Restoring Donbas: main events during the 2 – 8 March
11:33 / 09 Mar. 2015 / 437
Last week became another “week of silence for Donbas.” In fact, the complete absence of military operations raises a number of other issues (in the media), which are related to life on the territories beyond the control of the Ukraine, and the life of displaced persons in different peaceful regions. Special attention was paid to the pass entry system in the ATO area, namely the President and members of the Ministry of Internal Affairs told about its imperfection. Read more details about the key events of the week in our weekly review.
Frozen war – OSCE and peacekeepers in Donbas
Fragile ceasefire was proceeding during the last week in Donbas. Despite of the local clashes between of the opposing sides, the whole activity of hostilities has decreased significantly in the region. This trend was noticed by the OSCE. Representatives of this organization are going to place their observers at all points, where there the silent mode is still breached. In addition, according to the organization the number of its representatives in Donbas will double in the nearest future.
At the same time, the idea related to injection of peacekeeping contingent in Eastern Ukraine found its further development. Last week, the President Poroshenko signed a decree on address the UN Security Council with a request for the insertion of peacekeeping forces in Donbas. According to the presidential administration, organization of peacekeeping mission will require at least six months.
The pass entry system in ATO areas: corruption and possible cancellation
During this week, the pass entry system in the ATO area has been discussed repeatedly. In particular, the president of Ukraine suddenly stated that it is necessary to cancel it. Poroshenko said that 70% passes of the ATO border crossing are fakes. He stated that it is necessary to go towards the “e-governance”.
Nevertheless, until the pass entry system continues to operate, this gives an opportunity to earn money (by registering). One of the popular type of earnings in the frontal zone and uncontrolled territories of Ukraine is drawing up documents for crossing boundary line. On the Internet there are more and more offers, which are about the pass obtaining the without the queue and presence with a minimum package of documents. Cost of such services varies from 500 to 1600 UAH. Residents of Donbas say that there are plethora such offers from both sides of the “border”.
Meanwhile, the rummages at checkpoints (which led to the big cities) in the ATO area has been intensified. At the entrance to Kramatorsk, Konstantinovka and Krasnoarmiysk, police, representatives of volunteer battalions and AFU let in or out people only after the rigorous examination of the car and documents.
In regional Department of MIA Donetsk region, it was stated that they would “destroy the corruption schemes in the coordinating centers of pass issuance in ATO area.” This was stated by Ilya Kiva, Deputy Head of the regional department of MIA Donetsk region. At the same time, he appealed to the citizens, who have faced with extortion in obtaining passes and noted that “he would consider and work out any information” from them related to this occasion.
Life of displaced persons on peaceful territories
Last week, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine complicated the life of displaced persons from Donbas. Nowadays, such people have to report to representatives of the Migration Service about their movements across the country. According to the decree of the Cabinet, a certificate of registration of migrant is not valid without the registration mark of residence. This mechanism violates already violated rights of citizens of Ukraine from the Donbas to freedom of movement throughout the country.
Another negative news for displaced persons from the East was the information that National Bank of Ukraine classified Delta Bank (which actively operates with payments for displaced persons from Donbas) as insolvent. This bank was one of those, where displaced persons from the ATO area massively issued cards for targeted assistance.
Last week Oleksandr Klymenko, the founder of the initiative “Restoring Donbas”, commented the legislative initiative of deputies from the pro-government fractions about the compensation (for displaced from the Donbas) of the value of the property, which was damaged in the ATO area as a result of military actions.
In his opinion, the Ukrainian government has withdrawn from the solution of the problems of internally displaced persons from the Donbas. They shifted this issue on the shoulders of volunteers and social organizations. According to the former minister, the government created substantial bureaucratic obstacles – both at the stage of determining forced migrant status, and the stage of providing assistance. According to the calculations of Oleksandr Klymenko, the compensation, which is offered to displaced persons from Donbas, varies from 1 to 11 $ per person per month.
