There was no opening of the border with the neighboring "LNR" this month too, although "head" of the world's most popular "republic" Pushilin tearfully promised the local population to "resolve this issue" in the near future, because he "understands" the aspirations of the people to see their relatives and loved ones living in that territory.
He told the local media with regret: "In general, everything was already heading towards the opening, but as we all see, the second wave of COVID-19 has begun"… To exclude all kinds of questions regarding the free movement of citizens to Ukraine from Luhansk, he added that "the "republics" have different approaches to work with Ukraine" where, allegedly, the number of diseases has recently increased.
Of course, COVID has nothing to do with it. It is just that Pushilin understands that not only those who have relatives there are interested in opening the border with Luhansk, but above all, the category of citizens who see this as a real way to reduce the cost and speed up travel to the territory controlled by the Ukrainian authorities. After all, even if the border between Luhansk and Donetsk opens, it will be solely for the internal movement of persons from one "republic" to another. But this may have positive results for the Donetsk residents, because they will pay only for the "solution" of the issue of passport control by the "LNR", saving on the "transportation" service along the secret paths connecting Donetsk and Luhansk.
Of course, no one liked this "concern" for people's health. And this is understandable - who will like such confinement within the stub of the Donetsk oblast.
If people still hoped in the spring people that the checkpoint would be opened in the summer and there would be an opportunity to visit relatives, who remained on the other side of the conflict, go on vacation or settle the accumulated legal issues in the free territory, then it became clear in June that no one was going to let them go in the near future.
Carriers working at the intersection of the demarcation line from Donetsk and Horlivka quickly crossed over to another direction and began to take people out of the "DNR" through Russia. However, not everyone who wanted to travel in this way had the means and strength for a long journey, but the information against the background of rumors that Oschadbank would extend the validity of expired bank cards until October 1 and then they would be blocked spurred pensioners to go on a long trip and complete the quest that the "authorities" of the "republic" arranged for them.
The fact is that it will no longer be possible to cash out Ukrainian pension from the blocked cards on the territory of the "republic".
By the way, cash out transactions are another source of income for the "republic's" "authorities" after carriers who, as you know, give bribes for permission to illegally cross the borders.
It was much easier for the elderly to give a percentage to the "money changers" so as not to buck off-road for more than a thousand kilometers to the nearest ATM, which is located in a settlement in the territory controlled by Ukraine. This service was a more convenient way for them to receive their pensions. The fact that this is a well-built scheme, known since the 90s of the last century, when the law enforcement agencies turned into "legitimate" racketeers. Now this business in the "republic" is covered by the "Ministry of State Security".
The increased passenger traffic of population of the uncontrolled territories, who rushed to Ukrainian banks for new pension cards, did not catch carriers by surprise and pleased those who receive income from this type of activity. As everyone understands, these are not the drivers of vehicles, directly carrying out transportation.
The demand for this service not only generated an offer, but also increased the size of the cost. Now prices start at $88, which is $35 more expensive than in July and August. But this does not stop pensioners, because living on social benefits in CADLO has always been sad, and given the rise in prices for medicines, food and utilities, it will be unrealistic at all.
The "leadership" of the people's republic has finally recognized the fact that the public utility sphere is bulging at the seams. Above all, because of the fact that a purely populist program for pricing of consumed services has been working here since 2014. The increase in tariffs for cold water, rent, electricity and SMW removal was explained in September last year by the urgent need to raise the salaries of workers in the public utility sector, with a promise to keep tariffs for heat. This year, residents were asked to treat the next increase with understanding. "We kept the situation for a long time so that the tariffs for our citizens would not increase…", - the "head" of the "republic" began his speech with sadness in his voice and reported that the tariffs for heat and hot water have to be raised in some "DNR" cities from October. The payment in Donetsk will increase by 28%, in Horlovka by 17.8%, in Makiivka by 5.1%, and in Novyi Svit by 72% (now the residents will pay $1-3 more for heating only, based on payment during the year depending on the area of living accommodation). The tariff in the rest of the settlements will remain the same. Allegedly, the price, which will be $8.65 per gigacalorie throughout the "republic", was leveled that way. In order to sugarcoat somehow, Pushilin did not fail to notice that even these tariffs are still 6 times lower than in Ukraine. How much higher the salary is there, he did not specify…
So far, no one has officially commented on the increase in food prices. But social networks exploded with the indignation of entrepreneurs who imported goods from Russia into the "republic". The dissatisfaction is caused by the fact that the amount of customs duties was increased. For example, they grew 6 times for tea, and 7.5 times for butter. The duty for the import of a truck of sugar amounted to approximately $19 thousand. As a result, the population is observing the rise in prices for these groups of goods and, as usual, curses traders.
The increase in prices for some drugs is not due to customs duties, but due to certification. Moreover, entrepreneurs cannot really be told why they need to obtain a local certificate for import into the "republic" when all the goods have already passed all the necessary checks in the Russian Federation. Although, everyone understands perfectly well that this additional procedure is aimed at replenishing the "DNR" treasury and individuals.
Looking at all these "worries" about the "republic's" residents, many Donetsk residents get the impression that the "DNR" policy is aimed at squeezing people out of the occupied region. Low salaries, beggarly social payments, creating unfavorable conditions for doing business, low-quality food products imported from the Russian Federation - all this makes many people think about changing their place of residence. But if the tired people of the uncontrolled Donbass begin to leave this region en masse, a bullet-proof pro-Russian electorate will remain here. And the consequences will be sad. Because this will be just the scenario that the Kremlin is writing for the reintegration of CADLO into Ukraine.
Liusia Molchanova, Donetsk, for OstroV