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Explainer: Do the “four states” go with the Russian Kremlin at heart? Find out what the Ukrainian army is hiding



Strong points

According to the 2001 census, about 80% of Donetsk residents speak Russian.
Over 85% of Luhansk residents speak Russian
Zaporizhzhya Russians follow “Orthodox Christians” as their religion

Moscow, After months of war between Ukraine and Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to announce the merger of four regions of Ukraine on Friday at a ceremony in the Kremlin. Putin has been watching Ukraine and Belarus since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. Significantly, by including 15% of Ukrainian territory in Russia, Russian leaders are trying to count the benefits of war among their people. However, the presence of Russian speakers in these four Ukrainian provinces has also proven to be an important factor in bringing them to Russia.

Donetsk and Lugansk
Although Ukraine claims Donetsk and Luhansky as its territory, the two regions have been fighting Ukrainian government forces since 2014. The main reason for this is also Russian influence in these areas. According to the 2001 Ukrainian census, about 80% of Donetsk residents speak Russian. At the same time, more than 85% of the inhabitants of Luhansky or Luhansk use the Russian language. Due to the sway of the language, Russia has a lot of influence in both regions. Russia currently controls almost all of Ukraine’s Luhansk region, but only 60% of Donetsk is still under Russian control.

Before the start of the war in Kherson, located in the north of Crimea, only one million people lived. Also in this area, the control of the Russian army extends over almost the entire area. Ukraine has been carrying out attacks for several weeks to recover Kherson, a geopolitically important city for both countries. Ukrainian forces have attempted from time to time to break bridges across the Dnepro River to break Russian supply lines in parts of the state and cut off supplies to security forces. It is also believed in Kherson that Russia has largely succeeded in leaving its mark among the people.

Zaporizhzhya has become the center of discussion for the world after fighting near Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. Russia controls the nuclear power plant and about 70% of the whole province, which is also very important for Ukraine from an energy point of view. About 57% of the inhabitants of Zaporizhzhya know the Russian language, with most citizens following the “Christian Orthodox” religion operating in Russia.

Even before annexing the four provinces, Moscow had taken several steps to “Russify” these areas. The Russification process is most advanced in the occupied parts of Donetsk and Luhansk, where it has issued hundreds of thousands of Russian passports to residents since 2019 and almost completely replaced the Ukrainian hryvnia with the Russian rouble. While in Kherson and Zaporizhzhya both currencies are in circulation.

In addition, in all four regions, Ukrainian television and mobile networks have been replaced by Russian networks and channels. Now only Russian channels and telecommunications companies are allowed to operate in these areas. Simultaneously, in the process of making children Russian at heart, Putin pressured schools teaching the Ukrainian curriculum to adopt a new Russian curriculum. Today, almost all schools in these regions follow the Russian curriculum.

Tags: war russia ukraine