The foreign Ministers of the countries participating in the “Normandy format” acknowledged on Wednesday that no progress in the negotiations on the Donbass no. The parties cannot agree on elections, on territories of DNR and LNR, the special status and control over the Ukrainian border. Meanwhile, according to the UN, since the beginning of the civil war in Ukraine has already killed and wounded more than 30 thousand people, 2.5 million Ukrainians have become refugees. The Plenipotentiary representative of the DND in Minsk Denis Putilin in an interview to “MK” remembered where it all began, and when and how it finally ends.
– What have you been doing until 2014?
“I lived the ordinary life of an ordinary Ukrainian, very distant from the policy and never planned to participate in it. He served in the army, changing positions and places of work, then started my own firm in the distribution of food. But the turning point happened when in Kiev there was a coup. Of course, the Donbass too long ago was against Viktor Yanukovych, because has experienced all the mechanisms to pressing business. However, we were against Association with the European Union. It was not necessary for us not only for ideological but also for economic reasons. As a result of the Association we have lost the opportunity to supply its products to the countries of the Customs Union, but they were the main business partners of the South-East. But for the participants of the Maidan, it played a minor role, because the bulk went to protest after the beating, “they’re children”. These people came together not for the European Union, and against Yanukovych. But the Donbass is not involved in the protest, because we knew that by creating a precedent of violent change of power, who knows how many more governments will be overthrown. We are waiting for 2015, when to be held next presidential elections, and Yanukovych had to leave, as prescribed in the Constitution. But the organizers of the coup were looking at it differently, and the flywheel began to spin very rapidly. All this I saw with my own eyes, as was in Kiev and on the personal initiative helped law enforcement warm clothing. At that time, I continued to hope that the overthrow of Yanukovych will not and the situation is normalized. But the President escaped, and in early March it was already dangerous to move to Kiev with Donetsk numbers…
– Why such a dislike to Donetsk?
– Yanukovych was in Donetsk”, and his actions, he put a negative image for the whole region, supposedly all we can do is impudent, stealing, pressing and so on. And during the Maidan Donetsk default were perceived as unconditional supporters of Yanukovych. In Kiev began to walk the other violent groups of people who looked for “enemies of the revolution”. Then I realized that it was time to go home. Besides, in early March, in Donetsk held a rally, and I had hoped that we found their activists who are willing to take the initiative in their own hands and repel the Maidan. But once home I discovered that things are not quite so smooth. The first meeting in which I participated, was held on 9 March. His organization was heavily limping, to the extent that the leaders of Saturday’s rally didn’t know who is in charge of a Sunday promotion. Moreover, all the activists were divided into isolated groups. I tried to find a contact and point of contact. In fact, we lived from rally to rally. Gathered people of different views: left, right and center. Everyone has seen the future of Donbass in their own way. Someone said, let’s join Russia, as did Crimea, and someone insisted on the federalization of Ukraine. And at some moment it became obvious that there should be a referendum in which the majority will determine our further actions, because no one should assume alone the role of arbiter of the destinies of millions of people. Then, in March, we still hoped that the rest of the deputies will support us and give the vote legitimacy, because they had the necessary resource and the right. For example, a referendum could take the form of a survey and vote for the results in the local Parliament. Unfortunately, the majority of MPs even left the country because he feared reprisals for his involvement in the Yanukovych team, and the quorum has not been collected. In this regard, we were forced to take responsibility for themselves and occupy the property. After that we started to live not even for one day and one hour, because nobody knew what to do next, but no one was going.
– Why do you think despite your inexperience you managed to resist?
– One of the reasons was that we built the Institute co-chairs. For example, in Kharkiv activists continued to believe that local governments and fought over who of them should lead the protest. The result is that many leaders, all are throwing mud at each other, no responsibility does not want to take all blame each other, in cooperation with SBU. That none of them no one worked, they realized only when it turned out in the neighbouring cells, but to change something was already late. We, on the contrary, anyone who represented any political force and wanted to become a co-chair, once was able to do it. Only we all the responsibility is also shared equally, and it immediately abolished all the strife. In addition, Kiev did not know whom to arrest, to behead the protest, so as to replace the one the leaders came the other. So we walked to the referendum, which has surpassed even our expectations. And after him I had to think what to do next. 15 may we have created the Supreme Council of the DNI. And at the end of may against us aircraft used. Before anyone eve head could not come that Kiev uses the army against its own people…
– And agree with you tried?
