Last week, the Luhansk "republic" suddenly turned out to be the epicenter of a large and far-out scandal. We are talking about the continuing confrontation between the head of the "republic" Igor Plotnitsky and local security officials and almost the next "attempt of a takeover". Their colleagues from the Donetsk "republic" were on the side of the security forces, and it is possible to assume, with some part of the Kremlin people.
"A man is tired, he has to be replaced"
It all began with a commemorative meeting of the Luhansk "deputies", at which their "Interior Minister" Igor Cornet was scolded and Zaur Ismayilov announced his resignation. Cornet was accused, in particular, of seizing someone else's house, and it was this story that last week had a continuation. Plotnitsky, accompanied by a number of local "officials", armed militants and television cameras, went to the house seized by Cornet to make him leave. Cornet swallowed this humiliation and, without further ado, left the house.
Soon the "minister" was arrested precisely because of the seizure of someone else's property. A little earlier, social networks users began to report that the "Ministry of Internal Affairs" was cordoned off. The website of the "ministry" claimed that the building just had been searched for explosives after the mining report. The buildings of the "commandant's office of the people's militia", the "government" and the "people's council" also appeared to be "mined".
"The employees of the LNR MIA examined all the premises of the administrative buildings and the adjacent territories, no explosive objects or explosive devices were found, the circumstances of the case are being clarified", - the website said later.
However, it was just that smoke that is impossible without fire and the story with Kornet and "takeover", as one can conclude from the statements of its key participants, will soon be continued. The most common question was why was Cornet evicted only now? After all, he had been illegally occupying that house for about three years. Plotnitsky tried to answer that question on the air of one of the "republican" TV channels.
"I cannot say that I heard about this complaint for the first time", - he said. "Last year, I personally talked with Igor Cornet about this complaint... He answered: “Yes, of course, I'm moving out”. And I did not touch upon this issue again, until I heard it once more at our meeting of deputies".
According to the head of the Luhansk "republic", the eviction of Cornet was not planned: "We had a meeting of law enforcers, and then they report me: “the woman, who wrote the statement, came here”. I invited her, we listened to her and immediately decided: the law is one for all and it must be executed, and if the same minister cannot make a decision on his own, this is not the highest position in the republic. If my personal participation is required - although I regret it - then we will do it. We all went to that house and you have seen what had happened afterwards".
In an interview for the "republican" publications, Plotnitsky made it clear that he intended to fire Kornet. "I cannot say anything bad about that person in 2014. We took part in the fighting and he was at the origins of the creation of the ministry. But authority has very serious side effects - temptations. Not every person can resist them. If a person is tired or feels that (s)he cannot fulfill duties, then this person must either voluntarily resign or, otherwise, justice and law will still triumph".
"I think we will meet again - or more than once, if necessary, - we will talk, but the very fact of the cases that I heard about, the number of complaints, says that a man is tired, he has to be replaced. The ministers change, because they failed to fulfill their task... But in any case, every person has the right to resign with honor and dignity", - the self-proclaimed head of the “LNR” promised.
According to Alexander Khodakovsky, one of the leaders of the militants of the Donetsk "republic", "the head of the republic does not personally come to evict his minister from the house. But this tension began long ago - since the arrest of Mr. Lyamin a couple of years ago. Vladislav Surkov personally gave him some guarantees and was literally furious with this arrest".
"Plotnitsky was preparing to storm the Ministry for State Security, and then the final disassembly of the security forces took place", - Khodakovsky asserted. "His prosecutor stayed with him, whom Plotnitsky, incidentally, removed from office just on the eve of the conflict with Kornet. In fact, everything was very serious, even Pavel Dremov... gathered about 300 reports for resignation, and was preparing to support the state security minister. l think that his death is linked to this situation. And a strange suicide of another official Tsypkalov, who was interrogated by Plotnitsky’s security service, convinced me of that idea even more".
"Minister of Agriculture" with four minibuses of weapons
This is where the most intriguing part of this story begins. Last week, the "Minister of Agriculture of the Luhansk Republic" Ruslan Sorokovenko, published a video and wrote a statement to the Prosecutor's Office of the LNR, in which he referred to the death of Gennadiy Tsypkalov, the former "Prime Minister" of that "republic". According to the version of the "prosecutor's office", Tsypkalov, who at that time was detained as one of the participants in the alleged "takeover", committed suicide, as "his life was in mortal danger because of the information he provided to the investigation". Is it necessary to mention that this version is still ridiculed even in the "republics"?
