The Russia-Donbass: Unity of Priorities integration forum has been launched in Donetsk today, on July 15. According to a correspondent of the DPR Official Website, the forum is being attended by state, public and political figures of the Russian Federation, the DPR, the LPR, and the Republic of South Ossetia. The forum was organised by the Russian Centre under the aegis of All-Russia United Russia political party.

Denis Pushilin, Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic, addressed the forum participants with a welcoming speech.

“Dear compatriots!

Donbass has always felt part of the Great Russia. The choice we made in 2014 was neither spontaneous nor surprising. Its historical preconditions are outlined in the recent article by Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. He writes that in early 1918, the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Republic – the predecessor of the People’s Republics of Donbass – requested Moscow to become part of Russia.

But Donbass is linked to the Russian Federation not only historically. We share strong bonds of kinship, culture and economy. Today it is a civilizationally advanced state and one of the leading countries in terms of developing innovative approaches to science and economy.

Russia is a latter-day country. [This includes] modernisation of production processes, the Space Programme, powerful shipbuilding industry and scientific discoveries in the Arctic and Antarctic, research by physicists and mathematicians, information technology that is transforming the world right now, and advancement in microbiology and medicine, which has been proved by the creation of vaccines against the Ebola and Covid viruses.

All of this is backed by a strong educational base. The achievements of modern Russia in science have not come as the result of random geniuses’ success. It is the result of systematic work which is gaining momentum before our eyes.

There is a plenty of road for young people in Russia, there are various educational and professional projects. Conditions are being created to support young families and families with children, including through a system of complementary benefits and various assistance measures.

“A well-functioning, stable family with children is the future of Russia,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a recent United Russia party congress.

With us today are deputies representing the United Russia party. Your presence here means a lot to us. On behalf of all the people of Donbass, I would like to express our sincere appreciation of your comprehensive support. We understand that it is through Russia’s help that Donbass is alive and well. And this is largely owing to you – genuine patriots, members of the United Russia party.

Dear friends!

In this hall we have brought together those who have proved their passion and loyalty to Russia. In the republics, there are millions of people who have been defending the Russian World and their right to be Russians since 2014.

We are all set to cast our vote in the elections to the State Duma in September. The Russian Federation citizens living in the Donbass republics will be able to vote in person at polling stations in the Rostov region. Along with that, those registered at the public services portal will be able to participate in remote e-voting.

Donbass is a heartland of Russian patriots, with its most concerned sons and daughters concentrated here.

More than half a million citizens of the Russian Federation live in the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics. Many of them are at the front line. The Ukrainian army daily shoots at Russian citizens, destroys their homes and schools where their children study. I would like to emphasize: the Ukrainian army targets Russian citizens.

More than 1,500 residents received Russian passports in the frontline villages of Gorlovka alone: 139 in the long-suffering Zaitsevo, 324 in the village of Glubokaya Mine, and 297 in Nikitovka. 241 Russian citizens live in Golma, which underwent mortar fire just three days ago.

These people have not abandoned their land, enduring all the hardships of war and risking their lives. They are being defended by members of the People’s Militia, who keep the enemy down with retaliatory fire. They are fulfilling their sacred constitutional duty and civic responsibility to defend Donbass, and therefore Russia.

In 2014 we rose to defend the Russian World and we have not withdrawn from the defense line so far. This is our responsibility, and we bear it in full.

But the citizens of the Russian Federation living in Donbass must also be granted all the rights which are guaranteed by their citizenship, to be fully engaged in the social and economic life of the Russian Federation. Integration into the Russian systems of social security, education, medicine and compulsory medical insurance, and subscription to public services – those are all things that all Russians are entitled to.

We are part of the Great Russia. But it goes beyonf the borders of the Rostov, Voronezh, Belgorod, Kursk, and Bryansk regions.

Kiev and Chernigov, Odessa and Nikolayev, Dnepropetrovsk and Zaporozhye, Kharkov and Kirovograd are Russian cities. Hundreds of thousands of Russian citizens now live in Ukraine. And they are subject to genocide, extermination.

I would like to quote Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin one more time:

“It would not be an exaggeration to say that the path of forced assimilation, the formation of an ethnically pure Ukrainian state, aggressive towards Russia, is comparable in its consequences to the use of weapons of mass destruction against us.”

I will continue with another quote. A woman from Mariupol, whose name I will not mention for obvious reasons, wrote to me. I will cite her message in full: “I would like to assure you and the whole of Russia that Mariupol will not fail, the people are in Russia with all their souls. We proved this at the referendum on 11 May 2014, when 100 per cent of the population voted for the DPR and Russia, and the sentiment has not changed in seven years, on the contrary it has become more acute. Get the word out to Russia that we are Russian people and that’s the end of it.”(End of quote.)

Russia extends as far as people speak Russia and live in Russian tradition according to the Russian moral law and in the truth. This truth is the strength of the Russian people,” Denis Pushilin said.