Donbass News Round-Up: The Price of Independence


October 15, 2017 – Fort Russ – 

By the Editorial Board of the Cossack Herald – c.e. by J. Arnoldski – 

EU,US-backed Ukrainian administration reform to end in corruption

A pilot project for civil service reform initiated by the EU and US State Department has been launched in Ukraine. With the money allocated by the European Commission (100 million euros), 123 jobs have been created for the next generation of entrepreneurs. Applicants are promised higher wages than Ukrainian standards – from 30 to 70 thousand hryvnia. Employment will be on a competitive basis. Winners will take leadership positions in 10 Ministries and in the Cabinet of Ministers Secretariat. More than 3 thousand applications have already been submitted for the available 123 seats. In total, more than a thousand such places will be announced if the European Commission increases funding.

People who are well acquainted with the practice of such working sectors are sure that the matter will end in a banal sale of positions, a practice which thrives in Maidan Ukraine. A more or less decent position costs at least 10,000 dollars, while upper level jobs can cost millions. Instead of creating new bureaucratic posts, it is more expedient to create a larger number of jobs in the economy.

Ukrainian bombs continue to fall on LPR civilians 

On October 8th, the Ukrainian military shelled the village of Prishib, as a result of which two houses were damaged. The next day, on October 9th, a tractor driver died in an explosion near Metallist village in the Slavyanoserbsk district during agricultural work. The driver was injured and the tractor was damaged. 

The Ukrainian military has acknowledged that it has not suffered any losses from attacks on the Lugansk front. The civilians of the Lugansk People’s Republic, however, are under fire and do suffer almost everyday. This is how Ukraine is observing the “school-time truce. ‘

Leading DPR engineer killed in mine explosion

On October 4th, the head of the Yasinovataya Republican Enterprise “Regional Energy Company”, Pavel Gritsienko, died from a mine explosion while inspecting damage to a power transmission line near Yasinovataya. A serviceman of the DPR died along with him while guarding the group of power engineers who were supposed to restore the power supply destroyed by Ukrainian troops. P. Gritsienko is survived by two young children. 

Debaltsevo kindergarten destroyed in 2014-2015 reopens

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On October 9th, following the completion of reconstruction, kindergarten No.8 8 “Zvezdochka” reopened in the front-line town of Debaltsevo. The school had ceased work in the winter of 2014-2015 after artillery shells repeatedly hit it – the roof and the facade of the building were hit, all the windows were blown out, and the furniture and walls in the rooms were damaged. “Zvezdochka” can now host 234 children. It is currently attended by 120.

People’s Militia of the LPR celebrates third anniversary 

On October 7th, a solemn meeting dedicated to the third anniversary of the establishment of the People’s Militia of the Lugansk People’s Republic was held at the Lugansk Philharmonic  Academic.

In autumn of 2014, the Lugansk People’s Republic formed its own army, the People’s Militia. The meaning of the name was specifically chosen to to reflect the popular, democratic and local character of the army, which replaced the former militia groupings. First militiamen and then the People’s Militia successfully prevented the Ukrainian Nazis from repeating a Volyn massacre in Donbass. 

LPR and DPR completely self-sufficient thanks to coal sales

The Deputy Minister of Economic Development of the DPR, Sergei Nazarov, in an interview with Bloomberg said that Russia is helping the LPR and the DPR to bypass the blockade imposed by Kiev and sell the extracted coal on the international market. The Donbass Republics deliver nearly one million tons of coal per month to Russia, which allows them to cover the social expenses of providing for four million residents living in the Republics of Donbass. Russia re-exports the coal to buyer countries.

According to the minister, the social payments of the region were formerly covered by Russia, but now, thanks to coal sales and to collection of domestic taxes, the Republics manage to collect 5 billion rubles for the budget and thereby completely cover social expenditures.

In August 2017, the Deputy Minister of Energy of Russia, Anatoly Yanovsky, outlined the process through which Donbass coal goes: “The coal comes to Russia. It is processed in the Novocherkassk station… And the main volumes of the graded coal are exported from the territory of Russia.” To date, the price of anthracite coal, depending on the quality, is around 100-150 dollars per ton.

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After the introduction in March 2017 of the complete economic blockade of the People’s Republic of Lugansk and the People’s Republic of Donetsk, the Donbass republics finally stopped supplying coal to Ukraine. Kiev has more than once expressed suspicion that the coal it buys from Russia is in fact from Donbass, but is being bought at higher prices due to the economic blockade. 

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