Sorokovenko commented his video: "in connection with the recent events in the Luhansk People's Republic, the main forces of law enforcement bodies are paralyzed by the actions of the LNR head I.Plotnitsky. I have to openly report about the crimes committed in the territory of the LNR and apply to the President of the Russian Federation, the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, as well as other representatives of the law enforcement agencies of the Russian Federation as guarantors of peace and freedom of the Donbass Republics!".
The DNR-Live website reported that "Ruslan Sorokovenko, the Minister of Agriculture and Food of the LNR, accused the employees of the personal guard of the Head of the Republic Igor Plotnitsky, the head of his staff and the General Prosecutor's Office in an attempt of a takeover in autumn 2016. According to Sorokovenko, in 2014 -2015, he served in the People's Militia of the LNR and accumulated weapons, ammunition and explosives that were not taken into account anywhere. This arsenal was stored in the agricultural enterprises controlled by his ministry. "In the fall of 2016, Evgeniy Selvestov (call sign "Silver"), who is the head of Plotnitsky’s personal guard, reported that I must urgently visit the administration for a serious conversation. "Silver" and the head of the administration, Irina Teitsman, were present at the meeting. She ultimately ordered to hand over all those weapons to Plotnitsky’s personal guards and the employees of the General Prosecutor's Office", - Sorokovenko said. According to the minister, he handed over the weapons the next day. "About four minibuses of my weapons were transported in an unknown direction without explaining the purpose of the seizure", - the minister said".
"A week later, Sorokovenko learned of the alleged prevention of an attempted armed takeover, the key participants in which were Vitaliy Kiselev (call sign "Communist") and Gennadiy Tsypkalov, former Prime Minister of the LNR. In the photos and videos of this news, Sorokovenko recognized the weapons that once belonged to him. The minister calls his long silence and inaction the cause of many "dire consequences". "The weapons, handed over by me, were the main evidence in the case of the military takeover, as a result of which my comrades-in-arms, who were at the origins of the LNR creation, were subjected to repression and were convicted", — the minister noted. At the end of the video, Sorokovenko calls on the authorized bodies and authorized persons of the LNR to resume investigation and restore justice".
In turn, the "Prosecutor's Office" of the Luhansk "republic" issued a statement that "the location of detection of firearms and ammunition, which applicant Sorokovenko points out in his written request and speech, does not coincide with the location of the actual detection and withdrawal of firearms and ammunition, which were discovered by employees of the Prosecutor General's Office of the Luhansk People's Republic in September 2016 in the course of investigation of the criminal case of attempted violent takeover".
Employee of the "prosecutor's office", videoed with this statement, accused Sorokovenko of lying, and also noted that the "prosecutor's office" is not able to find the "minister", who does not live at the address, notified by him, so he is invited to the prosecutor's office to give testimony. He also stated that "certain forces and individuals are trying to use Sorokovenko in order to destabilize the situation in the Luhansk People's Republic" and threatened "the minister" with criminal responsibility for "slander and misleading denunciation".
It is interesting that on the website of the "Ministry of Agriculture" of CDLO, Ruslan Sorokovenko is still the head of this structure. At the same time, users of social networks take up the position that the "minister" fled from the "republic" about a month ago and is currently in Russia.
Cornet's warrior host
On top of that, the self-proclaimed leadership and establishment of the Donetsk "republic" were practically on the side of the security forces of CDLO, and therefore — against Igor Plotnitsky. So, the DNR-Live website tried to discredit the owner of the house, which was occupied by Igor Cornet, and in fact, justify this seizure.
"As one of the sources reported, after all that happened on the hotline of law enforcement bodies of the DNR, a serviceman of the Armed Forces of the Republic called, — was said in his publication. — The man told who owns this house and about the activity of the owners of the house. "This house belongs to Khmelevtsova. Her daughter Marina Bukayeva (maiden name – Khmelevtsova) is a middle-class businesswoman who, together with her friend "Georgian" (A.Dekhtiarenko), finances Aidar and renders other assistance to Uke in the war against us", — the servicemen told. According to the man, he has known this family for a long time. "I know this family for a long time, even from the pre-war times, and I know "Georgian". He has an office for black money encashment in the Luhansk oblast, and in the 2000s, he was engaged in cars theft and their selling. Then he had workshops where he made famous cigarettes under the table and workshops at Higher Military Aviation School of Navigators in Luhansk. His cohabitant Marina sits in Kyiv, although she is from Krasnodon. She is former Party of Regions member, she has her own business in passenger and freight traffic and her own restaurants. She is also engaged in the retail sale of counterfeit alcohol", — the man told".
