Luhansk story still lasted last week — though new de facto authorities of the "republic" would definitely like to close it. For their own part, they made efforts to make it as beautiful as possible — as in a dramatic story with happy ending, where justice triumphs, though some heroes had to give their lives for it.
According to Lugansk Media Centre, "the opening ceremony of memorial tablet to the first chairman of the Council of Ministers of the LNR Gennadiy Tsypkalov was held near the building of Government House of the Republic in the center of Luhansk. This was reported play-by-play by correspondent of LMC. The ceremony was attended by acting head of the Republic Leonid Pasechnik, chairman of the Council of Ministers of the LNR Sergey Kozlov, Interior Minister of the LNR Igor Kornet, heads of other ministries and departments, friends and comrades-in-arms of Tsypkalov. "This day, we can proudly say that history dots the i's and crosses the t's. We return, first of all, a fair name to our comrade-in-arms and pay tribute to his heroic life", — Kornet addressed the audience".
"First chairman of the People's Council of the Republic Aleksey Karyakin, who had previously forcedly left territory of the LNR, came to pay tribute to his friend", — the report went on. "Today is a truly big day, and I want to thank all those who have cleaned the name and washed off all the dirt that was poured on Gennadiy's fair name", — LMC quoted Karyakin, who had allegedly returned to Luhansk. Relying on this report, the public was also finally shown the living "Communist" Vitaliy Kiselyov, who was previously considered to be dead as a result of too unfair examination, as well as Tsypkalov. "Gennadiy Tsypkalov is worthy of honor and respect, our militiaman, comrade, husband and brother. Gennadiy Tsypkalov laid that basis of unity, unity of fighters, unity of people", — Colonel of the People's Militia of the LNR Vitaliy Kiselyov noted", — the text of Lugansk Media Centre said.
Moreover, as another report of LMC said, new phantom leaders of the Luhansk "republic" began to ransack the "prosecutor's office" that had earlier been loyal to expelled Igor Plotnitsky.
"Leadership of the Prosecutor General's Office of the LNR has been attested against the positions held. This was reported by Deputy Prosecutor-General of the LNR Alexander Taranskiy", — LMC wrote. — "Review of the entire management personnel was held in the procuracy authorities: chiefs of departments and heads of departments, being off-line departments; furthermore, prosecutors of cities and districts and their deputies were also attested", — Taranskiy specified. "In future, the same review of the operations staff of departments is expected: prosecutors of departments, senior prosecutors of departments, as well as assistant prosecutors of cities and districts", — the deputy prosecutor informed. He mentioned that the purpose of review is "crucially strict assessment of business, ethical and moral qualities of all heads of the Prosecutor General's Office". Based on the results of review, leadership of the department will decide on the expediency of presence of each individual person in the position held".
Further, it was explained that "first deputy Prosecutor General of the LNR Sergey Gorenko reported that staff of the Prosecutor General's Office of the LNR and its regional offices would be attested against the positions held. The reason for its conduct was appearance of information about a large number of misconduct by some prosecutors".
Murder of "serviceman on leave"
However, new phantom leaders of the Luhansk "republic" were not able to quietly turn this page of its stormy history. Russian media got involved directly at the behest of Plotnitsky's people. So, a story about the cover-up by Igor Kornet of the murder of one of his guards, Russian soldier Artem Bulgakov, appeared on the website of RBC. A criminal case into the murder was opened in the Russian Federation, the media claimed.
According to RBC, "Bulgakov started the volunteer military service in Stavropol in 2010. According to Aliabyeva (mother of the deceased, — OstroV), the details of his service from 2010 to 2014 are unknown to her. But after the death of Artem, his colleagues contacted Aliabyeva and told her that during that period, he participated in special operations, she told RBC. In June 2014, Bulgakov officially retired from the service in the 7th Guards Mountain Air Assault Division. He phoned his mother the same month and said that he was in Donetsk, she told RBC. According to her, he entered Donbass on the part of Russia as part of the Cossack detachment from the "Slavic Union of Stavropol". In the DNR, Bulgakov served in the Office of Special Operations of the Prosecutor's Office, as well as in the reconnaissance platoon of the Battalion of St. George the Victorious. Since January 15, 2015, he was a shooter in "Pyatnashka" international brigade. Then left for Luhansk and came to the service in the LNR MIA (the editorial staff has copies of his service certificates)".
The murder allegedly occurred because of the conflict. One of Bulgakov's comrade-in-arms was shooting. "As indicated in the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, the shooter reported to Kornet about the incident, after what the minister ordered to close off the premises, the instruction said. The body of Bulgakov was taken by car by head of the department on fighting organized crime Ruslan Akayev, RBC's source in the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation told. "Hiding the fact of crime in relation to Bulgakov, Kornet instructed the head of the department on working with the LNR MIA personnel "to document Bulgakov by order as an employee of the MIA, follows from the resolution of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation. According to the investigators, Kornet together with first deputy Prosecutor General of the LNR Sergey Gorenko decide to register the crime as careless weapon handling", — the Russian media wrote.
