Life in the breakaway DNI and LC: clean but poorly

The word “Donbass turns into Transnistria” were common, although by reality, they are very distantly related. Transnistria is a separatist region of Moldova with political independence, retained all economic ties with Chisinau, the territories of the breakaway DNI and LC looks unrealistic optimistic scenario.

In addition, in Transnistria, Abkhazia and South Ossetia was not home to more than 250 thousand people, and on the territory of Donbass controlled by Pro-Russian formations, a little less than 3 million people. And there are already two and a half years is a war and every day people are dying. 30% of the territory of Donbass there are two quasi-state formations between which there is a real customs border. At the same time there was formed its special like no other way of life.

“I earn very well, old customers do not forget, virtually no downtime. Believed their spending in the month — get 15 thousand rubles! (240 EUR). Five thousand (80 EUR) pay for the rent, rest on food. This year even the rest went the old client to the sea in Odessa invited her 6 days the apartment was idle and I was there the whole war rested!” — tells me over a haircut, my Barber before the war. We haven’t seen 2014, a lot has happened since then.

In this monologue, all life of Donetsk in one picture. In Odessa Tatiana went “in the money”. She had two stashes: 2 thousand UAH (70 EUR) and one hundred dollars. Hryvnia she spent on the road and unexpected military circumstances. Travel through the checkpoints to Krasnoarmeysk — 250 UAH (10 EUR). Then by some bus to Konstantinovka — 50 UAH (2 EUR). From there on the reserved seat to the sea — 200 UAH (7 EUR). And in Odessa was spent only on food, exchanging the cherished $ 100. This week of vacation — the first in two and a half years of war.

Tanya says with irritation of their spending before the war: “To repair the house spent 10 thousand dollars! How much would I have now lived!”. House at the end of August 2014 came round. “We were sitting in the basement, jumped out with my man and a kitchen with two dogs and two cats of my corners to beat all crap! I see how quickly and efficiently my animals…if SAG my kitchen and think, “How am I supposed to wash? He may be my back asked: ‘do you have Vodka?!’. Drank a glass and went outside to Rosgranitsa. The machine with dust and debris just fell asleep. The Windows in the house were taken away, but I over the years, the two glass set, and rest until better times chipboard scored accurately. It is possible to live, friends and the Nitrogen in the shelling to me moving in. That’s just can’t live there, rented an apartment”.

View of modern Donetsk are always doubles. The picture opposite. Optimists say that the city came to life, supermarkets filled with Russian and Belarusian goods on the roads and sometimes traffic jams. The pessimists — that the center is empty, no customers, airport and railway communication, too, and almost all billboards filled with propaganda of the breakaway Republic, because commercial advertising is also almost there. “Almost” is the numerous ads on the posts about the delivery in any point of Russia, Ukraine and Crimea, remote resolving issues with Ukrainian pensions, passports, electronic passes in the area ATO, business registration in the near Rostov-on-don.

While pessimists and optimists will be right, because there is always something to compare. Just pessimists compare the situation with peaceful 2013, and optimists with the August 2014 month maximum defection of the people from Donetsk and maximum marauding “militias”. Or January 2015, when the city “fled” the products, and Ukraine imposed an economic blockade of the DNI and passes only through the checkpoints.

And now, even the money of the people themselves, and not, but the business is still there. And again, there is nothing to compare. Now she rents an apartment and is afraid that the rent will raise. And in 2014 the whole town stood empty, and the apartment offered who left home “just to live, for protection.” Then there was the stage of “live for utilities”. Now the time has come when 5 thousand rubles looks cheap rent, and apartments for rent who fled the owners solely for the hryvnia, and for a one bedroom apartment in the centre can ask and 2 thousand 500 UAH (90 EUR) per month excluding utility bills. This is very much by the standards of the DNR.

Here are the highest paid elite, those “above average”, get a little more than 30 thousand rubles, or about 500 euros. This elite cohort included battalion commanders in the army corps, deputies of local people’s Council and heads of departments of key ministries. The first deputies of the Minister and the local military with the rank of major General will get 50 thousand rubles (800 EUR), the Ministers have already drop by 60 thousand (EUR 950). The common people on “big” wages can count only in the army, where an ordinary soldier gets 15 thousand rubles a month (250 EUR). Leading specialist in the Ministry from 12 thousand to 18 thousand rubles (200-300 EUR). Doctor rate — 5 thousand 500 rubles (90 EUR), a teacher in the school receives in the region of four to four and a half thousand (60-70 EUR).

The mass work is temporary, public benefit — the restoration of the destroyed housing stock. She recruited people by the Republican center of employment and pay such builders often with delays of two and a half thousand (EUR 40). In the rest of the salary in 5 thousand roubles a month (80 EUR) in Donetsk is considered to be acceptable in smaller cities of the periphery and for two and a half thousand(EUR 40) — for happiness!