Furthermore, the "official website" of the Donetsk "republic" reported with reference to the "Ministry of State Security" of CDDO that "according to information, received from detained agents of the SBU and the Main Directorate of Intelligence, it got about that special services of Ukraine are implementing measures to physically eliminate the Minister of Internal Affairs, the Minister the State Security and the Prosecutor General of the Luhansk People's Republic. Recently, law-enforcement authorities of the People's Republics solved a number of high profile killings and terrorist acts. The agent network, consisting of saboteurs, agilers and accomplices of Ukrainian special services, is neutralized. Personnel participation of ministers L.Pasechnik and I.Cornet played a significant role in this. Now, a complex of special investigation activities to identify and detain Ukrainian saboteurs is being carried out by the joint actions of the law enforcement authorities of the DNR and the LNR".
Obviously, the Russian "orthodox oligarch" and one of the chief ideologists and "sponsors" of Russian Spring Konstantin Malofeev is also on the side of security forces of CDLO. He is considered to be competing with the "curator" of the "republics", the presidential aide Vladislav Surkov. Tsargrad website of the similarly-named television channel of Malofeev posted a text, which, in particular, said that "the head of the LNR himself lives, as they say in the republic… in the grabbed house as well". However, the text of Tsargrad is interesting not only with this statement.
At its very beginning, it was noted that, "according to reports to Tsargrad, the head of the LNR Igor Plotnitsky and the head of his administration Irina Teitsman, who had reputation of the secret "grey figure" and the indicative nickname "Fiona" in Luhansk, left the republic earlier for parts unknown. They returned within a day, apparently, having got some guarantees, because they began to receive reports that "there is a tumult", "the MIA employees barricaded themselves", "the access to the building is stopped", "they sent women out just in case" – "in general, the MIA is on the state of siege". Information, received earlier about the arrest of the LNR MIA minister Igor Cornet, has not been confirmed".
"As the observers say, something connected with the anti-state takeover that was being prepared in the LNR in favor of Ukraine is at the heart of current events, — Tsargrad continued. At the present time, accusation on the part of the opponents (or competitors?) of the work for Ukraine became the most popular rhetoric device of the "militia", crushed into small hostile groups. — Along with this, the takeover was carried out on the quiet, gradually but consistently, with forces, no more and no less, by the apparatus of head of the republic, headed by "Fiona" Teitsman, who is claimed to carried out the policy of subordinating the LNR to at least some Ukrainian oligarchs. "There is an aggravation between the security officials and the staff of Plotnitsky, — one of the sources in Moscow, who is usually well informed on the situation in the Donbass and Ukraine, explained to Tsargrad. - People from the team of former governor Vladimir Pristiuk come to office. The posts are sold by head of the administration — Pristiuk's authorized person. These people were trained, including by the Ukrainian and Western special services in Sievierodonetsk. The security officials are, of course, against. So Ukrainian special services started a company to discredit the ministers, and not only of the MIA"".
The text also said that "the observers point at a very whimsical coincidence. Prosecutor general of the LNR Zaur Ismayilov, one of the officials, loyal to Igor Plotnitsky, recently resigned. The explanation was frankly ludicrous: allegedly, he wants to be engaged in science. And because Ismayilov's and Cornet's tender and affecting "love" is famous in the republic, the local community draws conclusions today: it can be seen that the MIA dug up something completely smashing about participation of the prosecutor's office in staging takeover, and now head of the republic tries to avenge the Minister of Internal Affairs for a reliable worker loss. By the way, Ismayilov's place was taken by… the former deputy of Cornet!".
"Nobody starts predicting what will happen next in the republic. The fact that the LNR head has returned to Luhansk, and not alone, but with his "Fiona", probably, suggests that he is carrying the consent to change the MIA head in his pocket. "The fact that the MIA personnel barricaded themselves in the building, having sent women homes, says that the ministry does not agree with this, and also has something that allows it to hold such a position", — Tsargrad concluded.
Meanwhile, the day after the eviction of Igor Cornet from the house he had seized, the "state" Lugansk Media Centre published an interview with him with no answer to questions, interesting to everyone. Cornet was given the opportunity to talk about the "Ukrainian terror", rampant corruption and banditry along the western side of the line of demarcation and the triumphal victories of the "ministry" in the fight against crime in CDLO. The only thing that was said in fact was related to the "information component" in the work of the "ministry" of Cornet. "A crack-down on the Ministry of Internal Affairs lasts two months. Information crack-down. And here I can only say that this is because of success of the MIA in the fight against subversive groups. We are trying to be discredited. People should put filters in order to understand and analyze information: who for is it profitable? And everything will fall into place", — he stated.
The review was prepared by Sofia Petrovska, OstroV