"Acts of terrorism", "espionage" and economic situation in the "republics" became the topics discussed in the separatist media last week.
Two "terrorist attacks" took place in the territory of the Luhansk "republic" again. Local "authorities" immediately found a responsible and traditionally accused the "Kyiv regime". The head of the republic Igor Plotnitsky wrote in his appeal to the residents of CDLO, in fact, copying the language of Stalinist propaganda, that "on the night of August 1, hiding in the darkness, the enemies of Donbass tried to commit another dark business". A monument to the defenders of the republic in Luhansk suffered a terrorist attack for a second time. Having repeatedly shown its debility on the battlefield, at the negotiating table and in organizing the blockade, Kyiv regime took up the only thing that it still can do – destroying monuments. And what is the most disgusting: acting upon the guides of ISIL, Kyiv involves children in terrorist activities".
The topic of children's participation in "terrorist activities" was not developed in the appeal of Plotnitsky, so it is not possible to understand whom he had in mind. Further in his text, it was said that "Donbass is not Ukraine! We will protect our land, our children and our monuments all together. Unity and vigilance are the most important now. Let us honestly say that residents of the districts that are far from the firing line have relaxed and have become accustomed to a peaceful life. But the war has not yet ended. And it is quite clear now that Poroshenko has chosen terrorist acts as the main means of "final solution of the Donbass question"".
"We will be united – we will not give terrorists a chance! —Plotnitsky called. — When every citizen immediately informs the "Hot Line" about suspicious people, things and actions – terrorists will not be able to do something".
What happened in the part of the Luhansk oblast, uncontrolled by Kyiv, in the first days of August? As the Lugansk Media Centre wrote, "unknown people had blown up the base of the monument to militiamen in Chervonopartyzansk of the Sverdlovsk district, five people had been wounded… "Today around 10 a.m., an explosion was fired on the outskirts of Chervonopartyzansk at the intersection near the former Voroshylov boiler house. According to preliminary data, a mine exploded at the base of the monument to militiamen, which was to be opened tomorrow, on August 3, a day of the third anniversary of liberation of the Sverdlovsk district from the Ukrainian armed forces", — the report said".
A day earlier, explosion occurred in Luhansk. As reported by the Lugansk Media Centre with reference to the "Deputy Minister of State Security" of the Luhansk "republic" Alexander Basov, "employees of the LNR MIA treat the explosion in the center of Luhansk, which seriously damaged the monument "They defended the Motherland", as a terrorist attack". "Tonight at 01.50, Ukrainian terrorists organized an explosion of the monument to the defenders of the Republic "They defended the Motherland" by the means of improvised explosive device, demonstrating to the world once again how the Kyiv regime intends to reintegrate the Donbass. According to all the legal norms, this act is treated as terrorist", — he said".
"There are grounds to link it with the fact that yesterday, the Russian court has passed a sentence on the Ukrainian terrorist Oleksiy Syzanovych, previously convicted in Ukraine for criminal offenses and working for the Chief Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine from 2014. It was Syzanovych who supplied the "Black-and-White" grouping, which carried out the explosion of monument in September last year, with improvised explosive devices and schemes of their production", — Basov also stated.
The first of the Luhansk terrorist attacks happened just the day after the Russian court gave a 12-year prison term to 61-year-old Oleksiy Syzonovych (this is exactly how competent media write his name). This story was described in detail by the Russian Mediazona and deserves particular attention. It makes sense to emphasize that the citizen of Ukraine was seized in August 2016 — before the "terrorist acts", which he was accused of, occurred.
Citing the "head of the Centre for Public Relations of the MIA" Yevgeniya Liubenko, the Lugansk Media Centre also wrote that "the LNR MIA has irrefutable evidence that all operations were developed and realized by Syzanovych by orders of the Chief Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine. He also provided the sabotage and reconnaissance groups, operating in the territory of the Republic on the instruction of the secret services of Ukraine, with improvised explosive devices (IED). IED, made by Syzanovych, were used not only by sabotage and reconnaissance groups, but also by members of the neo-Nazi groupings of the Azov Battalion and other associations of radical orientation".
"According to the results of investigation, it was established that the explosive device, used by members of the "Black-and-White" ultras grouping to undermine the "Victory Star" memorial sign, was also made by Syzanovych, — Liubenko said. — At the present time, the Ukrainian terrorist, wanted in the LNR, is detained in the territory of the Russian Federation for preparing an act of sabotage".
Moreover, it was claimed in Luhansk that a "laboratory" where Oleksiy Syzanovych allegedly produced explosive was found. "During the searches at the addresses of Syzanovych's residence, a laboratory for the manufacture of improvised explosive devices, based on army explosive, was found. He received it from the secret services in the territory of Ukraine. He used the devices made in the terrorist acts and handed them over to subversive groups, operating in the territory of the Republic, leaving them in hidings", — was claimed in the "Ministry of State Security" of the Luhansk "republic".
"Oleksiy Syzanovych is involved in the organization and implementation of sabotage, which was directed solely at destroying civilian objects and infrastructure. In particular, he carried out explosions of railway tanks at Krasnodon station, railroad bed on the Sverdlovsk-Rovenky stretch and facilities in the territory of industrial site in Krasnodon", — was also said in this report.
