In May 2019, new human rights violations were detected in the occupied Luhansk and Donetsk regions controlled by the occupation administration of the Russian Federation. These include illegal detention and restrictions on the freedom of movement for civilians, the creation of a parallel legal system, violations of property rights, the involvement of minors in propaganda, obstructing the work of international organizations, and violations of the right to freedom of religion.
Unfortunately, all these human rights violations became the “norm” for the residents of the so-called “People’s Republics” territories.
1. Illegal arrests, detention, and restriction on freedom of movement
In the end of April 2019, a statement was published on the website of the so-called “Ministry of State Security of the Luhansk People’s Republic”, that the so-called “Military Court of the Luhansk People’s Republic” convicted Valery Semenov, a resident of the Slavianoserbsky district, for “treason” and sentenced him to 13 years in prison with confiscation of property. Vitaly Semenov allegedly worked for “foreign intelligence services” – the SBU where “he collected and transmitted information constituting state secrets to use against the republic’s security.”
Also, in the end of April 2019, residents of the occupied city of Alchevsk, controlled by the occupation administration of the Russian Federation, reported on social media that two young women went missing within two days. The two women were friends. Anita Semenenko, born on April 23, 1997, left home and did not return. Viktoria Pisareva, born in 1996, was kidnapped in front of her relatives on April 25, 2019.
The residents of the occupied Alchevsk later added details about the kidnapping of Viktoria Pisareva: “She was taken away by some people with weapons who behaved saucily.”
On May 3, 2019, the national Ukrainian news website stated that a man in Kiev had filed a petition to the police about the illegal detention of his sister on the territory of occupied Donetsk.
“The man handed over a letter to the police from the so-called “Ministry of State Security of the Donetsk People’s Republic” on the detention of his relative for a 30-day period.”
According to the applicant, his sister, born in 1978, lives in Donetsk and works as a nurse. She has not made contact since the end of March.”
On May 6, 2019, the website Informator.media published the news of Vadim Dreyev, a person with disabilities, born in 1969, who went missing on April 24, 2019 in the occupied city of Luhansk, which is under the control of the occupation administration of the Russian Federation. The man came to Luhansk from Stanytsia Luhanska and has been out of reach.
On May 14, 2019, the so-called “Ministry of State Security of the Luhansk People’s Republic” reported that “the LPR Supreme Court has sentenced a resident of Kirovsk to eight years of imprisonment for treason.” The report also states that, according to the results of the “investigation”, the Kirovsk resident allegedly “collected and provided confidential information for the subversive activities of The Armed Forces of Ukraine on the territory of the Republic”.
On May 15, 2019, it was reported on the website of the so-called “General Prosecutor’s Office of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR)”, that person “M.”- a member of the illegal armed formation of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR)” – has been sentenced under article “321 of the Criminal Code of the DPR” by the verdict of the “Appeals Chamber of the Supreme Court of DPR” to 14 years of imprisonment for espionage on behalf of Ukraine.”
On May 16, 2019, it was reported on the website of the so-called “Ministry of State Security of the Luhansk People’s Republic”, that the so-called “Supreme Court of the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR)” sentenced a resident of Alchevsk, Vitaly Buyanov, to 12 years of prison for “treason.”
On May 22, 2019, the arrest of Dmitry Batrak, born in 1979, “on suspicion of espionage in favor of Ukrainian special services” was reported on the website of the so-called “Ministry of State Security of the Donetsk People’s Republic.”
The same report mentions an “investigation” that showed that Dmitry Batrak allegedly photographed and filmed Donetsk administrative buildings, collected information about the movements and locations of military equipment of the so-called “People’s Police of the DPR”, with the purpose of transmitting intelligence to the representatives of the SBU. “Criminal proceedings under article 321 of the Criminal Code of the DPR (“Espionage”)” were initiated against the detainee.
And in May 2019, the so-called “court” found Dmitry Batrak guilty of “committing a crime and sentenced him to 12 years of prison.”
On May 22, the Joint Operations Forces’ press center announced that “eight servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, members of the Joint Forces, headed off course when driving a truck in the area of Novotroitske and entered the temporarily occupied territory, where they were detained by militants of the armed formations of the Russian Federation.”
2. Creation of a parallel legal system, lawyers, notaries, and courts
In the occupied Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the occupation administrations of the Russian Federation and the media controlled by them continue to inform local residents and the world community about the actions of their “state bodies” and the results of their “work.” We note that these actions are not legally binding and are aimed only at demonstrating the so-called “statehood” in the “republics.”
On May 7, during a plenary session the “deputies” of the so-called “People’s Council of the LPR” completed the first and second readings and adopted the laws “On Amendments to Article 6 of the Law of the Luhansk People’s Republic “On measures to prevent harm to children’s physical, intellectual, mental, spiritual and moral development”; The Law “On Honorary Titles of the Luhansk People’s Republic: “Hero-City”, “City of Military Glory”, “City of Labor Glory”; The Law “On Amendments to Articles 21 and 23 of the Law of the Luhansk People’s Republic “On State Duty”; The Law “On the “Recognition of the 23rd paragraph, section XX of the Luhansk People’s Republic Code of Criminal Procedure as invalid.” And also, the Law “On Amendments to the Luhansk People’s Republic Code of Criminal Procedure in regard to the selection of measures of restraint and their imposition.”
