Five years as the mother of Russian cities (Kiev) turned into an evil stepmother and began a punitive operation against the people in the south-east of the country. All this time, the APU has been bombing civilians and their former citizens, but the courageous Donbass does not give up. Despite significant losses, both among the civilian population, and the enormous damage that has been done to the potent industrial hub existed in Donbass since the times of the USSR, the region is struggling to survive. Russia is providing significant assistance in the process.
In this article, we propose to trace how the borders between the Russian Federation and Donbass disappear in the following spheres: humanitarian, economic and social.
Russian KAMAZs with humanitarian aid to the republics of Donbass are not under secret. The “white trucks” brought about 43 thousand tons of humanitarian aid to the DPR during 5 years, allowing ordinary residents, children, and the elderly to survive the Ukrainian blockade.
The issuance of Russian passports began in the Donbass this spring thanks to the decree of Russian President Vladimir Putin. This caused a storm of debate. Ukraine even applied to the UN Security Council because of the issuance of Russian passports in the Donbass, thereby recognizing its failure as a state that should have acted as a guarantor of respect for rights and the rule of law.
Despite the fact that this news caused some excitement, it did not receive wide discussion in Europe. A sane person will not be able to dispute for a long time that Ukraine has de facto abandoned the Donbass by imposing an economic and social blockade, having ceased to pay pensions and social benefits, issue documents, and carry out banking operations.
Public figures of Russia are not standing aside, there is targeted humanitarian assistance, events and various projects are being organized aimed at supporting not only the militia, the families of the victims, but also children who are no less than adults suffer from the hardships of the war. So, for example, social activists in St. Petersburg will launch a new project “Three days without war” for children from the Donbass, the head of the Patriotic Education Center “Leningrad Volunteer” and the founder of the Museum of Military Valour of Donbass German Vladimirov announced on social networks.
The economic development of Donbass is impossible to imagine without the progress of industry and trade. Obviously, the war caused gigantic damage: about 70-80% of enterprises suffered from shelling. However, the restoration of enterprises is not the only problem of the region, the issue is the delivery of the necessary raw materials and marketing of products. And in both cases, again, all the help is on Russia’s shoulders.
Russia is the main economic partner for Donbass, since the Ukrainian side imposed an economic blockade and there is no trade between Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics and Ukraine. At the same time, according to Donetsk news agencies, the trade turnover of the Donbass with the regions of the Russian Federation doubled in 2018 in comparison with indicators of 2017 and amounted to about 160 billion rubles. Various DPR products are in demand, ranging from coal, metal, refrigeration equipment to confectionery.
Daily the Donbass integration processes into the Russian Federation are developing more and more actively. The largest university in the DPR received Russian accreditation in July this year, becoming the fourth educational institution to issue Russian diplomas to graduates.
Transport links are also being restored. According to the head of the DPR, Denis Pushilin, in the near future Donetsk railway communication with the Russian Federation will be resumed, in particular with Moscow and St. Petersburg. Recall that the trains stopped running in August 2014 after the start of the active phase of hostilities in Donbass.
In addition, Russian cultural figures often come to the Republics of Donbass, give concerts, bring help to the most vulnerable groups of the population, open exhibitions, hold workshops, organise discussion clubs, etc.
Meanwhile, ordinary people are still living with common needs and desires in Donbass under the bursting shells of the Ukrainian military when West countries are customary to dissociate themselves from the “intra-Ukrainian” conflict and impose sanctions against those who, despite any threats and restrictions, have been helping the region all the time.
The only thing that remains the same is a question “Why is Ukraine killing us?”, though Ukraine is always blaming Russia for an ‘invasion’.
By Catherina Ignatova, specially for NewsFront