Last weekend ended the honeymoon period in the relationship of business and government the self-proclaimed Donetsk people’s Republic. In the largest markets of Donetsk and the shopping center “Continent” massively come tax, tried to understand where the product is and why it is not “cleared”.
photo: Dmitry Durnev
This is one of the pieces of the Donetsk trade. Buying shoes on the market, you rarely get to see her box and very rarely meet a full range of sizes any model. Shoes through the Ukrainian checkpoints carry in the bags as their own, sometimes even notation neighbors in the car. What kind of “clearance”?
A unique experience of survival in the Donetsk and Lugansk would be worth studying in some College crisis”, if he was in Moscow. The truth is that in any crisis is always the place of prosperous people. There are always those who earn much more than others. Black market and millionaires were even in the Warsaw ghetto in 1942. To say nothing of apparently quite prosperous Donetsk.
“You know, I like to do business in Donetsk — honestly share with me the experience of a businessman from Mariupol Ivan. — Here, as in the 90s, it is possible to earn on everything. The window of opportunity! Scarce items will be enough for everyone, the earth under the stalls emit fast trade only!”.
Name entrepreneurs here trying not to call. Although Ivan the competent authorities will certainly guess. He sells books and media on both sides of the front line. The war ripped a single network of kiosks “Press”, nearly three dozen shopping pavilions remained in Donetsk. Crosswords, fashion magazines, secular and entertainment publications from Kiev in Mariupol twice a week I stop in the capital of Donbass… And selling well.
“People come back and try usually to start your own business, — says the owner of one of the Donetsk restaurants in the city centre. — I select a seven-day period of “euphoria returnee”. People returning to their homes and see clean, well maintained center daily meet old friends and enjoy it! On the eighth day, start asking the old-timers than those do. Often get the answer: “Nothing!” And from that day looking for a use”.
The restaurant owner also does not reveal the name. “Meat, vegetables, take in the markets of Donetsk. But “blockage” — black olives, elite varieties of spaghetti are importing crook from the Ukrainian territory. Here they are sometimes three times more expensive”, — says the businessman.
I understand what he’s talking about. On Pushkin Boulevard is the new shop “the Gourmet” — sales and tasting in the bar with the elite alcoholic drinks, expensive products. “Elite” is more than 200 rubles per bottle. Holds the school and treats notable guests, such as Moscow journalists, the owner of the store is one of the former top managers of the largest in these parts of the coal enterprises. Why I began this business? “You need something to do! Do not go anywhere, just take the item at the base in Donetsk and work,” he says.
In the territory which is now controlled by the self-proclaimed Republic, is not only coal, but also a pair of large distilleries. Good local vodka — from 70 roubles for a bottle. There are two large meat-packing plant with good reputation — in the Donetsk and Perevalsk (Luhansk region). In Donetsk a large dairy is your cottage cheese, fermented baked milk, kefir, yogurt… the rest — freedom for Russian and Belarusian producers.
Arithmetic local business is easy. All major enterprises in the Donbass work in Ukraine, but the salary they pay on the spot. About seven hundred thousand pensioners receive their 2.5 thousand rubles for social assistance, and about 50-55 million dollars a month comes in the form of Ukrainian pensions, which here receives the same mass. And there are doctors, teachers, government officials and about 20 thousand soldiers with the salaries of ordinary of 14 thousand rubles. This is a serious “cake” worth fighting for.
The most common business — food retail. Small local shops are growing by leaps and bounds. In pre-war times from their centre squeezed out of the high rent and the competition of supermarkets. Shop now — the perfect place for conversations and purchases. Each try to keep customers out of their yards. Give products in debt, write down in a notebook “credits” are trying to bake something different and special.
“I will write!” — confidently said a serious male friend at the store near my house. Both men in the civil, but very toned, broad-shouldered and respected sellers. Went to get a beer, one in the battalion has not yet been paid”, is shared by four bottles of beer for two — two paid, two commander the saleswoman writes in “credit” — a common picture in Donetsk.
Following stores are cafes and canteens. They are not crowded, but tasty and cheap. The usual format is to find a client and work at least “zero”. The unlikely goal is often to preserve the estate and the company to better times. In a former Italian restaurant on Komsomolsky Prospekt, now the European home menu. No business Lunches, all prepared from the three — course meal never goes more than 170 rubles. My favorite mushroom noodles — 50 rubles.
“We are expensive and pretentious,” says the owner of a restaurant on Central in the city of Pushkin Boulevard. — The average bill — 400 rubles, more than $ 6! If a person is willing to leave 10 bucks, he is a VIP customer! The average city — 250 rubles. Format beer+pizza, most running in the current Donetsk”.
Very interesting now to read the books about 20-ies of the last century. These brownies kitchen, working table, early NEP — all so recognizable.
Develops resourceful and not “cash-intensive”. Loans and commercial banks no, but and rent is very low, electricity is cheaper than in Ukraine, doubled, and staff are happy wage of 5000 roubles. Hence numerous hairdressers from 70 rubles to the elite beauty salons, tattoo parlors, massage, sauna, crews on repair of apartments, repair of cars, shoes, clothes and… travel Agency. Recent work in both sides — Kiev and Rostov-on-don.
“Different opportunities for people — says “MK” travel Manager Svetlana. Someone could not go on the Ukrainian territory, and Rostov will not send people with Ukrainian passports in the “visa” countries, including those in Greece, which is now in Russia inexpensive. Sent through Russia to Morocco and Tunisia. Via Ukraine — to Egypt and Turkey, there is now a good “five” for $ 500 for two people for a week you can fly. No, the checkpoints and the border doesn’t deliver. This is — you!”
From Donetsk, you can go straight by bus to Georgia, the Crimea, Sochi. “Direct” is the key word here, through the line of posts buses do not pass, you have to come up with things to change after the checkpoint in another vehicle. The price of “direct match” — for every taste and color. Manager sitting on a chair under an umbrella near the South bus station, you will write, will call and will not take the money the driver will pay. Prices — the democratic: Moscow — 1800 rubles, Nizhny Novgorod — 3500, Anapa — 1600, Tuapse — 2300…
Manager Lyudmila “for the newspaper” immediately agrees to be photographed in all my “price tag”. Here are all the Russian direction. In the direction of Ukraine service other roadblocks can stand for days. But UAH 300 (750 rubles), you will be transferred to Mariupol and Volnovakha without Queuing for 4-6 hours depending on the route for the day. Here their craft Union. Pick up from home at half past four in the morning, still under curfew. To 6 am you’re in line at the checkpoint, where two nights taxi driver from the nearby Starobesheve has already taken place. All two dozen cars “gang” immediately will slip in the queue ahead of it and will exchange customers. Schedule hard — 7 to cross the checkpoint DNI, 8 — Ukrainian, and at 9.20 am to remove it lured customers with the Kyiv train on Volnovakha. By lunchtime, the men already back in Donetsk. Excluding gasoline and bribes at checkpoints per day you can earn 20 to 30 dollars. A lot of money in Donetsk, and men complex transportation roundabouts are not simple, all over 40, just pay attention to good shoes.
My driver through clenched teeth, criticized the guards of the DNI: “the Passports took in the car did not look — men, women in there? Saboteur here were taken with someone else’s passport without any problems!”.
On Ukrainian territory, pay attention to what my driver twice salute the traffic police patrols. Understand that going with one of the former senior officers of the regional traffic police the time of Yanukovych. “Since last October ride. Previously, the house sat on the sea in the summer of 2014… But do something!” through clenched teeth drops Vitali.
Through the line of confrontation in a month drive roughly 700 thousand people. The work is always there.
After the war, it became very relative and is measured in terms of the security and for better or worse neighbor you have to feed their children.
