Donetsk People's Republic is not a project, but in the most direct sense, the spontaneous creativity of the masses. Both self-appointed Kiev “authorities”, and honest political scientists, and skeptics of all stripes inside and outside of a united Ukraine, are forced to admit this. Contrary to all predictions that the DPR is only a tool in the hands of Donetsk thick moneybags from the Party of Regions and other political forces that bargain with Kiev, the republic does not make any compromises and cannot be manipulated by politicians. Contrary to the threats and attempts of "cleansing" - the republic has proved that it is able to fight back both regular troops and mercenaries from the "Right Sector". Contrary to forecasts of its imminent disappearance, it exists, expands its sphere of influence, and is preparing for a referendum on sovereignty.
The co-chairman of the People’s Council of the DPR Denis Pushilin told us about the state of affairs in the republic.
- What questions are submitted for a referendum and will it be held on May 11?
-To be held. Technically, almost all problems are solved. The formulation of the question is now being analyzed by lawyers, because the main point in it is “yes” or “no” to the sovereignty of the Donetsk People's Republic. And this may already be some postscripts or explanations in brackets in order to avoid double interpretations. Since not everyone clearly understands what is meant by the term "sovereignty".
-The question of joining Russia will not be?
-We didn't set it up initially. Will not be in the area and appointed by the Kiev "power" on the 25 of the May presidential election. It makes no sense to choose a president from neighbors.
-11 of April, "Prime Minister" Yatsenyuk on the need for amending legislation, adopting a law on local referendum, expanding the powers of the regions, etc. The goal is clear: to simultaneously hold local referendums and presidential elections, legalizing the latter. What, in your opinion, does the Kiev "power" invest in the concepts of "local referendum", "empowerment of the regions"?
-It is not important that Yatsenyuk and Co. invest in these concepts, they can not be trusted in anything. Remember, Donbass cheated already at least three times. Now they promise us anything: decentralization, municipal police, the right to speak our native language ...
In fact, the Donbass and other eastern regions from 1994 to 1997 already had economic federalization. In 1994, on the basis of a referendum held in Donetsk and Lugansk, it was decided that five regions - Donetsk, Lugansk, Kharkov, Zaporozhye, Dnipropetrovsk - receive economic sovereignty. But, in 1997, Pavel Lazarenko, after the murder of one of the Donetsk leaders, Yevgeny Shcherban, said that this was nothing more than an experiment and “economic federalization” was canceled. All this kind of projects without political justification - zilch. Sovereignty is required. What is it that we will vote for?
It is an opportunity to enter into federative or confederal relations with any of the countries, regardless of geographic location. This could be Russia, Ukraine, other countries. Or we can remain independent. For this right we will vote. Example? The Republic of Bavaria, which has the right for more than a century. It remains in Germany, although it can vote in its parliament and leave Germany. And this opportunity is extremely important in asserting one’s interests and defining one’s policy in all areas. This is a guarantee of an equal dialogue with the central government; Donbas has no such guarantee yet.
“It doesn't seem to you that Kiev will never allow federalization in any way for two reasons. 1. This is disadvantageous to external players, primarily the United States, which, for the convenience of management, needs a single, administratively rigidly centralized territory. 2. according to the impregnable conviction of Kiev officials, any federalization includes an algorithm for destroying the country: the independence of one region provokes the desire for independence of other regions, then they are united into a confederation, and then they form a completely independent state - Novorossia ...
-They can reason as they please. But we are patriots of our land and we will see from the standpoint of the benefit of the people living in our territory. If we do not think how best to arrange a life for ourselves - the residents of Donbass - nothing will remain of us. Ukraine as a whole is now in the deepest socio-economic crisis. 15 billion in gold reserves for such a huge country is almost nothing, and hoping for handouts like Yatsenyuk, ready to sign anything and on any terms for the sake of an IMF loan is a crime. Equal to the war crime of the “acting president” Turchinov, who ordered the so-called anti-terrorist operation, that is, the use of the army against his people, which even Yanukovych didn’t do.
