Is the reason purely prestige and credibility of the government, or are there other significant economic or social issues which prevent the new Ukrainian government from thawing the crises it is still facing as of August 2014? I have read that Donetsk and Luhansk contain most of Ukraine's industry but I don't see why the government can't just support new initiatives in the west.

The reason I ask is because I cannot comprehend why a government would seek to deny a people's right to self-determination when it is obvious that such actions will most likely cause many more issues and headache in the future, as is what always happens when you oppress a large number of people.


Why can't Palestine just surrender the west bank, why can't Tibet/Taiwan just surrender to China, why can't South Korea surrender to North Korea? The Ukraine won't surrender parts of its territory because part of being a country is having sovereignty over your land, and giving some to Russia in this manner weakens their sovereignty as a whole, not just the parts Russia wants to annex. Countries don't like to lose parts of their land, The U.S. even fought a civil war to stay a single country. Historically it takes a war or huge amounts of external and internal pressure pressure for a country to give up parts of its land.

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    Aside from the fact that most of the analogy makes no sense e.g. West Bank does not have a Jewish/Pro-Israeli majority (and if you're talking vice-versa, then that's because Israel is a tiny state as it is), South Korea is clearly doing better than North Korea and Taiwan is not under Chinese occupation or at war with China, there's the glaring fact that the people of Donbass are quite culturally distinct from their western brethern. Also, Ukraine surrendered Crimea handidly. – Evil Washing Machine Aug 12 '14 at 13:17
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    @EvilWashingMachine "Taiwan is not at war with China" -> IIRC, they are. "the glaring fact that the people of Donbass are quite culturally distinct from their western brethern" -> Not a glaring fact to say the least. "Ukraine surrendered Crimea handidly" -> Not that I can remember. A source is very much needed here ! – Evargalo Mar 13 '18 at 17:48
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    It's funny to see someone posting technical nitpicks complain about getting responded to with "technical nitpick". It's obvious that the answer's point is countries don't just abandon their sovereignty simply because someone else demands it, so nitpicking about Israel's size (especially when Palestine is smaller), or Taiwan's exact state of war (does this mean Taiwan should surrender if China makes the technical state of war more real?) totally misses the point. – Semaphore Mar 15 '18 at 12:07
  • More nitpicking: Countries can and do peacefully make small cessions of territory in cases where the existing boundaries are impractical or otherwise problematic. Even this is quite rare and usually requires months or even years of diplomacy and compromise. – Kevin Sep 26 '20 at 3:14

The region is a significant part of Ukraine. The problem with letting Donyetsk declare autonomy so it can be free to be annexed by Russia is the process by which it was done and the legitimacy of the referendum that started the violent conflict there.

The ethnic makeup of Donyetsk Oblast (state) is 56.9% Ukrainian (2,744,100 population. The ethnic Russian or Russian speaking Ukrainian population is 38.2% of the population. There are 550 Russian citizens living in Donyetsk; all this according to the last census. The results of the referendum supporting self-rule were 89.07% in favor and 10.19% against. There was a Ukrainian boycott and outside observers including those from the UN who were to ensure legitimacy and make sure there was no election rigging and fraud were vehemently denied and so the election has widely been seen in every country besides Russia as illegitimate and likely riddled with fraud. The problem now is that the temporary governing body of Donyetsk, now calling themselves the Donyetsk People's Republic, polices its own territory and sponsors frequent rallies that quickly become raucus and culminate with roving groups of pro-russia supporters physically assaulting Ukrainians unlucky enough to be within arms reach or groups that are either stupid or brave enough to try holding counter protests. They're viciously attacked and told to move to Kiev if they love it so much followed by the common retort that "This is Ukraine, why don't you move to Russia if you love it so much?"

So, a relatively loud and well armed minority has been able to take control of a whole Oblast in South Eastern Ukraine causing a civil war. Most of the Ukrainians living in Donyetsk packed up everything they owned and fled East or joined the Ukrainian military/militia so they could take their homes back. Meanwhile, Russia is funneling in tanks, heavy weapons, small arms, and more frequently Russian soldiers whom the Russian government explain are "on vacation" though they are on active duty. They often give themselves away when taking Instagram pictures in Uniform with the location alert not turned off. Recently, a militia commander in Donyetsk complained to the press that as many as 98% of the members joining rebel militias are from Russia and that he's having a hard time recruiting Russian speakers living in Donyetsk.

The events going on have a much more complicated aura around them that I am unable to express in so few works but I will say that it's a messy war in the South East and everyone's got their hands in it. It's not a good war or a just war no matter which way you look at it. It's a tragedy. Please look into it more and use as many sources as possible. Be very careful that the sources you use to learn this information are not from countries that have a part in the conflict from either side.

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    If you link to some references to the facts claimed here, it would be an outsianding answer. – user4012 Oct 10 '14 at 15:19
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    90% of the population is Russian-speaking, having Russian as mother tongue, not just 38%. – Anixx Oct 18 '14 at 0:20
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    @Anixx Citation needed... – SoylentGray Oct 24 '14 at 0:56
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    "Most of the Ukrainians living in Donyetsk packed up everything they owned and fled East" -> Do you mean West ? – Evargalo Mar 13 '18 at 17:45

Why can't Ukraine just surrender Donetsk and Luhansk?

The simple and obvious answer is - you don't just give away landmass of your country because landmass is the 1st and ultimate component upon which a country's sovereignty, identity, and pride stand.

