Olga Makeyeva and Vladimir Bidyovka share memories about work of parliament of first convocation
The elections of the Head of the DPR and deputies of the People’s Council of the second convocation took place on November 11. The Deputy Chairman of the DPR People’s Council Olga Makeyeva and Head of the deputy faction “Donetsk Republic” Vladimir Bidyovka spoke of the structure of the parliament and history of its establishment in an exclusive interview to “Parliamentarian Newspaper”.
Political processes in Donbass were preceded by “Maidan” and the coup d’état in Kiev, Khatyn in Odessa, bloody confrontation in Mariupol. Then Ukrainian military equipment appeared in Donbass and authorities, on the contrary, obtained an order from Kiev to leave the region. In such conditions the referendum on independence was held on May 11, 2014 and the formation of the DPR Parliament began. Olga Makeyeva shared memories about these events.
ʺThe authority in Donbass was gone in April-May, it just disappeared. People were forced to unite, create temporary bodies of authority in order to bring a situation under control,ʺ she noted.
Kiev launched a military operation in Donbass in the summer of 2014 and began to block social security: it suspended pension payments, the armed forces of Ukraine shelled supporting enterprises, an economic blockade began and there were disruptions in supplies of water and electricity.
“Minsk-1” was signed in the capital of Belarus on September 5, 2014. The framework protocol prescribed a ceasefire, the opening of refugee corridors and many other steps towards the peaceful resolution of the conflict. But Ukraine has not done anything to implement it, hostilities have not been ceased.
ʺThe situation literally hung in the air. We understood that Ukraine was deliberately derailing the political settlement of the issue and that we had nowhere to go: we needed to go into the political process and prepare for the elections. After all, the world does not know any other way of obtaining legitimate power except for elections,ʺ Olga Makeyeva said.
Preparations for the elections were complicated by military conditions. However, according to the norms of international law, the Central Election Commission was formed, candidates were campaigning, observers and mass media from different countries of the world were present at the polling stations.
The elections took place on November 2, 2014. Alexander Zakharchenko assumed the position of the Head of the DPR. There were two factions that were elected to the parliament and they were “Donetsk Republic” with 68 seats and “Free Donbass” with 32 seats.
The Deputy Chairman of the People’s Council recalls the beginning of the parliament’s work.
ʺWe had to learn on the fly: to enact legislation, work with people, go to districts and determine priorities in our work. To say it was hard would be an understatement. Then and now the work with front line districts was and is a priority: we have to communicate with people personally, understand their problems and aspirations, accept their requests. The worst thing is to get off the ground and lose a realistic perspective of a situation,ʺ Olga Makeyeva underlined.
Vladimir Bidyovka, for his part, described the process of transition of the Republic to its own legislative base.
ʺOur Constitution provides that the Head of the Republic can close gap in the legislation with its own normative acts until a framework law is passed. Also, there is a regulation that allows to use the Ukrainian legislation, if it does not contradict the Constitution of the DPR,ʺ the Chairman of the DPR People’s Council’s Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Building said.
According to Olga Makeyeva, the People’s Council deputies often draw on the Russian Federation’s expertise in the formulation of laws.
ʺAnd not just because we love Russia. The way its economy, education, culture, health care and other spheres are developing indicates that adopted laws and norms work and show positive result. This is a major factor,ʺ the Vice-Speaker said.
Vladimir Bidyovka added that drawing on Russia’s expertise allows avoiding repetition of earlier discussions.
ʺOur colleagues from the Russian regional parliaments give us a very valuable experience. Their laws have been working for 10-15 years, they amended them and they have history and experience of law enforcement,ʺ he said.
Also, the DPR legislators draw on Belarus’s expertise and other fraternal republics, as well as the USSR, for instance, the parliamentarians relied on the Soviet Code of 1961 in the development of the Criminal Code, Vladimir Bidyovka added.
ʺFor example, we developed a draft law on languages on the Republic’s territory and digital affairs on the model of Kazakhstan,ʺ the deputy said.
However, some legislative initiatives, dictated by the military situation in the Republic, have no analogues in the Russian legislation. For example, there is a law “On state registration of proprietary rights to real property and their encumbrances”. According to this legislation, Ukrainian banks were to register encumbrance on property of citizens under the credit obligation which arose before 2014 in the state bodies of the DPR. And perhaps, it is only with consular legalization of law, that is, first Ukraine was to open a consulate in Donetsk. And this is possible only in circumstances of embassy legalization, that is Ukraine has to open a consulate in Donetsk.
ʺIt was obvious that Ukraine would not consider such a step. The law gave the registration six months, after which any claims by the Ukrainian banks are considered invalid,ʺ the Vice-Speaker said.
Also, Olga Makeyeva added that most experienced government officials left Donbass when the hostilities started. Therefore, there is a shortage of professional staff. However, as the vice-speaker noted, this fact had a positive side: young people have a chance to get a job and experience.