Direct Line Between Zakharchenko and the Residents of the Territories of the Donetsk Region Temporarily Controlled by Ukraine

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


On March 22nd, a television direct line took place between the Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the inhabitants of Donetsk region who find themselves in the territory temporarily under the control of Ukraine.

On the air of a broadcast to all republican TV channels, Aleksandr Zakharchenko answered the questions concerning the implementation of the humanitarian program and the reunion of the people of Donbass. Questions arrived to the studio in video, audio, and text format.

Q: Respectful Mr Zakharchenko! In connection with the latest events in the DPR, I have a question: what will happen with us – the inhabitants of the occupied territories – who voted for independence. How long do we have to wait for liberation? How long will you endure the murder of your own citizens? How long do we have to endure this Nazi regime? You already issued passports, defined the borders, and we aren’t necessary any more? Maybe today or tomorrow the radicals will stage a coup. Do you really think that they will be loyal to us?

Zakharchenko: I will answer in order. We didn’t define the border. We designated a frontline as a border, but it not a State border. It is a conditional border, which is created so that those elements that penetrate us from Ukraine – saboteurs, spies, smugglers, drug dealers – can be arrested according to the law. Because the line of differentiation has no legal definition, we have no right to detain them, and even to interrogate. That’s why the decision was made to designate the line of differentiation as a State border. But we didn’t draw a line of demarcation. The line of differentiation, the front line isn’t static. If the frontline moves to the west, so together with it the State border will move. We didn’t separate ourselves from our fellow countrymen in anything. No border between us is present. Neither physical, nor conditional. No difference between us is present. We are Donbass, and we will always be together.

Concerning the coup. All of us together with you endured the coup of 2014. It also was an armed coup, an illegal overthrow of power. As a result of it, unfortunately, war came to our land. When will the war end? It is a question that is impossible to answer. I believe that every war comes to an end. Our war will end with our Victory, and soon we will see it.

Q: We don’t lose hope?

“We don’t lose. Our cause is just, we will win, the enemy will be destroyed”.

Q: Aleksandr Vladimirovich. I ask you during the creation of the basic law of the Republic to consider the experience of the USSR. We trust you.

Zakharchenko: an abbreviation of our ideology is the USSR. Freedom, Conscienceness, Justice, Equality. We live by these principles, our Republic is being built on these principles. And everything that was the best in the Soviet Union, we will try to adopt. Proceeding from those realities that are dictated today by our life. Life changes and not all dogmas that were there, are actual today, and proceeding from it we will choose the best. And not only from the USSR. We will take the best from around the world. And by this principle we build the basic law… All our life we will build by this principle. Everything the best – Freedom, Conscienceness, Justice, Equality.

Q: Dear Aleksandr Vladimirovich when, in your opinion will we be recognized by Russia, and how will it be assisted by the created committee on integration of the DPR into Russia?

Zakharchenko: The committee that was created in Crimea is a public initiative, which our public movement “Donetsk Republic”, together with social movements of Crimea, was created so that we as a united entity could quietly live, work, and coexist together with Russia. Integration is multilevel. All aspects of our life are considered.

Concerning recognition and accession… I understand that these issues concern many of our inhabitants. I will answer it with one phrase – everything will happen in its own time. Events mustn’t be forced. But we don’t forget that it is our Motherland, and the Motherland can’t be put in an awkward situation to then later pay with human lives.

Q: Hello, tell me please when DPR will hold a referendum, and, together with LPR, about reunification as subjects of the Russian Federation? Maybe it is already enough to push on the brakes? Maybe, it is necessary to go to Moscow, to Putin and to discuss with him this question?

Zakharchenko: Everything seems easy and simple to you: to go to Moscow to see Putin, we will discuss this question, we will hold a referendum, and everything will be good. Unfortunately, world politics is more complicated. And the country that we call our Motherland, our mother, is also not in the best financial position. One more aspect: it is necessary to hold a referendum in all territories where we held a referendum in 2014. Therefore our main objective is to take back borders, territories, which are now illegally occupied and seized by the Kiev junta. Besides this – everything will happen in its own time. I promise if such a decision ripens, the referendum will be declared. Russia will tell us when we have to come back home, as it was with the Republic of Crimea.

