“Head of the government of the Donetsk Republic Alexander Ananchenko gradually comes out of the shadow and becomes public. His face was closed to the media and people of the “people's” “republic” for six months, but over the past month, he has twice been caught on camera of photo reporters: at the Yalta Economic Forum in April and at the celebration of Victory Day on May 8 and 9. Photos from the last event with the participation of Ananchenko were posted even on the personal website of head of the “republic” Denis Pushilin. This means that the release of the “premier”, who had long been hiding from the cameras, was not the result of oversight of security, reporters' dexterity, or negligence of employees of the Donetsk “press services”. Apparently, something has changed: either in relation of Ananchenko to his dangerous position, or in relation of Moscow to him…
May 8, 2019, rally at the Savur-Mohyla in the Donetsk oblast. Alexander Ananchenko is on the right hand of Denis Pushilin. Photo from the website of the latter
After the “election” in November 2018, the Donetsk “republic” is undergoing significant, but not always understandable changes. The starting point was arrival of completely managed people to the administration of CADO instead of Alexander Zakharchenko and his team. The eccentricity of the “first elected head” of the “republic” and disastrous results of the management of his people led to a completely predictable outcome. Most likely, by the fall of 2018, the notorious Kremlin “curators” lost patience, the result of what was a complete reformatting of not only conditional power in Donetsk, but also of the methods of controlling the two East Ukrainian pseudo-states in general.
Alexey aka Alexander
The surname Ananchenko first appeared in local reports in early September last year, immediately after Denis Pushilin became head of the “republic” instead of the murdered Zakharchenko. The head of the “republic” in Donetsk at that moment also had the post of “chairman of the government”. Before dividing the two “top public positions”, Pushilin replaced, among others, the deputies of the “prime minister”. Ananchenko became one of the new appointments, who was called not Alexander, but Alexey in the Pushilin's “decree”.
This, by the way, can say either that Ananchenko's candidacy was lowered to Pushilin “from above” and he did not know the person he had appointed; or about an attempt to create a condition to eliminate Ananchenko afterwards, since another person was de jure appointed; or about the reluctance of Ananchenko or his owners to “show“ the “premier” to the Ukrainian special services, perhaps, so that he could solve his business issues in Ukraine… Be that as it may, the local “official” websites and news agencies still called the new “official“ other name.
Nothing was known about “Alexey Ananchenko”, as well as about Alexander, for a long time. He is described quite sparingly even today on the website of “government” of the Donetsk “republic”, according to a template with other “ministerial” biographies: “Born in 1967. Has higher education. Since 2013, has been on the territory of the Donetsk People's Republic”. The photo is still missing. The same date of birth is indicated in the article in Wikipedia that appeared in late November 2018 and is already outdated. It was created by a user from the Lobachevsky University of Nizhny Novgorod. Homeland – Makiivka, Donetsk oblast. Previous work - “director of the company's branch and adviser to oligarch Serghiy Kurchenko”.
Alexander Khodakovsky, former commander of the Vostok illegal armed group and former head of the “national security council” of the young pseudo-state, was the only one who could give at least some information to the bewildered public. “I know him from the beginning of the two thousandth, a professional economist with a wealth of experience. Working in Donetsk is not a novelty for him, before coming to Donetsk for the first time, he worked in one of the large Russian corporations with interests in Siberia and office in Moscow. After the conflict between the owner and Aman Tuleyev, the corporation ceased to exist and Ananchenko arrived in Donetsk, where he headed a local concern that included several manufacturing enterprises. If he has not lost his business acumen and has not changed, Donetsk has probably been lucky for the first time”, - Khodakovsky wrote at that time.
Alexander Ananchenko was absent even at the meeting of the new “republican” “parliament”, where he was appointed head of the “government”. In the photo from all the meetings of the “Council of Ministers”, the presidium was consistently not caught on camera. When from mid-February to early March of this year, the “governmental hour” was held in the “people's council” three Fridays in a row, during which the “ministers” reported on the results of the past year, Ananchenko's speech was the only one announced that did not take place or was forbidden to promulgate.
Perhaps, all this awkward and absurd conspiracy was caused by the desire of the “Prime Minister” to protect himself from any personal sanctions, Western or Ukrainian. In Selydove, where Alexander Ananchenko was actually born, in 1966, he still has relatives and friends.
