Will intensification of hostilities take place in Donbass; what are people afraid of in Donetsk; who decides whether returning migrants can work in the DPR; what Russian MP offered to residents of Donbass... – You can hear answers to these and other topical issues of the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the latest Sergey Garmash’s radio programme "Occupation".
Will there be an offensive in Donbass?
The main trend of the past week in Donbass was, unfortunately, again the war. Actually, not the war itself but information on preparation for it. The population of the occupied territories is being intensively prepared for the inevitable resumption of wider hostilities.
Audio: "The Armed Forces of Ukraine continue to build up the conditions of stay of military equipment along the contact line provided by the Minsk agreements, as well as use terms of the ceasefire for the military build-up of their units in the area of the so-called ATO," - the speaker of the so-called "People's Militia of the LPR" Andrey Marochko.
And his colleague in Donetsk, Eduard Basurin, not only states the fact of the situation escalation on the front but even informs his audience about the secret plans of the Kiev authorities, which, of course, are aimed at, and I quote: "the eradication and destruction of Donbass population." Not more, not less.
Audio: "Advisor to the President of Ukraine on security Gorbulin developed a scenario according to which events develop along the contact line. The scenario provides for harassing attacks on the territory of the DPR, tightening of the economic and social blockade, as well as the force seizure of the republics, elimination and destruction of Donbass population ... The main purpose of the scenario is to cancel the Minsk agreements. They will offer a plan that will lead to more bloodshed in the heart of Europe instead."
Leader of the DPR Alexander Zakharchenko is also preparing release of its occupied territories by Ukraine.
Audio: "As soon as weather conditions permit, the Ukrainian side is likely to start an offensive. At the moment, unfortunately or fortunately, the fields are impassable for military equipment to a greater extend for Ukraine. When there is dry weather, I think the military equipment will go but it will be the last spurt before death for the Ukrainians."
What is happening in the "DPR army?"
As you can see the mood of the leader of Donetsk militants is optimistic. War inspires him. But those who hold the defense directly on the front line see the situation otherwise. Commander of the Vostok brigade with the call sign "Krest" who has been defending the positions of militants near Avdeyevka and Yasinovataya for more than a year told separatist Newsfront resource about the recent battles in this area and on the situation in the DPR army in general.
Audio: "This is about the events on March 16th when you protected the industrial zone, was the operation generally coordinated?
- Yes, I think it was but everything was not coordinated, the soldiers suffer, some kind of mess, no intercommunication, no one listens to anything, all try to shoot somewhere... When we, my unit was 700 meters ahead of us and projectiles fly past, illiterate soldiers and officers who give orders to shoot but do not know where they shoot. And they shot at our backs. Because there was absolutely no literacy. There was a full mess. We were jumping like monkeys in front of the camera. I saw that and we were ashamed to look at that ...
- And what is the situation now? Who controls the industrial zone?
- Well, it is 50 to 50.
- Why did you let them take control? - Well, there were recruits who hadn’t fought on the front line before, it was a shock for them. Then I heard that many of them had started to write the report to leave ...
- Is it due to the fact that the DPR army is changing? The level of unemployment is huge in the republic and many people join the army just to earn?
- Yes, to earn. They don’t want to go to the front line. There is the unit commander saying - people will begin to write a report ... Here 80% actually came to make money. You need to collect healthy men, mobilize and put things in order, they already began to build some banditry... You need very competent people but these people are insulted or slandered here ... And when the gangs are here. It is not clear who they are and what they are doing - it will be a mess."
How they are "treated". Separatist myths
Frankly speaking, listening to such revelations, reading "ideological idiots," as I kindly call them in social networks, I feel sincerely sorry for these people. They sincerely believe that they are fighting for a better life, protecting their home from mythical "Ukrainian fascists." They do not understand that to live on the principle of "where we are – there is Russia" is the destruction of either themselves or those who do not consider themselves as Russian, that is a priori war. And instead of building somewhere in Ukraine, Chechnya or Germany not Russia but their life, they die and kill for the unattainable, illusory idea. Does it matter where you live? The most important – how. What will you stand in front of Lord with? When you leave. What will you leave to your children – territory destroyed by war, hatred neighbours? What is more important the mythical "Russian world" or the peace and well-being of certain people? But many there simply don’t have possibility to think about it. Myths are hammered into their heads every day like Donetsk bard Vladimir Skobtsov announced on some local television last week.
Audio: "We need to win independence. That is not the illusions of our spectators, our citizens who think that the fate of Donbass and Crimea is close. Not really. And it was a foregone conclusion, apparently - now it becomes clear ...
- Two years ago?
- I think - earlier. Because they decided to kill us in 2004.
