Oleh Polishchuk
Three and a half verticals: how power is structured in the LDPR
In spite of the hybrid nature of Russia's military aggression against Ukraine, the Russian occupation of some districts of the Ukrainian Donetsk and Luhansk regions over the last three and a half years has acquired classical forms masterminded by the Kremlin using three vertical levers.
The first vertical is the occupation army represented by the permanent contingent of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, which includes two army corps of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. They are directly subordinated to the highest commanders of the Russian Ministry of Defense, their uninterrupted provision with manpower, weapons and technology is secured by the commanders of the Southern Military District, with its headquarters in Rostov-on-Don, which at the same time fully controls over 400 km of the Ukraine-Russia state border in the territory of ORDLO (separate districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions). Also, the main commanding and headquarter positions in those corps disguised as the 'troops of the DPR and the LPR' are held by the regular Russian officers, while more than a half of ordinary soldiers are contracted Russian soldiers and mercenaries.
The second vertical is the occupation administration headed by the self-proclaimed 'heads of the DPR and the LPR', their 'governments', 'parliaments' and other 'bodies' of civil administration of those quasi-state formations. The 'branch of power' political and ideological management has so far been monopolized by Vladislav Surkov – assistant of the Russian President Vladimir Putin, while global social and economic processes in the occupied part of Donbas are managed by the representatives of the Russian government headed by the Vice-Prime-Minister of the RF Dmitriy Kozak in full dependence on subsidies provided from Moscow.
The third vertical — headed by the Russian FSS — performs the functions of controlling current activity of both military units of the RF's occupation army, and all the 'officials' of ORDLO.
Both the administrative, and the controlling verticals have been established with direct involvement of 'specials' — the citizens of the RF who are mainly traitors who breached the oath given to the Ukrainian people, conscripted by the Russian special services and various collaborators. For years they have been built into the local centre of the former 'ruling party' — the Party of Regions, representing mostly groups of unofficial 'masters' of Donetsk and Luhansk regions by 2014 — Rinat Akhmetov and Oleksandr Yefremov, respectively. Their minions and former subordinates are everywhere in the 'administrations of the DPR and LPR', but Akhmetov and Yefremov have actually lost comprehensive control over them due to certain situation in the gangsters' enclaves of the cleptocratic dictatorship, which the so called 'people's republics' in fact are, and which are based on the Akhmetov's and Yefremov's staff capacity.
20 most powerful persons in the 'DPR'
Alexander Zakharchenko
'head of the DPR'
The highest official of the self-proclaimed 'Donetsk People's Republic', he also holds positions of the head of the 'Republic's' Government ('The Council of Ministers of the DPR') and 'The Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of the DPR'. He has military ranks of 'Major General of the DPR' and 'Major General of LPR' (both equivalent to US Army Brigadier General rank). Also heads the local 'cartel party' – the public movement 'Donetsk Republic', holding 64 seats out of 95 in the local parliament ('People's Council of the DPR').
Following the elimination of the warlords Arseny Pavlov ('Motorola') and Mikhail Tolstykh ('Givi'), Zakharchenko became the central media personality of the fake 'Republic'. Alexander Kozakov, a former resident of Riga, is his personal image-maker. Kozakov officially holds the position of 'the advisor to the head of the DPR' and is a member of Vladislav Surkov's pool of political technologists. The latter is the assistant to the Russian President Vladimir Putin and the curator of the Russia-occupied part of Donbas.
Another Zakharchenko's well-known 'advisor' is the Russian fascist writer Zakhar Prilepin. He is Surkov's distant relative (Surkov's cousin was married to the Priplepin's sister).
41-year-old Zakharchenko was born in Donetsk, graduated from a local school and a Donetsk Technical College of Industrial Automatics with 'Mining Electromechanics' as a major. According to some reports, in 2006, he was the CEO at the 'Trading House 'Continent' LLC, affiliated with Donetsk billionaire Rinat Akhmetov. He was also co-founder of the Donetsk 'Delta-Fort' Ltd., worked in the 'Olimp' vodka company and in the local branch of the Kyiv enterprise 'Havrylivski Kurchata'. In December 2013, he was among the 'titushky' mercenary gangs, met with Eugene Zhilin, and then headed the branch of his radically pro-Russian organization 'Oplot' in Donetsk. He took an active part in capturing government buildings and armed clashes with the Ukrainian Army.
