Recently intriguing events have taken place in the Luganks People’s Republic (LPR; [or Lugansk region of Ukraine]). Acting LPR Foreign Minister Vladislav Deinego said that the republic should consider returning back to Ukraine, citing international pressure. Later the statement was refuted by the military and political leadership of the LPR. The situation is developing. SouthFront brings to your notice an interesting analysis of the situation in the LPR made by Tsargrad Analytical Group.
Prepared by Tsargrad Analytical Group; Published by tsargrad.tv; Translated by J.Hawk exclusively for SouthFront
Lugansk People’s Republic became ripe for a pro-Ukraine coup. It would seem yesterday and today saw an attempt at a counter-coup. Nobody knows how it will end.
Tsargrad.tv received information that LPR head Igor Plotnitskiy and his administration chief Irina Teitsman (who has a reputation of being the secret power behind the throne and the nickname Fiona) left the Republic in an unknown direction. A day later they returned, apparently having received guarantees of some kind, because soon additional news that “everything is being stood on its head”, “MVD workers have barricaded themselves” and “blocked access to the building” but “women went sent away just in case”, but overall “MVD is in a state of siege.
The earlier reports that LPR Internal Affairs Minister Igor Kornet was arrested were not confirmed.
“Fiona” with a magic wand”
Observers say that the current events are somehow related to the pro-Ukraine coup being prepared within LPR. This coup was being prepared quietly, gradually, but inexorably. Using nothing less than the apparatus of the head of the Republic that was headed by “Fiona” Teitsman who was pursuing the aim of subordinating LPR to at least some of the Ukrainian oligarchs.
“There is growing tension between the national security team and Plotnitskiy’s apparatus, ” Tsargrad was told by a source in Moscow who is usually well informed about the situation on the Donbass and in the Ukraine. “People from the team of the former governor Vladimir Pristyuk’s team are returning to their posts. These offices are being sold by the head of administration, who is trusted by Pristyuk. These people have undergone preparation by Ukrainian and Western intelligence services in Severodonetsk. The national security team is naturally against all that. So Ukrainian intelligence has begun a campaign to discredit ministers, and not only from MVD.”
This opinion is consistent with the theory expressed in various media that Teitsman is promoting Pristyuk’s people to key posts in LPR. It was, for example, reported that the Ministry of Communications and Media was to be headed by someone who since March 2015 has worked as the general director of Lugansk regional TV company in Ukraine-occupied LPR territory, specifically in Severodonetsk. In 2005-06 this same person, Andrey Shapovalov, was the advisor and press secretary to the head of Lugansk regional administration. Need one remind that in wartime ministers of communications and information, the heads of broadcasting organizations are de-facto heads of military organizations?
Moreover, there was more than one hint that Irina Teitsman has serious involvement in the Republic’s pharmaceutical industry, where she has had a lengthy collaboration with the former governor Pristyuk. Sources in LPR believe that organizations under her control implemented the distribution of humanitarian aid from Russia.
Because of her, there are also indirect suspicions of LPR head Igor Plotnitskiy. There are rumors in Lugansk that his team destroyed 200 tons of humanitarian aid so that it would not compete with goods delivered through “his warehouses”. Naturally, people want to believe this is not so but it’s clear that these suspicions cast a shadow on LPR head’s reputation and therefore on all of LPR.
What two Igors could not divide
The direct trigger for the current events was the public flogging which LPR People’s Council (parliament) deputies tried to subject Igor Kornet to. In Plotnitskiy’s presence and, according to the press, at his behest. The Minister of Internal Affairs was summoned to deliver a report on the state of affairs in his agency, but then was “pummeled” by pointed questions.
One of them concerned Kornet living in a house apparently seized from an innocent old lady. The minister simply left the assembly, slammed the door, but the story continued days later: Kornet was ejected from the house in the personal presence of Plotnitskiy. His security literally put against the wall the minister’s bodyguards from MVD SOBR and held them at gunpoint.