Q: I am from Slavyansk [territory occupied by Ukraine – ed]. My son went into the militia at the beginning. Now me and my children are repressed. We were tired of it. I very much want to see my son at home. But it, alas, is impossible. He is wanted by the SBU and is threatened by a term of 10 to 15 years. This is in the best scenario. For separatism! Tell me how much longer it is possible to endure this lawlessness?

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Zakharchenko: I want to say thanks not only to this woman for her son, but to all those who now are on that territory under Ukrainian militarism, whose children went to fight in 2014-2015. A low bow to mothers, fathers, grandfathers … For those fighters who went to fight after a call from the heart. They now suffer strongly, being under the occupation of our enemy. I once again will repeat: I won’t give an exact date, but I am sure that your child will come back home. He is a hero who liberated his land, who didn’t break, who proved to be a real man. I will say it like this. Even if he will be ten times wanted, not even Poroshenko has power over us. Even if he is a criminal to them, for us he is a hero who will be met with flowers. They are our heroes, and the opinion of others is uninteresting for us. I want to thank you once again for your son.

Q: When will we start to force out the junta from occupied territories? People are waiting for when they will be expelled from settlements.

Zakharchenko: Everything has its time. Our State endured the most horrific war [Great Patriotic War – ed], which lasted four years. This war every day took away tens, hundreds of thousands of human lives. And we fight now already for the third year. And this war is also very hard. And the enemy is different. Thanks to its allies in the USA, it is perfectly armed, and not badly provided for. Actually we fight with all the world. On the line of differentiation now there are mercenaries from Poland, Canada, Georgia, Americans … But Konstantinovka will be the city of the Donetsk People’s Republic. You shouldn’t doubt it. I can name about ten commanders of battalions and units that are natives from Konstantinovka. I personally know them, I am on friendly terms with them. These people are armed, well trained, which passed through all furnaces of war. They want to go home. And they will obligatorily come home. Everyone wants to come home: to Konstantinovka, Slavyansk, Artemovsk. It is our land, it is our Motherland. There our relatives live, our houses are there. Therefore don’t worry, everything has its time. For us this time is ahead, while for Ukraine it is already behind.

Q: Hello, I know that you observe “Minsk”, but it is time not to observe it, because they don’t observe it. I am for you and 80% for the DPR. We are waiting for your fastest arrival to us.

Zakharchenko: Poroshenko is precisely waiting for us to cease to observe “Minsk”. Then there will be a pretext to accuse all of us of disrupting the Minsk agreements. It mustn’t be allowed to happen. Anyway, “Minsk” is a political solution. The only way to finish this war with less blood is the implementation of the Minsk arrangements. If you attentively read the Minsk agreements, you will understand that Ukraine is pushed into a political trap. It is a huge victory of our diplomacy. Therefore it is impossible to give this victory to the enemy just like that. Any violation of “Minsk” from our side will be recognized by the whole world.

Currently, even with great difficulty and heel-dragging, the world community understands that Ukraine first of all violates “Minsk”. That’s why they change their attitude towards Ukraine. For example, recently the IMF didn’t hand out to them the next tranche, the rhetoric of European leaders absolutely exchanged. Ukraine is at the initial stage of political isolation. And all of this is thanks to the Minsk agreements. If we want to solve our big war with less bloodshed, we have to adhere to “Minsk” as much as possible. But, if we understand that “Minsk” itself became obsolete, that it will be impossible to solve this problem as we hope, believe me, nobody will look at “Minsk”, then we will have a moral right to refuse it. Ukraine violated “Minsk” so many times, and never fulfilled any requirement that it itself signed. Therefore we, with a quiet conscience, will be able to say: you don’t fulfil “Minsk” – and we won’t do it either.

Q: Dear Aleksandr Vladimirovich, we also consider ourselves as inhabitants of Donbass and we don’t want to see on the streets fascist-extremists supported by the present power. The referendum was held in all districts of Donetsk region, and we need to do something with it. And who is guilty of the fact that Taruta bought Mariupol?