- Yes, it is true, the first time it sounded then.
- They started to make caches in the same period. Security Service created caches on the territory of the DPR, so that residents of Donbass had no illusions, that if we had voted differently or behaved in a wrong way - we would have stayed alive - no.
"Die for the sake of Russia!"
Putin’s cannon fodder is grown on these myths spread among local journalists and alcoholic bards. They even don’t hide it in Russia. On March 13th St. Petersburg hosted a meeting participated by the deputy of Russian State Duma, coordinator of the National Liberation Movement Yevgeniy Fedorov with activists of this organization. There also arrived men from Vostok gang. It was about the Minsk agreements and what would happen to the defenders of the DPR, LPR. State Duma deputy offered them to die because they were Russian soldiers.
Audio: "All the Minsk agreements are sabotage. Because they say: Donetsk and Luhansk must be surrendered to Ukraine till the New Year ...
- And what should they do? Sabotage is on top, should they give their lives? - Yes, give their lives. What do you want? - They will soon come to an end and that’s all. - They are Russian soldiers on the forefront in terms of traitors in front of them and behind them. - So what to do? - To fight for their homeland and die, that to do! "
Russian State Duma deputies do not mind death of other people. Moscow, apparently, believes that the only purpose of the deceived inhabitants of Donbass is to die for Russia. And Russia will not hesitate to demand the victims from those whom it supposedly protects. Deputy Director of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Vadim Skibitskiy said on Friday that Russia was actively preparing for war in the east of Ukraine.
"Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine notes taking measures for the resumption of active hostilities on the occupied territories by the Russian Federation. The main purpose is increasing pressure on Ukraine, creating conditions for the revision of the Minsk agreements and changing the format of the negotiation process on Russian terms," - he said.
Audio: "All these Medvedchuk’s plans, all other miserable initiatives agreed with our Old ones, they are still doomed. The war in Ukraine is inevitable. Hopefully, the government will be able to implement the victory in Ukraine after a local defeat in Syria. At least in defense of Novorossia and saving the DPR and LPR."
- It was an adept of the so-called "Novorossia" Igor Strelkov. But the plans of the war, as it turns out, were made not only in Moscow but also in long-suffering Donetsk. While militant leaders talk about peace, appealing to the Minsk agreements, the former "people's governor" Pasha Gubarev making a speech last week at the Moscow Economic Forum blabbed that he expected a military victory. And far beyond the borders of Donetsk region.
Audio: "I do not see a big contradiction that on the one hand, we, of course, after the war. After the military victory, whether it will be in Kiev or in Lviv .... "
What for do they need war?
"A number of factors are working for the war. Regime, established in the "DPR" and "LPR", needs to prove their worth to Moscow and legitimacy to the people of the territories under their control. There is a problem with both lately. Elimination of warlords of the unrecognized republics and division of spheres of influence have been going on for months. Residents of controlled territories, many of whom receive pensions in Ukraine or commute to work through the Ukrainian checkpoints, accumulated frustration in regard to their "liberators". For Zakharchenko and Co ° war is the only way to keep power," - it was a quote from the Russian Novaya Gazeta which analyzed the situation in Donbass.
It's hard not to agree with the Russian colleagues. Since the socio-economic situation in the DPR has recently deteriorated rapidly, the popularity of so-called "authorities" has fallen as well. Zakharchenko even radically changed his rhetoric about the elections which he used to be so eager to conduct. Elections are not beneficial for him anymore. What can justify depriving people of the right to show their attitude to the authorities? - Only ... War
Audio: Based on their situation prevailing on the fronts, we will decide whether to hold the elections. If fighting stops, Kiev will have to comply with all points of the Minsk agreements. It is adoption of a new Constitution, I stress - it is a new one. The issue of the election must be agreed with us. If all these processes take place, I think, the question of holding elections is resolved. If not, the elections themselves are a big question."
And now what for, in fact, the so-called pro-Russian authorities DPR-LPR need the war. - Two-year dolce far niente is over. On the background of the economic crisis in Russia, the Kremlin increasingly requires Zakharchenko and Plotnitsky to seek internal reserves of the "republics" to maintain themselves. Last time we reported on the deprivation of pensions that exceed 1500 hryvnia, the right to free travel in public transport. In Donetsk wallets of the inhabitants of the occupied territories were also affected. The authorities of the DPR constantly boasted of the fact that unlike Ukraine they did not increase tariffs for housing and communal services. they stated that it was contrary to the real economic trends. And it turned out that they did not increase tariffs not because they want population to save money, but because it is still unable to pay even those fees which are now. According to official statistics, almost 40% of the DPR do not pay for utilities today.
