On May 11, 2014, residents of the Donetsk Oblast and Lugansk Oblast voted to decide whether they wanted to remain in Ukraine, or become independent republics.
The result of this referendum was clear and without appeal: 89.07% of voters in Donetsk Oblast and 96.2% of those in Lugansk choose independence.
Today, four years later, the Donetsk and Lugansk Popular Republics (DPR and LPR) are celebrating this anniversary with festivities.
Exhibitions, concerts, sporting events and parades of towns and districts of the DPR feted this Day of the Republic in Donetsk.
This year more than 35,000 people marched in the main artery of the capital of the DPR to celebrate the referendum that officially gave birth to the republic.
Like last year, the column was led by a group of bikers from the Night Wolves club carrying the flags of the DPR, the RPL and Russia, to recall the growing integration of the two republics with the Russian Federation.
The Russian flags were even more numerous in the parade than last year (about half of the flags were flags of the Russian Federation), confirming the strong ties between the two countries.
In addition to the towns and districts currently under the control of the DPR, groups of representatives marched in the name of the cities of the Republic that are currently under control of Kiev, such as Kramatorsk, Slaviansk, Mariupol. One way to remember that the DPR does not forget those cities that have the bad luck to be currently occupied by the Ukrainian army, on the other side of the front line.
Delegations from 12 countries (including France, Spain, Germany and Serbia) participated in these festivities. Several members of these delegations were decorated today by Alexander Zakharchenko, the leader of the DPR.
Watch the parade video: