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Donetsk People's Republic (DNR)

Despite many international calls for the voting to be canceled, separatist leaders who control parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions are not only ignoring those pleas but pulling out all the stops to get residents caught up in Europe's only active war zone to vote on November 11, and lend the process some semblance of legitimacy. Along with the cut-rate prices on foodstuffs available at the polling stations in the region, broadly referred to as the Donbas, the vote's organizers planned to distribute vouchers worth 100 Russian rubles -- the de facto currency in separatist-held areas -- for mobile phones and to hold fairs and lotteries.

After the liquidation of Alexander Zakharchenko, the leader of the Donetsk separatists was Dmitry Trapeznikov for several days, but a week later the DPR was headed by Denis Pushilin. So far, he was acting, but most likely he will win. Denis Pushilin gained 61 percent of the vote in the election of the head of the People's Republic of Donetsk. In some areas they sold products at preferential prices - it was possible to buy eggs, vegetable oil, chicken and other goods. The announcement indicates that each voter was able to buy a limited number of products - no more than two kilograms of sugar, no more than a dozen eggs, and so on.

The voter turnout at the election was rather high. (77% in LPR and 80.1% in DPR), Russian news agency TASS reported. Ukraine's position was that the results of what he called the "fake" November 11 elections will be "null and void." Russia's UN Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya argued that the elections "have nothing to do with the Minsk package" because they are municipal elections. The votes are needed "to fill the vacuum in power" following the August 31 murder of Donetsk separatist leader Aleksandr Zakharchenko, who was a signatory to the 2015 agreements, Nebenzya said.

The EU considers the elections planned for 11 November 2018 in the non-government controlled territories of the so-called Luhansk Peoples Republic and Donetsk Peoples Republic as illegal and illegitimate and will not recognize them, according to a statement by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, on behalf of the EU on the "elections" in the occupied areas of Donbas. The Donetsk Peoples Republic [DPR, aka Dontskaya nardnaya respblika = DNR] asserted governmental authority over a part or region of Ukraine without the authorization of the government of Ukraine. The militia in the self-proclaimed Donetsk Peoples Republic defied the peaceful settlement regime, continued combat operations, and seized and occupies regional government buildings, using them as its headquarters and firing positions. Igor Strelkov, the leader of the militia of the Donetsk Peoples Republic, rejected Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenkos peace plan.

Pro-Russian protesters in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk proclaimed the creation of a sovereign Donetsk People's Republic on 07 April 2014 from within the regional government building and built barricades around the structure. The seizure of government buildings in eastern Ukraine and the declaration of a "Donetsk People's Republic" were engineered by Russia.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk accused Russia of being behind the building seizures. "The huge protests that took place just a month ago have finished but a radical group of people -- 1,000-1,500 people -- with specific Russian accents stayed in the region... Coordinating their activities with special services of foreign states, they organized a riot and chose to capture public buildings and destabilize the situation."

The self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk peoples republics in eastern Ukraine held referendums on self-determination on May 11, with over 90 percent of voters said to support greater autonomy. The republics declared themselves sovereign states, with Donetsk planning to ask Moscow to join Russia. Pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk on 12 May 2014 declared independence and asked Moscow to deploy Russian troops and consider absorbing the eastern Ukrainian region. The Luhansk leadership also said it did not rule out the possibility of a referendum on becoming part of Russia. Both republics have begun establishing government agencies and forming military units. The annexation appeal came in a statement read out at a news conference by Denis Pushilin, a leading member of the self-declared "Donetsk People's Republic."

Pavel Gubarev, was declared the governor of the "people's republic" in March. In contrast to the separatist forces from April onward, the protesters who proclaimed Gubarev 'people's governor' were a ragtag bunch in plainclothes and did not openly carry firearms.

Aleksandr Borodai, a Moscow political technologist, is the self-styled prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic. A Russian citizen, Borodai lived in Moscow prior to the outbreak of unrest in Ukraine. Borodai vowed to expel Ukraines army from his new domain and resist any bid to recapture the city. Borodai was in Crimea as an adviser to Sergei Aksyonov, the separatist prime minister who oversaw the territorys purported annexation by Russia.

