Mariupol between a coup and a war

Author : Ivanna Radyvilova

Source : 112 Ukraine

The war gave an understanding that life is fleeting, and man is mortal; often the death is sudden, so we must live today and now
15:17, 2 September 2016

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Mariupol lives, works, grows, fights, and defends itself. A lot of work. For those who spends day and night burning in a blast furnace and rolling mills, little has changed. Like 25 years ago, the prices are rising, and Ukraine’s biggest machine-building enterprise "Azovmash" almost stopped its work. Mariupol conformity and provincialism are subjected to slow but steady changes. Today, they are really visible. Especially if you look back, in 1991.

Related: Poroshenko opens center for administrative services in Mariupol

The first cooperatives and the first crooks appeared in the city. Many of those who were gambling in the 90s, later became well-known, influential people, businessmen and even MPs. "

Until August 1991, Mariupol has been experiencing painful emergence of a market economy. People have got amazing possibilities. Some of them successfully used them to create the new commercial properties. And the others successfully used the results of the first by pressing and looting. 1991 was the first year of murder of businesspersons.

Related: Ukraine’s Security Service disrupts preparation of terrorist act in Mariupol

The August coup changed everything. Tanks were driving the Moscow streets, President Gorbachev was in isolation, and Mariupol was waiting for the changes. The consequences of all these events were unclear. That is why people have turned their attention to the first secretary of the Party Committee Yuriy Hotlubey. Yes, yes, even then, 25 years ago, he led this city. And then, in 1991, Yuriy Hotlubey had to take responsibility and to voice the official position of the authorities. Then, in 1991, Yuriy Hotlubey said: "Let the politicians negotiate, and we need to ensure the vital activity of the city."

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To be frank, Hotlubey did provide these vital functions of the city. Despite the war, perestroika, the collapse of the Soviet Union, "Russian spring," and other disasters, Mariupol remained one of the few Ukraine’s cities, which has always been provided with water, received heating, electricity, and other facilities. Not without troubles, of course; but these were really rare cases.

A few days after the evasive statements of Hotlubey, leaders of the three allied republics signed a "death sentence" of the USSR and the Communist Party.

The news broke the peaceful life of Mariupol. It was high time to make political decisions and break the economic ties. The main thing was to "save" the party property. Mariupol has gathered an extraordinary session on this occasion. Hotlubey demanded that the local Communist Party transfer all the property to the city. But today, no one knows for certain, what was actually transferred, and what was not. And most importantly, no one knows what has happened to the vehicle fleet of the local Communist Party. One more interesting thing was changing of the "political line" of those who represented big business.

Related: Earthquake of 4.5 points magnitude took place in Mariupol

And this line was very unstable. For example, known dissident Levko Lukyanenko came in Mariupol, and he was not allowed to the local metallurgical complex named after Illich, he could not arrange meetings with the citizens as well. Unexpectedly, "Azovmash" organized mass burning of communist literature. It was very strange - to collect some books of Lenin and Marx and throw them into the furnace. What for? No one knows for sure.

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What is known is the fact that Mariupol was the first city of Donetsk region that raised yellow-blue Ukrainian flag over the city administration. It was an order of fexible Yuriy Hotlubey. Mariupol started to prepare for the independence referendum.

In fact, it was a troubled time. Crime rate has grown, and people faced the food crisis (bread irregularity). Only one loaf was given into one hands. There were no potatoes. The local authorities were forced to drive trucks to Western Ukraine in order to provide the city with food. The city has ran out of petrol, and the speculations with buying the gasoline began.

Related: U.S- style police start patrols in eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol

And despite all this nightmare, Mariupol voted for independence. 80.6% of citizens believe in the idea of a successful, rich, and independent Ukrainian state. People believed that as soon as they get rid of Kremlin, their life would be better. They believed in the black soil, metallurgy, coal, and energy. They did not know that the Kremlin would be replaced with the Donetsk mafia, Dnipropetrovsk mafia, and Rivne mafia.

Perhaps, the average citizen of Mariupol does not see the changes. Mariupol remains an industrial city with a very bad environment, dead rivers, and dying sea. Although, the difference does exist.

Related: Ship of Russian coast guard spotted near Mariupol

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