Wrong people: Why Kiev doesn't recognize Donbass inhabitants as Ukrainians
US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch urged Kiev to return social payments to residents of the Donbass, since the Ukrainian authorities consider the region to be their territory. However, apparently, Ukraine is not going to provide the population of the rebellious southeast with all the rights.
Moreover, Kiev politicians have long been discussing the "genetic differences" between the residents of the east and west of the country. According to these conclusions, second-class people live in the Donbass. At the peak of its own propaganda, Ukraine refuses to recognize those who could not reconcile with the post-Maidan government as its citizens.
Encouraging the Ukrainian authorities to resume payments, Yovanovitch reminded:
"This is not aid, but the means that people have earned over the decades of their work for the state."
In addition, she called discriminatory the requirement to get registered in the territory controlled by Kiev for obtaining social benefits.
The statement of the representative of Washington is dictated by pragmatism. What sympathy for the Kiev regime in the Donbass territory can we speak about if Ukraine denied hundreds of thousands of people obtaining legal money? But the country's authorities hold their own opinion on this matter. Of course, it is not expressed openly, but Ukrainian officials and parliamentarians more and more often explain that the population of the southeast is alien. Including... genetically.
So, the day before Yovanovitch's speech, a Verkhovna Rada deputy Yevgeny Rybchinsky compared the inhabitants of the rebellious Donbass to the cockroaches. The parliamentarian actually denied them the right to determine their own destiny in their native land.
"I'm not interested in the life of cockroaches, even if a million of them are born in my kitchen, this will not mean that the kitchen will belong to them," Rybchinsky addressed the residents of the south-east of the country with such a statement.
In addition, the deputy demanded to Ukrainize the region.
"No elections for at least ten years, no Russian television and newspapers, a visa regime with Russia, and active propaganda in the region. This is what the real integration should look like," he said.
Procedures for "wrong" citizens
With the help of its talking heads, Kiev shows its true attitude towards the people of the Donbass. This is not the first openly discriminatory statement voiced by a representative of the establishment. For instance, in October, a Verkhovna Radadeputy from the Petro Poroshenko Bloc, Mustafa Nayyem, explained why it is unprofitable for the Ukrainian authorities to give the population of the southeast the right to vote.
"If we allow elections even at the local level, we will get a power in our territories that will directly represent the interests of not entirely Ukrainian forces," Nayyem said. It didn't bother the parliamentarian at all that his words contradicted the Minsk agreements, which guarantee the holding of local elections. It is more important not to allow "wrong" citizens to participate in "democratic" procedures.
In December 2016, Ilya Kiva, at that time the adviser to the head of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, issued a statement that "Donbass needs not decommunization, but Ukrainization." "And even if it is forceful," he added.
But the Minister of Culture of Ukraine Yevgeny Nishchuk distinguished himself in this field most. In November last year, an official who, in theory, should personify humanistic ideals, on air of a TV channel undertook to talk about the different origins of residents of different regions of the country. In particular, according to the head of the cultural department, people "have no genetics" in the Donbass and Zaporozhye, because these regions were inhabited artificially in the days of the Soviet Union.
The provocative conclusion by Nishchuk caused a scandal worthy of the name , and the minister had to apologize.
"I wasn't any lesser value of the Donbass population that I spoke about. I said that in the Soviet Union there was practiced resettlement of the population," the official made a poor explanation.
Economic blockade and SBU lists
Kiev has been officially conducting the economic blockade of the Donbass since November 2014, when the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko signed a decree. By that time, Kiev had no longer been allocating money from the budget for retirement payments, benefits, and salaries. Only those registered in the territory controlled by the Ukrainian government are entitled to receive payments. The only people who decided to fight for the rights of the inhabitants of the southeast were the members of the Opposition Bloc party. They sued the Cabinet, and in October 2015 the Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine ordered the government to resume payments.
Nevertheless, the government doesn't care about implementing the decree. In May 2016, the Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Pavel Rozenko acknowledged that Kiev's arrears in social payments to the Donbass residents had exceeded 10 billion UAH (about $400 million at the current exchange rate at that time). At the same time, the official confirmed that only those who had left the territory of the republics actually had the right to social security.
In June of the same year, Rosenko instructed local administrations to pay pensions and social benefits to IDPs in the east of Ukraine. However, in the same month, the Cabinet issued a decision giving the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) the right to suspend payments. Human rights activists, in turn, said that the SBU had put about 200,000 people on the list of persons denied access to legal funds.
However, those dropped from the SBU lists still face problems. A year later, at the end of the summer of 2017, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees appealed to Kiev on the payments issue.
"Five hundred and eighty-six thousand Ukrainian citizens living in the conflict zone have not received pensions and social benefits since the beginning of last year, as they have not been registered by the government," the UN said.
The Office of the High Commissioner drew attention to the difficulties experiences by fifty thousand IDPs with disabilities who face even greater troubles and discrimination. The Kiev authorities have turned a blind eye to them as well.
At the end of September, an Adviser to the Minister of Ukraine for Refugees, Olesya Tsybulko, warned that the population of the south-east of the country could bury Kiev in claims to the European Court of Human Rights.
"People in the uncontrolled territory have not had a chance to receive their pensions, except to come to Ukraine, to deceive the state and declare themselves internally displaced persons," the official described the situation. But nothing has changed.
If Kiev has not managed to solve the problems with payments for three years, apparently, no such a task was set at the very beginning. The post-Maidan government tours around the world with slogans about "a unified indispensable Ukraine." However, in fact, Ukraine sees the population of the Donbass as disloyal citizens or simply strangers.
DONi News Agency