- Denis, and now the most important and exciting issue for all ordinary citizens. What is called the Donetsk People's Republic is not, as everyone has seen during its existence, a project, a tool for realizing someone’s for the time being hidden political ambitions: the NPT was created spontaneously by the people, it is the result of a social revolution in one yet separate area. This is the strength of the republic. But in this lies its weakness. According to economists, including the pro-Russian, the DPR, either separately or as part of a confederation with other areas, is not economically viable. If the socio-economic structure does not change: the omnipotence of the oligarchs, the shadow economy, monstrous property separation, the people will refuse to support the DPR. If the leadership of the republic has a program of social and economic transformations - deoffshorization of the economy, if it is necessary to nationalize the enterprises that are sought by "effective managers", leveling the level of income. Otherwise, the result of the revolution will be only the regionally promised right to complain about poverty in their native language ...
Yes, the most important thing is the social moment, it is on it that the republic rests. We didn’t come as professional politicians, professional revolutionaries, billions didn’t pour into us and nobody prepared us to work in power. This is really a social protest that has taken the form of the DNI. All my and my friends' actions, which can go against the interests of the people who support us - will instantly turn against us. We will be rendered "on forks" much faster than the previous government and we understand this well, because a precedent has already been created. Not to prepare social programs, projects of social and economic transformations would be a crime. And our theoretical specialists are preparing them, and what they theoretically build, we — the practitioners — are ready to realize. In fact, now we are conducting an experiment: the self-proclamation of the people's republic every step to strengthen it is already an experiment that is carried out without the support of the oligarchs and without outside financing, with a negative, mainly coverage of our activities in the media.
But we have nowhere to retreat: on each of the composition of the people's Council - a life sentence, and sometimes not one. At any time, the same thing can happen to anyone as our activist Leonid Baranov, who was abducted by the SBU and is now in the Lukyanovka SIZO (now 10 activists of the DPR have been arrested). We and our supporters are really ready to die for our cause, no one will buy or intimidate us. Therefore, to achieve some minimum rights for the region and go home with the right, as you said, “to complain of poverty in Russian” is not for us. How will I then look into the eyes of those who were also ready to die, that I would tell my grandfathers, who fought for us, went through the entire Great Patriotic War?
“Do you remember in the program of Schuster the famous statement of Aksyonov, when he simply“ smeared ”the entire Ukrainian political pseudo-elite with the answer to the question of personal responsibility:“ Do you take responsibility for what is happening? ” - "Yes, I take responsibility for everything that happens in the Crimea." Now you can say: I take responsibility for the fact that the socio-economic structure of our republic will be just, fundamentally different from the current, clan-oligrachical, thoroughly corrupt?
-I take that responsibility. Already taken, in fact. I am not alone here, we have a collegiate leadership, and everyone, I know, also by the very fact of the proclamation of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the struggle for its development assumed such responsibility. And if something happens to one of us, others will continue to work. We are well aware that the current system, an unfair socio-economic system needs to be completely changed. Otherwise, everything that we do will be perceived as political populism, nothing more. Without changing this system - we will not get any changes for the better.
-Many analysts believe that now the main problems for the DPR are not Kiev and the Right Sector, everything is clear with them. Now the main problems inside. The first problem is the Party of Regions, with its financial resources, experience of intrigues and support of Kiev initiatives on decentralization, expanding the powers of local budgets, the official language. The second internal problem is the population that has divided itself. A colleague-journalist from Donetsk went to Kiev to the National Guard to return and pacify me, a journalist, a supporter of the DPR. There are many who advocate for the unity of Ukraine at any cost — quite a bit in the Donbas. How can we with them after the referendum find a common language in order to avoid a large-scale civil war?
-Regionals do not want to understand what everyone is doing late. At first they proposed decentralization, now they are already proposing federalization, but all these proposals were late, the time was gone. There is no question of any sagging. Let me explain, now the situation is already at such a level that all of us - the leadership of the DPR - can leave, this will not change anything. Others will come to our place, because this is a popular, long-standing protest. The people do not require minimum concessions on the language or authority of local budgets, but on the basis of Justice, on the basis of justice, the socio-economic structure of life. Understand this is the most important thing. People doing history. Regionals also judge in the old way, reducing everything to party games and agreements, treating compatriots only as extras.
