If, as the authorities claim, they have dealt with the scourge of illegal and horrifically dangerous mines, then there are also no miners working illegally. Such officially non-existent men have no protection and, therefore, in the case of accidents, are often simply left to die. Real men, with families, though they in turn are likely to remain silent since their sons, husbands or fathers were indeed working illegally, trying to earn a living in an area of shocking poverty.
According to Kostyantin Ilchenko from the Solidarity Labour Movement, the fire on Feb. 2 at one of the kopanki [illegal mines] in the village of Pavlovka was unusual only in the fact that it could not be concealed and that fire engines and rescuers turned up.
“The people of Donbas know that such things happen often enough but the authorities, the police and prosecutor prefer to stay silent, trying to conceal cases of terrible injury or deaths of workers.” As mentioned, this can entail literally filling in mine shafts or simply abandoning miners underground to die, like at the Zakhidna Mine.