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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.
After experiencing a tough time in the 1990s, when it was the center of gang wars for control over industrial enterprises, Donetsk has modernised quickly in recent years, largely under the influence of big companies.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.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.