"Viktoria Aliabyeva told RBC that along with the coffin, she received a letter of appreciation "with heartfelt condolences" from head of the LNR MIA Igor Kornet. Bulgakov's elder brother Ilya took the body. He met with Artem's commander (the name is not disclosed for legal reasons), who told that Artem had accidentally shot himself during the cleaning of weapon, Aliabyeva said. According to the conclusion of Luhansk forensic scientists (RBC has a copy of the document), acute blood loss as a result of blind gunshot wound, chest and inward parts injuries caused the death. Aliabyeva received no compensation for the death of her son since her son was officially taken on the staff in the day of death".
"Not only Bulgakov's mother, but the LNR authorities had questions after his death", — RBC article said. — At the meeting of the People's Council of the LNR on November 10, first Deputy Speaker of the Parliament Denis Miroshnichenko recalled the need to investigate the circumstances of death of Artem Bulgakov. Acting Prosecutor General of the LNR Vitaliy Podobry said that the issue of death of the Russian is under the control of the LNR Prosecutor General's Office, but the MIA of the republic does not respond to the inquiries of the supervisory authority. Bulgakov's mother told RBC that Igor Plotnitsky, the LNR head at that point in time, had made an appointment with her on November 9 of this year. According to her, he wanted to discuss the death of her son, but she had adjourned the trip because of preparations for the anniversary of Aliabyev's funeral. She did not meet with the republic's leader — on November 20, Plotnitsky signed a decree to remove Kornet, and the next day, he and other security officials of the republic had overthrown the LNR head. "Plotnitsky wanted to offer his apology and give the mother a posthumous order for the deceased son, — a source, close to the leadership of the People's Council of the LNR, told RBC. — He also instructed Prosecutor General Podobry to double-check materials on the death of Bulgakov and conduct new investigations, taking into account the evidence, obtained by the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation. But they never get a chance because of the change of power"".
Furthermore, Russian militant Igor Girkin, who calls himself Strelkov — one of the leaders of the Russian Spring in 2014, spoke about the longtime and latest events in Luhansk. In an interview to Russian The Insider, he stated that "Surkov brought bandits into power in both the Donetsk and the Luhansk republics. Plotnitsky is a bandit, Zakharchenko is a swindler who also became a bandit after gaining power. Accordingly, they killed off the competitors. For a variety of reasons, Donetsk is stronger, there is a serious push to the organization and Zakharchenko had no competitors, except for Khodakovsky. And in Luhansk, Plotnitsky had to fight against people who did not understand how he is better than the rest".
According to Girkin, "he is much worse in terms of his position. The Zarya Battalion, which defended itself, did not have the best response, for example, "Batman" fought much more actively. Mozgovoy also fought very actively. Thanks to him, Luhansk was not occupied by the enemy. Many were hostile to Plotnitskiy's assignment to a position, but, accordingly, Plotnitsky (due to his bandit habits) eliminated the enemies (naturally, not by himself). In this case, Mozgovoy was eliminated for ideological reasons. Batman — for power struggle, because he claimed to be in charge. I do not know why they removed Ishchenko. I guess, Dremov was killed on commercial basis, this fellow was actively involved in charcoal business".
At the same time, Girkin made it clear that he believed that Luhansk "warlords" were killed by people from the odious Wagner private military company: "They boast that they killed Bednov and Mozgovoy. I personally did not hear that, but, nevertheless, that seems to be true. PMC Wagner has its people in many places. They are back in Luhansk now, in Syria, Southern Sudan, maybe in Libya, I do not know", — he added.
In addition, The Insider's interlocutor made a thick hint at the real culprits in the catastrophe of the Malaysian Boeing, which occurred in July 2014 in the Donetsk oblast. According to him, "everyone understood perfectly well that the militants did not bring the Boeing down... I do not comment anymore". "There were many scenarios of what happened, but what's your version?" — The Insider asked Girkin. "I won’t tell you my thoughts. If I live for another 20 years, you will read it in my memoirs", — he retorted. "This is an interesting answer, because if it were the Ukrainians who shot it down, you probably would have said so", — the publication insisted. "I repeat – no comments", — Girkin said.
Who appoints the "elections"?
Because of the Luhansk "coup", the topic of "elections" in the "republics" was a background one, but last week it was briefly updated in the most a comical form. As one of the militant leaders Alexander Khodakovsky, who is considered to be an oppositionist to the current "authorities" of the republic, wrote on Facebook, "today Alexey Chesnakov, close enough to Vladislav Surkov... who played a big role in the fate of Donbass and not leaving the site to this day, confirmed holding of local elections, not tied to the Minsk agreements, in the fall of 2018. This is somewhat different from the insider information stating that the elections are scheduled for the spring — but they are being scheduled. This is the important thing".
Khodakovsky himself did not seem to understand the irony of this situation, when potential participants in the "elections" do not know when these "elections" will take place themselves. He interpreted the statement of the Russian political technologist so that "we are no longer talking about integration into Ukraine, but we continue to build our state. Or rather, we get a chance to start building it. I consider the result of the three-year work of the acting team to be an imitation of statehood, and I think it is necessary to finally move from declarations to actions".
