Why people often do not talk to each other? And in what way Donbass differs from the rest of the country?

The war has ruined relationships between people and many families have fallen apart. Donbass used to be a region that differed from the others even earlier. Everything started in 1930s when Stalin tried to supress the local Ukrainian culture and language. Simultaneously, people from other parts of the Soviet Union started coming to the region, mostly ethnic Russians. Donbass used to have a special position within the Soviet Empire as an important coal basin and industrial area.

The Slovak reporter Tomáš Forró in his reportage book Donbass: A wedding apartment in a hotel called War writes that most of the Donbass population identify themselves primarily with their region, not the Ukraine as a state. On the top of that, the whole area is mostly Russian speaking and the locals often have close connections with Russia. After the Soviet Union fell apart, many of them felt like strangers in the new state. Moreover, some politicians spread a myth that the hard work of the miners feeds the rest of the country. In such a divided society, it was not difficult to capitalize the mutual animosity between the pro-Russian Donbass and the pro-European West of the country.

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