On May 24, 2019, the so-called “LPR mass media” reported that the notaries who ceased their activities on the territory of the occupied part of the Luhansk region in 2014, handed over their archives to the so-called “Notary Archives of the Republic.” This was reported by Anna Aviltseva, the so-called “Deputy Minister of Justice of the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR)”. Anna Avitseva also said that “the LPR Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Internal Affairs are continuing their explanatory work with Ukrainian notaries who have not yet handed over their archives.
3. Coercion into membership in “public” organizations and participation in “patriotic” and “social” actions of “LPR” and “DPR”. Involvement of children in propaganda
The children, adolescents and youth are being pursued to join “public” organizations and military-patriotic propaganda is being conducted among them in the occupied Donetsk and Luhansk regions, controlled by the occupation administrations of the Russian Federation. The employees of government enterprises and companies, which are under the so-called “external management”, are actively pursued to become members in “public” organizations.
On May 1, 2019, in the occupied city of Luhansk, as well as in many cities of the occupied part of the Luhansk region, controlled by the occupation administration of the Russian Federation, rallies were held on the “International Workers’ Day.” Analyzing the photo materials from these rallies, one can conclude that administrative resources are actively being used to organize these events, while schoolchildren, students and seniors are actively involved in the rallies.
The rallies were held in Alchevsk, Antratsyt, Bryanka, Kirovsk, Krasnodon, Krasnyi Luch, Rovenky, and in Sverdlovsk.
Rallies in honor of May 1 were also held in Donetsk, occupied by the occupation administration of the Russian Federation.
School children dressed in 1941-1945 military uniform of The Red Army and in modern military uniform were involved in the festivities during the celebration of the victory of the USSR in the Great Patriotic War in the territories controlled by the occupation administration of the Russian Federation in the occupied Luhansk and Donetsk regions.
A similar event, “Victory Flame”, was held on May 3 in the Amvrosiievskyi raion.
May 8, 2019, in Luhansk during the annual action “The living memory of generations” and concert. And May 9 in other cities of the occupied Luhansk region during the so-called “Immortal Regiment” parade.
The formation of a public organization – the military-patriotic movement “Young Guard – Yunarmia” – continues in the territories controlled by the occupation administration of the Russian Federation in the occupied Luhansk and Donetsk regions.
On May 4, 2019, the first 77 participants of the Young Guard – “Yunarmia” movement “swore allegiance to the people of the DPR” in the occupied city of Donetsk. On May 9, they took part in the parade of the so-called “Immortal Regiment.”
On May 6, 2019, the chairman of the so-called “Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR)” handed a banner to the participants of the Union of Youth Clubs of the so-called “LPR” “Young Guard” in Luhansk.
Children are actively pursued to participate in “military-patriotic” sports games and field-training teams. Thus, in the middle of May, 250 schoolchildren passed the tests for initial military training in Luhansk.
On May 12, 2019, the first part of the military-sports game “Zarnitsa” took place in Luhansk. And on May 22, 2019, ten teams from the secondary schools participated in the two-day military patriotic game “Zarnitsa” in Bryanka. The teams included students from 5th – 10th grades.
On May 23, 2019, the military-sports game “Zarnitsa” was also held in Lutugino. Almost 80 schoolchildren from Lutuginsky district took part in it.
4. Violation of property rights
In May 2019, the process of so-called “nationalization” of enterprises continues in the territories of the occupied Luhansk and Donetsk regions controlled by the occupation administration of the Russian Federation. The enterprises were previously operated under the jurisdiction of Ukraine or belong to Ukrainian citizens who live in the territory controlled by Ukraine since the beginning of the conflict.
Thus, in May 2019, nine announcements on the identification of abandoned property were published in the “LPR” by the so-called “State Committee of Taxes and Duties.”
It should be noted that applications from the owners are accepted within 60 days from the day of the announcement. Upon expiration of this period, the enterprises come under the control of the “republic.”
In May 2019, a message appeared about the real estate properties that are under “state administration” on the so-called “official site of the DPR state property fund.” The properties are located on the addresses: Prospekt Mira, building 10”a”, Donetsk; Lenin str., 140-2, Makiivka; Komsomolskaya str., 36 “a”, Dokuchaievsk; Kirova str., 94, Novoazovsk.
5. Obstruction of the work of international organizations
The report of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) on May 25, 2019 stated that members of the illegal military formations denied passage to representatives from the OSCE SMM and ordered them to leave the area twice.
6. Violation of the right to freedom of religion
On May 22, 2019, the website of the organization “Global Christian Support” reported that in the occupied city of Donetsk, which is under the control of the occupation administration of the Russian Federation, representatives of illegal armed groups of the so-called “DPR” plan to seal and “nationalize” the building of the church of the Evangelical Christians-Baptist “Light of the Gospel.” Parishioners are now trying to file the paperwork to defend the building.
The church “Light of the Gospel” is located in the Kirovskyi district of Donetsk. The building of the church was being built by parishioners using their own funds during a period of 10 years. The building was completed in 2010.