An Inside Look at the People’s Republic of Donetsk

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In today’s adventure, Julia Ioffe visits the People’s Republic of Donetsk, aka an 11-story concrete building that used to house the Donetsk city administration:

In the press center, we found four gray, doughy men in post-Soviet polyester and a mint-green leather sectional, but no Claudia. In a minute, she blew in, lanyard with propusk around her neck, juggling cell phones and a note book, and looking every bit the busy, important press secretary of a busy and important country.  

“Sergei will do it,” she said and whirled out the door.

Sergei, a 28-year-old itinerant IT worker with bare feet, looked at Max’s Russian press card and my business card. The latter he found puzzling.

“Where’s the stamp?” he asked, turning it over.

I explained there’s no stamp.

Read the rest if you feel in the need for a bit of comic relief in an otherwise bleak situation.

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TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

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