The peak of the confrontation in Luhansk coincided with the Maidan anniversary, and local bloggers could not resist the temptation of analogies. They proudly announced that the change of power in Luhansk, unlike in Kyiv, went without a single shot and a drop of blood. A dangerous comparison.
For four years, local residents were told that the power in Kyiv was seized by the "junta", overthrowing the legally elected president. On November 23, 2017, armed people, who blocked the head of the "LNR" Igor Plotnitsky in his office, released him to Russia. Luhansk social networks accounts were filled with memes of Viktor Yanukovych, who asks someone’s permission so that his "friend from Luhansk" could live with him.
At this time, not a single person came out to protest against the hated Plotnitsky in Luhansk. Moreover, people tried to avoid the city center, filled with “green men”, fearing to get caught in the middle of the sudden armed confrontation of Plotnitsky’s people and the head of the "Ministry of Internal Affairs" Igor Kornet.
Until the very appointment of a new Moscow protégé, the former head of the “Ministry of State Security”, Leonid Pasechnik, the residents simply did not understand what was happening. "Who has won?" - "Ours". - "And who are they?" – confused Luhansk residents wrote in social networks. "Coup" was really quiet and peaceful - without the slightest knowledge and participation of the people themselves.
The wonders of transformation
The peak of the confrontation in Luhansk also coincided with the birthday of the Cossack ataman Pavel Dremov, who was killed there. In December 2015, Dremov was blown up in the car, going to his own wedding. The death of a popular leader of an illegal armed formation replenished the series of similar massacres. Nodding toward the besieged Plotnitsky, people whispered that Dremov was revenged.
However, Luhansk "law enforcers" pulled out other skeletons from the closets. They launched a wave of confessions and disclosures about the loud "coup attempt" of 2016. In connection with it, in the basement of the same house where Igor Plotnitsky was blocked, the former "LNR prime minister" and one of the alleged conspirators Gennadiy Tsypkalov had died from tortures. His "accomplice", the former deputy head of the "people's militia" - Vitaliy Kiselyov, nicknamed the Communist, disappeared in the local dungeons and was also considered dead. The third "conspirator", the former head of the "People's Council" Alexey Karyakin, managed to escape, fleeing to Russia. The "law enforcers" began to publish "evidence" of involvement in murders of Tsypkalov and Kiselyov the closest associates of Plotnitsky: the head of his guard Yevgeniy Seliverstov, the head of his "administration" Irina Teitsman and the director of the "state" TV and radio company Anastasia Shurkaeva.
On November 21, they were announced to have been arrested. Plotnitsky was still given a chance. "Tonight I provided all available materials to the head of the LNR, Igor Plotnitsky, who decided to initiate criminal proceedings and arrest all the defendants", - Kornet said.
After this, Plotnitsky could remain in his nominal position, but already without any real power, isolated from his entourage. However, the head of the "republic" either did not understand the hint, or could not adequately assess the situation, but he refused the helping hand at the last moment, actually declaring Kornet an impostor.
It is believed that Shurkaeva, Teitsman and Seliverstov left with Plotnitsky. Kiselyov was announced, to be alive, but has not been shown to the public yet. Karyakin announced from Russia that he intends to return to Luhansk.
The “People's Council of the Luhansk Republic”, which had recently participated in Kornet's persecution with a public eviction from the seized house, changed its mind, unanimously accepting the resignation of Plotnitsky, who, having reached Moscow, got health problems that did not allow him to manage the "state". The appointment of Leonid Pasechnik to his post was also the alleged will of Plotnitsky. Already after this fact, the Luhansk "parliament" rewrote their "temporary basic law", which until then supposed that the head of this very "parliament" would become the next head of the “republic” in the event of previous leader’s resignation or "impeachment".
Plotnitsky was left responsible for the implementation of the Minsk agreements - a nominal post, which has no practical application, but shows the whole unsteadiness of the Luhansk, and Minsk constructions.
These events have shown how unsteady the situation of any Luhansk or Donetsk "official" is, if he/she goes beyond the limits outlined by Moscow.
Initially, it was believed that the conflict between Plotnitsky and Kornet was a reflection of the war between different Moscow "curators" of the "republics". The power and administrative blocs have different curators, but within the framework of these two blocs there are also different factions. The Luhansk "prosecutor's office" until recently was fully subordinated to Plotnitsky.
At the same time, as the recent events showed, the deputies of the "Prosecutor General" or "Minister of Internal Affairs" had different subordination. Seliverstov was the "head of the Security Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs" that is, he was formally submitted to the same Kornet. Vitaliy Podobry, whom Plotnitsky put in charge of the "general prosecutor's office" after sudden resignation (in fact - the flight) of the previous "Prosecutor General", was the deputy head of the "Ministry of Internal Affairs" until then. Apparently, Moscow tried to build something like a system of checks and balances in the "republics", which ultimately provided the same "prosecutor's office" with some depreciation after the arrest of its head, Plotnitsky's protege Vitaliy Podobry.
