The “combat” prime-minister of Ukraine won’t be mentioned in this article… Policy towards internally displaced people (IDP) is something similar between Ukraine and Chechnya.
In 1999 Ingushetia was the only region where Chechens were feeling safe. In 2002 tent camps started to be liquidated and were totally removed by 2004. Authorities were trying hard to push migrants back to Chechnya.
This was happening with the use of migration service raids, people were losing IDP status because there were absent from the place of living. That happened because it was not possible to receive social and medical support at the place where they were temporarily living. Authoritiesconstantlyabusedmigrants.
They were taking away food stamps from Chechens, later they asked them to pay for utilities where they lived, made fake applications from Chechens name asking to cancel their registration. Debts for electricity and water were growing, and migrants couldn’t pay that. The place where people were placed had no conditions for living.
In 2009, ten years after migrants started wandering, authorities of Ingushetia claimed that there was no single IDP left on the territory of the republic. This was very important in order not to ruin the image of “prosperous” Chechnya. Everybody went back “voluntarily”. And those who stayed lost help forever.
IDP of certain groups suffered the most:
- There are people whose houses were totally destroyed, but they can’t get help from authorities to restore houses (as a rule those are families with only one parent or families where one the parents has disabilities);
- Those who lived in one house with relatives, but there is not enough place after partial reconstruction;
- Those who lived in dormitories or barracks;
- Those who in the last 10 years created young family and who were formally registered in parents houses, but didn’t have their own place.
Now let’s move in time and change geographic location. Ukraine 2015.
Only officially there are 1.5 million of IDP. That number includes people who left occupied Crimea and victims of military aggression of Russian Federation on the East of Ukraine in Lugansk and Donetsk Regions.
In March-April 2014 there were weak attempts to provide housing for IDP, sanatorium and children’s camp accepted migrants. By the end of 2014 they started to kick out IDP from there and in October 2014 they demanded compensation for utilities from them. In 2015 migration service started to check where people were actually living threatening to cancel IDP status. In Summer 2015 authorities went even further and removed banking secrecy from the accounts of IDPs and started to watch them closely checking addresses of bank operations of IDPs.
Until now Ministry of Social Policy hasn’t approved socialization program for IDPs. And in its project it says that main activities will be directed towards re-integration. Sending back.
At the same time the problems remain the same as Chechen migrants had. Despite demands from the society and Deputies of the Parliament, the project of the law that declares possibility of getting compensation for lost houses #2167 doesn’t get registered to Parliament session.
People just have no place to return. Their houses were destroyed and Russian soldiers and terrorists are walking along the streets.
This may look like a chain of random events. But that is not so.
In the last month it was widely discussed about possibility to take part in local elections for IDPs who now live in new areas. Despite the support from the side of Deputies of Parliament and Civic Organizations, diplomats and international institutions, the project of the law #2501a-1 that allows to IDPs to use their right to vote doesn’t get registered for the Parliament session.
On September 20 the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko in his interview to TV channels described how 1.5 million people can become simple instrument of political fight, talking about possibility of holding elections in Donbass: “Our position is very simple. It is written in Minsk about modality of the electoral process, that means that there is Ukrainian electoral law, there are peculiarities that we need to take into consideration. Andtheyarethere. Because those temporary displaced who are not in Donbass now, who are pro-Ukrainian, they should have given the right to vote. This is not considered in Ukrainian laws now, and we should consider those peculiarities. Because if we take those votes out, the will of citizens that live in Donbass, in Ukrainian Donbass, will be distorted. I can’t allow this to happen.”
They need an image of prosperous Chechnya. They need an image of Ukrainian Donbass.
Presidents of both countries need a picture. They don’t need people.
Ukrainian displaced people pay double price, they experienced horrors of military conflict and occupation, and now they experience pressure that makes them go back.
If Minsk Agreements say that elections are possible, the President will hold elections. And he needs voted of IDP in Donbass, not in Kiev. Everything is done to have possibility to show high rating of Ukrainian political forces. And he doesn’t care about life of 1.5 million of citizens.
Nothing personal. Just policy.
Aleksandra Dvoretskaya coordinator of legal department of Vostok-SOS for Informator.lg.ua