Analysis of Donetsk

A fairly exotic source, the Tehran Times, reports on secession referendum in Donetsk:

I’ve been to Donetsk for an economics lecture (see here, here).

The people seemed to be of mixed identity eager to shake of the negative image which President Yanukovych and his mafia has saddled them with. Some expressed their Ukrainian patriotism to me. I’m certain they are of mixed identity.

A referendum would be great.

I would love for this story to be correct. I wouldn’t mind the referendum voting against continued Ukrainian sovereignty in favor of autonomy (unlikely) or Russia (more likely). Then perhaps Donetsk and their infamous mafia hold a referendum and go away.

Sadly, the crime bosses who control Donetsk would make sure any referendum keeps Donetsk with Ukraine. They are Russian and Akhmetov is Tartar, but they get use the country of Ukraine as a gigantic ATM machine and they want to keep it that way. If they have to invoke Ukrainian patriotism, they’ll do that.

The perspective of the oligarchs defies the dominant east vs. west geopolitical narrative of this struggle.