How people have no money be seen by the service sector. I’m writing this in a very nice restaurant close to the city centre. All delicious and very carefully prepared. The menu — noodles (50 rubles (0,80 EUR)), a classic soup (80 rubles (1,30 EUR)), kharcho soup (90 rubles (1,40 EUR)) and six different entrees at the same price. Decent steaks of pork and beef costs, respectively, 170 and 190 rubles per serving (of 2.70 and EUR 3, respectively). My favorite veal liver with creamy sauce with buckwheat and mushrooms costs 120 rubles (EUR 1,90). 1 Euro then change to 67 rubles.

In this case, the streets clean and relatively safe. Security contributes to constantly toughen the curfew from 23:00 to 5:00, and the hard sweep of all uncontrolled groups “the Cossacks” after which the armed men are not “at execution” on the streets ceased to appear. However, people on the streets there after 19:00. Restaurants close strictly at 21:00 and watch the evening matches of Euro 2016, for example, here was home. Many of the old cafes and restaurants to “zero”, only for the fact that the new government confiscated the building or in an abandoned building not stolen equipment — the rental fee is purely symbolic.

Opened numerous salons from the category “all haircuts for 70 rubles!”, local grocery stores, which previously, the center swept expensive rental, taxi services, for the same average 70 rubles will take you to any part of the city and even cosmetic clinics where low come the Russians and those who left was the wife of the former local owners life.

“I’m always in front of Ukraine in Donetsk for a manicure go — tells me a friend of the journalist, Here he is on the house from the master 100 rubles worth (1.60 EUR), and there start from 150 UAH (5,30 EUR). For a great massage at home I pay 250 RUB (4 EUR). The prices here are on salaries, very gentle!”

“You are in Rostov, though in the vending machine on the street saw coffee cheaper 50 rubles? And we see here, for 30 and try the coffee!” — explained to me the characteristics of the local market for a Cup of great coffee entrepreneur Andrew at the Italian restaurant “Mafia” on the center in the town of Pushkin Boulevard. Andrew not exit on the Ukrainian territory in connection with a criminal case under article “terrorist financing” refers to a solid optimists who focus not notice the destroyed suburbs and checkpoints around sincerely enjoying life.

Under the “article” then goes to any entrepreneur who pays taxes to the DNR. Given that this requires also an accountant and the courier, there is “creating a sustainable terrorist group”. Real Ukrainian criminal case go not all, and particularly distinguished in the construction of young of the unrecognized Republic. Andrew is one of those. “Vodka for 70 rubles (EUR 1), the sausage was cool in 300 (4,80 EUR) per kg, in Russia there is no such price!” — assures me it is.

You need to understand that the territory of the self-proclaimed DNR and LNR is about a third of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. The UN estimates that 2.7 million lives here. And the production of food brands here was nationwide. Now the plants trademarks “Olimp” and “Luga Nova” (vodka and alcoholic beverages), “Dobrynya”, “Marichka” and “Lugansk milk” (dairy) and a powerful sausage factories Makeyevka, and Lugansk Perevalsk working on a very narrow market, without having to export to Russia due to the lack of recognized quality certification in this area. Accordingly, “their” goods are cheaper than anywhere else.

Cheap in Donetsk and Lugansk and even cigarettes. In Donetsk earlier was not accepted to talk a lot about the tobacco factory “Hamada” in connection with the manufacture of her “American” counterfeit cigarettes. Few talk about it now, but she produces a cigarette still in large numbers, but counterfeit is now the Ukraine, of course.

On the way out of the self-proclaimed Republic on the territory controlled by Ukrainian authorities immediately after the checkpoint after the village Elenovka is a typical monument of the DNI — trailer duty free! To photograph I have not given it. “Then come when the alcohol will build something and enjoy it — laugh guy-the seller. — In the meantime, cigarettes buy. Block 155 to 220 rubles! (2,40-3,50 EUR)”. Cigarettes more American “Parliament”, “Marlboro”, “Lucky Strike” — and on packs tax stamps and inscriptions about harm of Smoking mixed: where in Russian and in Czech. In the States apparently these “cigarettes” do not carry, are limited to neighboring countries. In Donetsk, a particular style and a sign of prosperity Smoking is not considered “local” and “Rostov” cigarettes. But in the local store a pack at the checkout can cost from 11 to 16 roubles.

And local vodka on the shelf — “miner”, “Downhole”, “Donetsk”, with simple labels and simple price of 68 rubles per bottle. Products are historically cheaper in Ukraine. In Donetsk, for example, in high season, tomatoes are 80 rubles per kilogram (1,30 EUR), cucumbers 45-50 (0,72-0,80 EUR). This is three to two times more expensive than on the Ukrainian territory. 20 percent more meat. Domestic chickens are 190 rubles per kg (EUR 3), factory chilled chicken from 118 rubles (EUR 1,90), good beef on the market will pull 400 rubles (6,40 EUR), pork — on 330-350 (5,30-5,60 EUR). In stores you can find frozen meat at 270 (4,30 EUR).

