For several weeks, neo-Nazis and other Ukrainian radicals have been blocking the rails that bring coal from Donbass to Ukraine. The coal necessary for the Ukrainian power stations providing about 40% of the country's electricity. The Donbass alone supplies 37.5% of the coal used by these power stations.
Since the blockade has been total for five days, stockpiles at Ukrainian power plants now only cover 14 to 45 days of consumption, forcing the Ukrainian authorities to declare an energy emergency, and to consider rolling power outages to face the shortage.
The situation is so catastrophic that the EU has just brutally woken up and has called to end the commercial blockade of Donbass.
Should we laugh or cry in the face of the very late awakening of the "European elites" in front of a situation that has been going on for almost three years and whose radicalization has just revealed the whole danger, and not just for Ukraine?
For we must not deceive ourselves. If the EU reacts it is not for the beautiful eyes of the Ukrainians, that they do not care about. No, if the EU reacts, it's because the risk of collapse of the Ukrainian electricity grid would have terrible consequences for the neighboring countries, which are part of the EU, and would end up paying for the broken pots of their russophobic policies which are close to the most profound idiocy.
Faced with this situation, the response of the leader of DPR, Alexander Zakharchenko, is not lacking spice:
He wished to point out that the coal produced in the two peoples republics always had a secure outlet: the local market. The two republics have coal-fired power stations which supply them with electricity. Power plants that consume locally produced coal.
In front of the journalists' anxiety about the consequences of the blockade, the head of state wished to recall that the DPR has already been in a state of blockade for two and a half years, that it survives like this, and that it will change nothing to the current situation.
It is for Ukraine that the consequences of this new russophobic idiocy will be terrible, especially for the Ukrainian people, who will taste the joys of homes that are even less heated and enlighten than they are now.
Like Russia in front of the sanctions that have struck it since the reintegration of Crimea, the two republics have used the blockade imposed by Kiev for more than two years as a tool to develop their autonomy.
The three countries have in common that they have been able to transform what could have been an insurmountable obstacle into an opportunity for internal economic development.
It is thanks to this development strategy that the economy of the two republics (though yet at war) is recovering (+52% for the DPR in 2016 compared to 2015), even surpassing pre-war production in certain areas such as agriculture. New plants are opening (24 opened in 2016) continuously, to cover the needs of the two republics that are not met (among other things in terms of building materials, high technology, chemistry, etc.).
For example, in 2016, the 20 DPR chemical factories manufacturing household products brought out 40 new products for the local market, including basic hygiene products such as laundry, shower gel, toothpaste, softeners, etc.
And this dynamic continues, with increasing cooperation between the Ministry of Economic Development and entrepreneurs to meet local needs that are not yet met with high quality products.
The aim of this close cooperation between the administrations and the industrialists is to list all the needs still to be covered and the opportunities for developing new products and new factories in order not only to fill the shelves of the local shops but also, in the long term, to export part of the production.
In order to encourage people to consume locally, the Ministry of Industry and Trade launched a unique logo in early February that is easy to spot in stores clearly indicating which products are manufactured in the DPR. The LPR had already adopted a similar system last year. The more people consume locally, the better it will be for the economy of both republics, but also for the environment.
For now, many products are imported from Russia, and have to travel hundreds or even thousands of kilometers to reach the shelves. As I stated in my June 2016 article on the integration of permaculture in the development project of the Peoples Republics of Donbass, by casting the DPR and the LPR outside the system, Ukraine spurred them to develop an alternative system, of which they may well become the pioneers.
The relocalizing, with independance in food, energy, and industry is only the first step. And I hope that the DPR and the LPR, in partnership with Russia, will be the first countries to chart the way for this new societal model.
Translation from French by Tom Winter for Fort Russ