people in our projects. If we are not interfered, we will open our Silicon Valley here".
"It was not only me who have noticed that time in the Donbass has a completely different temp. The time is slower in Russia, which means that the Donbass has a serious handicap to catch up with the "mainland". However, if necessary, Russia will wait for its brothers. People here have no doubts about it", - the KP correspondent concluded pompously.
After the promises of the "Minister of Communications of the DPR" to "open the Silicon Valley", Komsomolskaya Pravda introduces readers to yet another geniuses: "heads of city and district administrations, and representatives of the republic's ministries". The other day the leader of the "DPR" Zakharchenko awarded them "certificates of successful completion of refresher course under the program "State and Municipal Management".
"For four days the officials attended seminars in Donetsk Academy of Management and Public Service under the Head of the Donetsk People's Republic. They studied the organizational and legal framework for the procurement of goods and services for budgetary funds, especially the documentation. At the end of the course, the authorities' representatives passed the final attestation. The acting head of the Donetsk administration Alexei Kulemzin got the highest score (98 out of 100 points). The first deputy head of the Yasynuvata administration Vladimir Lebedev got 92 out of 100 and acting head of the Horlivka administration Ivan Prikhodko got 90 out of 100", - the KP writes.
"Kyiv went for an aggravation"
Nezavisimaya Gazeta believes that the unstable supply of water to the so-called "LPR" and disconnection from electricity, "put off the reintegration of Donbass and threaten with a new aggravation on the line of delineation".
"Dmitry Manunich, co-chairman of the Energy Strategy Fund, said that the danger for the Ukrainian side lies in the possible aggravation of relations, in particular, the LPR may stop supplying coal to the Luhansk thermal power plant: "It will stop in six weeks and then the north of the Luhansk region controlled by Ukraine will remain without electricity. There is no technical opportunity for alternative supplies of electricity from the territory of Ukraine...", - Nezavisimaya writes.
The newspaper also cites the opinion of Gennadiy Ryabtsev, an expert on energy issues, who told the Gordon newspaper that the current situation will worsen the attitude towards Ukraine from the residents of areas beyond Kyiv's control: "According to opinion polls, two-thirds of the local population are already accustomed to living under the new "authorities". They do not want any changes. In theory, the territory, which for some reason was separated from the main part of the country, is almost impossible to reintegrate painlessly and quickly after three years. This is the opinion of sociological theorists. We had a chance to change the situation in 2014-2015, but it was missed".
"The expert believes that the blame for the situation lies on the Ukrainian authorities, which for a long time used double standards: it was said about the war and external aggression, and it is only an anti-terrorist operation in the documents. In official statements, Kyiv urged the whole world to impose sanctions against the aggressor, and "then traded with the occupied territories with everything it could". Ryabtsev recalled that dozens of Ukrainian enterprises worked in the uncontrolled part of the Donbass up to this year: "What is that supposed to mean? This is the same as if a tank plant was operating in the German-occupied Kyiv, supplying the products to the Soviet Army. This is nonsense", - Nezavisimaya writes.
At the same time, it reminds that "the press secretary of the Russian president Dmitry Peskov, commenting on the situation, said that Ukraine has taken one more step "in the way of exclusion itself from the territories".
"The problem is that Kyiv and Moscow see the ultimate goal differently. The Ukrainian government requires removing the system of the DPR and LPR, the return of the whole territory of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts under full control of Kyiv. In Russia, they insist that the Minsk Agreements presuppose the preservation of the LPR and DPR, their legitimization and the granting of a special status. This is the root of all problems in the Minsk negotiations since 2015.
The root of all problems is lies. Achieving the "principal ultimate goal" according Kyiv’s version is only the beginning of a real catastrophe, because the goal is bad and returns the conflict to the starting point. Hatred has accumulated and now any choice will be the best of the worst. The so-called republics exist only thanks to the "aggressive aggressor", whom is blamed for everything. Federalization is a small hope, and "control over the border" is the way to a complete collapse... ", - Nezavisimaya Gazeta concludes.
While some Russian media portray how Ukrainian economy dies "without Russia", more realistic Kommersant writes about the fact that the economy is an intercommunicating vessel...
"Last year Russian Helicopters Holding (part of Rostech) showed a decrease in revenue by 2.5%, to USD 3.6 billion. Profit decreased by almost three times - from USD 718 thousand to 274 thousand. EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) fell from USD 1.1 billion to 700 thousand, while EBITDA margin was 19% compared to 29.8%. At the same time, shipments of helicopters continued to decrease - by 10.8%, to 189 vehicles (to 13 countries). At the end of 2016, the portfolio of orders was reduced by almost 20%, to USD 6.7 billion", - the newspaper states.
"But, according to expert of the Aviation Explorer portal Vladimir Karnozov, the deterioration in the performance of Russian Helicopters is connected not only with market conditions. Domestic plants could supply customers with more helicopters, if not for the termination of deliveries of TV3-117 engines from the Zaporizhia Motor-Sich plant, which occurred at the Kyiv's decision”, - Kommersant notes.
The newspaper stresses that "before the conflict, Motor-Sich supplied about 600 engines to the Russian Federation". "They were installed in the vast majority of Mi-8/17, Mi-28 and Ka-27/31 (taking into account engines assembled from Ukrainian kits at the V. Klimov plant in St. Petersburg)".
"The production of alternative engines VK2500 and TV7-117V is growing, but it does not cover the need fully", - the expert says. In his opinion, a full solution of the problem will take two to three years", - the newspaper notes.
"The war did not write everything off"
Under this heading, the same Kommersant tells about the "adventures" in Ukraine of the "former journalist and veteran of the marine corps", a 53-year-old Nikolai Grechishkin, against whom the Moscow police completed the investigation of the criminal case.
"He got into pre-trial detention center because of charges of a particularly large fraud, after he got back to Russia after the unrecognized LPR exchanged him for the captured Ukrainian servicemen. Earlier, Nikolai Grechishkin, who had gratitude from the Russian president and Defense Minister, was already being tried for fraud", - Kommersant writes.
The newspaper found out that the Moscow police had been investigating the criminal case of fraud against Nikolai Grechishkin for seven years. It turned out that 10 years ago Grechishkin promised to the management of one CJSC "to provide services for collecting permits, obtaining technical conditions and connecting the business center to the electricity network" for USD 2 million, but the money was transferred to the accounts of one-day firms, and then went to the settlement account of his LLC. As a result, according to the investigation version, he bought two buildings in Moscow on Volgina Str. for the received money and did not fulfill his obligations.
"The charges against Nikolai Grechishkin, who was under a written undertaking not to leave the country, were indicted in August 2011, and in December 2013 he was put on the wanted list. Shortly before that, Nikolai Grechishkin was presented as the deputy editor-in-chief of the Internet resource Russian News. It was said that he was a "veteran of the marine corps, philanthropist and a successful businessman". And soon, as Grechishkin himself claimed, he, a native of Smeloe village of Luhansk oblast, went to cover the fighting in the southeast of Ukraine”, - Kommersant writes.
"I could not stay away and not to defend my homeland when it was in danger", - Grechishkin wrote to Kommersant. - I was sent to interview such famous people as Alexander Mozgovoy (commander of the Prizrak battalion, assassinated in May 2015), Alexander Bednov (call sign Batman, killed in January 2015), Pavel Dremov (call sign Batya, killed in December 2015)". From April 2014 to October 2014, Grechishkin was positioned in the Prizrak battalion”, - the newspaper states.
"However, - Kommersant continues, - "Russian News said that the editorial board did not send their new deputy chief editor to the conflict zone and that was his personal initiative, for which he was later fired".
"Meanwhile, on October 24, 2014, Ukrainian media referring to the head of the Security Service of Ukraine, Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, reported about the detention of "a Moscow resident, Nikolai Grechishkin, a Russian officer, former marine, who was recruited by the Russian Federal Security Service". At the same time, it was alleged that "this person used the post of editor of the Internet resource for the cover" and during his search the RPG-26 Aglen, a grenade, cartridges for small arms, passport of a Russian citizen, several documents for different surnames, the certificate of an assistant to the deputy of the Russian State Duma and the deputy editor-in-chief certificate of the Russian News resource were seized”, - the newspaper notes.
The newspaper further indicates that Grechishkin was included in the list of prisoner exchange between Ukraine and the "LPR" and thus was released. In June 2016, he was detained by Russian security forces on the Russian border. It turned out that in 2013, another criminal case was filed against Grechishkin in Russia: under a contract with one of the enterprises, he received USD 512 thousand, but he did not do anything and did not return the money.
"...Moscow's Gagarinsky District Court sentenced Nikolai Grechishkin to five years and six months of imprisonment in absentia, since at that time he was present in the southeast of Ukraine. After Grechishkin's return to Russia, the verdict came into force. Thus, the former marine and journalist will go to court already convicted, which can significantly increase the weight of the new verdict", - the newspaper summed up the "adventures" of the typical "fighter" for the ideas of "Novorossia".
The review by Mykhailo Karpenko, OstroV