Confrontation between the head of the Luhansk "republic" Igor Plotnitsky and the "republican" "Ministry of Internal Affairs" reached a new peak on November 20 and 21. In response to the "dismissal" of head of the "ministry" Igor Kornet, "men in green" blocked the administrative buildings in Luhansk.
In discussions on social networks, several well-known separatists claimed that the Donetsk "republic" provided assistance to the "Ministry of Internal Affairs" of CDLO the day before and earlier.
"In case of resignation, there is no place for him either in the LNR, or in the Russian Federation"
Confrontation between Igor Plotnitsky and Igor Kornet began a few weeks ago, what OstroV told about in its previous review.
On November 20, the website of head of CDLO reported information on the dismissal of Igor Kornet and the appointment of former "deputy minister" Vladimir Cherkov to his post as "acting minister". As stated in this report, Kornet resigned, in particular, in connection with initiation of criminal case against him and decision of the "district court" on his removal from office. Nothing was written about the details of "criminal case". The dismissal of Kornet was also reported by the heads of the "People's Council" and the "Prosecutor's Office" of the Luhansk "republic."
However, interesting things began on November 21. In the middle of the day, Kornet's statement appeared on the website of the "Ministry of Internal Affairs" of CDLO, in which he announced that "Currently, the situation in the Republic is completely controlled by law-enforcement agencies. The MIA is working as usual, the staff of the department continues to fulfill its obligations ".
Kornet also claimed that he had not been dismissed. "Recently, as a result of destructive actions of a number of officials, the criticism of law-enforcement department in the media has intensified", — he explained. — For a long time, these persons have deliberately misinformed the head of the LNR about the alleged involvement of the MIA employees in unlawful activities. This is due to the fact that we have received irrefutable evidence of the involvement of certain high-ranking government officials in criminal activities to the detriment of the republic and people of the Luhansk region".
The "minister" accused the entourage of Plotnitsky in participating in this conspiration. As he stated, "as a result of intelligence and investigative actions, implemented by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of State Security of the Republic, evidence of the involvement of Anastasia Shurkayeva, the director of the LNR public TV and radio company, in the activities of Ukrainian secret services was obtained. The involvement of head of the Administration of the LNR Head Irina Teitsman, as well as of head of the Government Security Service of the LNR MIA Yevgeniy Seliverstov, to the coup in the LNR was established. As a result of this provocation, former Prime Minister and my comrade-in-arms Gennadiy Tsypalkov was killed and deputy commander of the People's Militia Headquarters of the LNR Vitaliy Kiseliov was sentenced to long-term imprisonment. These actions were conducted with the direct participation of a number of high-ranking officials of the Prosecutor General's Office, who were engaged in fabricating the given criminal cases".
"After the MIA received irrefutable evidence of the involvement of these individuals in the given crimes, the latter took steps to discredit the department and dismiss key employees of the Ministry, who were directly involved in disclosure of the organized criminal group, — Kornet stated. — Last night, I provided all available materials to the Head of the LNR Igor Plotnitsky, who decided to initiate criminal proceedings and arrest all the persons involved: Director General of the LNR public TV and radio company Anastasia Shurkayeva, head of the Administration of the LNR Head Irina Teitsman and head of the Government Security Service of the LNR MIA Yevgeniy Seliverstov".
However, Plotnitsky made a speech after Kornet again — with a refutation of the "minister's" statements. According to Plotnitsky, the call of armed men to the streets of Luhansk was "attempts by certain structures of the Ministry of Internal Affairs to appeal against the court's decision this way". "Currently, the investigation is being carried out, but of another case and with other defendants, — Plotnitsky adumbrated. — There are no grounds for arresting Anastasia Shurkayeva, Irina Teitsman and Yevgeniy Seliverstov, and the appointed Acting Minister of Internal Affairs of the LNR did not issue instructions like that".
The self-proclaimed head of the CDLO also stated that "the situation is under control", but already "of leadership of the Luhansk People's Republic," and "will be completely resolved in the near future". "Attempts of people, acting under the influence of illegitimate leadership of the LNR MIA, are aimed, first of all, at creating social tension in cities of the Luhansk People's Republic… — Plotnitsky said. — However, their actions should not be a reason for panic, and will be completely eliminated in the near future. Now the leadership of the Luhansk People's Republic is doing everything possible to ensure safety of the residents of cities of the republic, so I can say for sure that attempts by certain individuals to stay in power at the cost of destabilization inside the country are vain, and will soon be completely neutralized".
Earlier, on November 18, one of the leaders of militants of the Donetsk "republic" Alexander Khodakovsky wrote on Facebook that "the fourth LNR brigade had suddenly rushed to Debaltseve on November 10, when a convoy from Donetsk arrived there, presumably, at the request of Kornet". "There is a suspicion, to prevent the arrival in Luhansk…", — he also noted.
A Russian user with nickname Andrey Pushkin, related to the Luhansk "militia", as judged by his posts and comments, corrected Khodakovsky that "the seventh brigade was alarmed… Information that the DNR Ministry of State Security goes to disarm them has been received. Some friends of Plotnitsky estimated that there would be an armed clash… but this did not happen… the night was tense, but… they would recall it to Plotnitsky".
