Outwardly, only shelling by the Ukrainian armed forces interfered with calm and prosperity in the "republics" last week. Except for new "republican" in Luhansk, who has somewhat broken the dull routine, having replaced a number of "ministers".
However, discussions in social networks showed completely different picture. The week was marked by a series of aggressive acts against the local businesses.
So, for example, Donetsk "taxmen" raided Mayak electronics market, well-known in the city. At that time, a photo from deserted territory of a huge market appeared in social networks. The DNR-Live website reported later that as a result of raid by the "Ministry of Inland Revenue", headed by Alexander "Tashkent" Timofieyev, second-hand of head of the Donetsk "republic" Alexander Zakharchenko, local merchants were seized goods worth $511 thousand.
"About 800 Apple phones, produced in 2017, were seized at the electronics market", — DNR-Live cited Timofieyev's explanations during the annual report of the "republican" ministers to the "deputies". "According to the deputy prime-minister, these goods will be returned to entrepreneurs after payment of customs duties", — the report of this website said.
That is, in fact, they demanded local entrepreneurs in Donetsk to pay the duties again: iPhones could get to Donetsk only through Russia, but they hardly came to Russia illegally.
As can be understood from the comments in social networks, this case is far from the only one. "And where are more than 22 seized tons of illegally imported foodstuffs?", — one of Facebook users wrote in a comment on the non-judgmental post about "Tashkent's" report from "deputy of the people's council" Yekaterina Gubareva. "They gave it to the military", — Gubareva responded, positioning herself as a defender of local business. "Tell me please, how does it happen that "illegally imported products" are confiscated not at the entrance, where they are unofficially imported, but at the retail? Why not to start from the beginning of way of these goods, and not from the end?", — wrote another user. The "deputy" did not respond.
Along with that, well-known blogger-propagandist Konstantin Dolgovclaimed claimed in one of his recent videos that recently, "Tashkent's" people also raided Tsarskiy Donetsk store, selling expensive seafood, and seized all crayfish for some reason. However, there is no confirmation of this information.
The main story of the mentioned video of Dolgov was disappearance of famous Donetsk restaurateur Andrey Begeza and his employee Irina Krivonos. Dolgov was the first who reported this by writing a post on Facebook, in which he indicated the scanty and inaccurate data.
Several users corrected him in the comments. It became clear from the discussions that Begeza, who owned Olivier 80 and Burger Bar restaurants in Donetsk, which he opened after the outbreak of war, and who worked as manager of Barberry restaurant, disappeared on December 10, when he entered CDDO from Rostov. "He was arrested immediately after entering the DNR… He landed in Rostov, went to Donetsk and immediately disappeared. He does not answer the phone. He is not in the messengers", — one of the users wrote.
Various comments on this occasion also noted that Begeza's problems in Donetsk appeared several months earlier. So, for example, "Tashkent's" "taxmen" came to his establishments with checks several times and once fined him for half a million rubles. Timer pro-Russian Odessa media claimed that "Begeza himself considered the fine to be contrived and ginormous, and tried to appeal against the decision in the prosecutor's office and the Ministry of Inland Revenue".
At the same time, the missing restaurateur was considered "republican". According to Dolgov, the capture of Begeza was carried out by the "republican" Organized Crime Investigation Division.
In a few days after the disappearance of Begeza and his assistant, a fire allegedly broke out in the building of Barberry restaurant. In any case, a video with two fire engines near this building appeared on the Web. There were no noticeable signs or traces of flame development on it. Nevertheless, all these events gave Dolgov a handle to joke about "Tashkent's economy" in CDDO.
In general, local "elites" began to prepare for the New Year.
Traditionally, "officials" and "media" of the "republic" did not respond to the made fuse. Only Alexander Kazakov, the adviser to Alexander Zakharchenko, who earned the reputation of clinical idiot in Donetsk long ago, wrote on Facebook: "Here and there, I see questions, statements and indignation in connection with the facts of life of one restaurateur, who undeservedly… and so on. A request to the protectors. Write more, more often and necessarily in the public. It will come in handy".