However, the story of the Luhansk "Ministry of State Security" was more interesting. After the "promotion" of its head Pasechnik, "curators" had to be discharged new "minister" from Donetsk. The current head of the Luhansk "state security officer" Anatoliy Antonov, who was formerly the "first deputy" head of the Donetsk "Ministry of State Security", is in fact, a Russian "militiaman" and, probably, an employee of Russian special services.
In other words, more than likely, Luhansk conflict that deterred the whole system caused confusion in Moscow. This is indicated by Kornet's attempts to save Plotnitsky in his post, contradictory assessments and reports that got into the media from near-Kremlin circles and detachment, demonstrated by the Luhansk "Ministry of State Security" with the unprecedented activity of its Donetsk version, which announced in early November that "the special services of Ukraine implement measures for neutralization of the Minister of Internal Affairs, the Minister of State Security and the Prosecutor General of the Luhansk People's Republic". Even the intervention of militants of the Donetsk "republic" in Luhansk affairs took place, more than likely, only in connection with the desire of "curators" to prevent a possible armed conflict in the city, which could lead to the victorious march of the Ukrainian military in center of the "capital" of CDLO.
They tried to stop Plotnitsky earlier too. So, on November 10, shortly after the illustrative eviction of Kornet from another's house, where he illegally resided since 2014, a video message of the "Minister of Agriculture" of the Luhansk "republic" Ruslan Sorokovenko appeared in network, which also contained charges against Seliverstov and Teitsman in the fabrication of charges against Tsypkalov, Kiselyov and Karyakin.
Authors of one of the blogs on cont.ws platform, allegedly, the disgraced Luhansk militants, claimed that at the time of recording, Sorokovenko was no longer in Luhansk. According to them, "Ruslan was taken in the territory of the DNR in early September, apparently, just in arms matters. He came there for treatment, was subjected to an operation and was taken straight from the hospital. We will consider it to be an operation of the DNR special services, while it is quite clear that the Russians were engaged in it". Plotnitsky claimed that criminal proceedings were instituted against him in Russia in connection with the death of Tsypkalov. At the same time, none of the "witnesses", who has suddenly appeared, accused Plotnitsky in this matter directly, exposing him more as a deceived victim of his own entourage.
Controlled by Plotnitsky "Prosecutor General's Office" retorted a charge of Sorokovenko. Plotnitsky did not understand the hint. He definitively overstepped the mark after the telephone conversation with the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin on November 15 — the first in the history of the "republics" direct contact with "him" on his own initiative.
Probably, having taken this call as carte blanche and having imagined himself to be all-powerful, the then head of the "republic" took the last step to eliminate his long-time enemy, Kornet, the only one, who stayed in Luhansk alive and in power, more or less prominent participant in the Russian Spring of 2014. On November 20, in connection with the decision of an unnamed court, he "fired" the "minister" with his "decree". Plotnitsky put loyal to him deputy of Kornet as "acting".
At that time, the "Ministry of the Interior" itself, turned by Kornet into his last bastion, already existed in a state of siege and did not actually function. Individual "deputies" of the "people's council", continuing the hunt that began in late October, demanded the resignation of Kornet for about two weeks. All these attacks were nattily broadcasted by loyal to Plotnitsky "state-owned" TRC, led by Anastasia Shurkaeva.
Most importantly, Plotnitsky was right at the heart of his calculations — but miscalculated about the details. Signature of Igor Plotnitsky and his Donetsk "colleague" Alexander Zakharchenko under the Minsk agreements guarantees them certain immunity from political and especially physical non-existence, for example, from poisoned coffee, which was supposedly treated in Moscow earlier this year to the former head of the Luhansk "republic" Valeriy Bolotov. In any case, the immunity from Moscow — as long as "Minsk" is beneficial to it. But Plotnitsky has many enemies outside the system — and almost all of them were forced to escape from the fate of Dremov in the same Russia.
In other words, no matter how much effort the "curators" made, it turned out that "Minsk" is hanging on by a thread, and besides, through no fault of Kyiv, as the Russian and the "republican" propaganda insists, but because one Luhansk puppet wanted break out of the threads that have entangled it. And even a graceful move with Plotnitsky's honorary deportation to… "Minsk" did not even temporarily solve all problems of the Russian Federation, connected with his riot. Because the questions remain.
For example, what will happen to other victims of arbitrary actions of the "republicans", who are still imprisoned, including to the "Communist", whom no one has so far seen alive?
And is it possible to believe that the "ministers" Pasechnik and Kornet did not know about everything that the entourage of Plotnitsky was accused of, up until this entourage and Plotnitsky himself evicted Kornet from the house he had seized?
And if these crimes took place, then how could these "ministers" let Teitsman and Seliverstov, as well as "employee of the Ukrainian special services" Shurkaeva, peacefully leave the "republic"?
Finally, will Seliverstov, Shurkaeva and Teitsman, as well as Plotnitsky himself, be arrested and convicted in Russia? And if not, does this mean that the accusations against them are considered baseless in Moscow and the wits, enouncing about the "junta" in CDLO, are right?
Yulia Abibok, OstroV