However, the man who worked previously with Ananchenko in one of the Ukrainian commercial structures, states that he showed similar oddities before the war. According to the source of OstroV, the current head of the Donetsk “government” has always avoided cameras, did not go to corporate parties, did not celebrate birthdays, did not drink alcohol and did not even smoke. The colleagues assumed that he was a member of some religious sect…
People from Selydove
However, it is hardly possible to live and work without leaving any digital footprint in today's world. A lot of information about Alexander Ananchenko can be gleaned from the data of state registers - it has to be said that the head of the “republican” “government” is in the Ukrainian voter register: he is registered in the Voroshilovsky district of Donetsk. The Web even has the series and passport number of the “premiere”, and the date of issue of the document is for some reason 2005. There you can also find data on the work history of Ananchenko, which coincides with what Alexander Khodakovsky said earlier. It is this coincidence that made it clear that we are talking about the same person.
In 1983, Alexander Ananchenko graduated from the Selydove school No.2 with a gold medal. As follows from the list of medalists posted on the school's website, he was the only recipient of this highest award for academic excellence in the year he graduated and a number of the next few years. It can be assumed that Ananchenko was held in respect at school. OstroV tried to ask about one of his classmates, who still lives in Selydove. She refused to give any information, as she would not like “that our dirty media would kick around such a Man”.
The Russian social network VK still has Ananchenko's account, which he, however, has not visited since 2012. In the profile photo, Ananchenko poses in front of the porch with a sign of his Selydove school. This educational institution itself deserves attention in connection not only with its significant place in the biography of the “prime minister” of the Donetsk “republic”. In fact, a number of active guys came out of it, who played quite prominent roles in the events of the end of the past and beginning of this century. Moreover, their ways somehow intersected precisely because of the common school.
After serving in the army, Alexander Ananchenko entered the correspondence faculty of the Ukrainian State Law Academy in Kharkiv (now the Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University), the specialty Jurisprudence. At the same time, he worked in the Selydove city police. After receiving a diploma in 1995, Ananchenko accepted an invitation from his countryman and classmate Mikhail Zhivilo and went to work in Russia at his ZAO Mikom, which owned metallurgical and coal assets and began to grow sharply just at that time.
Ukrainian media, mentioning Zhivilo in connection with Ananchenko, call him “crime lord”, what, to put it mildly, is not quite fair. Like all businessmen of the first half of the 1990s, Zhivilo participated in the “wild privatization”, including resorting to methods that could be called raiding, but he could hardly be considered leader of a criminal group. Perhaps, this was one of the reasons why the 34-year-old Zhivilo was eventually ousted from business and found himself in exile. In 2000, he was forced to flee from Russia after the arrest of his political and business patron, Olympic champion and biathlete Alexander Tikhonov. Allegedly, Tikhonov, on behalf of Zhivilo, was involved in organizing the assassination attempt on Aman Tuleyev, governor of the Kemerovo oblast, where Zhivilo's business was concentrated.
It can be understood from the publications of Russian journalists at the beginning of the 2000s that Zhivilo did not agree to fulfill Tuleyev's specific requirements, which would allow him to maintain and expand his domain in the land of the latter, and the story of the contract killing was fabricated to get rid of the intractable geek. Zhivilo actually lost all his assets, which eventually came under the control of other Russian businessmen, including the notorious Oleg Deripaska. Since 2000, he has been living in France, where he received political refugee status. In 2014, Zhivilo tried to get the FSB to stop his international search, but was refused.
In addition to Ananchenko, the Selydove team of Mikhail Zhivilo included several other graduates of the same 2nd school. The source of OstroV calls Andrey Samarin and Vladimir Grinyuk, the Network suggests two more - Oleg Rybalkin and Vitaliy Salo. On the website of the Moscow “Donbass association of fellow-countrymen”, the most odious member of which was, perhaps, Joseph Kobzon, there was a message that Zhivilo, Rybalkin and Salo donated computers to the Selydove School No.1.
