They had already been expelled from the People’s Soviet in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) and were not admitted to a rally.
Although it may seem strange, Donetsk has undertaken the process of decommunisation almost simultaneously with Ukraine. No, Lenin’s monument in the centre of the city still stands, but the local communists have been kicked from practically everywhere.
All that there is to learn about the present-day Donetsk communists fits in a small paragraph: their leader has been excused from all positions in the DNR a long time ago, they were refused from registering their own electoral lists at the last elections, their national deputies were dismissed from the People’s Soviet of DNR on May 6. So now all that remains is to wait for their statement, saying that they are going underground?
It seems that, in the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic, the local communists were “multiplied by zero”. What’s strange is that without their support, the Russian spring in Donetsk would not have happened. It was actually communists, who in February 2014 set up the first tent city “in defence of Lenin” and it was specifically their disciplined old members, who, having lived through countless elections, formed the backbone of the electoral commissions at the 2014 referendum. Back in 2014 nobody denied this; what’s more, the leader of the local communists, Boris Litvinov, even headed the local People’s Soviet from July to October of that year.
On May 6, the communist deputies were thrown out of the same People’s Soviet with the reason being “loss of confidence”. On May 11, the local law-enforcement attempted to impede a block of KP DNR, carrying red flags, from taking part in a rally. This day, for those who don’t know it, is now a holiday – Day of the Republic. The truth being said, Russia was represented only by two officials at this rally, who happened to be State Duma deputies of KPRF (Communist Party of the Russian Federation), Vladimir Rodin and Kazbek Taysayev. In the meantime, the red flags of “their” block were being broken.
“Everything is very simple, there will be two public organisations in the Republic: Doneckaya Respublika (Donetsk Republic) and Svobodnyy Donbass (Free Donbass)”, was reported by a source in the DNR government. “Everyone else will just have to play along! Last year, we had already denied the communists in registering their list, what they did was get their people on Donetsk Republic’s list, but had not ceased their political activities. Hence, they were removed by a decision of the Political Soviet. Here, everything will be as we say, not otherwise!”
“Allowed” public organisations are tied to Aleksandr Zaharchenko and Pavel Gubarev accordingly. Whereas, the DNR communists held their plenum during the weekend with the goal of figuring out what they should now do.
Already on Monday, Lugansk communists published a statement in defence of their comrades in Donetsk on one of their websites. It was an emotional reaction to the banishment of communists from the DNR’s People’s Soviet. “Hiding behind statements, saying that such directions are coming from Moscow, DNR’s authorities made the decision to prohibit the operation of the Communist Party in the Republic”, stood in this statement. The context was clear: hoping that Plotnickiy would not repeat the neighbours’ experiment in Lugansk. In the self-declared LNR, the communists have a completely legal party. Still.
“It’s a mistake, we exist, presently, our party is the only registered party in the DNR”, explained the leader of the Donetsk communists, Boris Litvinov. “There was a small window of opportunity in October 2014, and we succeeded in getting a paper certificate of registration. There are no other parties here; there are about a dozen public organisations. We are being examined right now, in May, by DNR’s Ministry of Justice. As a party.”
Q: Is it true that you were arrested multiple times and that on May 11 in Donetsk your block’s red flags were being smashed?
A: Well, there were some excesses at the demonstrations. Yet, there are only some individual zealous law-enforcement officers who are connected with it. People were being brainwashed for 25 years, so now they attack everything red, like a bull attacks the rag. Indeed, we were removed from the People’s Soviet. Our political opponents from Donetsk Republic don’t really want any competition on the political field. At the moment, Denis Pushilin has more authority than we ever had. Elections may take place in the Republic, and I associate our troubles with that.
But nobody has arrested me! The rumours materialised in 2015. At that time, we came very close to the decision to launch our own currency. It was even printed already, don’t ask where. Not in Donetsk, not in Russia. The risk appeared that our enemies will try to capture this treasure. For this reason, I had a very long conversation, about 12 hours long, with experts from the Department for Combating Organised Crime. The rumours were that I was taken under arrest…
Q: Do you think there will be elections?
A: You and I are real people and we understand that Ukraine is simply incapable, even from a technical standpoint, to make all the amendments to the Constitution and to coordinate with us the drafting of an electoral law according to the Minsk Protocols anytime soon. The last sentence is conditioned upon them wishing to follow along this process. I am quite pessimistic about this. In any case, developing self-government is necessary and at the end of July or beginning of August, I don’t exclude the possibility of organising our own local elections in the DNR no matter what. Everything is possible.
We will only understand the seriousness of our problems next week. We are currently leading political consultations. I also want to meet with Gennadiy Andreyevich Zyuganov [leader of KPRF] to get some advice. We shall then see.
Also, we don’t need supporters from the sidelines! The Lugansk communists’ statement from yesterday was published on a website, which is controlled by persons, who were banned from the party, one of whom has even served in Aidar [Battalion]. That means that this is an attempt to boil up another stew between us and the head of the Republic.
Originally published on 17.05.2016 on MK.ru news.