It was Zakharchenko who led the group of 'Oplot' militants to seize the Donetsk city council in April 2014. In May he was appointed 'the military commandant of Donetsk', and subsequently - 'Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of the DPR'. From August 2014 on he was also proclaimed 'the head of the DPR Government'. In the illegitimate elections of November 2014, the 'head of the republic' allegedly received 765,000 votes of local voters, or about 75% (according to the 'Central Election Commission of the DPR' fraudulent data). After that, he tried to gain control of all military and political processes among the Donetsk collaborationists, and seemed to be a sort of 'moderator' between different clans. He was a compromise figure for three groups: Akhmetov's, Surkov's and Russian special services. Now he has the backstage conflict with Denis Pushilin, so-called 'Speaker of the Parliament of the DPR'.
By the moment, Zakharchenko has actually lost his influence on the occupation forces, which are assembled in the so-called 'operational command 'Donetsk'' or '1st Army Corps of DPR'. Only one combat unit remains under his full control – 'Bastion', commanded by Andrey Borisov ('Chechen'). He also radically reduced his ties with Akhmetov, whose business in the Russia-occupied part of Donbas was 'nationalized', and the structures of the Akhmetov's humanitarian fund 'We Shall Help' ('Pomozhem') were forced out. In Donetsk and adjoining cities, the 'head of the DPR' runs a protection racket, involving a significant part of the markets, supermarkets, shopping malls, restaurants and cafes, and also food smuggling, the abduction of Russian humanitarian aid and the petrol trade. Upon seizure of the ATB supermarket chain, it was renamed into 'The First Republican Supermarket.' Now it is run by Zakharchenko's common-law wife, Natalia Gladkova. In addition, Zakharchenko also controls a chain of supermarkets 'Amstor'.
Vladimir Kononov
'Defense Minister of the DPR'
He formally commands the whole 'army' of the quasi-republic, which is de facto a limited contingent of Russian troops on the occupied territory. Because of this, he has direct links to the top leadership of the Russian Defense Ministry and is accountable only to them and to the representatives of the Main Intelligence Office (GRU) of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. The Kononov's influence is ensured by the fact that he is firmly embedded in the command chain of the Russian military. They are actual decisive force in the occupied part of the Donbas, including the control over the budget flows from the Russian Federation for the development of local army structures.
Basically, the leadership of the 'operational command 'Donetsk' includes Russian officers only. The main command and staff positions in the 'corps' are also occupied by Russian military personnel. The 'DPR' army' is staffed with contractors and mercenaries from Russia by more than half. Local 'generals' occupy their positions exclusively for television. The perfect example of such fake chieftain is 'Major-General of the DPR' Denis Sinenkov, alleged 'Commander of the 1st Army Corps'.
The bunch of Russian generals already went through the war in Donbas. Among the most famous – Major General Valery Solodchuk (creator of the 'Donbas militia', then renamed into '1st army corps of DPR') and Alexey Zavizion (took over the post in the spring of 2015, shortly after Solodchuk), Lieutenant Generals of Southern military district (Rostov-on-Don) Andrey Serdyukov and Mikhail Teplinsky (their task – to ensure uninterrupted supply of personnel, weapons and equipment to the occupying forces), Colonel General Alexander Galkin (commander of Southern military district), Alexander Lyentsov (head of the Russian group in The Joint Center for Control and Coordination on ceasefire and stabilization) and Sergei Istrakov (Head of Staff of the Land Forces of Russia, operational commander of all Russian troops in Donbas).
