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.
On 7 April 2014, pro-Russian activists seized control of Donetsk's government building and declared the "Donetsk People's Republic", On , a controversial referendum was held in Donetsk in which voters could choose political independence.
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 German invasion during World War II almost completely destroyed the city, which was mostly rebuilt on a large scale at the war's end.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.Whilst getting praise for its business potential, Donetsk also received criticism for the strong mafia connection of its business magnates, and for the increasing poverty rate (alongside a growing number of oligarchs) Donetsk became one of the centers of the 2014 pro-Russian conflict in Ukraine.It was occupied by German forces as part of the Reichskommissariat Ukraine between 16 October 1941 and 5 September 1943.The Italians actually took Stalino In 1945, young men and women aged 17 to 35, from the Danube Swabian (Schwowe) communities of Yugoslavia, Hungary and Romania (the Batschka and Banat), were forcibly sent to Russia as Allied "war reparations", being put to work as slave labour to rebuild Stalino and to work in its mines.