The self-proclaimed Donetsk Republic dictates its history against Kiev

While the conflict in the east of Ukraine continues, the separatist administration responsible for the Donetsk region is trying to instill a new national narrative for the younger generation.

When the children win their chairs in the courtyard of the Krasny-Partizan school, 30 km from Donetsk, only the light breathing of the video projector accompanies a concentrated silence. Everyone is observing a moment of recollection, while the portrait of Alexander Zakharchenko, president of the self-proclaimed republic of Donetsk murdered on 31 August, appears at the back of the room.

The ceremony celebrates 75 yearsis anniversary of the victory of the Red Army against the German troops in the Donbas region in 1943. Six girls with braided hairs come forward. Their two professors, dressed in dresses with similar flowers, blow the forgotten verses onto them. Behind them, the presentation mixes faces and eras. From the World War II archives, the video passes to the fire of Ukrainian artillery and to civilians in tears. It ends on the faces of Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, and Barack Obama, the former president of the United States, almost to portray without explanation the leaders of the misfortunes of the region at war.

In Ukraine, the assassination of a separatist leader brings tensions to life

"Do not believe what you find on the Internet"

In the east of Ukraine, the authorities of the Donetsk People's Republic, a separatist entity backed by Moscow, are resuming history in their own way, accusing the Ukrainian army of having a majority of " fascists "and neo-Nazis" among its ranks. "Do not believe what you find on the Internet." The 1943 war disaster is reproduced today! " protest Iuri Pokinteltsa, the imposing local deputy in front of frozen children.

In fatigue care, Christelle Néant, French editor of Donipress, the insurgent communication agency, says: "We are fighting against soldiers who have the same ideological roots as those of 75 years ago.The authorities have taken up this legitimate and popular parallel". This thread also passes through the Soviet era, integrated into a new identity, which strives to build the leaders of this pro-Russian separatist entity not recognized by the international community.

Their historical narrative is constructed opposing the rest of Ukraine, where references to the communist past are banned in public space by a May 2015 law, in which the very use of the word "communism" is outlawed. This decision of Kiev would constitute a "Turning point" and irreconcilable, esteem Natalya, a history professor of about fifty years. "Ideologically, the difference between our two countries is too great, our stories contradict each other, The head of the school, behind his desk, also asked about the possibility of a return to the region under the Kiev authorities.

The separatist Donbass also teaches his youth to fight

When the secession rebels took control of this part of the Donbass, in the spring of 2014, they participated in the creation of new teachings that give a place of honor to the workers who work in the mines and dross of this mining basin, that have become symbols of courage for separatists. " In the last four years, Russia has worked with the Ministry of Education and distributed new history books " Natalya continues.

The Donbass separatist prepares young people to defend the self-proclaimed People's Republic of Donetsk. Also prepare the bodies. In the ten airy centers of the region, children aged 8 to 17 learn to fight, to operate a machine gun. Most want to become military or police. After four years of a deadly war in which the governmental forces and rebels supported by Moscow collide, the separatist army remains one of the largest employers in the affected area.

A purged atmosphere in the Donbass separatist

Hugo Boursier, in Donetsk, special correspondence

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