The bad things got worse in 2002, when the governor of the Donetsk oblast Viktor Yanukovych became the prime minister of Ukraine. Many people believe that Donbas is a mini-totalitarian state within Ukraine ruled by mafia that merged thoroughly with the local state apparatus. Whether exaggerated or not, the rumours became rather palpable when "donetskiye" ("Donetskites") massively flowed to Kyiv and elsewhere to take over numerous government positions, luxury apartments, and tasty businesses. In popular discourse, they effectively replaced the "new Russians" and "new Ukrainians", the ridiculous personages of post-Soviet jokes, infamous for their greed, stupidity, and boastfulness."One of the reasons for Kyivites' staunch support of the Orange Revolution was well-grounded fear of the Donetskiye, particularly amongst the better off. Partiya Regioniv, is now leading Opinion Poll's nationally, but is in a lowly third position in Kyiv.
It's looking likely that PR will be the largest single party in the new VR after March 26th elections - many of its deputies arriving in Kyiv having distinctly shady backgrounds. How are Kyivites going to accept this, I wonder? Especially if the Donetskiye start behaving as they did in 2002.
p.s. The BBC will be broadcasting a radio prog on 16th February in their excellent 'Crossing Continents' series: 'Ukraine's HIV/AIDs epidemic.' which can also be heard on the net.
Sadly, "Ukraine now has the highest rate of HIV infection in Europe, estimated at over 15 times the percentage of the UK"