Stories of Donbass



Donets Basin, also known as Donbas or Donbass (Ukrainian: Донецький басейн, usually abbreviated to Донбас; translit. Donetskyi basein or Donbas; Russian: Донецкий бассейн, likewise usually shortened to Донбасс; translit. Donetskiy bassein or Donbass), is a historical, economic and cultural region of eastern Ukraine. It is known for being heavily industrialised and is an important coal mining region.

It combines three oblasts (provinces) in the east of the country: easternmost part of the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast around the city of Pavlohrad (the so-called “Western Donbass”), northern and central part of Donetsk Oblast (southern part is perceived to be Pryazovia) and southern part of Luhansk Oblast (northern part is perceived to be Slobozhanschyna). The city of Donetsk is considered the unofficial capital of Donbass.

Donbas may sometimes be referred to a larger supranational region also consisting a part of neighbouring Rostov Oblast in Russia. This is explained by the fact that Donets’ coal basin geographically extends to that area (also specializing in coal mining), which sometimes called a “Russian Donbas”. But the lesser economical and, most of all, sociopolitical significance of that Russian area (compared with the Ukrainian part) has led to a gradual abandonment of such generic usage of the Donbas term.

he name of the region originates from the coal-field discovered in late 19th century which was named after the Donets river flowing across the region.

In 1676, the first town of the Donbass emerged: Solanoye (now Slavyansk) which was built for the profitable business of extracting newly-discovered rock-salt reserves. In 1721, vast and rich coal fields were found, which started the “industrial boom” which led to the flourish of the region in 18th–first half of 20th century.

Ukrainian scholar and current Deputy Prime Minister Hrygoriy Nemyria said:
The fact that you came from the Donbas was more important than that you were Russian or Ukrainian; so of course the break-up of the Soviet Union also meant a raising of this regional identity and loyalty… In any case, most people here honestly couldn’t say what they are ethnically, because most families, like mine, are mixed.