As for the division within the people, it is artificial. Everything will depend on the ideology and system of relations in the Donetsk People's Republic. Donbass has never been persecuted for religious, ethnic or cultural reasons. And never will be. Now the fault is distorted perceptions imposed by the Ukrainian media. You know how they present information. Here our guys in Slavyansk were shot by the Right Sector, the Ukrainian channels present it as a rally of special services of Putin, who are being hidden under the SS against citizens of Ukraine. The conclusion of a simple citizen is clear: to go to the National Guard, to defend the Motherland from the "invaders". And so almost all events in the South-East are covered. When I watched Ukrainian TV channels reporting on rallies in Donetsk, I, their immediate participant, had a question: are these rallies in which I participate or was the report filmed on another planet? .. An adequate information policy, expressing the interests of Donbas residents, ideology and fair socioeconomic practices will eliminate artificial separation. When people understand who divides them and why, and what is actually beneficial for them, there will be no reason for a civil war.
After all, the majority of those living here, under the imposed notions about the country in which we live, have very different feelings. I will explain. At the very beginning of the events, Vitaly Yarema came to the Donetsk State Administration from the enemy government, gave an ultimatum, gave two hours to think, threatened with non-literary words in case of refusal to release the building to do something terrible ... Our comments on what grounds we are called criminals and terrorists, if seizures, including armed administrative buildings started long ago and not by us, Yarema replied that the residents of Western Ukraine and Kiev acted ideologically correctly and therefore they are heroes, and we were initially separatists and criminals. And leaving, so wishing to hear anything, he asked: "Why do not you love Ukraine so much?" I did not have time to answer, I answer now. With the proclamation of the Donetsk People's Republic, I remembered what patriotism is. This feeling was hidden in the depths of his soul, waiting in the wings, from childhood. I have never had such a feeling for Ukraine, no matter how I tried to awaken it. And now I am a patriot. This feeling is now awakening in the millions of Donbass residents ...
-What is the situation in the area now? Which cities and local councils are on the side of the republic? Do you coordinate your activities with the Headquarters for Southeast Management established in Lugansk?
- Let's face it. Flags DNR almost 90% city council in the region. But relations are not built with everyone, some officials, expressing their support for us, are playing a double game. Therefore, now we are concentrating our efforts in this direction, people with mandates of the republic control the work on the ground, so that the vital activity of the cities does not stop and there is no social discontent.
About the Headquarters in Lugansk. As far as I know, there are already several headquarters there, not to mention a certain president of the South-East. In my opinion, there are too many alarming moments in Lugansk, many heterogeneous groups that can not unite in any way regardless of political views. We, despite the difference of belief, were able to unite in the main thing. The unifying goal at this stage is a referendum. The people of Lugansk haven’t succeeded yet, they get a kind of double referendum, and as a result they drag people into groups, each of which has its own idea of the right path. We cooperate with those groups that agree with us that a referendum in the regions should be held on the same day with the same question and on a common documentary and legal basis. We are also building relationships with activists in all areas of the Southeast, including those in which the Kiev "power" is triumphant.
- At the checkpoints are now happening incomprehensible. Is there a self-defense of the DPR or ...?
- There they are trying to force out our people. According to our information, these are the mercenaries of the “governor” Sergey Taruta. Now in the area among our opponents there are many warring camps, they cannot agree among themselves. The situation is complicated by the actions of the servants of Pan Kolomoisky.
- Today (April 22 - author), representatives of the DPR met with the OSCE mission in Donetsk. Summary of the meeting?
- An agreement was reached on the release of the session hall and two floors in the regional state administration, so that the official could perform his functions. This, in the first place, utility payments, legal and social security of citizens. At the same time, I have big doubts that a significant result can be expected from communication with the OSCE. The matter in this case is not the observers, they can provide fairly objective reports about their stay here. The fact is that the Kiev side will ignore any reports, and will not fulfill any agreements. Recall, February 21 was signed by a well-known agreement with Viktor Yanukovych and - pshik, it has not been executed. 19 of April was signed an agreement in Geneva and - on the same day the “authority” declares that it will not withdraw troops from Slavyansk and Kramatorsk. And the very next day, another one of our activists, Leonid Baranov, was abducted in Donetsk. Further, an unofficial truce during the Easter holidays and - the attack of the militants of the Right Sector on our checkpoint, shooting, taken lives ...
Interviewed by Gennady Dubovoy