Last week, the drama with the "detained" in Donetsk Russian "journalist" Roman Manekin continued to develop against the background of the escalating claims of the separatist leaders to the Kremlin "curators". On the other hand, tough claims to the "republics" themselves began to appear in the Russian media, and the Manekin case became an alleged reason for it.
They showed Manekin
Roman Manekin, whom until recently his comrades and sympathizers demanded "to show them dead or alive" finally showed up after a month, but in a very strange way. Manekin made a video message, which consisted entirely of claims to those people who sought his release, appealed to the media and the Russian Foreign Ministry. At the same time Manekin, who had allegedly been released home, was clearly not in a home setting, but against the backdrop of some kind of white wall - or "stretched sheet", as someone commented.
The video was published on November 2, a few hours before the online conference of the head of the Donetsk "republic" Alexander Zakharchenko, which is hardly by chance, since Manekin's defenders intended to ask Zakharchenko about the issue. After that, the "journalist" again disappeared from public space, appearing on Facebook only on October 6, reposting his "memories" of past years, when people who were worried about his fate, waited for something different.
Only on the morning of November 7, Roman Manekin published a post in which he explained the prolonged silence, indirectly confirming information about torture: "Of course, I should have written right away, but I hope you will understand me: 35 days with serious trauma without medical assistance. Behind the bars, the body mobilized, did not fail, but as soon as I felt the freedom, old diseases also began to bother me. I needed a few more days of rest, you get it!". The "journalist" admitted that "if it were not for mass support of thousands of acquaintances or strangers, I would lie on a metal bed instead of an orthopedic mattress".
"Today I am absolutely sure that this was an official scheme, ineptly executed by the Interior Ministry of the DNR", - he also wrote. "... I was detained for a Facebook post, which contained 2 sentences, the first of which was about Minister Dikiy. The investigators wondered where did I get the information about the possible arrest and that was all! I think that these were later invented "schemes", for example, a distraction to organize a terrorist attack against one of the field commanders, and which was later “prevented” for the show... I was officially charged (I found out the wording only yesterday, because at the time of signing it I had no glasses, and they refused to read the text for me) for "participation in an organized criminal group that promotes terrorist activities on the territory of the Republic".
Along with the video with Manekin, the "republican" de facto authorities also published the first public recognition that they were holding the "journalist". “Roman Manekin, a Russian journalist, was detained by the law enforcers of the DNR, he has now been released from custody", - the Donetsk news agency reported.
"At the end of September, law enforcement officers of the Donetsk People's Republic received prompt information that a well-known journalist Roman Manekin has information about people involved in preparing a coup d'etat in the Republic", - the press service of the "ministry" said . - The law enforcers conducted urgent search and investigative actions in the course of which Manekin handed over important information that promoted security and public order in the Republic. On November 2, the journalist was released".
And it was already funny. Because earlier the speaker of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, stated that "as for the blogger, Mr. Manekin, according to the DNR representative in the contact group, Mr. Denis Pushilin, Manekin was detained for spreading "false information about the situation in the republic".
"According to this logic, all high-ranking officials of the DNR (Zakharchenko, Pushilin, Timofeyev), the false adviser Kazakov, the myth-maker Prilepin, can be detained for providing "false information about the situation in the DNR.
After all, according to them, the budget is great, the republic is thriving, the Donbass has risen for federalization, there is no crime, corruption is being dealt with!", - one of the "republican" observers commented on this statement.
On November 2, the day of the alleged liberation of Roman Manekin, an article of the pro-Kremlin Russian newspaper Vzglyad was published. As it stated, "the power structures of the Donetsk People's Republic arrested one of the most famous local journalists and political scientists Roman Manekin. Apparently, he is suspected of spying for Ukraine. But even with all the specifics of wartime, it seemed more like a bandit kidnapping".
"The official authorities of the DNR for the first time commented on the information about the disappearance of journalist and political scientist Roman Manekin. The DNR’s Ombudsman Daria Morozova told Vzglyad that she can "request data from the relevant structures only after an official request". "Unfortunately, no one officially addressed me on that issue. According to my information, this is not true", - she said, stressing that she does not have any information about the detention of the journalist".
On that video, Manekin told that before he was really released from prison, he had called people who actively sought his release, in particular, one of the former "ministers" of the "DNR", Alexey Krasilnikov and expelled leader of militants Vadim Pogodin. Pogodin wrote that he had not received a phone call from the "journalist", but Krasilnikov really spoke with Manekin. "Manekin called me in the morning in the presence of third persons, he is not at home. Only half of him remained", - he wrote on Facebook.
