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09 Nov. 2023

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Ukrainian Donetsk: How russia destroyed a city that once refused Stalinization

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Ukrainian Donetsk: How russia destroyed a city that once refused Stalinization

The city of Donetsk, which is located in eastern Ukraine, has not always borne its current name. Previously, it was called Stalino, in honor of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. Find out why the city was renamed and how important it was and still is to Ukraine

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November 8, 1961, is a key date in the history of the city that is now known as Donetsk. On this day, it was given a new name, replacing "Stalino," a reference to the dictator of the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin. 


This change of name was part of a broader process of renaming cities and towns associated with de-Stalinization following Stalin's death in 1953.


The history of Donetsk begins much earlier than this date. The city has a rich past associated with the development of the coal industry and metallurgy. At the beginning of the 20th century, it became an important center of heavy industry, and during the period of independent Ukraine, the city sparkled with new colors, becoming one of the most developed cities among those with a population of over a million people.


What was Donetsk like before the russian attack?


The city has always been famous for its amazing and hardworking people. During the years of Ukraine's independence, Donetsk flourished economically and socially.


It was also an important industrial and cultural center of Ukraine. At one time, it was a major industrial city specializing in coal mining and metallurgy. 


A few key features that encompass the appearance of Donetsk before the russian aggression:


- Industrial center: Donetsk was and remains one of the largest industrial centers in Ukraine. Metallurgical enterprises and mines around the city played an important role in the country's economy.

- Coal industry: The Donbas region is rich in coal resources, and the city became the center of the coal industry. The mines provided jobs for many local residents, and coal was a key resource for energy and industry.

- Education and culture: The city was known for its educational and cultural institutions. Universities, museums, theaters and other cultural institutions made Donetsk an important center for the development of intellectual and cultural life.

- Sports and entertainment: Sporting events, football matches and other entertainment activities were an important part of Donetsk's social life. The Shakhtar Donetsk football club was and remains one of the most successful and popular in Ukraine.




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Donetsk under occupation


The history of Donetsk would not be complete without mentioning more violent events. In 2014, the region became the scene of a war brought by russia. This led to the occupation of Donetsk and the creation of the so-called "Donetsk People's Republic". After 9 years, the russian dictatorship proclaimed Donetsk a part of its country, thus brazenly taking away a part of Ukraine's sovereign territory.


The war started by russia led to economic difficulties in the region. Sanctions and isolation from the international community, as well as the loss of ties with the Ukrainian economy, have affected the financial situation in Donetsk.


The occupation has caused social changes. Residents of the city have faced instability, violations of rights and freedoms, and a breakdown in social and cultural ties.


Ukrainian Donetsk now


Donetsk is currently going through one of the most difficult periods in its history. Fighting continues around the city, and areas within the city are constantly under fire, as terrorist groups of the russian army have settled there.


For example, near Donetsk, russia has concentrated about 50,000 troops who are trying to seize most of the region's territory. russian attacks are currently most intense in the area of Avdiivka, which is located to the north of Donetsk.


The occupiers are using Donetsk as a foothold and a place of concentration of manpower and equipment, thus exposing the city to the threat of air attacks.


Despite all the difficulties the city is currently experiencing, only one thing is certain - Donetsk is Ukraine. It was, it is and it will be. And it is worth emphasizing that the Ukrainian military will make every effort to liberate the occupied territories and bring their loved ones home. And the occupiers who came to Ukrainian soil will be punished!

We remind you! In recent months, internal tension and fear among Ukrainians have been growing as prolonged hostilities deplete the psyche of people. Find out when the war will end, according to experts, and what other opinions about the end of hostilities prevail online.



Photo: Volodymyr Kutsenko/RadioSvoboda.ORG (RFE/RL)


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