This 42-year-old scrubby 'Defense Minister of DPR' Kononov (nicknamed 'Tsar'), serves as an ideal cover for the famous Putin's lie of 'they're not there'. Unlike Igor Girkin (Strelkov), his predecessor in office, he is a native of Luhansk after all. All his pre-war adult life Kononov spent in the town of Sloviansk, where he worked as a coach in Judo Federation of Donetsk region. He seems to have been a GRU longtime agent, which explains his 'brilliant military career'. After Girkin's sabotage group arrival to Sloviansk in April 2014, he immediately joined its ranks, first as a chief of the checkpoint, then – a company leader, and later – a whole brigade commander. At the time of being appointed 'the Minister of Defense' in August 2014, Kononov held the rank of 'colonel of DPR'.Now he is the 'Lieutenant General of DPR', first recipient of the 'Gold Star Medal of the Hero of DPR' and other fake awards like 'St. George Cross of DPR' or 'Order of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker'.
Denis Pushilin
'Chairman of the People's Council of DPR'
Gaining full control over the 'DPR' communications with the outside world, since November 2014 he has been the appointed 'permanent plenipotentiary representative of the republic at the negotiations of the Trilateral contact group in Minsk'. Natalia Nikonorova, his 'right hand' since the beginning of 2016, heads 'the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the DPR'(although it is not possible to conduct any kind of 'foreign policy', besides developing friendly relations with other unrecognized quasi-state entities like LPR and South Ossetia). In addition, he constantly fights an internal struggle in the collaborationist's environment with variable success.
In September 2015 he compelled the 'Speaker of the People's Council' Andrey Purgin to leave office. The latter was the protege of then first deputy head of the Russia's Presidential Administration Vyacheslav Volodin (now the chairman of the State Duma). Purgin was accused of attempting a coup, after which he got the chair in the 'DPR People's Council.' This became a kind of victory of Pushilin's curator in the Kremlin, Putin's assistant Vladislav Surkov over his foul enemy Volodin. Since then the influence of Purgin has fallen in 'DPR'.
Now 36-year-old Pushilin is seen in Moscow as a major contender to replace Alexander Zakharchenko. The latter is doing his best to limit the 'speaker' and his group's influencing all processes within the 'Republic'. In particular, 'the head of DPR' forced Pushilin's relative (his father's sister) Elena Nikitina to resign from the 'information minister of DPR' office. Also he appointed his protege, militant Sergei Zavdovyeyev, a Secretary of the Executive Committee of the 'Donetsk Republic' organization, thereby weakening the position of 'President of the National Council' in this 'cartel party'.
Remarkably, Pushilin, as well as Zakharchenko, earlier largely guided by Rinat Akhmetov, now fully depends on Vladislav Surkov. In the spring of 2014, as a 'co-chairman of the provisional government of DPR', he was engaged in financial support for all separatist actions in Donetsk. He has managed to lock up most of the funds received from both Russia and Donetsk 'Party of Regions' members on himself. Pushilin has received his organizational and financial experience in the financial pyramid of MMM-2011, which in 2012 had already become a party, and in 2013, together with other pro-Russian forces, organized protests against the shale gas extraction on the Donbas territory.
Vladimir Pavlenko
'Minister of State Security of DPR'
He has been managing the actual FSB (Russian Federal Security Service) representation office in the occupied territory of Donetsk region for a long time – since December, 2015. For example, his predecessor Sergei Lukashevich was heading 'DPR State Security Ministry' for only nine months. Under Pavlenko, this office actually was able to take control over the whole 'power' block of 'DPR' - with the exception of military, of course. Modern Donetsk security and military officials conduct a permanent conflict to control budget flows from Russia.
Pavlenko controls almost all the local representatives of the so-called 'FSB group': Eduard Jakubowsky ('Chief of the Supreme Court of DPR,' a Russian citizen and former employee of the Main Department of Criminology in Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation), Andrey Spivak ('acting Attorney General of DPR,' a former employee of Donetsk Regional Prosecutor's Office), Georgy Sepashvili ('Deputy Head of the MGB of DPR', once held senior positions in the SBU departments in the cities of Sloviansk, Snizhne and Torez of the Donetsk region), Igor Zagorodniy (head of the 'Military Counterintelligence Department of MGB of DNR, ex-officer of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine in Torez, Amvrosiivka and Donetsk). Pavlenko also has a decisive influence on the 'head of Organized Crime Department of the Interior Ministry of DPR' Sergei Tishchenko and 'Interior Minister of DPR' Alexei Dikiy. However, the Security and Interior 'ministers' are having some conflicts from time to time.