The fate of the entire company after the collapse of Mikom formed quite differently. Rybalkin, Salo and Grinyuk, who are younger than Zhivilo and Ananchenko for two years, had other joint businesses. All three have long had Russian citizenship. In a number of publications on various marginal Russian sites, they were, in particular, accused of seizing and destroying strategic chemical enterprise in the Altai Krai, which produced, among other things, explosives, including for Uragan and Grad volley fire systems. In connection with this, taking advantage of the case, in 2014, they were even declared supporters of the Bandera.
Rybalkin also became famous for the not completely understandable story of a large-scale embezzlement in the courier of the Federal State Unitary Enterprise “The Main Center for Special Communications”, where he was deputy head. However, after a few years, he returned to the company as head and even received the Order of Merit for the Motherland of the 2nd degree in 2016, in particular, for opening branches of “The Main Center for Special Communications” Federal State Unitary Enterprise in Crimea in March 2014. However, a year ago, Rybalkin, as sparingly reported on the website of the enterprise, “left his post” again.
According to the interlocutor of OstroV, Andrei Samarin, born in 1966, is currently in the Crimea. Previously, he was involved in a number of commercial structures of Eduard Prutnik, another native of Selydove, who was one of the most influential people in Viktor Yanukovych's entourage, when he was head of the Donetsk Regional State Administration and Prime Minister. In 2004, the then head of the government Yanukovych even appointed Samarin as deputy head of the Ukrresursy state-owned company, and in 2006, having returned to the position, he was promoted to head: Samarin held this post until the beginning of 2008.
It were the structures of Eduard Prutnik where Alexander Ananchenko moved to, having returned to Ukraine and settled in Donetsk after fleeing of Mikhail Zhivilo from Russia. “In Donetsk, Ananchenko created the Center for Anti-Crisis Management, was engaged in bankruptcy, - the source of OstroV tells, who also worked for Prutnik. - At that time, Eduard was deputy governor, worked with Ananchenko on some projects. So they met. When Eduard left for Kyiv in 2002, he took Ananchenko with him. At the same time, Eduard decided to create a management company, Investment and Industrial Union, and Ananchenko became deputy general director. It seems that Eduard even offered him to head it, but Ananchenko faded into insignificance, having offered to pick up a person from Donetsk. From 2005 to 2013, he worked in two Prutnik's companies, the Investment and Industrial Union and Ukrinpro. He was responsible for legal issues and administrative activities. In April 2013, Eduard decided to optimize his business and dismissed Ananchenko”.
In 2009, Ananchenko also became member of the supervisory board of OAO Zaporizhhlavpostach, which included Prutnik-related structures, while the company itself soon transformed into a private joint-stock company. He remained in this role until September 2017, when his powers were terminated “due to the end of his term in office”. The interlocutor of OstroVa claims that the last time Ananchenko was seen in Zaporizhhlavpostach in 2015. He told the staff that he was “volunteer” in Donetsk. In October 2018, Denis Pushilin said that with Ananchenko, “we have been working in the same team for several years, we know each other well, and it seems fair to say that we worked well together”. Perhaps Pushilin is simply lying, because there were not many ways for economic manager Ananchenko and “exiled” to Minsk Pushilin to cross…
It arrests attention that Alexander Ananchenko has always been content with the role of deputy in leadership positions. In the odious Vneshtorgservis, as well as in the structures of Prutnik, he was also in the shadow of former deputy governor of the Irkutsk oblast Vladimir Pashkov. Ananchenko could also remain “deputy prime minister” in the “government” of the Donetsk “republic”, however, if in the Russian VTS (with the South Ossetian registration), the head could be Russian, then someone from the locals had to head the Donetsk “council of ministers” – this is a political issue.
However, in mid-April, Ananchenko was still sustained by Pashkov, having changed the positions of the heads of Vneshtorgservis. Perhaps, this is explained by the fact that, as sources of OstroV, who knew Ananchenko from Prutnik's structures, told, the “Prime Minister of the DNR” was not an expert in economics and finance: “He was in charge of legal issues and administrative activities. He did not get involved in the economy, he was not an expert. He had relevance neither to the economy, nor to the finance. He was strong administrator".
What is curious: Pashkov stated in one of the comments that local websites quoted that he was in the “republic” for the “fourth year“ and was deeply immersed in many problems. If the “vice-premier” did not get confused in the dates, it means that his arrival in Donetsk took place before the appearance of Vneshtorgservis there in March 2017.