One his comrades wrote in the same discussion thread that "in general, I decided to go everywhere with the hidden video camera. I could introduce you one fighter, who closed my mouth only because I came to see a doctor on time and prevented him from solving his problems with the doctor. His issue was interesting, and he was not shy of extra ears... He closed my mouth with his hand and pointed a gun at me. Yes, there are no fascists here in the DNR. There are only angels and good fairies exclusively".
The participants in the Facebook discussions also half-jokingly assumed that Roman Manekin can now suddenly destroy the next "Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance group". And that among the people who allegedly prepared the coup could be Vadim Pogodin, one of the most authoritative leaders.
The internal struggle, which is currently exacerbating in connection with the upcoming "elections" and amid apparent discontent of Moscow, is also evident in the conflict between the family of the former "People's Governor" Pavel Gubarev and the head of the "Ministry of Revenues and Fees" close to the head of the "republic" Alexander Timofyeev ("Tashkent").
Gubarev’s wife Katerina, the "deputy of the People's Council", wrote on Facebook about the attack on the head of the channel Novorossiya TV, which is connected to Gubarev. "On November 4, people in masks broke into the house of the Novorossiya TV head. They seized a laptop, a home computer and a smartphone. The father of the TV channel head was kidnapped... In the evening, he was brought home with signs of violence on his body. He said that unknown persons kidnapped him on the way to the market (4 people in civilian clothes, who introduced themselves as employees of the MIA of the DNR but did not show any IDs). They blindfolded him and took him to an unknown direction.
After that, he was kept in a damp and cold room in a standing position for about 90 minutes. Then they moved him to another room and took off the blindfold. Two men in masks wearing military clothes came in. They had chevrons of Azov regiment and Ukrainian flags on their clothes. The interrogation about the work of his son began. They were constantly asking about some garage. The old man was threatened to be handed over to Ukraine. After an interrogation, another person came and made him write a statement that he had not been harmed and had no complaints... After that, they released him near the house. The stolen things from the house were found in the garage of the victim. One lock was broken in. When inspecting the garage, it turned out that things had been turned upside down. I (and everyone, including Zakharchenko and the Minister of State Security) know that they were people of "Tashkent".
Another leader of militants, claiming the place of the head of the Donetsk "republic" Alexander Khodakovsky capaciously explained what was happening in CDDLO. "When the war has no purpose, it turns into violence. It turns out that ever since our war ceased to be a war against the consequences of the Maidan, the most terrible of which is the revival of neo-Nazism, it became a nominal war for protest activists in the Donbass, so that they will not suffer punishment if Ukraine gets back to the Donbass. As a result of the loss of meaning, the war turns to a drama for everyone", - he wrote on Facebook.
Khodakovsky accused his critics of working for competing Russian "clans". As he argued, "when we are criticized by people with a Russian passport - they do not criticize Russia, and do not take much risk. But when we are slandered by our former residents who fled to Russia because of persecution here - it means that they were allowed to do it, or maybe it was even their task. Not liberals did this, but those who have the right and the opportunities to do so. Why do they do it? To show the Russian society that someone badly copes with their task. A beautiful social project was turned out to be a sh*t. This is a struggle of the centers of power, first of all, or, more common, — of different towers. For whom is the blow being delivered? It is believed that for Surkov… But what is in practice? Vladimir Putin does not "waste" Surkov, but pours all the sh*t on us".
"When I hung round with my criticism — I was almost the only from the local people who began to tell the curators about the wrong approach, — Khodakovsky continued. — It was believed that they sit high and do not see and do not understand anything. The first whom I criticized were the sent political technologists, not Zakharchenko and his entourage. Most of my publications and speeches of the fifteenth year were devoted to the "evil political technologists", who arrived to initiate the "project" under the contract without having any experience or vision of the situation — they amused themselves. It was necessary to inform "upstairs" that this would have bad consequences. This had bad consequences. In other words, criticism was needed in order not to aggravate the fate of the Donbass. But unfortunately, few are interested today in the fate of the Donbass, — its role, including as an instrument of inter-clan struggle, is of interest. This was frack so, if only the consequences were selective and led to correct political conclusions. But such rhetoric is being chosen and encouraged which hits the square careless of anything. Nobody says that changes are about to happen with the preservation of guideline — they just say that all this is a mistake, and all this is bullsh*t".
