POPOV: The Revolution Betrayed? Specter of Corruption Looms over Upcoming Donbass Elections


With all the Revolution’s well-known, home-grown heroes now dead but for Pavel Gubarev, Dr. Popov looks at the dismal situation of corruption, bureaucratization, and betrayal of the Social-National Revolution of the Donbass, in which popular authority had previously moved from Bourgeois Atlanticist structures over to the Soviet Governments of the LPR and DPR. Now we see a reversal – Poroshenko moves his electoral campaign on the basis of cutting the DPR and LPR permanently off, while a new breed of Donbass politicians with close ties to Ukraine’s Oligarchs begins to take hold, but has the revolution been betrayed? – ed, J. Flores

  •  Published on: Oct 10, 2018 @ 15:40

Elections are scheduled in the people’s republics of Donbass. But facts relating to their execution and the outcome is unclear.

Even at the end of August of this year, the holding of elections of heads and deputies of the people’s republics in the Donbass remained in question. A number of articles and interviews in Russian media consistently argued the need for elections.

There are two reasons for that: 1) to increase the level of democracy in the republics of Donbass and 2) to increase the legitimacy of the DPR and LPR in the international arena.

As it was repeatedly noted, the electoral process a priori increases the recognizability and de facto legitimacy of the people’s republics in the Donbass. I, for my part, emphasized that those opposed to the elections are the strengthening bureaucratic and political “elites” of the DPR and LPR, who are not interested in stability of the society. As a result, the lowest common denominator behavior, it would seem, won. In August, the deputies of the People’s Soviets of the DPR and LPR adopted almost simultaneously a resolution extending the powers of the heads of the republics and the deputy corps.

This decision was a triumph of the establishment. Although certain grounds are quite objective, the decision also had a very negative side. The Verkhovna Rada in Kiev, in October of this year will vote on the extension of the law of the special status of “individual districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions” (ORDLO) – so in the Ukrainian official documentation the DPR and the LPR are denoted casuistically  in the fact that they were accusing Donetsk and Lugansk (and Moscow supporting them) in disrupting the Minsk agreements. At the same time, numerous facts of the breakdown of the Minsk agreements and their demonstrative non-recognition (not a single point of “Minsk” was executed by Ukraine) by Kiev itself is taken into account.

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According to cautious politicians (and bureaucrats who are interested in the conservation of power and economic status quo) in the DPR-LPR, the holding of elections will allow Kiev to get the desired reason for the accusations of Donbass in the breakdown of “Minsk”. That is why it is better to postpone their organization. But the decision was overturned on August 31st.

The murder of Alexander Zakharchenko, a popular and charismatic politician (I personally spoke with him twice in October 2014 in Donetsk and testified to the admiration of this person’s personality) made the elections seem to have no alternative.

The first paradox;  a number of experts and politicians in Donetsk, who advocated the holding of elections, now oppose them. And I join this point of view. The reason for this was a completely unhealthy situation that arose in the DPR: the cut-off from participation in the elections of all real candidates for power and popular politicians (let us leave aside the question of their professionalism so far). Today, the most likely winner of the elections in the DPR is the de facto head of the republic Denis Pushilin.

In my publications in the Russian media, I called Pushilin “Construction Number 2”. His election will be not only the most unfortunate decision, but also the final victory of the tandem of bureaucracy and oligarchic circles associated with Ukraine. A form of Ukrainization of the DPR from the inside.

These are serious accusations and for the first time I am voicing them before a foreign audience. It’s a paradox, but now supporters of this opinion share the hope that voting will come in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. The extension of the law on the status of ORDLO will give some chance to cancel the elections in the DPR and the LPR and prevent the protege of the Ukrainian oligarch No. 1 Rinat Akhmetov from coming to power, which many (if not all) in Donetsk consider to be Pushilin.

The second paradox – a poorer and less successful Lugansk, which was “in the shadow of” a rich and successful DPR, demonstrates a far greater margin of safety and loyalty to the precepts of the “Russian spring.” We’ll continue to follow the fate of the elections.

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