Neither the Internet nor OstroV's sources have any information about how Ananchenko appeared to be in VTS. Perhaps, the old Selydove-Moscow ties worked.
But most likely, his pre-war participation in the structures of Eduard Prutnik affected. As is known, since the beginning of the 2000s, Prutnik has had a joint, though not advertised, business with Yanukovych. After Yanukovych's fail in 2004, the partners began to divide assets, what resulted in the aggravation of relations. Such aggravation that resulted in an explosion in Donetsk in 2009…
“The unknown device worked at 19.10 in the courtyard of elite high-rise building at the intersection of Bohdan Khmelnytsky Avenue and Rosa Luxemburg Street. Moreover, this impudent act of sabotage almost completely duplicates the December attempted assassination of businessman Vladislav Dreger, on whose way the garbage can was undermined. The new explosion thundered near the site of the winter terrorist attack – just 500 meters along the Rosa Luxemburg Street. This time, the killers launched a detonator when the black 500th Mercedes drove out of the yard, and the blast wave also damaged Mazda parked at the entrance”, - one of the Donetsk online media wrote at that time.
The damaged Mercedes belonged to head of the Donbass Settlement and Financial Center Association Alexey Motin. This is the same DSFC, for the control over which Prutnik and Yanukovych fought back at that time. A year later, when Viktor Yanukovych became president, Prutnik was forced to sell the DRFC to Yanukovych, who made it his main coal asset. At that time, Oleksandr Yanukovych began actively recruit Prutnik's managers to work for him, since he lacked his own people for the new business. It is possible that he also recruited someone for an insider dealing in the structures of the former partner…
However, this is only an assumption, but the sources of OstroV confirm the fact of the acquaintance of Ananchenko and Oleksandr Yanukovych at that time. It is known that after leaving Prutnik in 2013, Ananchenko advised Oleksandr Yanukovych on several projects. It is possible that this connection was, in turn, the bridge of Ananchenko to Kurchenko.
It is believed that former “young oligarch“ Serhiy Kurchenko, who was once close to Oleksandr Yanukovych, stands behind Vneshtorgservis, as well as behind the Gaz Alliance company involved in the Russian-Republican export-import schemes. However, no one has so far been able to unquestionably determine the role that Kurchenko played in Ukraine during the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych. It is also completely unclear how and under what conditions he (or father and son Yanukovychs) could gain control over deliveries of Russian raw materials to the Donetsk and Luhansk “republics” and the lion's share of coal, metal and hardware production in these territories, as well as monopoly for the export of this production to the same Russian Federation. There are big doubts about the single beneficiary of VTS.
Information about Vneshtorgservis is covered with an even denser blanket of fog than the biographies of its leaders. It is not even clear today who remained at the helm in this structure if its head and deputy head entered the “government” of the self-proclaimed state. There is almost no data on taxes and deductions that fall into the budget of the “republics” from VTS: it is not clear in general what exactly this structure pays locally. In February of this year, “Minister of Coal and Energy” Ruslan Dubovsky complained that “in relations with counterparties, ZAO Vneshtorgservis and OOO Gaz-Alliance Company, difficulties related to their non-fulfillment of contractual obligations in terms of payment for supplied coal products and transmitted electricity periodically appear”.
It is difficult to reliably estimate the general role of Pashkov and Ananchenko in the processes taking place in Donetsk and Luhansk, but it seems that it is about complete control over the local economy and financial flows. In late April, Denis Pushilin signed a decree on the creation of a “republican treasury,” which was also effectively subdued by Ananchenko.
Such shifts do not occur in the Luhansk “republic”, although Vneshtorgservis controls the largest enterprises there as well. Today, “economic integration” of the two “republics” takes place virtually under the control of its management from Donetsk and partly under the auspices of VTS, when the disparate production in parts of two eastern oblasts not controlled by Kyiv is locked into production chains, a single management is introduced in the parts of the Donetsk railway, inherited by the “republics”. Investing huge amounts of money in the maintenance of two belligerent pseudo-states, Moscow officials are probably trying not only to control their spending as much as possible, but also to get something for themselves for it.
Yulia Abibok, Serhiy Harmash, OstroV