Once British, always British. And that is why Donetsk, a major Ukrainian city, should secede from Ukraine and join Great Britain forthwith.
Indeed. Thus a group of young Donetsk citizens. And they DO have a case.
A British entrepreneur named John Hughes founded the city in 1869.
Hughes hailed from Wales, and the place he considered best to expand to in Ukraine was right in the middle of a huge and rich coal mining region, with steel foundries all over the place.
Pronounce the founder’s last name. Got it? Now, read the original name of Donetsk: Yuzovka. Sound similar? That’s because it was meant to be.
And that is why the Donetsk youngsters took to VKontakte (http://vk.com/), a European version of Facebook, to declare their intentions and start a petition for a binding referendum.
VKontakte says it is the largest European social network with more than a 100 million active users. It runs in three language versions: English, Russian and Ukrainian. Your pick.
Anyhow, organizers wrote (verbatim translation from the Russian version): “Donetskists! English brothers! This is the deciding moment!
“ONLY YOU WILL DECIDE WHERE YOUR CHILDREN WILL LIVE AND WHICH LANGUAGE THEY WILL BE SPEAKING!
“As is well known, Yuzovka (Donetsk) is truly an English town, founded by the great English entrepreneur John Hughes. The Russians have been lying to us for more than 100 years that this was originally a Russian town, while the Ukrainians have kept saying it was Ukrainian.
“We demand a referendum to decide that Yuzovka returns to her mother country, Great Britain.
“Hail John Hughes and his city! God save the Queen!”
Here’s the original version of their declaration, as published on a regional news site, Donbass.ua:
Дончане! Братья-англичане! Наступил решающий момент!
ТОЛЬКО ТЕБЕ РЕШАТЬ, ГДЕ БУДУТ ЖИТЬ ТВОИ ДЕТИ И НА КАКОМ ЯЗЫКЕ ОНИ БУДУТ ГОВОРИТЬ!
Как известно, Юзовка (“Донецк”) исконно английский город, основанный великим промышленником-англичанином – Джоном Юзом. На протяжении более сотни лет русские обманывали нас, что это исконно-русский город, а украинцы – что украинский!
Мы требуем референдума по возвращению Юзовки в своё исконное лоно – в состав Великой Британии!
Слава Джону Юзу и его городу! Боже, храни Королеву!”
Within a day of the referendum demand, some seven thousand Donetsk citizens cast their votes, with more than 60 per cent saying they were all for joining Great Britain, and about 16 per cent saying they would like to become something of an autonomous region under British mandate, with English as its official language.
Donbass.ua is of the view the entire matter has been meant as a satirical spoof on what’s been going on in and around Donetsk in recent weeks and months.
And there’s been a lot going on. According to the Russian news site, newsru.com, there have been demonstrations staged by some Russian nationalists. They want the southeastern Ukrainian region to join Russia, just like Crimea had. The pro Russian crowd clashed with the defenders of what they describe as “unified Ukraine” about two weeks ago. According to the latest accounts, there was at least one casualty, but nobody’s sure: news coverage is based on which side the particular journalist is reporting for.
According to newsru.com, the eastern part of Ukraine has supported the recently deposed president Victor Yanukovich. In fact, the site reports, the Donetsk regional parliament has formed a working group to prepare a referendum about joining Russia.
Russian president Vladimir Putin’s office claims his government has no plans to invade and swallow eastern Ukraine. Nobody believes THAT statement. Everybody has grown up knowing they must not believe any rumours until those rumours have been officially denied.
Thus the movement to join Great Britain, instead. Funny, ridiculous, even, as it may sound to the uninitiated, there is a serious note behind the whole thing.
People of Donetsk remember their history, too. They are aware that Donetsk, now a two-million-citizen city, lost its original name (Yuzovka) in 1922, to honour Josif Vissarionovich Stalin: it was renamed Stalino. It got its current name in 1961, because Stalin’s name became anathema following revelations of his crimes against humanity in general and the peoples of what used to be the Soviet Union in particular.
People of Donetsk also know that their raw material resources and industrial base make their region a tidbit the Russians would be more than happy to welcome into their empire.
Russian KHL (Kontinental Hockey League) Vladimir Shalayev announced the other day that the Donetsk hockey team will not be playing its playoffs home games at home but, rather, in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. He cited unrest in the region. Players’, referees’ and audiences’ safety and security were of paramount concern, he said.
Consider the source: Shalayev used to be a high-ranking Soviet state security (KGB) officer. So was his country’s president, Putin. And if there is anyone Putin trusts implicitly and explicitly, it’s his former KGB colleagues.
So, little wonder some people of Donetsk would go to any lengths to avoid becoming part of the all-mighty Mother Russia.
Alas, no word yet from either the Buckingham Palace or 10 Downing Street. If they still believe the whole thing about Donetsk joining Great Britain is a joke, they should start thinking of beginning to think again.