The People’s Republic of Donestk was formed in 7th April 2014; breaking away from the state of Ukraine after a very informal referendum of its local population. The referendum was largely caused by the decisions of the Kiev interim Government, after it deposed the former elected ( but like almost every other President of Ukraine since independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 – extremely corrupt) president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych. Yanukovych fled from power as a result of the Maidan protests and threats to his life, led by right wing extremists.
The interim Ukrainian government’s decision to effectively marginalise Russian speaking Ukrainians through banning the Russian language and subsequently calling anti-Maidan groups in the East, “terrorists”, led to the formation of pro-Russian paramilitary groups in the East, in the oblasts of Donestk and Luhansk. Their stated aim was to preserve their Ukrainian/Russian identity against the threats by neo-nazi extremists to “purify” Ukraine, in the new interim Kiev government; largely from within the Slovoda Party and Right Sektor paramilitary groups based in the West of Ukraine.
It is currently unclear what level of support the “self-proclaimed” (are not all state entities initially “self-proclaimed”?) Donestk People’s Republic has with the local population, with some very problematic opinion polls run out of Kiev and funded from the U.S. which state pro-Russian support at less than 40%. Facts on the ground would seem to suggest otherwise, especially since the killing of 39 people in the Trades Hall centre in Odessa on May 2 2014, apparently by right wing football hooligans from the West.
It is also problematic whether those currently running the administration of the Donestk PR have the best of the local population at heart, or are simply opportunists , ex-soldiers and thugs. In addition there is always the tendency with any revolution, especially when under pressure from the outside, to respond in more and more draconian and violent ways towards its own population. Are the Donetsk PR officials any less rascist, anti-Jew and voracious than those in Kiev?-time will tell.
Notwithstanding those concerns, the creation of this ‘people’s republic’ does present a unique opportunity for a better state not seen for perhaps almost a hundred years on this planet. The opportunity to begin afresh, untainted by cronyism, the powers of the corporates, the drive for “progress” at the expense of the planet. An opportunity for a state entity driven by altrusim, responsibility for the vulnerable and a respect for the environment. Impossible you say?- certainly improbable when we look at our current rapacious “growth” (read; money-for-the-rich and baubles for the poor) driven state entities.
What we need then, is the development of state structures that foster:
- Community initiative and responsiveness- local town “councils” where every citizen has a voice and a right to be heard and responded to.
- Central and local policies that recognise that “growth for growth’s sake’ is nonsensical and destroys both our own living environment and the other living things around us- ‘growth’ is the short term path to death
- Central and local initiatives that encourage inter-connectivity between people- eg local community places within walking distance for food and product distribution, green spaces,
- Town planning which “forces” people to mingle together to get their work done: eg small interconnected urban areas, green spaces and gardens
- Local and central state welfare systems that all citizens buy into according to their capacity to pay through taxes, and all are recompensed equitably in times of trouble
- Principles and policies that create respect for the other living beings interacting with the human population.
- Training for all age groups in the art of mindfulness
- An understanding that violence to others destroys oneself
- an inalienable obstruction to business interests influencing state and local political decisions (i.e absolutely no capacity for corporates to finance politicians)
It can (and must) be done. For the sake of all of us on this little blue ball.