‘Donbass needs nationalization, state planning, common economic space with Russia’

By Alexey Albu *

Odessa Regional Council deputy

Speech at a Roundtable Discussion on the Integration of the Donbass and Russia, Sept. 17, 2015, in Lugansk, capital of the Lugansk People’s Republic.

Hello, dear participants!

I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the processes taking place in Ukraine in recent years show that the country’s ruling elite has no understanding of or plan to break out of the current impasse. Ukrainian politicians and high-level officials cannot get beyond the existing paradigm, aimed not at creating new conditions for profit, but at fighting over the so-called “old” sources — in the form of “cutting” the budget and credits, selling off the remnants of state property and, if they continue to move within this paradigm – finally the land. Let’s call it, conditionally, the “eating away” paradigm.

Alexey Albu (right) with other participants of the Roundtable on Integration of Donbass and Russia Sept. 17.
This is one of the main differences between the Ukrainian system and the system prevailing in the Russian Federation, where for a number of reasons (income from hydrocarbon exports, “equidistant” oligarchs, sanctions and limits on imports) a system has developed in which profit is created from new businesses, rather than “sawn off” the old.

The vector of development in Ukraine led to a social catastrophe — hundreds of thousands of people are malnourished. Hundreds of thousands of people are out of work. Delays in wages, pensions and social benefits have become the norm in Ukraine. Any attempt at protest can lead to prison.

In these circumstances, a change of personalities in specific positions is unlikely to lead to a change in the paradigm. Thus, the only way out of the current impasse is a radical change in the entire system, not a change of positions among the political elite. But today, in the face of the coming to power of the neo-fascists, in conditions of total suppression of any dissent, when no peaceful protest is possible, in an environment where political opponents are simply killed — changing the vector of development is out of the question. All attempts to organize resistance in Odessa, Nikolayev, Kherson and Kharkov ended in our defeat. Unfortunately, this is a fact. We could not prevent the coming to power of the neo-Nazis in Kiev, we have not been able to fight back in other regions of Novorossiya. At least, we have not yet been able to.

With their blood and courage, people living in the Donbass have achieved freedom. But a new period poses new challenges. And these challenges must be met.

As a result of the problems inherited from the Ukrainian oligarchy, 20 years of destruction of infrastructure and industry, the young people’s republics face a range of very acute social issues. The war that Ukrainian nationalists brought to this land led to the ruin and impoverishment of the people of Donbass. Because of the war, thousands of young people were left without diplomas and passports. People who lost their documents because of the war are unable to either get a job or go abroad. And this problem is very serious.

With the assistance of the Russian Federation, thanks to the aid convoys, thanks to the efforts of thousands of volunteers, many lives among the most vulnerable sectors were saved, especially pensioners. However, the situation needs to be radically changed. The Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics (LC and DNR) have enormous economic potential which needs to be developed. After all, only by creating a strong economic system will we be able to meet the needs of our citizens, and only then can we achieve well-being and social security.

I am a supporter of expanding the public sector of the economy through the nationalization of enterprises, and I welcome the expertise available in the LC and DNI. Analyzing the experiences of the Soviet Union, some rapidly developing countries in Latin America, as well as China, it is possible to conclude that market-based mechanisms of economic management must be limited, and a transition begun to state planning and protectionist economic policies, so much hated by the West.

Alexey Albu (center)
It is important to note that the economic recovery of the young republics is impossible without the participation of the Russian Federation, and the process of integration with Russia certainly must reach a new level. There is an urgent need to create a common economic space between the people’s republics and the Russian Federation. After all, almost all the factories and mines were created in the days of a single state, and economic ties artificially broken at the time of Ukraine’s independence must be restored.

The establishment of a single economic space, the possibility of unimpeded movement of goods across the border, and the emergence of new markets will have a positive impact not only on the coal industry, but also engineering, the chemical industry, and metallurgy.

The first step — introduction of the ruble as a currency — has already been made, and this is a positive step.

We’re almost there. And I am firmly convinced that by our actions, we will be able to build a new country, one where all its citizens can live comfortably!

* Odessa Regional Council Deputy Alexey Albu is a survivor of the May 2, 2014, fascist massacre at the Odessa House of Trade Unions. As a coordinator of the revolutionary Marxist organization Union Borotba (Struggle), he was forced into exile under threat of arrest and torture by the Ukrainian junta. Currently, Albu works with the Novorossiyan Ghost Brigade in Alchevsk, Lugansk.
Translated by Greg Butterfield

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