The Pavlenko's personal data is quite contradictory, since he does not appear in public, has no official biography nor even official photo. The only document available on him is a screenshot of Zakharchenko's 'decree' 'On the appointment of Pavlenko Vladimir Nikolaevich the Minister of State Security of DPR.' For a long time 'MGB head' was considered a former 'people's mayor' of Sloviansk, KGB and SBU retiree Vladimir Nikolayevich Pavlenko. He held the 'mayoral' chair for less than a month, since Igor Girkin arrested the first 'people's mayor' Vyacheslav Ponomariov. After the liberation of Sloviansk by Ukrainian Army Pavlenko escaped in an unknown direction. But these Pavlenkos differ in patronymic, therefore, most likely, 'the head of the MGB of DPR' Pavlenko (among other things, this surname may be false) is a citizen of Russia and an officer of the FSB of the Russian Federation.
Aleksey Granovsky
'acting Minister of Industry and Trade of DPR.'
He is the key person, coordinating the local collaborationists of the administration in the Russia-occupied Donbas. The group includes former active members of the local branch of the 'Party of Regions', Donetsk regional and municipal authorities. Since May 2016 Granovsky controls a key 'ministry' of the 'Republic.' He had created the the office himself as then leading economic strategist of Alexander Zakharchenko's 'administration', although he remains in the status of 'acting minister' for more than 1,5 years.
Granovsky has no public conflicts, preferring to resolve the issues behind the scenes. Although he has a decisive influence on all processes in 'DPR' in industry, trade and 'foreign trade' activities. In particular, his group includes 'acting Minister of Coal and Energy of DPR 'Eduard Holenko, who previously headed the State Enterprise 'Donetsk Coal Energy Company' (the Ukrainian state company under joint control of Rinat Akhmetov and Victor Yanukovych's elder son Alexander). Another group member – 'the Fuel and Energy Advisor of the Head of DPR' Mikhail Polyakov, also the former top-manager of the 'Donetsk Coal Energy Company'. Currently all this group is actively involved in the process of so-called 'nationalization' of Ukrainian enterprises in the Russia-occupied territory of Donbas.
43-year-old Granovsky during the last three years played several important roles. From May to November 2014 he was the first 'Minister of Fuel and Energy of DPR,' and retired because of his disagreement with the contemporary idea of the 'nationalization' of Akhmetov's industrial assets. For a while he was even held hostage by militants for that. But in April 2015 he surfaced as the 'Director of Foreign Policy of the DPR Head's Administration'. From October 2015 to February 2016 he served as the first 'head of Debaltseve city administration'. Then Granovsky returned to the Zakharchenko's 'Administration', and later – to the 'Council of Ministers of the DPR'.
In pre-war period Granovsky was long-time chief of staff of the Donetsk city organization of the 'Party of Regions', which was totally controlled by Akhmetov. The party cell was headed by Oleksandr Bobkov, close companion of Boris Kolesnikov, and then – by Donetsk Mayor Oleksandr Lukyanchenko, tied directly to Akhmetov. During the Revolution of Dignity Granovsky coordinated 'titushky' gangs in Donetsk, and drove them to the Mariinsky Park in Kyiv.
Vladimir Pashkov
General Director of CJSC 'Vneshtorgservice.'
The head of the company, that according to Alexander Zakharchenko's 'decree' of April 4, 2017 'serves as the supreme governing body ... in corporations, in which the external control was introduced'. That means he now is in charge of all those 'nationalized' factories, predominantly owned by the oligarchs Rinat Akhmetov and Viktor Nusenkis. In particular it refers to the Nusenkis' PJSC 'Donetsksteel' (now it is called 'Branch number 1 of Vneshtorgservice'), Akhmetov's PJSC 'Yenakiieve Iron and Steel Works' ('Branch number 2 of Vneshtorgservice') and its Makiivka branch, as well as of Yenakiieve, Makiivka and Yasynivka coke plants, Khartsyzsk Tube Works, Dokuchayevsk Flux-Dolomite Plant, 'Komsomolske mine administration' ('Branch №8 of Vneshtorgservice') and so on.