Furthermore, according to the results of survey, which was hold by community initiative “Restoring Donbas”,
state media, which operate at the expense of the taxpayers’ money (Newspapers “Golos Ukrainy” and “Uriadovy Courier” and channel “Pershiy natsіonalny”), illuminate the news about displaced persons from the ATO area. However, it does not provide useful information for internally displaced persons themselves. Such conclusions were made by experts of the community initiative “Restoring Donbas” based on monitoring of February Ukrainian print media and television materials. According to the survey, the same tendency characterizes commercial media.
However, displaced persons of Donbas got some positive news last week. First of all, Verkhovna Rada discussed the problems displaced person’s employment during this week. Parliament adopted a draft law, which will help migrants from the Crimea and Donbas to find a job. The draft law provides that employers, who hire displaced persons, receive compensation for the cost of their salaries duration of 6-12 months.
In addition, the law, which ensures the inheritance rights of citizens residing in the temporarily occupied territory in the Crimea and Sevastopol, in the ATO area or those, who had moved from there, came into effect last week. Providing the accommodation for IDPs. A long-awaited opening of the transit camp for internally displaced persons, which was the third in the area and the fifth – in Ukraine was held this week in Nikopol. It can settle up to 456 people (unfortunately, this is not comparable to the demand for housing among the displaced persons). The cost of living in these modular homes is about 850 USD per person.
The restoration, crisis and the blockade on the territories, which are beyond the control
Meanwhile, the restoration of the Donetsk has begun due to the establishment of a fragile ceasefire. Municipal officials primarily focused on communication’s repairing. The water supply in the Proletarian district and heat supply of boiler rooms in Lenin district were reconstructed. In addition, boiler room in Kuibyshev region provides heating for two schools and about 40 houses nowadays.
But in general, about 150 thousand people in Donetsk region area stay without housing, water, electricity and gas. At the moment, more than 9,500 homes were destroyed or damaged.
In addition, the economic decline and not stable exchange rate of hryvnia led to a sharp increase of the essential good’s price in the territories controlled by the self-proclaimed republic. In this situation, DNR is going to artificially regulate the prices of these products.
Complicated economic situation in the region has led to the fact that representatives of the “Ministry of Fuel and Energy,” of DNR are planning to close several coal mines in mining towns in April 2015. It is planned to close the mine “named by 17 Party Congress “,”Udarnik “and” Yablonovska “. This would lead to a rif of more than 3 thousand miners. 25% rif of employees of underground and surface complexes is planned at the core enterprises such as mine “Shachtarskya-Glubokaya”, “Progress” and “Zorya”.
In this case, the energy issue remains sharp for uncontrolled territories of Donbas. However, it is partially solved by gas supply from Russia. Last week, according to the results of gas negotiations between Ukraine and Alexander Novak, the Russian head of the Ministry of Energy Minister, the company “Gazprom” has already supplied 100 million cubic meters of gas in DNR and LNR. At the same time, the Russian minister added that the gas that comes to unrecognized republics will not take into account of the advance payment for fuel for Ukraine. However, the supply will be considered in the framework of the existing treaty between the two countries.
In general, the economic isolation of Donbas increases by Ukrainian authorities. Last week, the State Treasury of Ukraine cut off another 50 settlements in Donetsk region from the network. This means the termination of pension payments, budget subsidies, welfare payments. Such a move is a result of the fact that in February the Cabinet of Ministers extended the list of settlements, where the authorities partially exercise their powers or not exercising at all. Marinka is included in such list. This settlement is located on the line of the conflict and is partly controlled by Ukrainian military and partly – by DNR militants. After the news about disabling fifty cities of budget financing Oleksandr Kikhtenko, the head of the Donetsk Regional State Administration, applied to the Prime Minister with a request to reestablish the funding of the public sector, salaries, pensions and social assistance in these cities.