The reason I ask is because I cannot comprehend why a government would seek to deny a people's right to self-determination when it is obvious that such actions will most likely cause many more issues and headache in the future, as is what always happens when you oppress a large number of people.

Okay. Then why did Russia gobble up Chechneya?

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    I thought 1st and ultimate component are "people". Maybe that's exactly why people from Donetsk/Lugansk don't want back. – Oleg V. Volkov Mar 15 '18 at 19:04
  • @OlegV.Volkov, there are people on earth who don't have lands to form their own countries (e.g. Chechneya). So, 'people' is the component once they have 'land'. – user17569 Mar 16 '18 at 1:29
  • @OlegV.Volkov, even if what you are saying is true, those people should be considered as separatists. Separatism is a kind of rebellion. Rebellions should not be encouraged. Rather, their concerns should be addressed. – user17569 Mar 16 '18 at 1:33
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    Treat them as criminals - get kicked out by them. It is simple logic. DNR/LNR spent entire spring of 2014 trying to make their concerns heard. Ukraine answered with tanks and aircraft bombing. 4 years later Ukraine continues to systematically oppress and destroy everything Russian on its territory. That doesn't sound to me like "addressing their concerns" even 1%. – Oleg V. Volkov Mar 23 '18 at 1:52
  • @OlegV.Volkov, Treat them as criminals - get kicked out by them. It is simple logic. --- only if someone else is beefing them up. – user17569 Mar 24 '18 at 14:41

New government credibility is at risk for sure in present conflict with novorussian rebels. If they could not recapture Donetzk and Luhansk then more region uprising could follow.

The peaceful solution is well-known: federalization. It was first suggested by some on West then rejected by Ukraine gov and most US and EU officials.

Ukraine is synthetic state, borders were changing in last 100 years a lot. Donetzk, Luhansk and many other regions were assigned to Ukraine SSR by Lenin and Stalin as deals with local leaders and warlords to finish Civil War of 1917-1922 and finalize Soviet Union core structure. This way a lot of russians became part of new Ukraine. Also don't forget about significant jewish population of Ukraine at that time.

Now old Ukraine (west) driven by nationalism trying to push ukrainization further to part of population who identify themselves as russians. Biggest problem here is ukranian nationalists usage of Simon Bandera as their symbol. Bandera is recognized as nazi collaborator by most of EU and Russia. It adds fuel to the conflict: russians see ukraine gov tropps as nazi because many of Ukraine gov are members of Svoboda, party with cult of Bandera. US/EU support of such government and the way how it was installed give russians all reasons to think that 'nazi are coming'.

As for value of Donetzk and Luhansk - Ukraine GDP per capita is at the level of African countries, what kind of value you expect? Old industries were only marginally profitable thanks for cheap gas from Russia (not cheap anymore). Whole country worth is in the future development. In this respect both west and east of Ukraine have the same chances.

Ukraine can stop all this calamities by simple acknowledgement of Crimea admission to Russia. Russia would rather launch nuclear war than give Crimea back. In exchange Russia would denonce rebels-driven war for Novorossia - noone in Russian gov is actually serious about Donbass and eastern Ukraine.

It was always about Crimea.

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    -1: this does not provide any answer on the original question. Also, it has no proofs for purely opinionated statements: (i) "The peaceful solution is well-known: federalization", (ii) "Ukraine is synthetic state", (iii) "Donetzk, Luhansk [...] were assigned to Ukraine SSR", (iv) "old Ukraine (west) driven by nationalism", (v) "trying to push ukrainization", (vi) "Bandera is recognized as nazi collaborator", (vii) "many of Ukraine gov are members of Svoboda", (viii) "by simple acknowledgement of Crimea admission to Russia", (ix) "Russia would rather launch nuclear war than give Crimea back" – bytebuster Aug 11 '14 at 20:49
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    @bytebuster = re (vi): Indeed, Bandera was a Nazi collaborator - Wiki – user4012 Aug 11 '14 at 22:41
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    @bytebuster = OTOH, (vii) is a definite overestimation. Svoboda candidates got ~1% each in 2014 elections. Not exactly a major showing. – user4012 Aug 11 '14 at 22:43
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    @lowtech re (vii), you said "many" and provided with no proof. "Many" are ministers of Agriculture, Ecology, and Vice PM of Humanitarian Policy. LOL, did you mean that Colonels of russian army (so-called "rebels") were so frustrated of Minister of Ecology affiliated with "Svoboda"? As of Tenyukh, he was assigned on 27/Feb, a week after Russia has started invasion in Crimea (proof by Ministry of "Defence" of Russia) – bytebuster Aug 12 '14 at 0:35
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    @bytebuster - the fact that Bandera had a falling out with the Nazis is totally irrelevant to the fact that he collaborated with them enthusiastically prior to that AND after his release in 1944. As far as Nuremberg trials, their goal was to judge commission of war crimes, not to indict all Nazi collaborators. – user4012 Aug 12 '14 at 2:08

Because if they do, Kharkov, Odessa, Dnepropetrovsk and after all Kiev may follow, due to domination of Russian language & culture in these regions and coldness towards government's attempts to "Ukrainize" them.

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    The historical summary is useful, but then this answer descends into name calling. It doesn't actually address the question, which wa about Donetsk and Luhansk. – James K Mar 11 '18 at 11:47
  • @JamesK, thanks, made the answer more focused. With my answers I try to portray the historical background of the locale events to make them more understandable in the whole context. – Rurik Mar 11 '18 at 12:34

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