The Opportunities of the People’s Republic of Donetsk

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.



Egalitarian Perspectives on Sustainability – Robert Paehlke

Great  Transition Initiative

The Commons as a Template for Transformation

Policies for Shareable Cities

On Citizenship  in the 21st Century-  Richard Falk

Global Citizenship: Plausible Fears and Necessary Dreams

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