"The desire of many people —in case of criminal complaints, an official point of view, based on the Law, is voiced by the state. That is all. Because if people disappear in a state without a trace and for a long time —it is not a state, it is a bunch of bandits, is not it?", — former "deputy minister of foreign affairs" of the Donetsk "republic" Boris Borisov, who lives in Moscow, shut back. Kazakov did not respond.
In all, according to Konstantin Dolgov, "as in the case of blogger Manekin, the DNR authorities do not comment on this story at all." The story about which only the lazy person does not write in the Donetsk segment of social networks. Andrey is one of the most famous persons in Donetsk. A master of his craft. But it is all not about this. Are they to blame for something? Tell us for what exactly. Allow meetings with lawyers. Complete the detention formally. They are not guilty? Then what the… you keep them somewhere for the sixth day? You do not give a shit about the opinion of people? Have you organized a small Ukraine in one particular small DNR? Well, it does not matter. November-18 is soon, elections. People will give you greetings back".
Restaurants, associated with Andrey Begeza were not the only victims of "Tashkent's" raids. Shortly before them, causing much less noise, something similar happened to famous in Donetsk Pushkin restaurant, which has become a favorite place of local "elite" and newly affluent classes since 2014.
"I do not think that this topic deserves some special focus, but I want to allay anxiety. At first, there were reports that a raid was conducted on apartments, located above Beerstown cafe, which is in the Proletarsky district of Donetsk — they interrogated the tenants, checked the documents and were interested in the empty apartments. People immediately worried, suspecting that this was done for the subsequent seizure of housing, left by its residents. Then, information was received about the arrest of more than three dozen workers of Pushkin restaurant in the center of city. Most of them have already been released. And in this case, conspiracists immediately assumed illegal seizure. Everything is simpler in fact — these places are places of constant visit by the republic's leadership, and there were security procedures to improve the level of security. In particular, IED (improvised explosive device — OstroV) of considerable power was discovered in Pushkin, what led to the taking of appropriate measures", — one of the militant leaders Alexander Khodakovsky wrote on Facebook at that time.
When are the "elections"?
Alexander Khodakovsky, who earlier announced his intention to participate in the allegedly planned "elections" for the post of head of the "republic", recently wrote another curious post.
"Today, all the mechanisms for preparing for elections have already been working: electoral lists are being prepared, electoral commissions are being formed, agitators from the party of power are being looking for, receptions of "The Donetsk Republic" social movement are being remolded to the receptions of head — the entire administrative resource has been set in motion, — he wrote. — Judging by the rush — the elections are really scheduled for the spring, and not for the autumn, as it should be. Who decided this? What is the reason for the rescheduling? What circumstances make them hurry? Why are there no official decisions and notifications? Because, "I am in charge and I do what I want... I mean, act in the interests of the state". Haste and secrecy is also caused by the fact that they want to do everything "as it should be" and before the aggravation of Russian internal situation — to become firmly established in their positions first".
"Therefore, one more problem needs solving — elimination of competitors and contenders", — Khodakovsky continued. — At first, they removed Denis Pushilin, then were the Gubarevs (they arrested an important person for them and threatened to close their Novorossiya channel), yesterday they tried to make a provocation in the former reception of our organization. Those who played "thugs" did not even understand that they were simply used. They broke into the Shakhterskie Zori preventative clinic, where the people we evacuated in 2014 live, blocking the entrance with gunmen".
"It is good that there were clever people and they figured out the situation. Since the visit was carried out by a state body, reporting directly to the head of the republic, I cannot exclude that Zakharchenko took some part in it, but it's dangerous - I have a bad reputation, and I could react. Apparently, therefore my subordinates reported to me about the issue after they had figured it out", — he told.
In total: blogger Konstantin Dolgov writes about the "elections" in the fall of 2018, which was considered a solved matter. And Alexander Khodakovsky had noted a week earlier that "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". In the Luhansk "republic", the new "acting head" actively shakes up the local "officials", making it clear that he will not leave his new position soon.
As a result, citizens of the "people's republic" still have no idea when these elections will be held.
"Do you remember the news that the DNR began assembling buses?"
The annual reports of the "ministers" of the Donetsk "republic" gave some more information about the situation in the CDDO, inaccessible to local "media". So, for example, the "Minister of Health" O.Oprishchenko reported that "at the moment, there is a high outflow of medical staff in the republic due to lack of funding, the staff of district doctors is completed by only 42%", — the website DNR-Live quoted. It was also noted that both birth rate and death rate increased in the "republic", but no figures were given. Oprishchenko, in addition, said that the "republic" is adequately provided with vaccines, except the polio vaccine.
The next topic, sounded in the report of another "minister", is one of local curiosities. Last week, the same Konstantin Dolgov published a photo with a caravan of empty white buses and commented: "Do you remember the news? They said that the DNR started to assemble buses. Here they are. Coming from Russia to Donetsk for "assembly". I thank the indifferent member of the DNR Council of Ministers for the photo".
"Social networks are actively discussing PAZ ready-made buses, which were seen near the Uspenka checkpoint, — the DNR-Live wrote later. — People write that those buses look the same as the Donbass buses, which were supposed to be assembled at the state enterprise Dongormash. During the Government Hour, the People's Council asked to clarify the situation. "Those buses at the Uspenka have nothing to do with buses, which are assembled in the DNR. One of the DNR's transport enterprises privately purchased those buses for its own needs. Those ready-made buses were seen on the border", — the "Minister of Industry and Trade" Alexey Granovsky answered".
Judging from the comments of Internet users, the explanation of the "minister" did not convince anyone, it only created a new wave of jokes.
Replenishment of stocks
However, the week's result did not turn out to be funny. In addition, the Donetsk "republic" reported on a new portion of "sentences" to "Ukrainian spies".
Thus, a man, whose name is not indicated, was sent to prison for 11 years for "espionage". The only thing, which is reported, is that he was a teacher of the Donetsk Academy of Motor Transport.
"In February 2016, the convict, supporting the aggressive policy of Ukraine in respect of Donbass people, showing personal initiative, sent an email to the website Stopterror, administered by the security Service of Ukraine, in which he announced willingness to cooperate with foreign intelligence, namely, to collect and transmit information of a military nature on the republic's territory. Doing the job for the SBU, in the period from February to October of 2016, he carried out the collection and subsequent transmission of information about the movement of military equipment and servicemen of the DNR, receiving treatment in medical institutions, as well as military members from the students of Donetsk Academy of Motor Transport, where he was chairman of the enrolment board", — the official website of the "DNR" reported.
In addition, a woman, about whom there is even less data, was imprisoned for 17 years. It is noted that citizen B. "from September 2016 to February 2017, carried out espionage activities in the territory of the DNR". It is reported that she allegedly "photographed and sent photographs and other data (the location of public and state organizations, residence of the DNR military personnel), to the employees of the foreign intelligence organization".
Every week, the websites of the Donetsk "republic" report about one or two such "verdicts".
In addition, the representatives of Kyiv and the "republics" once again failed to agree on the exchange of prisoners, supposed to be held before the end of this year. The "republics" predictably accused Ukraine of this. Daria Morozova, the "ombudsman of the Donetsk republic", said that "the Ukrainian side did not name the date of the forthcoming exchange. Moreover, at their insistence, we again return to the issue of verification, which was agreed in August of this year. We suggested that they make verification on the line of contact, but they categorically refuse to do so. The DNR is completely ready for an exchange, but it is Ukrainian fault that we cannot do the long-awaited exchange". According to her, as the "official website" of the "republic" reported, "at the moment, the Ukrainian side has exchanged lists with a much smaller number of people without any reasoning".
The review was prepared by Sofia Petrovska, OstroV