The Republic of Donetsk
Donetsk, April 11, 2014
The Republic of Donetsk was constituted in the Regional Administration building at Pushkin Boulevard, 34.
There is a border pole on the side of the Taras Shevchenko monument with a two-headed eagle. In front of the entrance to the building, there are two rows of barricades built from car tyres, bolstered with extracted paving stones, sandbags and barbed wire. Pieces of wood are burning in barrels: one can warm one’s hands.
A relatively small square restricted by barricades is filled with people. At 5 pm, there are about 300 people. The prevailing age range is from 55-70, with an equal number of men and women. All of them wear orange and black ribbons.
Younger people guard the barricades. They are exclusively men, aged 20-35. Their faces are hidden behind scarves and gas masks. The organisation of space is modelled on Maidan in Kiev. There are no more similarities. On Maidan in Kiev, everyone present participated in the events.
In front of the Regional Administration building in Donetsk, there are two separate groups: the organisers of the show and the audience. There are no volunteers, no girls distributing hot sandwiches and tea in plastic mugs. Should any visitor become cold or hungry, they go to the nearby McDonald’s to have a coffee or fries. The residents go home. There are no toilets.
The organiser does not take into consideration the fact that people will be standing day and night to defend the Republic of Donetsk. Everything is done for appearance – once coverage of the event has finished and the TV crews have departed, the show will end, the lights will be turned off.
There is an announcement over the loudspeakers: “The Parliament of the Republic of Donetsk has created the Republican Guard. We call on the residents of Donetsk – boys and girls – to join the Guard”. Oleg Cariew, a former deputy to the Supreme Council of Ukraine (the Party of Regions), currently running for President of Ukraine, climbs onto the platform. A moment of confusion – people do not recognise him. The host of the rally begins to applaud and the elderly join him. Oleg Cariew declares that he can lead the Republic. The host drops the subject. Cariew realises that he got carried away.