Generally, the city of Kramatorsk never had the capital ambitions. It has always been a workers settlement with the status of the city which lived a quiet provincial life. By and large, the city did not even have a place for the regional administration. Kramatorsk inhabitants met a "capital" status with joy and hope. The matter is that Donetsk was always different from the other cities in the region by roads quality, state of public transport, well tended gardens and parks. In some matters the capital of Donbas looked more elegant than Kiev. Therefore, residents of Kramatorsk hoped that at least a part of metropolitan life will be accepted by them. At the same time, life of officials migrated from Donetsk is rather hard. In Donetsk, they lived in their apartments, work comfortably in the 11-storey building. Now in exile they housed in two floors of Kramatorsk City Council building. Alexander Kikhtenko, the Governor of that time, settled down in the office of mayor and the city council and the regional administration used in turn three halls of the City Council building to conduct meetings. At first, this neighborhood was considered temporary, so they did not even begin to change the furniture and make repairs in the temporary governor's office. Officers of State Administration also were temporarily placed in the pioneer camps in the town of Svyatogorsk where every day they went to work on a special bus. Immediately after resettlement Kikhtenko said that he plans to go back either with the administration into the previous building in the center of Donetsk, or a new administration building will be built in the city of Kramatorsk.
Adversity of a big-city life
The first disappointments from the capital status came very quickly. The first victims were the citizens who do not have their own homes. The matter is that a large demand for apartments of the migrated officers which did not want to live in a children's camp with at least four beds in a room, just blew the rental market. Before the war apartments in Kramatorsk have been usually rented free of charge with compensation only utilities cost for the owners, or tokenistic few hundred hryvnias. But after moving of Regional State Administration to the city, in addition to compensation for utilities cost, the owners began to require rental payment in amount at least 1500 hryvnias. The rent for an apartment in the central city area began to reach up to 10 thousand hryvnias. That money is rather large for Kiev, and it is very expensive for Kramatorsk with its provincial salaries. In addition, local officials began to suffer fairly from the presence of the regional administration. They felt completely correctness of the Soviet soldier wisdom that one should stay away from the commander and closer to the kitchen. The matter is that regional officials felt themselves as the heads of municipal ones and began permanently to give them different instructions. In addition, some regional divisions have begun to shift their functions straightly to the municipal authorities. For example, obligations to organize all regional cultural events have been imperceptibly transferred from the specialized regional department to the municipal culture department.
For one and a half year the capital status has not changed Kramatorsk. Road are repaired in a slipshod fashion, but this is done for means of the municipal budget or state subventions. The projects in the city are being implemented at the expense of the State Fund for Regional Development, but it is happening in other cities of the region, too. Former Governor Kikhtenko has more engaged in war, and he has no time for the development of the city. But the situation in the region was a bit different: shelling of Kramatorsk and Mariupol, entrapment and capture of Debaltsevo, active construction of defense lines around the occupied territory. However, the new head of the region Pavel Zhebrivskiy is not in a hurry to do something useful for the city which shown hospitality to him. Kramatorsk has not received from the regional administration neither a new transport, nor perfect roads, no well tended squares. Instead, the governor constantly fights with the municipal authorities which, in his opinion, are not enough patriotic, do everything wrong and love him not enough. The most interesting thing is that he does it all out of his office which has been provided to him by the city power sitting in a chair and at a table which previously was used by the city government. Though, probably, it is not necessary to wait for some beautification of the city from a man who is not able to create a comfortable working environment even for his subordinates. Officers of State Administration still work in conditions that are more suited to sprats in a jar, sitting at the tables which have been kindly provided by the town council officials. Of course, some control try to find and repair for themselves at least some premises, but it is rather an initiative of their heads than authorities of the region. By the way, the majority of Regional State Administration officers continue to live in suburban camps four people in a room, overcoming daily 60 kilometers to and from their work place. A promise to repair for their needs a hostel in Kramatorsk given by the governor together with the People's Deputy Maxim Efimov have been already forgotten. Residents of the city that were waiting for Kramatorsk will become a little like a pre-war Donetsk, no longer hope for this.
New service "Explain Ukraine". This is a daily mailout of three articles which were written about the situation in the Donbas by Donbas journalists and translated into English. Honest vision of people who work in the field is unbiased and fresh which is crucial in the world which is full of desinformation and propaganda. We try to share this vision in out daily mailout. You can subscribe here.