If you finish with cheap, gasoline in the LC and the DNI is also cheaper than in Ukraine and significantly more expensive than in Russia. Brand AI95 costs 45 rubles per liter, AI 92 — 44, and diesel fuel 43 rubles for the same liter. Still cheap in Donetsk, the utilities. Payment for electricity was not here the whole of 2014. Only in 2015, the company and the authorities of the DNI figured out how to pay for the light. Prices for all services are left before the war, and then transferred into rubles at a reduced rate of 1 to 2. A Studio apartment can take from the family budget of 500-600 rubles a month (8-9,50 EUR). It is much cheaper than in neighboring Ukrainian Mariupol.

In the same Donetsk in the month sold three or four dozen apartments. Prices are about the same as before the war only in local currency. The hryvnia fell to three times the rates in the dollar on average by the same amount. In the middle of a splendid “Stalinka” goes for 30 thousand dollars. Nice two bedroom apartment close to the center costs 25 to 30 thousand dollars. In the near Makeyevka in the villages one-bedroom apartment can be bought for fifteen hundred dollars. Many of the “Russian volunteers” prefer to stay in the big and beautiful city in the hope for better times. Apartments, until recently, was made out in the Ukrainian Kramatorsk and Mariupol, for those who could go.

“I sold her two-bedroom apartment for 26 thousand dollars and more to come back here don’t want — says Natalia doctor, one of the best in these parts of specialists on laboratory diagnosis, the elderly daughter, her daughter immediately rushed to a hug from a neighbor on the second floor. The husband in the MGB, and I knew about where the money from my buyers. Husband daughter I did not show. The deal drawn up in Kramatorsk, a notary in the Bank, I put money into the account, the separatists went back to my former city. I’m not going back, even if it will be back to Ukraine. Before the war, my apartment cost $ 100 thousand”.

In the spring, the DNR said that all transactions must be recorded in the country and all contracts drawn up in the Ukrainian territory, will be void. This is of great concern to local buyers — it turns out that the transaction can challenge the sellers? As it turns out, from the transactions to pay taxes in two sides. In DND there are no commercial banks, so it is impossible to get a mortgage for the purchase of housing. Old loans until remind myself. Although banks with Western capital was clearing my portfolio here as I could.

“I got a call from “UkrSibbank” in the summer of 2015, says Cyril, a resident of Donetsk, who managed to get a mortgage on an apartment in the nine-block panel at 14% per annum for 30 years. — My apartment is worth something under 90 thousand dollars and at the time the loan remained 65 thousand dollars. First, I threatened, I offered to open a Bank branch in Donetsk, so I could carry fees. Then I was offered to pay 20% of the amount and disperse, I said, ‘Only 15%!’. I was sent, but a month later called back and agreed. Then I said: ‘10%!’. Was arguing again, but in February 2015 I called, they said that the owners of the Bank decided to agree to any conditions and to purify its loan portfolio. And we quickly closed the deal. I paid 6.5 thousand dollars and left the Bank. The remaining amount of the debt, interest and fines I was given for donation. This is my biggest problem. In Ukraine, the contracts of donation are taxed at 17%. Tax should I pay. While not even thinking about it. War — the paper will burn along with the tax before it is finished?”

According to the decision of the Ukrainian legislators from 2014 in the ATO zone is prohibited until further notice to charge interest and penalties on loans and take the collateral. It is great holding back the collectors, even on Ukrainian territory, not to mention the territories of the breakaway republics. Everything is limited to threatening phone calls. Much the DNR is involved in a child’s offense: “We do not notice!”. From a bunch of events, events which local ideologues just can’t be ignored in the rest of the world. In the early days of the self-proclaimed Republic, it was the parades of prisoners, then in the days when Ukraine honors memory of victims of famine began to make colorful food markets on Lenin square, and in 2016 in Donetsk again opened the restaurants, “McDonald’s”.

It was almost a state program, preparation for the opening of three restaurants fast food was carefully covered in all the media, and the video with the Grand opening of the first restaurant on July 16, 2016 filled network. Restaurants are now called “don MAC”, state “Donetsk news Agency” quoted the then network Manager Nina Runic, who proudly told: “Taste of products as the menu has remained the same and people came to us again to enjoy your favourite meals!” Restaurants “don MAC” in Donetsk three, there really is a carefully restored almost all of the menu and the Minister of industry and trade were able to report on his page in Facebook about the launch of a new cheese-roll along with repair of the locomotive in Hughes steel plant.

Donetsk free of copyright legislation and other legal remnants of civilization copyright. Here it is felt throughout and makes many significant local pride: “We are free!”. In restaurants “don MAC” is a little more expensive than McDonald’s in the neighboring Rostov-on-don, but much cheaper than in Europe. The Burger costs 55 rubles, cheeseburger -75, chicken-roll — 140. Prices inhibits the main deficiency in the territories of the breakaway republics — money!