I must say that the situation was greatly caused by the so-called government of the "republic". In October 2014 then Prime Minister of the DPR Alexander Zakharchenko declared non-requirement of payment for the services received from Ukrainian enterprises at the meeting with residents. "We have no utility bills from the DPR yet. Those that come from the Ukrainian side may not be paid. Ukraine will forgive you," - he said. Ukrainian enterprises became "DPR enterprises", but people are accustomed to not pay a loan at banks or utility bills. That’s why, in fact, many people find occupied life appealing. It is clear that it couldn’t last like that for a long time.
And now, as of March 4th decree of the Head of the DPR No. 50 canceled moratorium on disconnection of private households from utilities introduced in 2014. And as of March 20th inhabitants of the territories controlled by the DPR received "claims", "notices" and "notifications". Differences between documents are small. "Notice" warns the debtor of the subsequent sanctions, "claim" threatens the debtor to admit his apartment "ownerless" and confiscate it in favour of the republic. "Notice" asks to pay in the framework of the "pre-trial settlement of the debt problem." Otherwise, they say, they will use "legal actions aimed at the forced debt collection."
"If the salary is 2-5 thousand rubles, then even 700-1000 rubles for housing and communal services are serious charges. But not all who are in difficult situation live in a one-bedroom apartment, - says the separatist Patriotic Forces of Donbass.
According to the journalists of the resource, "Even highest-paid workers in the past Donbass – miners cannot fully and timely pay for communal services today. Most industrial enterprises have accumulated debts on salaries during the war. Miners often get money little by little, mostly 5-15% of the salary. To spend this money at a shop or bank is a dilemma but often solved not in favour of the housing department. As a result, there are whole villages of debtors, such as Lozovskoy village in Donetsk, where mainly workers of mines named after Skochinskiy and Abakumov live. "Chain letters" from the water utility have been recently handed to almost all the residents, so that if communal services accomplish their intentions, they will have to turn off whole streets immediately,"- writes Donetsk journalist.
Zakharchenko’s resolution on housing caused stormy reaction in social networks.
"I understand that my apartment has gas, electricity, water. Until August 2014 I paid regularly for services, but even then I did not work and I survived. Now the situation is the same - there is no work. Nobody has asked for two years if I have good food? - wrote Donetsk resident under the name Akulina Zhemchugova on Facebook after receiving a notice from the heating supply system. – There are 80% like me, surviving ones. There is no work! I would like to ask the Ministers who wave off at such letters, you get paid a few tens of thousands knowing that people live in hunger, cold, poverty and ruin, do you sleep well? Has the war ended? Can you guarantee that the window which I put in two months ago, will not be broken again? The majority in our republic is like me. And instead of understanding and helping you make decisions and laws that intimidate and humiliate people. There is no need to intimidate with the administrative responsibility. Life made me a deadbeat and I did not call the war to my city! If there is sympathy and mercy, what can we say? Provide people with work, ensure peace, set the prices in shops so that meat, fruits and vegetables are not only admired but also bought then I’ll hurry to pay for utilities - believe me, it had always been like that before the war .... With GREAT DISAPPOINTMENT and without respect to you, ministers and heads of regional administrations,"- wrote a resident of the occupied Donetsk.
And here is another problem in the DPR, which the former "people's governor" Pasha Gubarev announced in Moscow last week.
Audio: - "Today, peasants do not have money. No loan mechanisms. A part of equipment, significant one, has been taken away. Grains needed for sowing have been taken away. And today there is a very big risk that we do not sow. Sowing will be disrupted and to feed two million people living in Donbass is a very heavy burden, even for Russia."
Donbass is becoming "too heavy burden for Russia, and, of course, Russia wants to shift the burden to residents of Donbass. Hence the abolition of benefits for pensioners and suddenly relevant utilities debts.
Who is left at the DPR universities?
While talking about lustration in Ukraine, the so-called DPR is already underway. And on political grounds and at the level of staff. The employment of university professors, who for one reason or another return to Donetsk, is conducted after discussion with the staff that is held in social networks.
Science fiction writer, lecturer of Donetsk National Technical University (one that stayed in Donetsk) Vladislav Rusanov told who was now working and studying at the occupied universities in Donetsk during a talk show on local TV.
Audio: "Not many students left. IT students mostly left. Managers. Economists. Technical students didn’t leave so intensively. Here is a simple social stratification - simpler people learn at our faculties. Not many students return. Yes, we accept them ... lecturers, as well. By the way, each returning lecturer is considered at a meeting of the department which he/she left and at the meeting of the trade union committee. And the staff, that is those who stayed here and did not leave, keeps the right not to accept this person, if he/she expressed some statements or wrote something in social networks social networks..."
OstroV, Public Radio of Donbass