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Zakharchenko: It is Poroshenko who is guilty. Only the President can sell the whole city. Once it was in Donetsk, now it isn’t present here. Maybe it will appear in Vinnytsia, maybe Uzhgorod buy it or Ivano-Frankovsk… I don’t know that he will buy, but Mariupol is a city of the Donetsk People’s Republic. And this is a temporary phenomenon – the walking of Right Sector on your lands. Like the winter, which lasts only 3 months. After every winter there is spring, then summer comes. The spring in Mariupol, then in Mangushe already begins. The winter has almost ended.

Q: All of us, inhabitants of the territories of the former Donetsk region temporarily under the control Ukraine, look forward to the arrival of the “Russian spring” to our cities and settlements. When and how will all the Donetsk region be freed from the Ukrainian soldiers, fascists, and the hated-by-us Ukrainian power?

Zakharchenko: There are two solutions to this question – the forceful solution to the conflict, in which all units of the army corps will be involved. But, even if the decision on the forceful liberation of our territory will be made, we will try so that any city of our Donetsk People’s Republic that is now in temporarily occupied territory does no fall under heavy shelling. We will protect infrastructure and inhabitants. The second way, which precisely concerns Minsk, is political. There is still hope that we can liberate our territory in a political way. Let’s dream that Ukraine itself will return all our land, and we sit somewhere on the border of the Kharkov region, and we sign a decree on the line of differentiation in the form of a State border. This is theoretically possible. I don’t know when it will happen, but I hope that it will be without victims. But once again I will repeat: if it is necessary, we are able to liberate our land by force.

Q: It means, perhaps, a military solution to the issue is possible?

Zakharchenko: You understand, that now Ukraine is in such a situation, in which war is the only solution. In order to reboot the situation that developed in Kiev and around the world, Poroshenko has only one solution – to start military operations. I predict what will happen further – European leaders will begin to howl about how there is war again, and what should be done. The answer – you sit down at the negotiating table. And this solution will be found before we go on a counterattack and will systematically liberate our territory. Then Poroshenko has a chance to change the situation, he will again be engaged in the negotiation process, and it will be Europe, the connivance of which being the reason this war began, which will be responsible for the destiny of Ukraine and Poroshenko. Proceeding from it, I suspect that Ukraine nourishes such an idea. There is a high probability that such actions will be undertaken. That’s why we are ready for an offensive by the Ukrainian army. But, I repeat, we hope to solve this conflict politically and for this purpose we undertake everything.

Q: Hello, respectful fighters against fascism for the independence of our Motherland. I am proud and sympathize with you for your pronounced position. For me Ukraine existed until 1991 – with a red-blue flag and the coat of arms of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. All the rest of the time banderist beasts were changing the mentality of the youth covertly. It is a pity that we failed to guide our children and grandchildren, now we pay for this. I don’t recognize neither the attributes of this power, nor the power itself. I want my Motherland to be without Banderists, at least to Dnieper, but it is better across the Zbruch. Do you believe what it will happen in the near future?

Zakharchenko: You know, this question, perhaps, relates to life itself. Let’s remember history. For example, the battle of Poltava. On the field of the Poltava battle Ukrainians, Russians, Belarusians fought – all nationalities of the great Russian Empire at that moment. Yes, standing behind the Swedes there also were some thousands of Ukrainian traitors. Let’s continue further. Crimea. The Crimean war – all nationalities of the Russian Empire were together. Let’s move already closer to our time. The Brest fortress is a significant example. The defenders of the Brest fortress – all nationalities of the Soviet Union. Defense of Moscow – all nationalities of the Soviet Union. Stalingrad – all nationalities of the Soviet Union. And now we wind back the clock. The capture of Warsaw – all nationalities. Towards Oder – all nationalities. Prague – all nationalities. Berlin – everybody wrote on the walls of the Reichstag, not only residents of Moscow and St. Petersburg – called then Leningrad. Kiev also wrote, Sumy also wrote, Kharkov, Donetsk – called then Stalino.