The most paradoxical aspect of the situation was that the LPR head himself lives, as many in the Republic claim, in a “seized” house! The house inhabited by the minister was to a large extent someone else’s, but it was declared official state property, according to local inhabitants.
Moreover, information published by the media that seized upon the story suggests before the war this house used to belong to Nina Khmelevtsova, who now lives in Kiev and has at least one other apartment in Krasnodon. Before the war she was a deputy at the Krasnodon City Council. She’s known in that city as the mother of the serious businesswoman Marina Bukayeva who owns seven businesses.
Marina Bukayeva, in turn, not only called for “harsh, martial law” in 2014 that would “stop the growing chaos” caused by “forces which disobey the law”. Media claim Bukayeva has a cohabitant and a business partner (or the other way around) Aleksandr Degtyarenko, nicknamed “Gruzin” [Georgian]. He, again, is being described by media citing well informed military personnel, jointly with his partner Yuriy Aptekar financed none other than the infamous neo-Nazi Aidar Battalion. Bukayeva also participated in this endeavor, and was directly accused of being a “financier” of this Ukrainian punitive organization.
Moreover, there were discussions in social media that Plotnitskiy was angry at Kornet “because he impounded trucks with contraband cigarettes worth $20 million”, while cigarette smuggling is under direct “patronage” of LPR head.
Many in LPR don’t want to believe, though the public opinion has already noted, that Kornet left the house he occupied “with the clothes on his back”: he did not leave in a car full of loot.
Revanchism and Coup
But there is one more interpretation of current events which accounts for available facts. It amounts to “revanchism”: returning to power not only the former governor Pristyuk, but also Lugansk oligarchs whose will he obeys, and behind him also LPR apparatus officials who are loyal to him (or tied to him through business interests). There’s nothing for them to do in the Ukraine because it’s collapsing, its industry is done, while LPR is returning to kick-backs and the sale of offices in the best traditions of pre-Maidan Donbass. And, according to this version, the current events are not only the revenge by deputies and officials on the national security team that is actively preventing the return of Ukraine-recruited officials, but also the continuation of some earlier trends. In particular, the thwarting of state coup that was allegedly planned by several LPR officials jointly with former militia commanders.
The best known of these figures is the former Prime Minister Gennadiy Tsypkalov who, according to the official version, hanged himself in his own cell during investigation…because he feared death! Yes, that’s how it was reported: “Last night the arrestee Tyspkalov, apparently aware that the testimony he provided about the ring of people participating in a conspiracy to overthrow the legal authority in the Republic poses a threat to his life, and that there will be attempts made on his life by plotters who are still free, committed suicide by hanging.”
And now we are seeing testimony, for example at the level of Minister of Agroindustry Ruslan Sorokovenko, who allegedly had some quantity of weapons that were seized by people from Prosecutor’s General office, and who supposedly saw these same weapons on the photos showing the arrest of the “plotters.” In other words, the weapons were supposedly planted. It would mean the existence of the coup itself is now in doubt, and may have simply been a dirty provocation.
Political observers note a strange coincidence. Zaur Ismailov, LPR Prosecutor General and one of the main Plotnitskiy loyalists, recently resigned. The explanation for this was laughable: apparently he wanted to turn to science. But since the close and touching mutual “love” between Ismailov and Kornet is well known in LPR, the locals have drawn the following conclusion: it would seem the MVD found some “killer evidence” concerning Prosecutor General office in staging the fake coup, and now the LPR head is trying to avenge himself on the Internal Affairs Minister for the loss of a reliable official.
Incidentally, Ismailov was replaced by…the former deputy of Kornet!
Nobody is predicting what will happen next in LPR. It is probable that the LPR head will return to Lugansk, not alone but with “Fiona”, and he will likely have in his pocket an authorization to replace the MVD head. That MVD personnel are barricaded in their own buildings and have sent women away suggests the ministry does not agree with that move, and has something that enables it to maintain this position.
One way or the other, LPR is being torn apart. Which can only make Kiev happy.