If Petro Poroshenko ever thought that destroying the freedom and independence of the Donabss republics would be easy, he ought to consider how Donbass and neighbouring areas have historically risen in independence, defying the same forces which seek to subdue them today.
Historically the core of the Donbass region, the city known contemporarily as Donetsk, was founded in 1869. The city represented the heart of modern Russian industry. If St. Petersburg was founded as Russia’s cultural showcase to the world, Donetsk was founded as the industrial equivalent.
The city was fabricated by the Welsh industrialist John Hughes who helped construct a steel mill as well as the first coal mines in the city. An early name for the city was Aleksandrovka.
When the October Revolution broke out, the Donbass region remained committed to the red cause as it was after all, home to a modern industrial proletariat.
In 1918, the Bolsheviks signed a treaty (the treaty of Brest-Litovsk) with the central powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Ottoman Empire). The treaty gave away a large portion of Russian territory to the enemy in exchange for a Russian surrender in the First World War.
The people of Donbass however, refused to be shackled by this treaty and retained their own independent Soviet Republic within the context of the burgeoning Russian civil war.
The 1918 Donetsk–Krivoy Rog Soviet Republic included the entire Donbass region, the Kharkov region, modern Dnipropetrovsk and parts of the Khersonskaya Guberniya.
The new Soviet Republic stood at odds with the effective German puppet state established in Kiev which for a short while controlled prominent areas surrounding the Dnieper, the so-called Ukrainian People’s Republic.
Soon the Donetsk–Krivoy Rog Soviet Republic would join with Soviet enclaves in Odessa and the Kharkov based Ukrainian People’s Republic of Soviets. The combined forces of the young Ukrainian Soviet Republic faced early political set-backs against the Ukrainian People’s Republic.
However, Red Donbass would continue to fight in one of the major theatres of the Russian Revolution known as the Soviet-Ukrainian war, a war ultimately won decisively by the Soviet factions in 1921.
It is noteworthy that this was the first time that the word Ukraine (meaning borderland) was used to characterise regions of Russia that had previously been known as Little Russia (Малороссия), which included areas of the Russian Empire won from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the 1667 Treaty of Andrusovo as well as more modern areas called Novorossiya, incorporated into Russia after being won from Ottoman Turks between 1764 and 1783. The Donbass region was part of Novorossiya.
Even in the tumultuous civil war when Bolsheviks, Mensheviks, Whites, German and later pan-European sponsored nationalist and anarchists battled for influence in Russia’s borderlands, Donbass remained loyal to the Soviet cause.
This is why today, along with historic Imperial Russian pageantry, Soviet flags and symbols remain so important to the people of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics.
The Donbass region which has never capitulated at the hands of a European funded puppet state, is not about to do so now. The industrial heart of Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union is not about to dismiss its heritage. This is why the Donbass republics remain independent. The Donetsk–Krivoy Rog Soviet Republic was declared without assistance from Moscow and the two modern Donbass republics have survived in spite of inaction from Moscow.
This is an historic fact that the fascists in Kiev cannot wish away, no matter how hard they might try.