Friday, May 23, 2014

Let's go to Donbass (or not)

Donetsk, at the left-bank of the Kalmius river (olo.livejournal.com)

The Donets Basin is the news since it is here where most of the Russian-backed separatists are living. The region, commonly known as the Donbas or Donbass, is located in the eastern part of the Ukraine near the border with Russia. It is a heavily industrialised coal mining area and the most densely populated of all the regions of Ukraine (Kiev excluded). The region is named after the Donets river.

The city of Donetsk (Донецьк) (population: 1 million) is considered the unofficial capital of the Donbass. It was founded in 1869 when the Welsh businessman John Hughes built a steel plant and several coal mines in the region. The town initially was given the name Hughesovka and in its early period received many immigrants from Wales. The British origin of the city is still reflected in its layout and architecture.
Tourisme map of the Ukrainian Donbas region comprised of the two most eastern provinces of Ukraine: the Donetsk oblast and the Luhansk oblast.

Ukraine, with the Donbass region at the right (paesaggio.over-blog.com)

Notice the Russian speaking majority in pink and Transnistria in dark green (officially part of Moldavia, it is a self-declared republic wanting to join Russia, with a Russian military contingent present). Also notice how the Russian-Ukrainian language border follows the former Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth border.

The former Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (1569–1795). 

next episode: ?

4 comments:

  1. A very interesting post, thanks for the links, the John Hughes story is fascinating, such a shame to see how his house there looked in 2006.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, that house is a shame indeed, I overlooked it initially when I linked to the wiki page.

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  2. Verty interesting Your note about the border of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, following somehow the present line, inside Ukraine, dividing the Ukrainian language with the Russian one.
    However, at the time of largest expansion of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, it had been the border with Ottoman Empire, not with Russia.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, but after the defeat of the Ottomans the Russians expelled nearly all muslims (a lot of those people fled to present day Turkey) and filled the area with Russian colonists.

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