The topic of well-being and prosperity in the "republic" is being actively promoted in CADLO, as in any totalitarian formation. The local media tirelessly talk about the fact that, despite the hostilities, the "DNR" economy is gathering speed every year and one of these days, the residents will feel how good it is to live on this land, "free from fascists".
But no matter how hard Russian propaganda tries, people see the real picture and understand that they are unlikely to see prosperity in this life, if they do not leave in search of happiness in the Russian Federation or Ukraine. Posts where people compare their incomes with 2014, publish today's wage rate of a miner that is less then $80 and express dissatisfaction with the "government" are increasingly appearing in social networks
"The only thing he can do (Pushilin) is to give empty promises and line his and officials' pockets", - angry users of social networks write.
With the advent of the Russian World, the uncontrolled Donbass can no longer be called either an industrial or a coal region. There is less and less enterprises that somehow worked in 2014. More than 70% of the mines operating in Ukraine were closed in the first year of the conflict. Only those that were considered profitable remained. However, they were "nationalized" or simply grabbed over time. For the first two and a half years, everything somehow hinged on the Ukrainian resource of the rightful owners, which was gradually depleted and by the fall of 2019, the socio-economic situation in CADLO had deteriorated sharply: salaries to employees of enterprises and state employees began to be delayed and interruptions with the payment of "republican" pensions appeared.
5 "state-owned" enterprises operate in the "republic" today (Donetsk Coal Energy Company, Makiivvuhillia, Torezantratsyt, Zasiadko Mine and one private company - Donbass Mine Management). All of them have the same problems: the lack of sufficient sales markets, the extreme deterioration of equipment and the wage fund deficit.
According to rumors, the current situation arose because ZAO Vneshtorgservis, which was given the economy of the "republic" at the mercy, does not carry out estimations with the "nationalized" enterprises and its subsidiaries, and does not pay taxes.
VTS owes $125 thousand only to the mines, and if we take all enterprises of the uncontrolled part of Donbass, the amount of debt is $390 thousand. But no one is going to collect the resulting debt for Vneshtorgservis for reasons not well understood, it even received a 2-year delay in paying off its debts. This means that the mines and industrial enterprises of CADLO will not receive their money in the coming years.
At the same time, Vneshtorgservis is not a bankrupt structure, but successfully operating in the given segment by all indications, just not quite legally.
As it is known, coal from the "LDNR" is being actively sold to Europe, Turkey and even to Ukraine under the guise of Russian. Black gold does not accumulate, because they sell this coal at a price that is lower than the cost of its extraction in the Donbass. Experts say that this effectively kills the Ukrainian infrastructure and will continue to do it just as long as the miners work for free or are content with small handouts in the form of partial payment for labor.
Regarding the miners, they, of course, understand what is happening in the coal mining industry, but cannot change the situation. Today, miners are no longer the force that could strike their helmets in 1989-1990 and put forward not only economic demands, but political ones as well - independence from Russia, constitutional consolidation of the Declaration on State Sovereignty of Ukraine, mistrust the President and the Supreme Council.
All bursts of activity of the "DNR" miners cause only a feeling of despair, pity and hopelessness.
The first time the miners decided to protest because of wage arrears was April of this year. No more than 60 people came to the central square of Donetsk, but it was not possible to attract the public attention - the Young Republic organization suddenly decided to hold sports competitions at that time. Then the "walkers" went to the building of the "Ministry of Coal Industry", where they stomped their feet for 20 minutes, until the representatives of the "Ministry of Coal Industry" came out to them. The protesters peacefully went home after a short conversation.
Another miners' rally was announced in November. However, information on its conduct, the number of participants and their requirements could not be found on the Internet.
Of course, it is foolish to think that the authorities will allow massive expressions of the protest moods in a totalitarian "state". Only two "spontaneous" rallies have been held in Donetsk since 2014 - one for not firing from residential buildings, and the second - for Pushilin, who was removed from "power". But it does not take a rocket scientist to figure that these "popular protests" were planned and well-directed by the representatives of the "DNR" policy makers.
The wives of the miners tried to change the situation with non-payment of wages at coal enterprises of the uncontrolled part of Donbass. While the miners were preparing to fight for their economic rights, the women joined together in the Committee of the Miners' Wives social group and began to act.
It is known that they came to director of the Zasiadko mine Vyacheslav Stepanov on November 16 and warned that if the salary arrears of their husbands would not be repaid in the near future, they would proceed to decisive action. Stepanov promised to start paying off the debt on November 22 or 25, but to the joy of the miners, the money was already found on November 18.
However, not all leaders of coal enterprises turned out to be so accommodating and then, the women turned to "head of the republic" Pushilin with promises not to let their husbands go to the mines, if they did not repay their debts in the near future. The reaction of the "authorities" was unexpected - the miners of the Kalinin mine were put on leave for 2/3 of their wages, and Makiivvuhillia completely stopped the production for the mine pumping.
The miners' wives took an equally strange step in response to this - they wrote a letter to "Putin himself", the text of which appeared on the website of the President of Russia on November 25. The authors of the letter told him that "today, our men produce no less coal than before the war. But all coal and other riches… are taken out for free by looters of ZAO Vneshtorgservis. Representatives of the interests of looters Pushilin, "Minister of Coal" Dubovskoy and other officials start telling our men tales about the severity of martial law in response for the claims for repayment of many months of wage arrears, and they themselves are growing fat and getting richer every day". They asked for help and to punish the perpetrators at the end of the petition.
How events will develop in the future is still unknown, because formally, the miners' wives turned to the head of a foreign state.
Most likely, Putin's aides will not consider it necessary to disturb the president about this, so we should not expect any reaction from that side. But the fact that the women showed to the local elite through their actions that they are determined, inspires that the miners will be paid the salary debts.
Well, most likely, the process of closing a new batch of coal mining enterprises will begin then, which will only strengthen the conviction that the "young Republic" is going with seven-mile steps not in the bright future, as local media convince, but down the drain.
Liusia Molchanova, Donetsk, for OstroV