– Before the referendum spoke repeatedly with Rinat Akhmetov and even with Yulia Tymoshenko, but their ideas were always late. When it was possible to talk about decentralization, they believed that it is possible to do without it. Then, when it was necessary to speak about federalization, they thought of decentralization. Now that Ukraine is on its last breath, they are talking about federalisation, but Ukrainian state can only be saved Confederation. Here are the official representative of US state Department Victoria Nuland said that the Donbass special status. But why this could not be done a year or two years ago, when there was so much blood spilled? With each passing month of the war the gap between us increases. Recently they from mortars fired at Elenovka. What should guide to direct fire to shoot the foremost of the women, the elderly and just civilians at the checkpoint?
– Let’s return to the referendum, you were hoping that Russia recognizes it and will accept the DNR in its composition?
– We understand that the residents of Donetsk region can wish for themselves a different future, so we asked them “do you Support the act of state independence DND?” That is, the question was not about joining Russia, not about independence, nor about Federation or Confederation. Our task consisted in that to construct the question in such a way that it included different scenarios. We are also well aware that in the Crimea, from a legal point of view, everything happened very clearly. Where local authorities declared the referendum and its results were joined to Russia. And we have these government ran away, and ordinary people had to take responsibility for themselves, far from the norms and standards of international law. However, since then we have become much closer to Russia, as Ukraine started to push us with a full-scale blockade. In this regard, we are still in the summer of 2014 decided on their own to collect taxes, pay pensions, build and organize all branches of government and so on…
– You still want to Russia?
– Now before us few options: either the whole of Ukraine will disintegrate, and then to gather in a Confederation where not only the Donetsk region, but in General all will be special status, or people will get tired of the war and the lies that pours from Kiev and will be able to put at the head of the state the Patriotic forces… it is Not excluded that in the second case the whole of Ukraine will join Russia. Well, it remains the most pessimistic variant – Kiev dare to continue the war. Of course he will lose, but the casualties will be very large.
And without Ukraine, DND and LNR don’t want to join Russia?
– If we were selfish, we would probably be talking about it. Then we would say that there is DNR and LNR, and everything outside of them we don’t care because there is no our people. But that’s not true. Not only on the territory of Donetsk region of full, our people live, who participated in the referendum in 2014, in the rest of Ukraine is also a lot of sensible people, who also can not openly Express their position. There are such people in the Kharkov, Zaporozhye, Dnepropetrovsk, Odessa… Even with the Western Ukraine, we support the contacts. Moreover, within two years of the war, there are those who at first was our ardent enemy, and now realize that we acted forced, and the axis of evil runs through Kiev. Therefore, our focus is not on how to become part of Russia, and to do everything possible to residents of the DNI and LC could properly exist in while we are in limbo. To do this, we even issued passports, which are recognized in Russia, and cars with numbers DNI move freely on the territory of the Russian Federation.
– That is the Russian border guards let you in to our country on the passport and the DNI?
– Of course. I’m even flying on a plane and check into hotel.
– Maybe your case is the exception to the rule?
– No, I can do all who have a DNR passport.
– It turns out that Russia has recognized the DPR?
– Russia was forced to accept our documents because our citizens have no other alternative to ID. Ukraine has deprived us of this opportunity. Where, if not in the NPT, our young people will receive a passport on reaching 16 years? Anywhere! The same applies to those who have to replace the passport photograph. Therefore, we have developed the documents and appealed to Russia to recognize them. Of course, she agreed, but how else? How could she allow Kiev to make our people powerless. And exactly the same situation with car numbers. In Donetsk are sold and registered cars, then freely go to Russia. We would probably not able to survive without Russian support. There was a time when we are almost strangled by the economic blockade, but we came to the rescue of humanitarian aid from Moscow. In addition, the Russian Federation, the Advisory helps us in the process of state-building. Russia does not give us offense about the same as the older brother protects the younger. She has a way with us to the fight, but not healthy and gives rascal to attack us.
– If you’re talking about the Confederation, let us remember the new Russia, which in 2014 was headed by Oleg Tsarev.
– Actually, everything except the DNI and LC existed only in our desires. This also applies to the new Russia, and reformatting the Ukraine and so on. The variability still persisted. Could it in 2014, activists all over Ukraine to create a stronghold for the creation of new Russia? Of course, he could, for this it was necessary to identify leaders who would put at stake everything they have, including their lives. In Donetsk and Lugansk, it turned out, in Kharkov almost happened in Odessa, people are just intimidated by the burning of the House of trade unions. Now we hear calls for an attack on Kiev and Lviv. But we have the sad experience of the liberation of debaltseve. Retreating our enemy adheres to the tactics of “scorched earth”. The same will be destroyed Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk and any other city. So you need to think very hard before you call for the continuation of the war. Now we win by political means. Kiev signed a unacceptable the Minsk agreement and is now required to comply with them, because France and Germany vouched for it. But do realize that when he will fulfill them, the former Ukraine will not be. First, the special status we get, then it will be Odessa, Kharkov, and others. We will transform Ukraine into a Confederation.
