After Yanukovych's victory at the presidential election, separatists temporarily calmed down. However, “Donetsk republic” was revived in 2012-2013 when the criminal cases against active separatists were closed, and the organization activists directed their efforts against Euro integration promoted by the then Ukrainian power. At that time, one of the most resonant incidents linked with “DR” was the attack at Donetsk art center “Izolyatsia” on April 13, 2013 where a workshop with John F. Tefft, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, was held (after the “DPR” “victory”, separatists destroyed and robbed that unique for the Donbas art center and turned it into a prison). “Donetsk republic” was moving to the 2014 “Russian spring” in full steam.
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Lukhansk separatists come to the front
The stance of the Donbas elites in molding separatists' views was even more dangerous than the actions of radicals. In this respect, the brightest example was the situation in the Luhansk region which was under the monopoly of the Party of regions.
During the years following the victory of Maidan, regionalists turned the Luhansk region into a fortress “Russian world”. The process was promoted by objective mistakes — inability of the new power to solve the old problems of the Donbas as well as changes in the foreign policy of Russia whose leaders considered the confrontation in the East to be the instrument of pressure in their foreign policy. Luhansk regionalists established special relations with “United Russia” party, and head of Luhansk regional council Valeriy Holenko used to visit Vladislav Surkov, deputy chief of RF presidential administration, who is considered to be the curator of unrecognized republics in the east of Ukraine.
One of the know-how of Luhansk administration was the organization of “humanitarian forums” on respective themes: federalization, protection of Russian in Ukraine, fight with “fascism”. In 2008, the pompous 2d congress in Severodonetsk was held. It was attened by the Party of Regions leader Victor Yanukovych. One of the key speakers was Konstantin Zatulin who was a frequent visitor of the Donbas at that time — no regionalists' forum was held without him. This politician was “socially close” to Luhansk leaders: he was a komsomol functionalist who became a business person in the 90s, and then he started working in Moscow mayor Luzhkov's team where he found a winning theme of imperial-and-chauvinistic rhetoric and got monetary funds to spend on the work with “compatriots”. His organization — “The institute of CIS countries” – was actively involved in the support and development of separatist ideology in the Donbas and the Crimea. The Ukrainian brunch of the institute was headed by Donetsk political analyst Vladimir Kornilov, veteran of the separatism movement in the Donbas.
Konstantin Zatulin, Igor Markov,Vladimir Kornilov
In 2009, “an international research conference” “Federalism as a perspective way of civil society consolidation” was held in Luhansk, with “guests from Moscow” – odious politician Markov and deputy-nationalist Sergey Baturin – participating in it. “When Ukraine says “No” to NATO and “Yes” to the single economic space with Russia and to the ideas of federalization, only then it will be possible to say that is on the democratic way”, claimed Markov.
Valeriy Golenko, Vyacheslav Ivanov
The same year, “Russian center” was opened by Russian fund “Russian world” in Luhansk . Head of the fund Vyacheslav Nikonov, grandson of Stalin’s minister Molotov and assistant of the last chief of USSR KGB, came to Luhansk to open it. The center became the stronghold of Luhansk separatists and Black hundred members (chauvinists), with future “Russian spring” and “LPR” activists being its regulars. The atmosphere of the center gathering is presents by the “Russian Luhansk” site. For example, the presentation of Dmitriy Yudkin, chief of the literary-historical club “Rusichi” and member of the Interregional Union of Ukrainian Writers, spoke about the spiritual life of the Russian world. He mentioned, in particular, sacrilegious orgy of punk-group “Pussy Riot” representatives in Christ the Saviour temple, about anti-moral and anti-societal acts of “Femen”, and about Pavlograd schoolgirl Anastasiya Fomenko who came to a school-leaving party practically in underwear and the teachers who made this conscienceless and shameless act a reality. This is “Russian world” as it is…
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Kostyantyn Skorkin for RN
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