"Pushkin" wrote on November 21 that the center of Luhansk was cordoned off by the "DNR internal troops". According to him, while the "militia commanders" support Kornet, the "corps", that is, the "army" of CDLO "will stand neuter, since there are no real commanders left". "In fact, Plotnitsky went all-in… In case of resignation, there is no place for him either in the LNR, or in the Russian Federation…", - "Andrey Pushkin" wrote. "I think that Plotnitsky will not be allowed to place his minister instead of Kornet... If the power units were completely under the control of our leaders, we would have had a lot of troubles...", - Khodakovsky noted in one of his comments.
Earlier, "Andrey Pushkin" also claimed that the Luhansk "Ministry of State Security" remains neutral in the current conflict, while Kornet declared joint "operational search and investigative measures", which allegedly established the involvement of Plotnitsky's associates in "Ukrainian special services" and "attempted coup d'état" in the “LNR” in 2016.
By the way, on November 20, Plotnitsky, while presenting the new "acting" head of the "Ministry of Internal Affairs", complained about the lack of cooperation between this "Ministry", the "Ministry of State Security" and the "Prosecutor's Office" and instructed "acting minister" to establish such cooperation.
"I do not see the point of becoming another dead hero of Donbass"
All this time, the Donetsk "republic" has been outwardly calm. Its leadership celebrated as a victory the telephone conversation of the self-proclaimed head Zakharchenko and his Luhansk colleague Plotnitsky with Russian President. Putin, who is making more PR actions before the forthcoming presidential elections in Russia, allegedly asked them to exchange prisoners with Kyiv, while Russia itself has many Ukrainian hostages. The last exchange of prisoners between Ukraine and the "republics" really took place about a year ago. Since then, negotiations on further exchanges have come to a standstill.
After talking with Putin, the "republican" authorities began to announce their readiness for such an exchange - however, they did so even before the call of the head of the Russian Federation. The catch was in the number of people that each side demanded to return, as well as in specific persons. It seems that the Kremlin tried to create a situation around Kyiv, similar to the one concerning the introduction of UN peacekeeping forces to the Donbass. The decision, which the leadership of Ukraine sought since the beginning of the conflict, in the Russian formulation turned out to be completely losing for Kyiv and at the same time effective from the point of view of PR for Russian and "republican" audiences.
The comments that the “republican” media published after this action, exceeded the absurdity of the dialogue published on Facebook by the "deputy of the people's council of the DNR" Ekaterina Gubareva. "Anastasia Selivanova: Alexey, what kind of recognition is this? Actual or formal? Alexey Zhygulin: It's very cool, you can say the upper level of actual recognition. Absolute factual recognition", - Gubareva wrote, citing two other "deputies". "The only thing what is left to do is to establish diplomatic relations and sign an agreement on mutual military assistance", - she added.
Meanwhile, the "republics" are doing everything to actualize the exchange of prisoners for Ukraine. Last week, they informed about the next "trial" over the "Ukrainian spy". As the "official website" of the Donetsk "republic" wrote, "on the rights of the Chamber of the Supreme Court of the DNR, military tribunal in a closed court session considered the case of a resident of Dokuchayivsk and found her guilty of committing a crime under Art. 321 of the Criminal Code of the DNR (Espionage). From February to March 2015, the defendant carried out a pre-specified assignment of foreign intelligence to collect and transmit information to use against the security of the DNR. The court sentenced the defendant to 10 years imprisonment with serving a sentence in a correctional colony of the general regime".
The repressions in the CDDLO continued against their "own" ones. So, as early as November 12, the leader of the Angel battalion, Russian Alexey Smirnov, wrote in social networks about leaving this territory. The battalion was engaged in humanitarian assistance to residents of Ukraine's territories beyond Kyiv's control, while many accused Smirnov and other members in self-promotion and even fraud - for example, that they allegedly published appeals for fundraising for people who did not really need it. Smirnov, who was not a very successful director, was able to earn a great fame for this particular humanitarian activity. However, it is believed that he really helped a very large number of needy people in the CDDLO.
In September 2016, Alexey Smirnov was "detained" in the Donetsk "republic" – allegedly, for owning a lot of weapons and money. He was released only in June 2017. After that, he continued his activities in the "republics".
"The time has come, I returned to my homeland", - Smirnov writes now. "We have done everything possible and everything impossible for the inhabitants of the Donbass. We see gratitude in the smile of every little one we saved, in the sad smile of every old lady living on the frontline and in the eyes of my subscribers who read this not-so-fun post. Frankly, I do not see the point of becoming the next dead hero of Donbass, because I can see all the prerequisites for this. I never went into politics, I never discriminated the authorities, I never hated people online. We just showed life at the front as it is. I've passed all the tests in the Donbass and I think I've done it with honor. We will help the Donbass from Russia, but not in those volumes. Some of the battalion members are already dead, but do not forget about them".
"Angel - Smirnov (commander of the humanitarian battalion) left the DNR because of fear of being another victim of the "Ukrainian secret subversive groups" of Zakharchenko, Plotnitsky and their Moscow curators.
Apparently the deaths of Givi, Motorola and Zhilin were a lesson for Angel, who repeatedly served the regime of Zakharchenko’s propaganda, and they tortured him in the Donetsk detention unit”, - a Russian from the "republican" circles Yevgeniy Shabayev commented on this statement last week.
The review was prepared by Sofia Petrovska, OstroV