Resilience and social cohesion of Ukrainian society in wartime (issue 2, July–August 2022).

This report was prepared by members of the Ukrainian Center for Independent Political Research (UCIPR) as part of the activities of the National Platform for Resilience and Social Cohesion (National Platform).

According to the oblast monitoring data, the situation at the frontline in the target oblasts, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, and Donetsk ones, changed insignificantly in July–August. Almost the entire territory of Luhansk oblast came under the control of the occupiers, except for the population centres of Bilohorivka and Verkhnyokaminka where fierce battles were being waged.

The Syrian Republic and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea officially recognised the independence and sovereignty of the breakaway LPR and DPR.

Within the reporting period, the issue of Zaporizhzhia NPP (ZNPP) was in the focus of attention of both Ukrainian society and international organisations. The shelling by the occupiers of particular areas of Dnipropetrovsk oblast and adjacent areas of Enerhodar from ZNPP created a critical situation in terms of compliance with nuclear safety rules, especially in the context of a threat of damage to less protected nuclear waste storage facilities.

Among the tragic events of July was the shelling of a penitentiary facility in Olenivka, Donetsk oblast. At least 50 Ukrainian prisoners of war held there were killed, including Azov fighters.

The occupiers continued to set up new governance structures and new rules of doing business. Although the local population often refused to cooperate with the occupying authorities, it became increasingly difficult to do in the absence of income. Cases were regularly reported when persons of low proficiency were appointed to high-ranking positions in the occupying ‘administrations’, which forced the invaders to invite ‘experts’ from the Russian Federation.

In the temporarily occupied areas, the increasing number of cases of protests against those who collaborated with the occupiers were recorded. The range of protests was quite wide, from threatening leaflets to physical attacks on collaborators.

There is no single legal approach regulating the activities of local self-government bodies in the conditions of occupation. Specifically, in the areas of Luhansk oblast controlled by the Ukrainian government until 24 February, 2022, there were three formats of territorial governance: military administrations (3 communities), military and civil administrations (7 communities), and local self-government bodies (16 communities).

The practice of resuming activities of particular local self-government bodies / military and civil administrations / military administrations of the temporarily occupied areas in Ukraine’s rear oblasts was identified. Such practice included: 1) creating humanitarian hubs to meet the needs of internally displaced persons who relocated from a particular community; 2) collecting information on destroyed / damaged housing in a particular community.

Among decisions of the occupying authorities the following can be distinguished: continue the preparations for sham referenda; accelerate the process of issuing Russian passports; put the rouble into circulation; seize / re-register businesses and attempt to take control of the economic activities in the oblasts; set up infrastructure for exporting Ukrainian grain; re-register apartments, houses and land plots; lift the moratorium on capital punishment in the so-called DPR, etc.

The humanitarian situation in the temporarily occupied areas remains difficult, because the Russian militaries continued shelling cities and villages and destroying civilian infrastructure, which made access to electricity, water and gas supply impossible. A shortage of foods, medications and basic necessities in these areas is reported.

Drastic changes occurred in the social environment due to the occupation. An atmosphere of distrust and fear prevailed in the occupied areas. People did not dare to openly express their views and cared only about their survival because of cases of abduction of pro-Ukrainian local residents.

The occupiers made great efforts to have education Russified and prepare for the beginning of the academic year in September. Local collaborators were tasked to demonstrate that Ukrainian children from the temporarily occupied areas will be ‘happy’ to be instructed in Russian and according to Russian curricula. ‘Interviews" were held with heads of schools and out-of-school educational institutions. Information was spread among parents that children in the temporarily occupied areas would not get online education and that parents have therefore to enrol their children in ‘new’ schools. At the same time, the occupiers spread information about the possible deprivation of parental rights of those who do not send their children to school.

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