Also it is sure that it isn’t just a dozen signatures from Poltava. We have a common past. And I am sure that we have a common future. We aren’t at war with the Ukrainian people. We are at war with a small bunch of rabid, I quote the person who asked the question, “beasts”, which seized power in an armed way, which blunted the youth’s brains, and try to hold power now on the shoulders of this same youth. But I believe that you, as well as residents of Kharkov, Sumy, and Kiev will be able to explain to their children who actually is their ally, and who is their enemy. Who for all its life Ukraine fought against.

And when the time will come when not only Dneper, Dniester, and Zbruch – but everywhere will be the power that you so deserve. The Ukrainian people will wake up one day. You see, Donbass was able to rise? It did. Nobody could have imagined it. What are we called? “rabble”, “bandits”? So, these “Vatniks” and “kolorads” took up arms and showed to the enlightened brainwashed great ukies, where actually their place is, and how actually they are called.

That’s why we mustn’t forget our pride, you mustn’t forget who you are in reality, mustn’t forget your past. And try to pass on this knowledge to your neighbor, son, grandson, and then great-grandson. And then, believe, the country will change. And for today, if you don’t do it, so your Ukrainian chernozem Ukrainian will be sold in Europe as briquettes instead of peat, because it is “better and cheaper”. These words about your land should revolt you. This, by the way, was described by the European Parliament Deputy – how he entered into a shop and bought, instead of peat, Ukrainian chernozem. If already you trade your soil, it is a horrific thing. This is a State that not only sells its riches, but also the most precious – it sells off its own land. Where does it lead to? That’s why it will be good if each of us does our duty. Not to forget about who you are in reality, and from where your roots come from. 

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Q: What did you during the last few months or year so that the Nazis earning on the blood of citizens of Ukraine ceased to exist?

Zakharchenko: If you ask me as person what I personally did, or you ask me as the Head of State… As the Head of State I will answer immediately. Firstly, all this time we live in the Donetsk People’s Republic, soon we will celebrate the third anniversary. We live in a free independent country, in which fascists don’t walk, like they do in Kiev. For the last two months more than 30 attacks of the Ukrainian fascists were repelled from our positions. The Ukrainian army suffered heavy losses. We opened two breweries, returned a beer factory to operation, next week we will do a laying of 10 hectares of gardens, at the end of the month we will reap the harvest from greenhouses. During this year we held two festivals, created the Committee of integration into the Russian Federation in Crimea. And now a question for you. And what did you for Kiev so that fascists didn’t walk the streets of your city? Not for the last 2 months, but since 2014? What did residents of Kiev, Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye do so that fascists don’t walk on their land? What did you do personally? You ask us, what we did so that fascists didn’t walk on your streets? I will answer – we kill them on the frontline. And you, what did you do? I would like the person who asked this question to answer it themselves.

Q: Respectful Aleksandr Vladimirovich, we wait for you and trust in the forces of your army! Tell me, please, how should we behave whilst we are under Ukrainian occupation, when our rights to use the native language are oppressed? Thank you very much for everything that are you doing! The victory will ours – like in 1945!!!!

Zakharchenko: I completely agree with you, and here is my advice to you: dear compatriots, don’t forget that you are inhabitants of Donbass. Don’t forget that you are the territory that was called the Wild fields. That you are those people who believe much more in words than in written agreements. That you are free and proud. That you are not Vatniks or kolorads, not ignoramuses, but well-educated, worthy people. Behind you is the help of Mother Russia, a thousand-year history of our people and our usual Donbass pride. If you will remember all of this, even simply walking down the street and having looked into your eyes, any Ukrainian serviceman will simply look away. Honor and truth will shine in your eyes, while in their half-drunk eyes – greed and marauding will shine. Because on the land of educated and great people, came people who have never seen a person such as you. We are strong not only by arms, like our invincible army, we are also strong in spirit, which we, since time immemorial, absorbed with the milk of our mother. You were born in Donbass, you live on this land, you breathe this air… Remember it – and you will understand how to behave.

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