"If a person, escaped from the DNR, says publicly that the DNR is a mistake, - it is "not for nothing", and it means that he says what Russia itself cannot say for "ethical" reasons, and has entrusted him to tell", — he stressed once again.
The fact that Khodakovsky may be to some extent right is also evidenced by the already noted anti-"republican" rhetoric of the pro-Kremlin media. Within this framework, a talk exchange, held in Facebook between two supporters of Khodakovsky and one famous Russian propagandist and participant in the events in the East of Ukraine, correspondent of Komsomolskaya Pravda Dmitriy Steshin, is interesting.
"Dmitriy, it is within your control to teach the Russians that this is not the DNR, but some characters got too fat", — one of participants in the discussion of the same story of Roman Manekin, Ivan, addressed Steshin. "I am now too far from the DNR, and who Manekin is, you can read in his glum face", — the Russian responded. "It is not about Manekin. Everyone in the DNR can find him/herself in his place just for his/her own opinion", — Ivan insisted.
"Under the conditions of war with unknown outcome and multiply superior enemy, one's opinion should be shove up the ass, so that it does not happen like with Serbian Krajina, where every Serb had his own opinion and everyone shared their business and thrashed out who is the most Serb and who is more orthodox, — Steshin brushed off. — There was a likelihood of the same development of events in the LDNR, but it did not happen. Of course, there are people who do not like it, but, for example, I do not like hundreds of thousands of Donbass residents, running across the Russian border from valiantly attacking AFU. So I shoved my opinion up my ass for now and sit on it".
"The tragedy of Serbian Krajina is not in the personal opinions of leaders or commanders — but in the surrender on the part of Serbia, which was crushed by the West and betrayed by Russia (which supported the sanctions against it in 1993), — objected another negotiator, Sergey. — That is the whole story. It is possible to turn the republic even to the DPRK (they are successfully moving in this direction) — but "Croatian scenario" will happen again, if Moscow wastes the Donbass (which, I hope, will not)". "All this could be tolerated, if the authorities thought more about the Republic and, in general, had plainer living, —Ivan added. — And the businesses have already been divided. It is disgusting to go to Pushkin Boulevard at lunchtime from the abundance of luxury cars with vanity licence plates".
"A model example of finger pointing, — Steshin objected to this again. — Moreover, the staff of the guilty has not changed for about five hundred years — Russia is the first and the last in the list". "Do you want to say that Russia did not impose sanctions? — Sergey clarified. — "Did not it betray Serbia? Have you forgotten about the "yes-minister" Kozyrev? Of course, the USA is guilty first off, but we consider the other party to the conflict — the Serbs and their allies. They could be as united and strong as cement, but they would all the same be reduced to dust. There is no need to pretend here". "Yes, I sh*t on Serbia by and large. I mean absolutely", — the Russian propagandist replied. He no longer participated in the further discussion. However, what he wrote was enough to make it clear that he sh*t on the Donetsk "republic" in the same way".
"Spies": new series
On top of that, the past week was marked by a new wave of detentions and sentences against "spies" and "saboteurs" on both sides of the front. So, according to Donetsk News Agency,"the office of the human rights commissioner in the DNR registered two statements about the detention of supporters of the Republic by Ukrainian special services in a week. The press service of the ombudsman's office stated this today… It was specified that a woman, born in 1988, was missing after crossing "Olenivka" checkpoint throughout the journey to Mariupol on October 19, 2017. At the moment, he has already been convicted and is in Dnipropetrovsk Penitentiary Facility No 4".
The woman in question was the resident of Donetsk Yulia Prosolova, whom the Security Service of Ukraine detained as suspected of car bomb attack of the SBU Colonel Oleksandr Kharaberiush in Mariupol in March this year. The young woman acted ostensibly on the instruction of the "republican" "Ministry of State Security".
In CDDO, the work of Prosolova for "republican" "special services" is being refuted. As reported by Donetsk News Agency, "an appeal of mother of the latter on the fact of detention of Prosolova was received by the Ombudsman of the DNR on November 1. It is reported that the woman, who was going to Mariupol to her friend, disappeared on October 19 after crossing "Olenivka" checkpoint. It is possible that after the detention, Prosolova slandered herself under the weight of torture and threats". "Data on the girl, promulgated by (the head of the SBU Vasyl) Hrytsak, contradict the reality, Prosolova has nothing to do with the national security, defence and law-enforcement agencies of the DNR, I will add that the fundamental data, namely the patronymic and the address of the place of residence, contradict the reality as well. Furthermore, Julia disappeared not in Odessa, she disappeared in Mariupol", — DAN quoted the "ombudsman" Daria Morozova.