“I want to talk to you, Ukrainian people!” sternly informs me high inebriated man at the buffet at the hotel in the Ukrainian City. I spend the night here before leaving for the airport in Donetsk, he lives here while training at courses of improvement of qualification. Came from Zuevskaya TPP (territory controlled DND) on Kurakhovskaya TPP for a week. The two power plants owned by Ukrainian oligarch Rinat Akhmetov and work like a clock with all the power.
The man got drunk and decided to talk to some “Ukrainian”. Found out that before it the journalist “MK”, and says “for life”: “I am the master, get a well — 5000 UAH (12 500 rubles. — Approx. D. D.), the coolest, the type of Director, get under 8000, working an average of 2500. It’s in our area very well. “Copanca” (illegal mines) so many never get this!”
People get in hryvnias on the cards of Ukrainian banks, which in Donetsk in the afternoon with fire not find. Therefore, another successful business — cash hryvnia cards. Russian card of Sberbank of Russia in Donetsk no) cash under the acceptable 5%, with the Ukrainian can keep up to 20%. Offices a lot, especially around town-forming industrial enterprises in Khartsyzsk, Donetsk Zuyevka. Workers and pensioners cooperate and send a lot of cards and pin-codes of messengers for the money on the territory of Ukraine. Some, with sums over 100 thousand hryvnias, take Ukrainian border guards on suspicion of “financing of terrorism”.
The big story was in Mariupol a couple of weeks ago. At the Ukrainian checkpoint detained the head of the pension Fund of Telmanovo district of the DNI. Went to make a Ukrainian pension. But not checked the “Peacemaker” before leaving.
Eternal business and bread of these places is illegal mines-kopanka — power self-proclaimed republics are trying to bring out of the shadows. But this bread, and bitter. “Usually four to kopanka work — it tells me one of the miners side. — One coal cuts, the second output, the third on the winch, and the fourth to the bathroom. A day can be cut from 6 to 9 tons of coal. But 9 is all go wrong!”.
I translate for the uninitiated. Kopanka is a little shed over the coal hole with one important mechanism, electric hoist. Inside one man cuts coal with a jackhammer, and the second puts lining provides ventilation, and the third fills the banal cast-iron bath coal, which is the fourth picks up with the same winch. Pay for produced a ton of rubles 160. In a month — still a penny.
This ton, pronesennaya through the checkpoints, after all the bribes, purchases and expenditures on gasoline in the Kherson region is 4,000 hryvnia (UAH 1000 now 2500 rubles). Risk to the life of the miner, from the seller, but the seller, risking another truck in the area of the ATO is still a lot more he earns. Except the miners and sellers is, of course, to pay attention to the owners “Copanca”. They have just all good.
War and crisis is not a hindrance to business. This is an important lesson I learned in 2014 in Kramatorsk, when a German colleague had a drink there on 1 July coffee with a fresh croissant at a local café. Before the departure of strelkov from Slavyansk remained 5 days of fierce fighting near Semyonovka, located on the road between Kramatorsk and Slavonic, from the mountain Karachun worked artillery. But every day the truck with fresh cakes of Raisins (a city, where there was then the headquarters of the ATO) by the Slavic arrives early in the morning in Kramatorsk and… came back with yesterday’s revenue. In favor of the hosts, that sat in Kharkov.
Business as water is seeping everywhere. It has long been understood in Donetsk the current government. Searching bazaars, and in shopping malls ended by riot entrepreneurs. Hundreds of people came out to protest under the city councils of Donetsk and Makeyevka. With traders met the city administration and the Minister of taxes and fees.
Decisions taken immediately. All the goods that were imported before may 23, must be declared and nothing to pay for it is not necessary. Of arrested may 23, the arrest is lifted. In this case, the fiscal authorities continue to commit themselves to take “credit documents of any sample.” That is, any paper with any seals…
Money from the local authorities is not enough. Go to extraordinary measures, talking about nationalization of markets. But the fact that traders will continue to trade, and further — no doubt. They happy live, don’t shoot, children are healthy.
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