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The War republics in the Donbas one year after the outbreak of the conflict. OSW Commentary Number 174, 17 June 2015

Piechal, Tomasz (2015) The War republics in the Donbas one year after the outbreak of the conflict. OSW Commentary Number 174, 17 June 2015. [Policy Paper]

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    More than one year since the first pro-Russian moves in the Donbas, separatists have taken control of parts of the Donbas and Luhansk oblasts but are still unable to form truly functioning administrative structures. The exercise of power by the central administration of the so-called ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ (DPR) and ‘Luhansk People’s Republic’ (LPR) is restricted to resolving problems as they arise, while administration proper is the prerogative of the local authorities reporting to them which had been performing this function before the conflict broke out. The way the situation is developing and the fact that access to information is restricted make it difficult to determine the structure of the separatist government in more detail, precisely how it is organised, and what the internal hierarchy is like. The overriding goal of the governments of the DPR and the LPR is to maintain and develop their military potential. In effect, the lives of the so-called republics are subordinate to military goals. The Donbas separatism is a conglomerate of different groups of interests, with Russia at the fulcrum. Its representatives set the main tactical and strategic goals and thus have a decisive influence on the development of the situation in the region. Individual separatist groupings come into conflict, and some oligarchs linked to the former Party of Regions circles have also been making attempts to maintain their influence. The struggle between individual groups of interest is intensifying as the situation on the war front becomes calmer. Since the situation has temporarily stabilised after the seizure of Debaltseve, the central governments of the DPR and the LPR have made attempts to expand their influence, combating armed criminals who are outside their control and that of Russia. The civilian population is taking the brunt of the devastation caused by the war and the increasing militarisation of the region. Despite the fact that the intensity of the fighting on the war front is falling, worsening humanitarian problems are causing refugees to continue their flight from the territories controlled by the separatists. 2 million people have fled the conflict zone since the beginning of the war: 1.3 million of them have found shelter in other regions of Ukraine, and more than 700,000 have left for Russia. The region has also sustained great economic losses – most mines have been either destroyed or closed, many industrial plants have restricted or completely discontinued their production, and many firms have been taken over by force. In effect, the region has seen an economic downturn.

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    Item Type: Policy Paper
    Subjects for non-EU documents: Countries > Russia
    Countries > Ukraine
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW) > OSW Commentary
    Depositing User: Unnamed user with email
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2015 16:01
    Number of Pages: 9
    Last Modified: 13 Jul 2015 16:01

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