The event gathered supporters of the party from all over the Donbas, people’s deputies of Ukraine, candidates for deputies of the Verkhovna Rada from the OPPOSITION BLOC, city mayors, heads of industrial enterprises, representatives of local governments at all levels.
The main objective of the Forum is to identify ways to achieve sustainable peace, to consider the provisions of the future new Constitution of Ukraine, to discuss the possibilities of implementing the “New Industrialization” OPPOSITION BLOC program to restore the industrial Donbas. It was also about infrastructure projects for the cities of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
The Forum held a broad discussion of the need to lift the commercial, transport and humanitarian blockade of the Donbas, to restore all social benefits and civil rights of their residents.
The Forum included: the leader of the OPPOSITION BLOC, MP Yevhen Muraiev, MP Serhiy Sazhko, mayors of Ukrainian cities Vadym Boychenko (Mariupol), Vadym Lyakh (Slavyansk), Ruslan Trebushkin (Pokrovsk), Roman Padun (Kurakhovo), candidates for the people’s deputies of Ukraine Oleksandr Vishnyakov and Dmytro Reva, heads of industrial enterprises – Hennadii Sukhov, CEO of the PJSC “Novokramatorsk Machine-Building Plant”, and Musa Magomedov, CEO of the “Avdiivka Coke Chemical Plant”.
The Forum was opened by the mayor of Mariupol,Vadym Boychenko. He stated: “The strength of the Donbas is not an empty sound for us. The strength of Ukraine is measured through the prism of cities. We demand to transfer the maximum amount of authority to the local level – we know how to develop our cities. Therefore, the team of the OPPOSITION BLOC has united the mayors of 70 Ukrainian cities. Developing the city, we make Ukraine strong and prosperous. We are writing a new history of the country, where there is no place for populism and no unprofessional people. ”
The mayor of Mariupol called for the restoration of peace in the Donbas. “We must stop the war, which is already 1995 days, and restore the infrastructure in the region. $100 billion is the cost of restoring the Donbas. 2 million people received the status of IDPs.
For us, the Donbas is not a place on the map, but our homeland. That is why we are going in the elections to the Verkhovna Rada by a professional team. We want the voice of the Donbas to be finally heard.”
According to Vadym Boychenko, the economic success of cities whose mayors are part of the OPPOSITION BLOC should become a showcase for the restored Donbas. “We are fighting for the minds of our countrymen with European parks and squares, kilometers of repaired roads,” said the mayor of Mariupol. By the way, Mariupol during the war years was able to attract 130 million euros of investment for preferential European credit conditions for the development of its hromada. “I believe in the professional team of the OPPOSITION BLOC, I believe that the voice of every citizen of the Donbas will be heard in the Verkhovna Rada,” Vadym Boychenko concluded his speech.
A similar tone sounded in the speech of the mayors of other cities. The mayor of Slavyansk, Vadym Lyakh, is confident that with joint efforts the OPPOSITION BLOC team will be able to implement infrastructure projects throughout the region and return to the Donbas its former glory as a dynamically developing leading industrial region: “Our team of professional managers will be able to make our country successful”.
According to the mayor of Pokrovsk, Ruslan Trebushkin, it is a great honor for him to be in the team of people who, not only in words but in deeds, show their work for the development of Ukraine. “Our task is to make Donbas innovative. This is impossible without full and deep decentralization. If there are strong regions – the state will be strong,” Ruslan Trebushkin is sure.
Mayor of Kurakhovo, Roman Padun, recalled the events of the outbreak of the war, when his city received 11,000 IDPs. It was managed to locate these people and provide care with funds raised in the local budget with the complete inaction of the Kyiv authorities. Today, the city is seeking opportunities for the reconstruction of the urban economy - restoration of sidewalks, worn-out housing, repairs in schools and kindergartens.
According to Roman Padun, taxes should remain in the local level. “We, the mayors and our communities, know how to dispose of them,” the mayor of Kurakhovo said.
MP, Serhiy Sazhko, bitterly stated, “What was happening in the country for five years was killing our economy. We need to sew the broken souls. If, together with the OPPOSITION BLOC, we do not begin a new stage in the development of the country, nothing will change.”
The candidate for people’s deputies of Ukraine, Oleksandr Vishnyakov, said that he represented the interests of the residents of Zaitsevo, living under shelling for the sixth year. “These people need peace and work. And the region needs reintegration programs with the involvement of foreign partners,” Oleksandr Vishnyakov noted.
Hennadii Sukhov, CEO of the PJSC “Novokramatorsk Machine-Building Plant”, said, “Over the past 5 years, the current power has doubled the GDP, household income has fallen by more than 40 percent, 70 percent of Ukrainians live below the poverty line, and entire industries have been destroyed. We, the OPPOSITION BLOC, are going to the parliament in order to radically change this situation.”
The speech of Musa Magomedov, CEO of the PJSC “Avdiivka Coke Chemical Plant”, was very emotional. It was under his leadership that the plant continued to work all five war years, very often it was under shelling – they occurred during this time 320 times. “We believe in the future and that is why, despite the war, both the plant and the city live and develop. We invest in infrastructure, in social facilities. And people come back. In the most difficult times, only 7 thousand people remained in Avdiivka, now – 21 thousand. I have consciously made a decision to run for the Verkhovna Rada, I am sure that we will be able to revive the country with our team,” Musa Magomedov said.
The results of the Forum were summed up by the leader of the OPPOSITION BLOC, Yevhen Muraiev,“Our program is supported by 1,575 draft laws, and I call it the “new formula of the country ”. Donbas is a huge region, 15 percent of the country’s population is here, and up to 25 percent of industrial potential is concentrated. There can be no successful Ukraine without a successful Donbas. Donbas should become a priority investment development zone. Together with the OPPOSITION BLOC, we will “repair” our country, restore peace and give people a decent life.”
During the OPPOSITION BLOC Forum, held in Svyatohirsk, the “Power of the Donbas” Road Map was developed. The document contains the decision of the mayors of the cities of the Donbas, business representatives and politicians regarding the future of the Donetsk region of Ukraine.