Russia was presented by mayor of Moscow Yuriy Luzhkov at the congress in Severodonetsk. He praised Yeltsyn for shooting the rebellion parliament in 1993 and called the Ukrainian power to use that as an example. Yanukovych was in the center of attention at the congress. However, he called his supporters not to resort to violence and to make the decision which would help keep the country united. And it was this «mild» position of Yanukovych that calmed radical separatists down.
The congress adopted the ultimatum under which the elites of the South East threatened to implement their plan to divide the country if Yushchenko took the power illegitimately.
Despite the threatening rhetoric, they could only blackmail. Yushchenko's victory was accompanied with a temporary compromise of the elites; and the next congress of the supporters of the South-Eastern autonomy, which was held in Kharkiv, December 4 (when the Supreme Court made the decision that the election results were not void), was quite peaceful. They spoke about extended rights for regions and reconciliation in the society. They tried to avoid speaking about separatists’ ardors in Severodonetsk not a long time ago. Fortunately, the Donbas nomenclature was not ready to act.
Donbas separatism supporter in newspaper “Luhansk Time” writer Gleb Bobrov wrote about a funny incident which happened in November 2004: when the separatist epopee started, he, as a worker of Yanukovych's headquarters in Luhansk, offered to block strategic motorways and to start recruiting Donbas home guard through local military recruitment offices. However, his calls plunged his chiefs into the horror.
On the other hand, this congress in Severodonetsk gave a great impetus to the development of Donbas separatism at the lower level — at the level on those “hot heads” who were going to go to Donbas home guard as early as in 2004. MM spread information that Yunukovych’s supporters demanded distributing arms to protect Donbas from the “orange plague”.
After the victory of the “Orange Revolution”, the Donbas became the stronghold of the new power opposition, with Donbas separatism being the main instrument of the local elite to destabilize the situation in the country. In 2005 there appeared a lot of separatist and anti-Ukrainian organizations in Donetsk and Luhansk, and the local power supported them this or that way. And the future activists of the Donbas “Russian spring” were getting mature; among them: “Molodaya Gvardiya” leader Arsen Klinchayev, one of the separatist 2014 spring riots organizer in Luhansk; head of the “Union born by revolution” Andrey Purgin, a “DPR” parliament “spokesperson”; “We” movement leader Roman Lyagin, headed the Donetsk “central election commission” during the illegal “referendum”. In 2005 Purgin arranged some permanent tent camp in the center of Donetsk to conduct anti-Yushchenko and anti-Ukraine propaganda 27/7. Similar tent camp, but a bit smaller, was arranged by Klinchayev in Luhansk. In December 2015 “Donetsk republic organization” was arranged, and it was a direct ideological predecessor of the present “DPR”.
Daily routine of “Donetsk republic”
“Donetsk republic” was the most radical separatist organizations in the Donbas. In February 2006, it created Interregional federation of public organizations “Donetsk federative republic”, a coordinating center of separatist propaganda. Its purpose was to restore Donetsk- Krivoy Rog republic of 1918-19. The organization activists established contacts with Russian right radical organizations, the closest links being with International Eurasian movement of Aleksandr Dugin. Separatists were trained in duginists' camps on Seliger lake held by pro-kremlin youth movements.
After Maidan of 2004, Russian authorities were scared by the possibility of the same movement in Russia, and since that time a lot of money and resources have been spent on counteracting “colour revolutions”, and Donbas separatists started getting money and resources which they needed so much at the early stages of their development.
In Donetsk, there were regular events under the three-colour flags of the International movement of the Donbas. On June 22, 2006, one of the separatists' leaders Aleksandr Tsurkan used the term “people's home guard” for the first time, and on November 15, 2006, “Donetsk republic” activists started collecting signatures under the petition to conduct referendum to separate the south east from Ukraine.
In 2007 the central power woke up at last: “Donetsk republic” organization was prohibited, and the prosecution of its leaders was opened by the Security Service of Ukraine. They were accused of the attempt to destroy the territorial unity of the country. Despite the prosecution, separatists continued working illegally. In 2009, the creation of military units of Donetsk Russian army was announced. At that time the declaration on the sovereignty of “Donetsk republic” was adopted.
Kostyantyn Skorkin for RN
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