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Discrimination of IDPs from Donbas. Is it just the beginning? Part 1

Discrimination of IDPs from Donbas. Is it just the beginning? Part 1

Once again about “internally displaces persons”, to be precise, forced migrants (IDPs), the legal term which is used by the country to refer to a considerable part of its population. Personal values and beliefs, and the war forced about 1.5 million people to leave their homes. The first wave of the people who came from the conflict zone looked like the angry hedgehog from a popular Soviet animated cartoon, the hedgehog with a bundle of things and dim prospects.

Those people took minimum staff with them as they hoped that the situation would not last for a long time and they were resolute to go back home.

Unfortunately, the events developed differently. It became clear that the hope to go back home soon was illusive. The situation has been lasting for two years and the legal guarantees of the state for the people from the Crimea and the Donbas have gradually been squeezing like shagreen.

What about the Fundamental Law? Everything is OK with it!

Article 24 of the Constitution of Ukraine reads, “Citizens have equal constitutional rights and freedoms and are equal before the law. There shall be no privileges or restrictions based on race, colour of skin, political, religious and other beliefs, sex, ethnic and social origin, property status, place of residence, linguistic or other characteristics”.

In reality, the signs of stigmatisation have become more and more evident. The process is much stimulated by the cultivation of myths and stereotypes about IDP, and that has become popular in the information space for the last two years. Maybe, this is profitable for someone.

Myth-busted or the destructing a “legend”

It is necessary to bust the myths, and it should be done publicly and persistently as these stereotyped materials are being distributed. They are accumulated, attract gossips and creat the basis for social tension. Without speaking about and analyzing the conflict situations, the society will not be able to preserve a united country and to become a political nation.

In order to stabilize the situation in Ukraine and Europe, and to prevent the development of new zones of conflict, NGO Ukrainian Institute of the Strategies of Global Development and Adaptation was created. It is an association of researchers who united to find the ways for resolving the conflict in the Donbas. 

One of the Institute experts, Roman Prokopenko, assures that “today several myths are cultivated in Ukraine, and the policy of discrimination against forced “IDPs” is being conducted behind this “veil”. However, these myths cannot stand any check”.

For example, the statement that “no taxes are paid to the Ukrainian budget from the occupied territories, and because of that there should be no budget payments to the residents of the territories uncontrolled by Ukraine” is not true to fact.

In reality, cargo trains with products and raw materials regularly cross the frontline, and not as smuggling, but with a formal permission of the Security Service of Ukraine, as Roman Prokopenko informs.

He says that, according to the fiscal service information (see: “Liga. Business” portal, 22.04.2015), 52% out of 19 billion Hryvnyas of taxes paid in Ukraine are paid by businesses located on the uncontrolled territory.

Besides, there are also people who believe that the majority of residents of the Donbas are separatists. That is why they do not deserve social payments. However, the specific feature of a rule-of-law state is that all its citizens, including serial maniacs and peculators have the right to get social payments. The exception is cases when court makes a respective decision concerning each particular citizen. There should not be any discrimination on the basis of the place of residence, and no regulations or laws may change that, as the expert comments on.

One more argument – Donbas is a subsidized region: it should get from the budget what it has paid to it.

Roman Prokopenko stated that the absolute majority of the regions in Ukraine are subsidized. At the same time, real people and real manufactures may be located at a distance hundreds of kilometers from Kyiv though they pay taxes in Kyiv. “There are eight offices which work with big, major taxpayers. The number is much smaller than the number of regions. In other words, a lot of big taxpayers do not pay taxes at the place where they work by default. So, there is no sense to compare official tax income with subsidies and subventions. Serious economists do not use phrases like “Region X feeds Ukraine” or “Region X is fed by Ukraine”. These phrases are the destiny of populists and economically illiterate people”, the expert explains.

Larysa Byelozerova, DonPress

New service "Explain Ukraine". This is a daily mailout of two 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.

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