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(en) avtonom: 4 years in the DPR: impressions of a Ukrainian miner -- June 10, 2019 - 11:03 - sitiazion [machine translation]
Sun, 16 Jun 2019 08:18:00 +0300
The telegram channel @situazion interviewed a Ukrainian miner who from 2015 to 2019 worked
at the "A. Zasyadko mine" in Donetsk. Dmitry witnessed many events that took place in
Donetsk during this period: how the DPR was formed (Donetsk People's Republic), how the
war went on, how its miners' colleagues reacted to these events. For obvious reasons,
Dmitry does not fully disclose his identity. ---- - Large team at your mine? ---- - Yes,
big. More than three thousand employees. ---- - Who is the owner of the mine? ---- - The
owner of the mine was and remains Zvyagilsky Efim Leonidovich. Veteran of all convocations
of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. The oldest acting politician. I did not just emphasize
"was and remains." From March 1, 2017, the authorities of the DPR nationalized all
Ukrainian enterprises and assigned them the status of a state-owned enterprise (state
enterprise) of the DPR. But all this does not prevent Yefim Leonidovich from coming to the
territory controlled by the DPR, with personal security guards armed with machine guns,
and solving the internal technological problems of the mine.
- Normally paid? Was it possible to support a family for this salary?
"Our salary is good, but small," is the favorite expression of the miners. Food prices in
Donetsk are the same as in Moscow. A salary of 15-25 thousand rubles, depending on the
profession and the completed plan. Sometimes up to 30 in some teams reached, but this is a
private and one-time case. So draw conclusions. Earlier, salaries for Zasyadko amounted to
- What were the working conditions (observance of safety measures, depreciation of means
of labor, etc.)?
- It is impossible to violate safety at work. In general, more or less, attention was paid
normally. Zasyadko is far from the worst example of working conditions in the mines of
- During 2014-2018 mine worked? Were there any work stoppages due to the war? How long?
Were there wage delays?
- There were practically no interruptions in the operation of the mine due to the
development of the active phase of the hostilities, as well as significant wage delays. In
this matter, of course, we must pay tribute to the organization of this enterprise.
Because in other mines debts have accumulated good, and tails to reach to this day. There
were interruptions in work due to a shortage of materials and their timely delivery due to
Violations of the law in the provision of compulsory leave and accrual vacation /
settlement - were!
Increase the number of working hours without a rate increase - it was! To promise one, and
to pay another - was! There were no salary delays.
- How did the mood of the miners change with the events in the Donetsk region in the
period from the beginning of 2014 to the time when you left the Donetsk region?
- I characterize briefly not only the mood of the miners, but in general, all over
Donetsk. I personally do not know a single person who initially supported Ukraine, and
then changed his views in the direction of the DPR. But I saw many examples of how the
supporters of the DPR began to speak frankly and extremely negatively in the opposite. I
personally communicated with a Russian, a special forces soldier who came to Donetsk to
fight for ideological reasons, but then began to call the whole organization "banana
republic". He tried to quit and go home, but he was refused under various pretexts. And
such examples are not enough. The bulk of those supporting the republic are people who
feed at their expense, at the expense of those miners themselves. The rest simply survive
and wait for an early end to the conflict.
- Did you attend the rally at which the DNI was proclaimed? If present, describe your
- There were quite a few of these meetings. Was as a bystander. Yes, what impressions can
be ... Ordinary residents of the city came to see where the noise came from, and the
paid-up asset with the Russian and Dnepr flags made a picture. I remember how they,
sandwiched and insecure, stood somewhere in the corner of the square. Over time, this is
fake propaganda and big financial injections made them what they are.
- Have any of your relatives, acquaintances, and friends suffered during the war?
- There are victims! And killed and wounded and maimed.
- Were there any conflicts between your colleagues on the political mail regarding the
support / non-support for the DPR, support / non-support for the events on Maidan and the
then new government in Kiev represented by Poroshenko?
- No, there were no political conflicts in the mining environment, during this time, not a
single one. Well, I definitely did not see. These are very optimistic and positive people.
And among the miners, I did not observe any ideological supporters of the DPR or opponents
of Ukraine. A lot of jokes and sayings, all sorts, about the whole conflict in general.
Just people became hostages of the situation.
- Have there been similar conflicts among the residents of Donetsk?
- Concerning conflicts among residents of Donetsk. Personal examples do not know and
rumored too. But I think that they definitely were. Here, these processes are hampered by
the permissiveness of the local police. Many are simply afraid to express their point of view.
- Russian propaganda persistently calls individual militias from the DPR / LNR side
"anti-fascist interbrigade". This refers to the individual citizens of the EU, communist
convictions, who came to fight for the DPR / LPR. How relevant is the term "anti-fascist
brigades"? Have you come across such foreign "leftists"? What do you think of their position?
"I don't know how about foreign leftists, but the Russian right is certainly enough!)) You
can meet anyone in the DNR army: soldiers and officers of the regular army of Russia,
Russian instructors, local Donetsk right and all marginals, drunks, and mercenaries who
travel all their lives to all the hot spots of the world, Chechens, etc. "volunteers". But
no anti-fascism and liberating spirit here and pulls. In the people's republic there is
very little of the people's. So the anti-fascist international brigades, most likely
another fiction of propagandists, in order to more clearly show the "fascist" Ukraine.
- Are there many miners - your colleagues went to the militia to fight for the NPT?
- No, none of my work colleagues went to war.
- Were there those who were against the DNI and tried to resist?
- Yes, there was resistance, it is now, but in a different format. In the first year of
the war, the DPR militants had almost unlimited power. Special control over them was not
conducted and they, in turn, created what they wanted. We walked with weapons throughout
the city, supermarkets, parks, playgrounds. Wring out the car, looting in the houses that
the owners left. Naturally, people just shut up. The arguments against the machine do not
- Were there those who immediately left the Donetsk region with the beginning of events?
- The first shelling began in the summer and many left immediately, in the first days.
Nobody believed in what was happening. Yesterday the millionth city, the city of
possibilities, developed and breathed deeply, and today mines are torn and there are
already the first victims. Many thought it would all end quickly, just left for the sea.
But it was not there...
- Were you a member of the RKAS (Revolutionary Confederation of Anarchists-Syndicalists
named after NI Makhno)? What time is it?
- I am a member of RKAS since 2010.
- Have you tried to conduct any propaganda work among your colleagues as a member of the
RKAS? How successful was this job?
- After the armed seizure of Donetsk, any dissent was punished without trial. Any
dissatisfaction with the authorities could have been regarded as aiding "ukrofashistam",
you could easily be written in the "dill". It has now become easier, but then it was the
real Middle Ages. Agitation did not lead. So, backroom conversations.
- Was there a trade union in the mine? What kind of union? How strong were his connections
with the team? What were the activities of the trade union?
- The union in the mine is the same as in other state-owned enterprises. Since Soviet
times, its functions have not changed. Vouchers at the sea, all sorts of tickets, candy to
children. He solved various problems of miners, organized a collection of money, blood for
donation to injured workers or their relatives, and helped with the organization of
funerals. By the way, I will return to the issue of the ability to organize, employees
always financially help their colleagues, even if they haven't seen each other's eyes. Who
- Have there been labor disputes at the mine? Did you manage to participate in them? What
are the results?
- Labor conflicts never go beyond the abusive scuffle)). People can send each other, and
after 10 minutes they are joking together. This is a completely normal and common practice.
- What is your opinion about the ability of workers to organize themselves in the struggle
for their economic (wage increases, improved working conditions, etc.) rights? What is
missing in this self-organization?
- The ability of workers to organize is quite high. Much higher than many ideological
"true" leftists. I believe that this is the main driving force of the anarchist
revolution. In their hearts lies the real rage and power of the deceived people. Such
people can not buy and they do not need much. Not all, of course, such, but many. The main
problem - to direct the rage with the right side, financial support, lack of resources.
And there will be leaders both, and instigators, and craftsmen. During the period of the
DPR rule there were 2 attempts to organize, but both were not successful due to lack of
resources. For the first time, "Comrade Zakharchenko" simply drove a couple of Bobby with
the military under the mine, and that was it. But in about a month their demand was
fulfilled. And the second time, on Lenin Square, where workers gathered from all the
mines, they simply threw out students with flags, balls, posters and music for a sports
festival. The miners simply disappeared into this passionately joyful event. And they were
threatened by machine gunners.
- Why did you personally move to Kiev? When?
- Why did I move from the DNI? There is no normal work, there are no normal wages, there
are no banks. Station and no airport - bombed. The feeling that you live in a reservation.
There is no freedom of speech. It is forbidden to conduct independent trade union
activities, and indeed any kind of campaigning, if its meaning differs from the views of
local authorities. A curfew was imposed from 23:00, the youth there simply suffocated. I
see no prospects for professional and personal growth for myself. I also do not see ways
and opportunities to realize myself as an anarchist. Therefore, I moved to Kiev in the
spring of 2019.
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