Archive for May 19th, 2014


Recruitment issues – People’s Republic of Donetsk Army

May 19, 2014

Whatever your opinion of the federalisation choices facing Ukraine – and this blog supports as much decenteralisation of power to local government as is possible without reaching the point of formal federalisation, to avoid both gift wrapping bite-sized chunks of Ukraine for The Kremlin to nibble on and also erecting another facade around existing corrupt personal fiefdoms – either option still falls some way short of secession and/or subsequent annexation.

For the limited number that do support secession and/or annexation, naturally there are going to be logistical, legal and administrative issues to name but a few – particularly if that secession is not one that will be followed by annexation.

Thus it appears that not all is going as well as may perhaps have been expected by the new “Commander-in-Chief of the People’s Republic of Donetsk”, Igor Strelkov.

Above is an 8 minute YouTube clip bemoaning of the fact that there are simply not the volunteers to join the ranks of the People’s Republic of Donetsk military over which he claims command.

It remains to be seen if these 8 minutes of complaining will encourage the citizens of Donetsk to join the separatist military ranks – but I have to say, it is not entirely inspirational for a recruitment advertisement.

With such a busy week ahead, controlling a few towns and cities, manning road blocks, occupying buildings, trying to undermine and prevent the presidential elections, it seems the armed ranks of the People’s Republic of Donetsk simply don’t have the numbers within to pull it all off successfully.

The problem for Mr Strelkov is that with holding an utterly failed poll administratively, one where people can wander about and vote several times in the absence of voter lists, combined with voting for a very ambiguously worded question with several interpretations as to what the vote was for, results in something that does not necessarily translate into direct support for the secessionist position.  The genuine support for his vision has not been made any clearer after the bungled poll than it was previously.

Mariupol was seemingly a separatist city too far with regard to resources.  It failed to be taken and now tens of  thousands of Mr Akhmetov’s steel workers patrol the streets with the police.  Quite who, if anybody, is in control of Mariupol remains unclear, but despite attempts to take the city, clearly the separatists failed.

Then consider the separatist kidnapping and severe beating of the miners union bosses over a period of 5 days, men who had just negotiated wage rises and better working conditions, and that further alienated 60,000 miners.

Perhaps the cardinal sin – and this will seem silly to many readers who don’t live in Ukraine – was to allow the “uprising” to interfere with Ukrainian football fixtures.  If there is a single cross-cutting cleavage that does unite the entirety of Ukraine beyond any doubt, it is football – and nowhere is football bigger in Ukraine than Donetsk.

Although the more “dedicated” fans called “Ultras” had already pledged their allegiance to a united Ukraine across the nation,  even the more moderate fans will have taken particular umbrage at interference with Shakhtar Donetsk fixtures.

Thus not knowing the true level of support for the People’s Republic and the demographics that turned out to vote – or not – together with the lack of support from the steel workers, miners and football fans, it all culminates in removing a significant number of “local men of fighting age” prepared to turn out for the new Commander-in-Chief.

A reliance on Russian “tourists” – paid or otherwise – has a shelf-life and simply will not go on forever.  That inconsistency makes planning as a Commander-in-Chief somewhat difficult, as does internal rivalries that may manifest themselves as different groups appear from the Russian side of the border.  Command and control suffers.

Perhaps the PRD will try and introduce conscription and lose even more of what little genuine support it appears to actually have if The Kremlin doesn’t come to the rescue in a much more significant way – or perhaps Mr Strelkov and cohorts will find themselves as worms on a hook they cannot get off.

wormTime, quite possibly soon, will tell.

In the meantime, as the YouTube clip suggests, the Army of People’s Republic of Donetsk is suffering from unforeseen major recruitment issues, to the point of asking women to come to the front lines.

Clearly he had anticipated much greater active support – a support that has failed to materialise.  No wonder he’s moaning.


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