- Contested territories
- Annexed by Russia (30 September 2022)
- Independence declared 12 May 2014
- Head of State Leonid Ivanovich Pasechnik
- Capital Luhansk
- Population 1,464,039
The Donbas region in Eastern Ukraine has been ravaged by constant turmoil in the last decade. On 30 September 2022, president Vladimir Putin proclaimed Russian rule over Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, in total fifteen percent of Ukraine's territory—the biggest annexation in Europe since World War Two. Putins proclamation followed shortly after referendums in these regions were held, referendums that were called 'a sham' by the international community. Luhansk People's Republic already proclaimed independence in Spring 2014, in the wake of the Ukrainian revolution. In February 2022, Russian president Putin formally recognized the independence of Luhansk and The Donetsk People’s Republic, a deed that led up to the war between Russia and Ukraine.
Staged Referendums Yield Expected Result
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plan to illegally annex four partially occupied regions in eastern and southern Ukraine lurched forward Tuesday, as Russian officials and Kremlin proxy leaders claimed that staged referendums showed that more than 95 percent of voters want to join Russia — an absurd level of support.
In Crimea and the Donbas, Organized Crime Reigns Supreme
Since they first separated from Ukraine in 2014, a nexus of crime, corruption and rebellion has flourished in the Russian-backed Donetsk and Luhansk ‘People’s Republics’ as well as Russian occupied Crimea, a new report by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime found.
The Russian Statelets in the Donbas Are No “People’s Republics”
Vladimir Putin claims to be defending populations in the Donbas. In fact, the Kremlin-controlled statelets there are dominated by military rule and repression of organized labor — a troubling indicator of the future Putin has in store for neighboring regions.
The Bridge to Nowhere
The war is essentially over in eastern Ukraine, but peace hasn’t yet begun. A visit to the self-proclaimed mini-state known as the People’s Republic of Luhansk shows that the road back to normality is long and full of obstacles. A story by Christian Esch, images from Emily Ducke.
War in Ukraine
In War in Ukraine (Lecturis, 2017), multimedia journalist Pierre Crom has documented the highly explosive situation in the Crimea and the Donbas region between 2014 and 2016, when Russian-backed separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk declared independence. With his pictures, Crom brings us closer to the people who got trapped in the chaos of war.