Judging by the screenshot, which was posted by one of the separatist websites, the mother began to publicly look for Yulia Prosolova on October 25, and judging by the announcement, she disappeared a week earlier. However, Julia's patronymic on the website and in the announcement of the head of the SBU Hrytsak coincide, while in the separatist media, she is for some reason called Vladimirovna.
There is no information about Yulia Prosolova in open sources, except for the related to her disappearance and detention. OstroV could not find her accounts in social networks.
Instead, CDDO boasted of its own successes in the fight against "spies". As Donetsk News Agency reported, "as a result of counterintelligence measures, carried out by the DNR Ministry of State Security, the activity of the SBU agent, citizen A. Polishchuk, was stopped. It was established that in March 2016, Polishchuk, being in controlled by Ukraine Volnovakha, was detained by employees of the Security Service of Ukraine under a far-fetched pretext. Afterwards, citizen A. Polishchuk gave his consent to secret cooperation with Ukrainian special services under pressure and threats, directed against the relatives, living both in the territory of the DNR and in Ukraine. The detainee was tasked with abducting one of the DNR officials on the return to the DNR. Taking into account that the above-mentioned activity of the SBU agent was within the field of view, controlled by the state security agencies of the DNR, Polishchuk was detained while receiving the task of abducting the service member".
Moreover, another "resident of the DNR was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment in colony with a strict regime for espionage in favor of Ukraine", — the same DAN reported, referring to the press service of the "supreme court". A man, born in 1974, whose name is not indicated, and the surname is indicated only by the first letter, B., "from October 2015 to November 2016, posted photos and maps with the location of military equipment, military units, fire positions of the DNR army and other defence information on Twitter. He believed that representatives of the special services of Ukraine or the AFU would find the posted information and use it against the security of the Republic".
Finally, another triumph of "republican" "law-enforcement officers" was the "exposure" of the "terrorist act", which took place in Luhansk on July 7 this year, when a woman was killed and seven people were injured as a result of explosion of two devices at a short distance from each other. According to the "official website" of the Donetsk republic, "the target of the double terrorist attack in Luhansk… was the Interior Minister of the LNR Igor Cornet." The main charge was to liquidate him and the crime scene investigation team. This was reported on October 6 by the hotline operators of the DNR law-enforcement authorities. "Cornet was the target of the second explosion. Ukrainian special services that planned and organized two explosions have data for all the top officials of the Republic for a long time. They well aware of the pattern of people's behavior in such cases. As for Cornet, they know that the minister personally visits the scenes and manages operational procedures. This was the basis for computation. The first explosion occurred in order to attract attention, and the second was to eliminate Cornet", — reported the man who asked not to be named".
Two weeks ago, Cornet became a target for the telling anger of members of the local "parliament", after what his "ministry" began to demonstrate a teeming activity on the search of "saboteurs". The report on the detention of another group of those who allegedly organized those "terrorist attacks" on July 7 appeared just last week.
Meanwhile, a few days ago, severe shelling occurred in Donetsk, which led to numerous destruction in the city and wounding of two men. Moreover, a 10-year-old boy was killed on the outskirts of Donetsk, and two of his friends were seriously injured. The child threw a stone into an unexploded shell, found on the school football field, — it detonated. The de facto authorities of CDDO accused the Armed Forces of Ukraine in this tragedy.
At the same time, the Lugansk "republic" reported on its success in seizing the illegally stored weapons ammunition from the local population. It was about the third since 2015 "month of voluntary surrender of weapons". According to Lugansk Media Centre with reference to the press service of the "Ministry of Internal Affairs" of CDLO, "in October, the residents of the Republic surrendered to the police more than 15.5 thousand units of weapon and ammunition, as well as about 24 kg of explosives, stored without official registration. "During the month of voluntary surrender of weapons, ammunition and explosive materials to the internal affairs bodies, the population of the Republic voluntarily handed over 15 508 units of various weapons and ammunition, including 101 units of rifled and hunting fire weapons, 15 087 units of ammunition, 221 units of artillery shells, grenades and mines, as well as 23.7 kg of various explosives, — the MIA reported. — Furthermore, the internal affairs bodies of the Republic took 20 different explosive devices, including improvised, as well as 58 different means of initiation — detonators, fuses and the like from the population".
The report of LMC also noted that 211 people escaped criminal liability for illicit possession of weapons in such a way.
The review was prepared by Sofia Petrovska, OstroV