Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Rebels in Eastern Ukraine Dream of Reviving Soviet Heyday

OCT. 4, 2014

In the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, the Supreme Soviet, as its separatist legislature is known, is nationalizing coal mines and reviving collective farms. At parades, people wave hammer-and-sickle flags; school officials talk of revising the curriculum to celebrate the triumphs of the Soviet Union.

There is now a secret police force called the M.G.B., reminiscent of the K.G.B. Some rebels call it, only half-jokingly, the N.K.V.D., the notorious Stalin-era secret police force.

The unrecognized separatist mini-states in eastern Ukraine, the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, were rescued from a near-death experience last month, when a Russian military incursion routed the Ukrainian Army as it appeared close to completing a campaign to wipe the rebels out. A cease-fire that preserved the regions’ semiautonomous status was signed on Sept. 5.

In the relative lull in fighting since, rebel leaders have busily set about building the sort of neo-Soviet states that have cropped up in other pro-Russian enclaves in the former Soviet Union: in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both on the border between Russia and Georgia, and in Transnistria. If a stalemate similar to these “frozen conflicts” were to last in eastern Ukraine, it could make eventual reintegration with the rest of the country difficult, if not impossible.

(More here.)


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