Three articles are enclosed. — Compiled by the editors of New Cold War.org, Feb. 16, 2015
1. Donetsk Peoples Republic has proclaimed itself a successor of the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Republic of 1918
RIN.ru News, Feb. 6, 2015 (translated and slightly revised from the original by New Cold War.org)
The MPs of the self-proclaimed Donetsk Peoples Republic have adopted a memorandum of understanding recognizing the political continuity of the Donetsk Peoples Republic with the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Republic that was born out of the Russian Revolution and existed for a few years. [The full text of the Memorandum is below.]
“It’s a political document about the continuity of the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog and present-day Donetsk republics. We see ourselves as part of that historical construct, which was proclaimed in 1917, ” said Director of the National Council DPR Andrey Purgin.
Purgin added that a relevant document will be adopted in Lugansk People’s Republic as well. Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Soviet Republic (RSFSR) was proclaimed on February 12, 1918. Part of it included the territories of present-day Donetsk, Luhansk, Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizhzhya oblasts as well as parts of Kharkiv, Sumy, Kherson and Mykolaiv oblasts.
The capital of the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Republic was Kharkiv and later Lugansk. The government of the Republic was represented by a Council of People’s Commissars, headed by Artem (Fyodor Sergeyev). In March 1918, the Republic became part of Soviet Ukraine, at the time a constituent of part of Soviet Russia. A year later, an agreement was reached for its dissolution. A Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic was declared in 1922 and its capital became Kyiv. It was a founding constituent of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, founded the same year.
Since mid-April, the Kyiv authorities have carried out in the East of Ukraine “a special operation” to suppress the protest movement in the Donbas region. Ukraine’s military actively uses heavy artillery and military aircraft and helicopters. A large number of civilians have been killed and wounded as a result, and many homes of local residents and infrastructure have been destroyed.
Recall that Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics were declared after self-determination referenda took place in May 2014. On November 2, Donetsk and Lugansk Peoples’ Republics held their own elections, marked by high voter turnout without serious incidents.
2. Memorandum of Donetsk People’s Republic on the principles of state-building, political and historical continuity
Russian original published on February 5, 2015 in Novorossia-Novosti. Translated to English by Kristina Rus for Fort Russ website.
We, members of the People’s Council of Donetsk People’s Republic of the first convocation, elected by universal democratic and free elections on November 2, 2014, taking into account the principles of international law, embodied in the Charter of the United Nations, proclaim the following memorandum on the principles of state-building, political and historical continuity.
On February 12, 1918 at the IV Congress of Soviets of the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog basin, based on the idea of economic integration, created the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Republic (DKR). At the outset of building of the multinational people’s state was its founding leader Fyodor Sergeyev (Artyom). The Republic was comprised of the territories of Kharkov and Ekaterinoslav governorate [Dnepropetrovsk], Krivorozhye of Kherson governorate [Kherson governorate included Odessa, Nikolaev, Kherson], part of the counties of Taurida governorate [Crimea and parts of southern Kherson region] and industrial areas of the Don Host Oblast. The Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Republic (DKR) did not formally cease to exist, despite the German occupation, war and other social disasters. Its ideas lived on in the hearts and souls of millions of people.
In the late 1980’s, the International Donbass Movement was created under the leadership of Dmitry Kornilov. In 1991, it raised the black-blue-and-red flag of the DKR. In March 1994, the people of Donbass called for the federal structure of the Ukrainian state. Federal trends were expressed at the Severodonetsk Congress in 2004, where a decision was made to hold a referendum in Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts on the issue of gaining the status of autonomous republics. Such attempts to reorganize the state were declared as criminal by the Kiev authorities. Popular protest resulted in the creation of a political movement ‘Donetsk Republic’. The people of Donbass finally confirmed their choice at the referendum of May 2014.
We, members of the People’s Council of Donetsk People’s Republic, recognizing our responsibility to the past and paving the way to the future:
– declare the continuation of the traditions of Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Republic and declare that the state of Donetsk People’s Republic is its successor;
– call for cooperation and uniting efforts to build a federal state on a voluntary contractual bases of all the territories and lands, that were part of Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Republic.
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3. Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Soviet Republic: The importance of united struggle
By Vsevolod Petrovsky, February 2014
The author of the following article was a Marxist historian and journalist in Ukraine who became a member of the Borotba political organization. Tragically, he died on February 8, 2015 from artillery fire by the Ukrainian army directed against the people of the Luhansk People’s Republic. He was 29 years old. You can read a short appreciation of the life of Vsevolod Petrovsky on the Borotba website, here.
On February 9 in Donetsk, the traditional rally took place dedicated to the 96th anniversary of the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog republic, declared in 1918. Representatives of various political and public organizations and labor activists gathered at the monument to the founder and leader of the republic, Artem (Fyodor Sergeyev).
On February 9, 1918, the IV Congress of Soviets of Workers’ Deputies of Donetsk and Krivoy Rog basin opened in Kharkov. On February 12, the Congress proclaimed the establishment of the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Soviet Republic (DKSR). The territory of the autonomous entity was defined not by ethnicity but on industrial-economic principles: the republic included the industrialized areas of the east and south of present-day Ukraine.
Soon after the creation of the DKSR, the Donbass Red Army began fighting against German and Austrian invaders, supported by Ukraine’s bourgeois Central Rada government. In May 1918, after fierce battles against an enemy of superior strength, the Red Army was forced to leave the territory of the republic. In February 1919, the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog republic was dissolved, after its territory was liberated from interventionists and the White Guard. It became part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
Speaking of the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Soviet Republic, it is wrong to focus on the national question. This republic, although it was an autonomous part of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic, was primarily Soviet, based on the principles of proletarian internationalism. The creators of the republic fought Ukrainian nationalists along with other enemies of the Revolution. But Artem wouldn’t have thought of sticking insulting nicknames on the inhabitants of other regions of Ukraine. The Donbass revolutionaries, following Lenin, understood very well the importance of a united struggle of Russian and Ukrainian workers against the exploiters.
Suffice it to say that, shortly before the proclamation of the DKSR, Donetsk Red Guard helped their comrades in Kiev, who undertook the rebellion at the Arsenal factory. And the history of Galychina [West Ukraine region] recalls not only Nazi collaborators Bandera and Shukhevych but also the Galycian Soviet Socialist Republic, established in 1920 and crushed by Pilsudski and S. Petliura.
Artem would hardly have given long talks about the “soulless West”. Instead, he had adopted the advanced ideas of Marxism – created by natives of Germany, forced to live and work in exile in the UK. Artem was educated in Paris. He fought with police in Russia. He worked in the fields and in the ports of China, and was imprisoned in Brisbane, Australia as one of the founders of the Socialist Workers Party and proletarian trade unions of that country.
The basis of all his achievements were the ideas of global solidarity of workers, not limited to the “Russian world”. And, of course, we must not forget that as Marxists, the founders of the DKSR rightly considered the basis of all social processes not “spirituality” or “cultural codes,” but economics.
They sought to create an economic system based on the socialization of the means of production, sound planning and the fair distribution of wealth. Therefore, speakers who proclaim the need for Ukraine to join the [Russian] Customs Union should remember that, while this bourgeois association could, perhaps, bring certain benefits to residents of Ukraine, it is infinitely far from the economic model which Artem and his supporters fought for.
Today, the interests of Donbass are not rivalry between the regions of the country, but solidarity of working people all over Ukraine in the fight for the establishment of a just society and a sound economic system.