In essence, I am what can be called a professional consultant, the burly Aleksandr Borodai told journalists at his first press conference 17 May 2014 in a plush Donetsk hotel. I have resolved all kinds of complicated conflict situations, the 41-year-old said. For that reason, personally speaking, my specialization was what was needed here.... I am a Russian citizen but I am a private individual so you cannot accuse the Russian government of having a hand in whats going on in the Donetsk Peoples Republic because of my presence here.

He sidestepped a question about whether he had any official or unofficial links to the Russian security services or the Kremlin. Do you understand what sort of a question youre posing? Even if there were, do you think Id answer, he said.

Russian national Aleksander Borodai, announced 07 augsut 2014 that a top local separatist would take his place. Borodai, one of many Russian citizens running the rebellion in eastern Ukraine, told a news conference that he had appointed Aleksander Zakharchenko as head of the Donetsk People's Republic, one of two territorial entities proclaimed by pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine. Borodai said he would now serve as deputy. A native of Donetsk thought to be in his late 30s, Zakharchenko commanded a heavily armed rebel unit called Oplot (bastion). He was among the first separatists to occupy the regional administration building in Donetsk when pro-Russian crowds captured it in March. Zakharchenkos appointment was widely seen as an effort to discredit Western accusations that the rebellion in eastern Ukraine is being run by Moscow.

Pavel Gubarev asserted that Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine's richest man, whose personal fortune is estimated at $11 billion, provided up to two-thirds of the movement's operational funds. Akhmetov denied the claim. Ivan Lozowy, a Kyiv-based political analyst, said it was "impossible" that a figure like Akhmetov -- who enjoyed near-complete authority over law enforcement, local government, and the entire working population in the Donbas region -- would allow any activity on his territory, separatist or otherwise, that he did not personally profit from.

The self-declared chairman of the "Donetsk People's Republic," Denis Pushilin, became the deputy 'people's governor' in early April, effectively replacing Gubarev after the latter was arrested. Denis Pushilin is a leader of a group calling itself the Donetsk Peoples Republic, which has seized government buildings across eastern Ukraine, declared itself to be a sovereign state, and requested that it be allowed to join the Russian Federation. Pushilin has overseen an uprising that has seized town halls, police stations, and other buildings in towns across Ukraines Donetsk region.

Pushilin stated that he and his followers would not release the buildings they seized until the Ukrainian government vacated its government buildings and the Donetsk region got an referendum on independence. At a May press conference, Pushilin also stated that civilian and military authorities independent of Kyiv would be formed in the Donetsk region following the results of the illegitimate referendum on the regions status in May. He further stated that the presence of any Ukrainian military remaining in the Donetsk region after the announcement of the referendums results would be considered illegal.

Igor Girkin, aka Strelkov ["The Gunman"], known as the "defense minister" of the self-proclaimed people's republic, was based in the city of Slovyansk until being flushed out along with hundreds of rebel fighters by Ukrainian military forces on July 5. The self-described commander-in-chief of the Donetsk Peoples Republic controlled a group of armed separatists in Slovyansk. Girkin is responsible for the abduction of military observers in Ukraine, and an attack on the Slovyansk Internal Affairs Administration and the 25th Air Mobile Brigade from whom he stole a large cache of weapons.

Girkin, better known by his pseudonym 'Strelkov', is a Russian citizen and, like Borodai, from Moscow. He is in charge of military operations in Slovyansk, where Ponomaryov is the 'people's mayor.' On May 16, he was made defense minister of the self proclaimed DNR. According to Russian media, he is a serving GRU colonel and served in conflicts in Transdniester, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Chechnya. He also wrote for the ultranationalist newspaper 'Zavtra.' The SBU has accused him of being an undercover officer with the GRU, the Russian Defense Ministry's Main Intelligence Directorate, and the brains behind the operation in the east.

Strelkov estimated, in a Russian TV interview, that as many as two-thirds of the rebels were not local. He said: "The unit that I came to Slaviansk [north of Donetsk] with was put together in Crimea. I'm not going to hide that it was put together by volunteers." Estimates of the rebel fighting strength varied sometimes counted in the thousands; but in another interview, Strelkov suggested that he had only hundreds of fighters. Appealing for volunteers, he complained "I'd have expected there would have been at least 1000 men willing to risk their lives, not just in their home towns, but on the frontlines."

Andrei Purgin is the self-styled first vice premier of the unrecognized Donetsk People's Republic. Andrey Purgin describes himself as the co-head of a council running the separatist government in Donetsk. He advocated for the illegitimate May referendum and the federalization of Ukraine and took part in the storming of the Donetsk regional administration building earlier this year. Purgin founded the pro-Russian Republic of Donetsk organization in December 2005. The groups activities were forbidden by a Ukrainian court, which considered them to be directed at the territorial disintegration of Ukraine.

The self-proclaimed Donetsk Peoples Republic (DPR) favors the creation of a 50-kilometer (30-mile) demilitarized zone at its borders to prevent provocations and shelling of its territory, a spokesman for the republic told RIA Novosti 04 September 2014. The spokesman said the ceasefire in practice is possible as soon as the Ukrainian troops are withdrawn to the distance from which they wont be able to use long-range artillery, which it at least 50 kilometers away from the DPR borders. According to the official, all heavy weaponry should be withdrawn beyond the 50-kilometer-wide stretch of demilitarized land along the republics border with Ukraine.

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine voted November 02, 2014 in controversial elections that Kyiv and the West say they would not recognize. The separatists who control parts of eastern Ukraine's Luhansk and Donetsk regions held elections for leadership and legislative bodies in the areas they control. Quoting election officials of the so-called Donetsk People's Republic, or DNR, Russian news agencies reported that with more than 50 percent of the ballots cast counted, Alexander Zakharchenko, the acting DNR prime minister, was in the lead in the contest to become DNR leader, with more than 70 percent of the vote.

The self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) is going to lay territorial claims over the entire territory of Ukraine's Donetsk Region, should the talks with Kiev occur, DPR Deputy Prime Minister Denis Pushilin said 23 November 2014. "We will insist on a full territorial integrity of the republic. It is within the borders of the former Donetsk Region," Pushilin told reporters, pointing out that the issue should be addressed "at the negotiating table, without any weapons in hands."

"Some people do not believe now that we will bring the whole territory of the region under control. But many people also did not believe that the republic would appear, that we would hold the referendum and elections, that we would withstand the onslaught of the [Ukrainian] army," Pushilin said, answering the question whether Kiev would agree to hand over the whole territory of Donbas to the self-proclaimed republic.

In 2017, 14 companies resumed their work in the People's Republic of Donetsk. Their products were exported to 15 countries of the world with Russia being the largest importer - 87.5 percent. Russia also accounts for one-third of the exports of mechanical engineering products. President Putin signed a decree approving the new Concept of the State Migration Policy for 2019-2025. The policy will simplify the acquisition of Russian citizenship for Russians in the Donbas. After the distribution of passports, the situation will develop according to the scenario of the integration of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Heather Nauert , US State Department Spokesperson, stated November 12, 2018 "The United States joins our European Allies and partners in condemning the November 11 sham elections in Russia-controlled eastern Ukraine. Yesterdays illegitimate processes were an attempt by Moscow to institutionalize its Donbas proxies, the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk Peoples Republics. These entities have no place within the Minsk agreements or within Ukraines constitutional government, and they should be dismantled along with the illegal armed formations. If Russia calculated the November 11 illegal elections would lead to international respect for its proxies, the international reaction proves it was mistaken. The OSCE refused to monitor yesterdays farce. Russias actions have been denounced in capitals on both sides of the Atlantic and on the floors of the UN Security Council and the OSCE.... We will continue to impose Ukraine-related sanctions against Russia until Moscow fully implements the Minsk agreements and returns control of Crimea to Ukraine."

Donbass Map - 2014 Donbass Map - 2014 Donbass Map - 2014 Donbass Map - 2014

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Page last modified: 13-11-2018 16:53:09 ZULU