It must not be confused with the city of the same name in Russia. A wasted journey will ensue if confusion does arise although the weather in both places will be similar. Pleasingly, the Ukrainian city will be marginally warmer.
Highs of around 16 degrees with a gentle wind from the south east. It will be largely sunny and should be dry. In the evening it will be rather chilly. Good idea to take a jacket. No worries about sunburn. Sunset is just after 7:30pm.
Possibly the most curious thing about Donetsk is that it was founded by a Welshman, John Hughes. A city founded by a Welshman is a rarity outside of Wales and Patagonia but Mr Hughes popped over to what was then part of the Russian Empire and set up a coal and steel town in 1869.
Before you start singing “You ain’t got no history”, consider what happened then.
Although the city grew and flourished over the next fifty years, it was right in the centre of much of the vicious fighting in the civil war that followed the revolution of 1917. Nestor Makhno’s anarchist Black Army fought in the region against both the White Army of Tsarist forces and the communist Red Army.
After the civil war, the city’s name changed to Stalino, not in honour of the dictator but because it forged steel. The city grew. The peasants of the Ukraine died in their millions of starvation during the 1930s and the lucky few were able to move to the industrialised city. And then war came again.
During the Second World War around two thirds of the city’s population perished. Many Jews were murdered in a ghetto and others died in a concentration camp in the city. The city was devastated, partially by the German advance in 1941 and what remained standing, by the Soviet counter attack two years later.
Stalin’s demise also saw the city being renamed to avoid confusion with him.
The city now has a population of close to one million, is the fifth largest Ukrainian city and has been voted the cleanest industrial city in the world. The city holds the Order of Lenin.
A large minority of the population are Russian and the language of all the schools is Russian.
You cannot expect to see and visit quaint medieval courtyards and castles. Everything you see was built in the massive wave of reconstruction following the Second World War, much of it by slave labour from defeated countries. A modern city which is still an active and thriving industrial area. It is what the north of England is not.
Donetsk’s history is sad and yet the city has risen from nothing, been destroyed and is rising again. Sadly this energy and industry comes at a price.
Democracy is in its infancy in the Ukraine. It has a way to go. The people of the Ukraine need our encouragement.
Ukrainians are also notorious for their wardrobes. Think 1970s German porn stars. Not the most fetching of images.
A little style and a little panache should help them ease their way into the 21st century.
No half and half scarves, please.
Remember, you are Chelsea and Chelsea is style.
Please Note: anyone who takes these articles seriously and without a sense of humour need not comment, failing that, I will post anything sent in of relevance to this article provided it isn’t too abusive, ‘Driver’ has pretty broad shoulders! – Ed