– Since the establishment of the DNI in it was replaced by a large number, both military and political leaders. Why did this happen?
– From the point of view of history, is the most common process, and in our case, the changes occur smoothly. Many of those who stood at the base of the DNR are still in the leadership of the Republic. For various reasons, some came from our ranks. For example, initially we were all opposition to Kiev. To be the opposition means to criticize and offer alternative solutions to problems. But when we came to power, it turned out that many can only talk, and we needed to do. Here you do not like something, went and did as necessary. We are now in the period of creation, therefore, need to relieve personal ambitions and their ideological aspirations. Instead, routine and daily work. But some believed that it is possible to stay in power, and to criticize, these were replaced by modern realities.
– You, too, at one time was the head of DNI, and then went to Russia.
– Then I had to be guided by the interests of the Republic. It matured the infighting, and I thought that for me is more important, my inner ambitions or the fate of the DNI. Strife in our ranks would have made the Republic vulnerable to Ukraine.
– A month later, you called with the words “better With you than without you”?
– In fact, no one anywhere does not call. You either show its usefulness for DND or not. I once was a supporter of active operations, and it still is. If a man useful to the Republic, he should remain in power, and if not – he needs her to be free. In the summer of 2014 I had to take one step backward to later take two steps forward, and if then I tried to break through the wall, I would seriously hurt people’s Republic of Donetsk.
– At the same time, under the pretext of recovery after wound of strelkov withdrew. And although his return was expected by many, he remained in Russia. According to him, is to blame the Kremlin. Is that so?
– First, the Kremlin in Moscow, and in Donetsk decisions are made in other buildings. Secondly, I find it hard to speak for other leaders of the DNI, but once again, I repeat, everything must be considered from the standpoint of utility to the Republic. And with its irresistible and besides unfounded criticism, you can only prevent it. We do know that we have many problems, but we take and solve them one by one.
– And the oligarchs? Akhmetov DNR is the personification of evil, but his enterprise in the Republic continue to work.
– You need to understand that all of Ukraine is divided into several oligarchic clans. This is bad, because the oligarchs are easy to influence through their business interests. Hence all those devastating reforms conducted by Kiev. We do not want such a fate for our country. Now, as for Akhmetov. Being from Donetsk, he certainly loves the club, and we offered him to lead all the processes that happened in 2014, but he refused. According to him, he was all business interests closed on Europe. If he stood at the head of the DNI, it would lose its entire business. While we continue to cooperate with him in the economy, because the firm employs tens of thousands of people. We believe that while the DNR is in limbo, to nationalize these plants, as the result people will remain without work. We are forced to coexist with Akhmetov, but how long this situation can not continue.
– And the elections in DND will be? If “the Opposition bloc will take part in them, or people of the same Akhmetov will be elected in single-seat list, can it happen that the oligarchs will be in the power of the Republic?
– First, the “Opposition bloc” needs to repent of the actions of the Kiev regime and to condemn the punitive operation in the Donbas. I doubt he will be able to do it though because its members are afraid for their lives. Rabid radicals in Kiev today kill for less. In addition, in Minsk there are active negotiations on the modalities of the elections, but, despite, that still we have not agreed on a single item. We are confident that if there is a majority system and the residency requirement, no puppets of the oligarchs in power will break, and even more that do not get painted national and radical political figures. But I would not yet dare to name the final date of the elections.
– Do you regret that it all started two years ago?
I thought about what could be if we decided to do nothing and just wait, it will all end in Kiev, how will this affect the Donbass. It seems to me that the genocide conducted against the Russian, would be repeated, but would be more stretched out in time and humiliating. First, we would be weaned to speak English, then forced to forget that the General was the Great Patriotic war, instead it would be world war II or the struggle against invaders… And anyone who disagrees with this just would kill. So we had no alternative. I only regret about the huge number of innocent victims, but it is not our fault, and Kiev, which became a puppet in the hands of the West.
– Have you thought about what will happen, if Kiev does not fulfill the Minsk agreement? Are you ready to exist as Transnistria, only with the Russian border?
– Besides the border, the lives of 2.5 million of DNR and LNR 1.5 million people, there are fertile soil, plenty of companies and huge intellectual potential, one only research Institute in the DNR, there are about 25. That is, we have a lot of things that will never allow us to be in the position of Transnistria, with all due respect to this country. And what will happen next, time will tell.Related posts: