What is happening in Donetsk today could be viewed as wrangles between the locals, if only "Surkov's voice" political scientist Chesnakov was not the first to voice scenario with Trapeznikov's illegitimacy and the "only legitimate body" – "People's Council" – from Moscow yet on September 5.
"…According to the constitution, the first vice-premier must act as head of the republic, but this post is currently vacant. And there is no one who has the right to appoint someone to this post… Dmitry Trapeznikov has been declared acting head. But he was declared, not appointed. He is not the first but "ordinary" deputy prime minister, and therefore, he cannot be acting head according to the law… He will not be able to control the situation for a long time without having any right… His only support is Minister of Income and Taxes Alexander Timofeev. But many people in the "DNR" have a lot of questions for him, they will become sharply activated with the slightest fluctuation of the situation… In such a legal and political conflict, the only fully legitimate constitutional body in the DNR is the People's Council headed by Denis Pushilin", - Chesnakov told the Russian TASS.
A day later, "mayor" of Donetsk Alexey Kulemzin, who was quite till that, stated the illegitimacy of Trapeznikov and full legitimacy of the "People's Council" in his "address to the nation" (at the very least!). He repeated all the theses of Chesnakov word for word for camera, and this was published by the "official" media of the "republic".
Then there was a directive order of the "Prosecutor General's Office of the DNR" to deputies of the "People's Council", dated, allegedly, September 6, but received (according to the stamp) by the "People's Council" a few minutes before his meeting on September 7. It directly ordered the deputies to appoint new provisional "head", form new Council of Ministers, form new CEC and create conditions for holding elections.
That is, the scenario of appointing Pushilin and declaring the elections was not from Donetsk, but from Moscow. And definitely, from the "tower" of Surkov. The fact that the initial appointment of Trapeznikov turned out to be disagreeable to Surkov confirms the version that it was conducted by competitive forces. This also indirectly indicates that Zakharchenko's liquidation was the result of struggle of Surkov's rivals in Moscow to control the Donbass and "Ukrainian Kremlin policy". Now Surkov actively began restoring his levers of influence on the situation.
It should be immediately noted that Pushilin is certainly a man from Surkov's entourage. He has been directly implementing the "Minsk Scam", which Surkov considers the main achievement of his career, for four years. Such a brainchild cannot be trusted to anyone.
In addition, only Surkov could eliminate the then "head of the People's Council of the DNR" Andrei Purgin and seat Pushilin in this arm-chair in September 2015. Such a misfortune befell Purgin for the fact that he intended to hold a referendum on joining Russia in the "republic".
Zakharchenko did not like Pushilin and was jealous of him for Surkov. He deliberately limited his influence in Donetsk and Moscow. This is expressed at least in the resignation of former "Minister of Information of the DNR", Pushkin's relative Yelena Nikitina. She was removed when it turned out that Pushilin's ratings in the republic are higher than Zakharchenko's. At the same time, Pushilin's resignation was also expected, but someone influential did not let the "head" to implement this intention. It is not difficult to guess who decided and decides such issues in Moscow… However, after that, Pushilin's presence on TV had really decreased sharply.
Considering all this, it can be concluded that the appointment of Pushilin means the return of Surkov's cracked influence to "Ukrainian politics" and preservation of his strategy for the implementation of the political part of Minsk-2. In other words, Moscow continues to insist that the war in Donbass is a "civil conflict" and force Kyiv to direct negotiations with the "people's" "republics".
In this sense, Pushilin may seem more convenient to the Kremlin than Zakharchenko, because there is no public bloody trail behind him, as the deceased had. In addition, Kyiv is already de facto negotiating with him in Minsk, and this is a serious argument for the "Western partners".
Such considerations in favor of Pushilin can arise in Moscow. But from Ukraine’s point of view, there is small choice in rotten apples. Firstly, if now the "negotiations" with Pushilin cannot be called successful, then why does the Kremlin think that having given him authority in Donetsk will change the attitude of the current Ukrainian government towards them? And secondly, Pushilin, of course, is not as odious as Zakharchenko, but he remains one of the main organizers and executors of the illegal and, moreover, falsified by him, "referendum". He admitted that on camera. And Ukraine has already prepared more than one verdict to the organizers of the "referendum"...
The decision to announce the election of the "heads" of the "republics" and their "People's Councils", voiced at today's "parliament of the DNR" (also following Chesnakov), fits Moscow's strategy to force Kyiv to direct negotiations with Donetsk and Luhansk. After all, for such negotiations, it is necessary that their subject exist on the part of the "republics".
Does this mean Russia's withdrawal from the Minsk Agreements (the party to which it does not recognize itself)? - Not necessarily! Since even the head of the Ukrainian mission in Minsk, Leonid Kuchma, stated that "this is a very serious step that can put an end to the Minsk process". The keyword is "can". In fact, the holding of elections in the occupied territories of "heads of republics" and deputies of "people's councils" is not formally a violation of Minsk, since the Minsk agreements refer exclusively to elections to local authorities. And since these agreements concern CDLOO – certain districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, the "head of the republic" or "people's council" are not local authorities in these areas. For Ukraine, they are nothing at all.
Considering that for the West and Russia there are still "no alternatives to Minsk", Berlin and Paris will silently accept the news about the "elections".
Kyiv, of course, can protest, but then it will be the party that left the Minsk process. It will completely suit Moscow, as European sanctions are tied to the Russian Federation via Minsk. In addition, to do this, Kyiv must have an alternative plan, which does not exist yet.
In addition, Moscow can always abolish these elections under the pretext of "war", as it was a couple of weeks ago, when the "people" in the "DNR" began to "demand" to cancel the election. Their "legislation" in this respect is so flexible that they simply do not pay attention to it when necessary. This can be done if Ukraine prolongs the law "on the special status of Donbass", which expires in mid-October, and will really begin to implement Minsk agreements on the terms of the Kremlin. But for the Ukrainian deputies extending this law after today's appointment of "elections" will be same as ignoring slap in the face.
If the "election" does take place, and the Verkhovna Rada refuses to prolong the "law on special status", then Russia's attempts to organize another entrapment in Donbass to arrange Minsk-3 cannot be ruled out. Considering that Minsk-2 was organized also after Minsk-1 and under the supervision of Surkov, such a variant of the development of events fits into the behavioral model of Putin's assistant. The risks, of course, will be much greater than in 2015, but we are not sure if the Kremlin understands that. After all, they live in a separate world that has little connection with reality...
In general, no matter what will be the name of the next "client" of Separ café, everything that happens in the Donbass is a continuation of the same policy that Putin has been sticking to for the last 4 years: political pressure, interference in elections, military aggravation, etc. Today's Donetsk decisions do not change anything for the "people of Donbass" - they remain Russian hostages, an instrument of struggle with Ukraine.
Serhiy Harmash, OstroV