In the context of frequent "acts of terrorism" in the territory of CDDLO, the data, cited by the "official website" of the Donetsk "republic" is interesting. As it was written in one of its recent reports, "in June 2017, four sentences were given by the Military Tribunal of the DNR. Espionage figures in the list of articles. In total, eight people were convicted under Article 321 of the Criminal Code of the DNR in 2016-2017. This is reported by the press service of the DNR Supreme Court. Only two persons out of all the convicted for espionage are natives of the Donbass, other people are from Ukraine, Russia and Uzbekistan. Let us also warn the victims of their own ventures. A citizen of the Russian Federation, born in the Lviv oblast in 1989, joined the armed forces of the DNR, and then was taken prisoner. Being a prisoner, he agreed to cooperate with the enemy, was trained, and then transferred to the territory of the DNR for carrying out blasting operations and espionage in favor of Ukraine. Being detained, he said that he cooperated with the SBU in order to escape captivity. However, the facts gathered by the investigation, indicate the opposite. The court sentenced him to 18 years of imprisonment. There are ideologically motivated opponents of the DNR among those convicted of espionage, who were specially trained in extremist organizations. For example, a native of the Lviv oblast (born in 1988), who was sentenced to 16 years of imprisonment".
The Luhansk "republic" did not publish such data.
"Salaries are not paid since spring"
Another hot topic of the past week was the economic problems of the "republics", about which local de-facto officials started talking almost openly.
Thus, the "official website" of the Donetsk "republic" cited the information of the "Minister of Finance" Ekaterina Matyushchenko that "social benefits and material assistance to the vulnerable segments of the population" amount to "about 40 percent" of the expenditure part of the "republican" budget. The report also noted that since 2016 the budget of the "republic" is being approved quarterly. "This decision is primarily related to the military situation in the Republic and the instability of filling the revenue part of the budget. The Ministry of Finance is monitoring the economic situation, as well as working with other ministries to stabilize the revenue part of the budget for tax and non-tax payments to extend the budget period to one year. A half-year budget can be adopted as an intermediate option in the future", - Matyushchenko said.
"As noted by the press service of the DNR’s Ministry of Finance, in connection with Ukraine's refusal to provide social security for pensioners and recipients of other social payments that reside on the territory of the Republic, the Council of Ministers of the DNR included budget expenditures on deficit payments for pensions and other social payments", - the "official website" also noted.
The issue of the resumption of payment of pensions and social benefits on the territories that are not controlled by Kyiv was raised last week and at the Minsk talks. As the "Acting Minister of Labor and Social Policy of the DNR" Larisa Tolstykina stated, "the Ukrainian side continues to shy away from discussing this issue". "We do not have high hopes for a positive settlement of this issue, but, for our part, we are ready to start practical implementation of the set of measures for the resumption of social payments at any moment", - the "official website of the DNR" quoted Tolstykina.
Patriotic Forces of Donbass noted that the minimum pension in the Donetsk "republic" is $44. As the website of this organization, headed by now disgraced Alexander Khodakovsky, stated, "whatever the optimistic officials say, it is extremely difficult to survive on this money, if not to say that it is impossible". There are no official calculations of the subsistence minimum in the open access, but according to the most conservative estimates, in the heating season, even unquestionably cheap republican housing and communal services for a very modest housing will still require up to $17 per month, that is, almost half of the minimum pension".
"The situation with pensions in the LDNR is objectively complicated for a number of reasons", - the author of the article noted. "The local economy is still idle or the whole branches have minimal load, which, among other problems, deprives the Pension Fund of proper receipts, and it deprives the budget of opportunities for subsidizing social payments. In addition, the able-bodied population massively left due to military actions. The less mobile old people basically stayed at home. The only way out for the socially vulnerable categories was to register on the territories under Ukraine’s control to receive a pension, but, as mentioned above, Ukraine wants to get rid of them in every way".
Meanwhile, the "LNR" media continued to publicly attack oligarch Rinat Akhmetov, whose businesses were actually transferred under the leadership of the occupation authorities. As the Lugansk Media Centre said, "it is understandable that the loss of a sense of stability and the complexity of the transition period cause anxiety and discontent, but in our situation we should not look back, we should look ahead. We did not drown. Of course, everybody wants everything to go well at once, but we do not live in a fairy tale, where everything happens with a wave of a wand".
Last week, Patriotic forces of Donbass also wrote about the mines — specifically about the mines of "Donbass" colliery group. As the article stressed, having a private owner (Ukrainian media believe that its actual owner is Viktor Yanukovych), it did not transfer "under external management", unlike most other large enterprises in the occupied territory.
"Before the war, the enterprise was considered to be quite successful. Even though it was actually working on the mines that the state had abandoned at the time. Moreover, after the liberation of Zhdanivka in 2014, the colliery group restored the work of the almost destroyed mine Komunarivska No. 22. The second production asset, the Shcheglovska Glyboka mine, was slightly damaged and therefore did not cease operations. But from the end of February, both mines have been stopped, coal is not mined, new faces are not prepared, old ones are supported by minimal means. "There is no sales", - the director of the colliery group Yuriy Popovkin explained. "There are about 70 thousand tons of thermal coal and about 17 thousand tons of coking coal in the warehouses".
"The reasons are obvious to all those who are interested in the industry. By the end of the winter, the "patriotic blockade" organized by the "ATO veterans" was launched, and in March it was legalized by the Ukrainian Council of National Security. The main consumers (Centerenergo and Metinvest) were on the other side. There is an overabundance of coal on the domestic market of the DNR, and this is not only the current state, but an existing imbalance in production and consumption that cannot be remedied by administrative measures. The region produces significantly more coal than its thermal power plants need. That is, "Donbass" colliery group is an illustrative example, but by no means the only one".
"The idle "Donbass" hasn’t been paying salaries since spring. Only personnel that is involved in the maintenance work (slightly more than 10% of the staffing) gets some parts of the salaries. Only 500 people partially work in two mines out of the 4165 officially employed workers", - the article of Patriotic Forces of Donbass mentioned.
The review was prepared by Sofia Petrovska, OstroV