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In 1994 a referendum took place in the Donetsk Oblast and the Luhansk Oblast, with around 90% supporting the Russian language gaining status of an official language alongside Ukrainian, and for the Russian language to be an official language on a regional level; however, the referendum was annulled by the Kiev government.In the 90s and the 00s coal mine collapses took place in Donetsk and the region, taking the lives of hundreds; those included the 2008 Ukraine coal mine collapse, the 2007 Zasyadko mine disaster, and the 2015 Zasyadko mine disaster.
It was stated by the head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic election commission, Roman Lyagin, that almost 90 percent of those who voted in the Donetsk Region endorsed political independence from Kyiv.The conditions were so poor that many died from disease and malnutrition.in order to distance it from the former leader Joseph Stalin.In 1924, under the Soviet rule, the city's name was changed to Stalin.In that year, the city's population totaled 63,708, and in the next year, 80,085. The city did not have a drinking water system until 1931, when a 55.3 km (34.4 mi) system was laid underground.The city was founded in 1869 when the Welsh businessman John Hughes built a steel plant and several coal mines at Aleksandrovka, in the south of European part of Russia.
It was initially named Hughesovka (Russian: When the Russian Civil War broke out, on 12 February 1918 Yuzovka was part of the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Soviet Republic.
Since April 2014, Donetsk and its surrounding areas have been one of the major sites of fighting in the ongoing Donbass War, as pro-Russian separatist forces have battled against Ukrainian military forces for control of the city and surrounding areas.
Through the majority of the course of this war, the city of Donetsk has been administered by the pro-Russian separatist forces, with outlying territories of the Donetsk region being divided between the two sides.
Donetsk is adjacent to another major city of Makiivka and along with other surrounding cities forms a major urban sprawl and conurbation in the region.
Donetsk has been a major economic, industrial and scientific centre of Ukraine with a high concentration of companies and a skilled workforce.
Ukraine has had a series of mining accidents since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and one reason being given is the linking of miners' pay to production, which serves as an incentive to ignore safety procedures that would slow production.