The Hirske Urban Territorial Community is located in the Severodonetsk District of the Luhansk Region. The centre of the community is the town of Hirske.
The community consists of eleven settlements, including two towns, two town-type settlements, one settlement, and six villages.
Total surface area: 169.8 km2.
Total population: 33,842 residents.
Working population: 64%
The distance from the town of Hirske to Luhansk is 70 km.
The Hirske community was formed on 25 October 2020.
Hirske was officially founded in 1898, when two entrepreneurs founded two mines – Hryhorii and Maria – on the hills between the villages of Ivanivka and Chervanivka. Subsequently, the Hirske – Ivanivka mine and a village around it were developed there.
In the eighteenth century, there was a winter settlement on the site of the present-day village of Nyzhnie on the Siverskyi Donets. In 1754, a military settlement of the seventh company was located on the site of this winter settlement. The territory was settled by Serbian and Croatian officers and peasants from Right-Bank Ukraine.
Hirske became a town in 1938. And the name of the settlement is associated with mining. The oldest mine in the town is Hirska, which began its operation in 1910, and a settlement was built around it. It was flooded during the First Liberation War and resumed its operation in 1928. It was destroyed during the retreat of the Germans in 1943, but started working again in 1949. At that time, Romanian prisoners of war were working to restore the mines, and in 2006 the community immortalized the memory of their burial places.
One of the attractions of the area is Marfa’s grave – a geological site of local importance that needs additional care. It is located on the right bank of the Siverskyi Donets, 200 m north of Toshkivka in the Severodonetsk District, the Luhansk Region of Ukraine.
Also, according to some legends, it was in the territory of Toshkivka that people began to mine coal. And Donbas began from the mound on which Marfa’s grave is located.
A picturesque place for rest is the area near the village of Nyzhnie characterized by quite good conditions: the Siverskyi Donets with its gentle banks creates a lot of lakes there, and the cosy atmosphere encourages quiet or active leisure activities.
The community is rich in other natural attractions, for example, in the town of Zolote there is a remnant of the Oak Grove unique forest. There are historical and cultural landmarks in the village of Krymske such as barrows.
Economy and Wellbeing
The main town-forming enterprises are the coal mines of State Enterprise “Pervomaiskvuhillia”: the Hirska, Zolote, Karbonit and Toshkivska mines.
Before 24 February 2022, they were provided with uninterrupted work and had the prospect of sustainable development.
The main subsoil mineral resource of the community is hard coal. There are also deposits of sand, chalk, crushed stone. There are rock dumps, sludge, as well as a source of healing water in the community. Chornozem (black soil) prevails among other types of soils.
An equally important impact on the development of the economy is made by small and medium-sized businesses mainly represented by the service sector and retail trade (for example, production of clay and plaster works of art, work of a private shoemaking enterprise exporting its products); the agricultural sector and farming developed as well.
State institutions worked actively. Family medicine outpatient clinics and first aid stations were responsible for the healthcare of community residents.
The community had seven schools as well as a professional lyceum, kindergartens and a boarding school. However, many schools were destroyed during the russian invasion.
Before the occupation, cultural institutions also functioned in the community, namely: three art schools, public libraries, and six culture centres.
The community is actively developing sports. There are stadiums, a mini-football pitch with artificial grass, and a sports hall of the Hirska mine, where football teams of all age groups train successfully. As a result, they regularly win different prizes.
The development of the tourism sector had good prospects, too, namely rehabilitation centres for children of combatants, defenders of Ukraine, recreation centres, hotels that plan to resume their work after de-occupation. The community also had conditions for active recreation on the banks of the Siverskyi Donets River in the village of Nyzhnie and the village of Krymske.
The community is located at the intersection of transport routes of the Luhansk Region, has a good transport interchange.
The P66 Highway connects the community with the towns of Severodonetsk, Lysychansk, the city of Kharkiv, and other cities of Ukraine.
Railway tracks are used for both industrial and passenger transportation services. The Shypilova station is temporarily not functioning.
Community and War
In 2014, the Hirske community already learned what war means. For eight years, a contact line ran along the border of the community. After 24 February 2022, the russian invaders significantly destroyed the Hirske community: mines, houses, social sphere. Holes from bombs and shells and empty streets – this is what the community looks like now.
After the russian federation’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the territory of the Hirske Territorial Community became temporarily occupied. The residents of the community, saving their lives, were forced to leave their homes and seek shelter in safer cities of Ukraine.
In the territory of Ukraine, the community created five humanitarian headquarters to help not only its residents, but also all the residents of the Luhansk Region.
The head of the community and his team are actively working to ensure that their residents could find help in different parts of the country, which is why hubs were created both in the western and central parts of Ukraine. At the headquarters of the Hirske Community, the residents of the Luhansk Region can get food and basic necessities. Help is also provided by lawyers, psychologists, doctors and a specialist of the Employment Centre.
Work has been organized to send food packages by mail for people who cannot come to the headquarters (due to a long distance from their place of residence, state of health, for other reasons).
The education department employees actively work, too. The educational process was not interrupted; children participate in online learning in accordance with the educational program.
People of the Community
Oleksii Babchenko is the head of the Hirske Community.
He has been working as the head of the Hirske Town Military-Civil Administration of the Severodonetsk District of the Luhansk Region since March 2021, a military serviceman.
After the invasion by the russian invaders of the territory of Ukraine, the residents of the Hirske community actively joined the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Since 2014, the community has been defended by well-known town activists: Oleksandr Shevchenko, head of the ATO veterans union, his fellow servicemen Vladyslav Sorokolad, Serhii Dushkin and others. In 2022, Vovk Artem, the head of the Hirske BUM non-governmental organization (meaning “we will improve the town”), and Dmytro Odintsov, the director of the Hirska mine, volunteered for the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
At present, the territory of the community is under occupation, but priority measures have already been developed and will be taken as soon as this territory is controlled again by the Government of Ukraine:
– Demining the territory;
– Restoring the housing stock with minor damage as a priority;
– Restoring the critical infrastructure facilities;
– Restoring the facilities of medical and educational institutions;
– A large number of damaged and destroyed buildings in the community (market potential);
– Raw resources within the community (resource potential);
– Population with engineering and technical educational backgrounds (labour potential);
– Creation of an industrial park;
– Creation of industrial enterprises for the production of construction materials and the food industry;
– Creation of a rehabilitation centre for servicemen’s children at the recreation centres of the villages of Nyzhnie and Krymske.