Boris Borisov, the former deputy foreign minister of the "DNR", commented that "it's disgusting that someone who does not have any authority, an unselected official from far away decides for the citizens if, when or how they should hold elections, and citizens do not object! They are waiting for the permission of the benefactor! And in real life — these citizens are not citizens, but a humble crowd. I assure you — this official, and not citizens, decides who will win".
Stories from the front line
The information, published in the "republics" last week, demonstrated once again the attitude of their de facto authorities and "curators" to the "citizens". Thus, the Donetsk News Agency pleased the public with the announcement of a new pompous delivery of "grocery and office sets" to the employees of the Donetskkoks enterprise, which had been transferred under external management.
"The event was attended by the head of the special public headquarters for control over the transfer of enterprises of the Ukrainian jurisdiction to external management, the deputy head of the Central Executive Committee of the Donetsk Republic social movement Olga Pozdnyakova, the secretary of the Donetsk branch of the DR Anna Denisenko, the secretary of the DR Kirovsk district branch Tatyana Khaperskaya, acting director of the Donetskkoks Petr Goncharov, as well as a deputy of the People's Council of the DNR Sergei Chuchin", — the Donetsk News Agency listed important "benefactors".
At the same time, as follows from the comment of the above-mentioned Olga Pozdnyakova, only 15 employees out of 70 got the free food sets, because they entered "social movement" headed by Alexander Zakharchenko. "The humanitarian sets included pasta and cereals, oil, canned goods, tea, coffee, biscuits, condensed milk, etc. The total weight of one set was about nine kilograms". In other words, one of the few ways to survive in a "republic", when you are not paid or underpaid, is to enter an organization.
Another more telling story was told by the same Alexander Khodakovsky on Facebook. He received a letter from a "militiaman" widow. The man had previously fought in Khodakovsky's battalion. "My husband, Konstantin Shiryaev, callsign Chernyj, served in the Vostok Battalion from September 29, 2014. He died near the industrial zone on September 28, 2017. The guys have been trying to pull his body out for two months, the Ukrainians do not let them. I applied to the Red Cross, the Ministry of Defence, the Human Rights Committee and the Prosecutor General's Office. On October 2, he was fired allegedly for being absent from the unit, while he is still on combat positions. Maybe this is the reason why they are not retrieving him. Please help me".
Later, Khodakovsky also reported details of the death of this "militiaman". According to him, "the guy removed everything from himself, picked up a grenade and the DNR flag, went closer to the enemy in order to establish this flag. He was then found — with a grenade in his hand, lying exactly in the middle between us and them... They tried to pull him out with a rope, but it was impossible to drag the body. You know, a flag and a grenade are not fake details", — Khodakovsky added, "From a permanent stay in the front, people have crises that are expressed in various forms: Ukrainians are rotated, but we are there constantly, nobody cares about anything...".
And then there was this. "Today, when it was decided to take the body to the Ukrainian side, they cleared the way, then sent the group. What did sappers and Ukrainian soldiers think when they were dragging the body? Did they perform the order thoughtlessly? I doubt it. It could not be so that at least somebody did not think that tomorrow he can be dragged in the same way so that his family could bury him...", — Alexander Khodakovsky wrote some time later.
At the same time, he stressed that "we did not cease to be enemies — even in times of the Great Patriotic War, when we let each other to retrieve the victims. I do not know our future fate, and I do not know if we will be together with Ukraine ever again, but I know one thing: when we stop permitting each other to retrieve the dead, we simply will have no need to BE".
A new batch of "spies"
Finally, an actual topic of the past week was the supposedly scheduled December exchange of prisoners between Kyiv and the "republics". As the head of the delegation of the "DNR" Denis Pushilin had already warned, the exchange "will not be final – this is not an exchange under the formula of "all for all". Ukraine continues to detain more and more people, and a number of new political prisoners appeared for the period after Medvedchuk’s initiative was announced. Of course, they do not fall under this exchange, so we can only talk about the full implementation of this item after the comprehensive implementation of the Minsk agreements, when the conflict will be resolved in a political way", — the Donetsk News Agency quoted.
The CDDO has just begun to gather new candidates for exchange with new strength. Last week, three people were captured as "Ukrainian spies". According to the "DNR Ministry of State Security", this is a Donetsk resident Valeriy Romanchenko born in 1962, who was engaged in "private transportation". The man allegedly "carried out photo and video recording of military units, equipment and other military facilities of the DNR, and also collected information on civilian infrastructure and communications facilities on the instructions of the SBU. One of the last tasks of Romanchenko was the collection of information on the activities of one of the Internet providers of the DNR".
In addition, a married couple was detained -Elena Lazareva and Andrey Kochmuradov. The woman, as the "ministry" stated, "worked as an anesthesiologist in the neurosurgical department of the Kalinin Hospital, and was leaking the SBU information about the DNR soldiers, being treated in that medical institution". Her husband "was engaged in the maintenance of telecommunications networks of one of the Donetsk Internet providers, and transferred to the SBU information regarding the subscribers of the enterprise". The spouses face from 12 to 20 years in prison.
The review was prepared by Sofia Petrovska, OstroV