CJSC 'Vnyeshtorhservis' itself is registered in the breakaway territory of Georgia — 'Republic of South Ossetia'. There is also 'International Accounting Bank' there, used to transfer money from Russian government to puppet 'states' of 'DPR' and 'LPR' to form their budgets. This kind of cover is used by Kremlin to avoid further sanctions from the West.
This bank is the founder of South Ossetian 'Support Fund for International Projects'. Pashkov is the president and CEO of this Fund. His citizenship and authorities in the occupied Donbas were confirmed by the 'Minister of Industry and Trade of the DPR' Alexei Granovsky to Russian newspaper 'Kommersant'.
Volodymyr Pashkov, aged 56, was born in the Russian town of Bratsk, Irkutsk region. In 1985, he graduated from the Makarov Pacific Naval High School and served as a navigator on a new nuclear submarine cruiser, which, on his initiative, was called 'Bratsk'. He served in the ranks of the Russian Navy till 1993, and was transferred from the active duty to reserves in the rank of Captain III rank (Lieutenant commander). He returned to Bratsk, where in 2005 took the chair of vice mayor.
But in 2008 Pashkov was appointed Vice Governor, and later – the First Vice Governor of the Irkutsk region. He was assisted by the General Director of the state corporation 'Rosteh' Sergei Chemezov (in 1980-s Chemezov and Putin worked as KGB officers in Eastern Germany and even lived in the same house). Later Pashkov left for Moscow and took over 40% of the shares of the IT company 'Expertek', which began to win tenders for contracts with the state corporation 'Rosneft' and its branches throughout Russia. Now he has reached a new level of his career with 'Vnyeshtorhservis'. Having that, we might consider rumours that Pashkov is a creature of the fled Ukrainian oligarch Serhiy Kurchenko inadequate.
Alexander Timofeyev
'Deputy Head of the Council of Ministers of DPR',
'Minister of Revenues and Duties of DPR'
As 'Deputy Prime Minister' he coordinates six economic bloc 'DPR ministries'. But he is much more famous in Russia-occupied part of Donbas for his 'tax activities'. It means 'Minister' Timofeyev as a militant nicknamed 'Sasha Tashkent' runs large scale corporate raids and organisation of smuggling and sale of counterfeit alcohol and cigarettes as a head of armed gang. For example, he has overtaken the 'Amstor' supermarket chain, and then presented it to Alexander Zakharchenko, who seems to be the relative of Timofeev's first wife.
For himself personally he 'nationalized' Zasyadko and Kiselyov mines, brought bankruptcy and encroached on state enterprise 'Makiivvuhillia', stole the gasoline supplied to the occupied Donbas from Russia by the Ukrainian fugitive oligarch Sergey Kurchenko. Also Timofeyev took control over depots with tobacco, alcohol and jewellery, smuggled coal, fuel and lubricants, etc. For these purposes he used the armed militants of the 'Oplot' brigade, where Tymofeyev was listed as the 'Chief of Staff' in 2014.
Having established control over small and medium businesses through the 'nationalization' of markets and the introduction of a new tax system, 'Tashkent' has become one of the most influential decision-makers in DPR. His closest partner in black business schemes is Konstantin Kuleshov, who has long been running the 'state' enterprise 'Markets of Donbass', created especially for him, and administered along with Timofeyev the contents of the first humanitarian convoys from Russia in 2014. They supposedly sent the humanitarian aid to 'military commandants', but in reality it was sold in stores controlled by them and other 'DPR' warlords. That was cause of violent conflicts with representatives of the Russian GRU and the FSB and their entire structure in the occupied Donbas. At the moment, militant 'security officials' have somewhat weakened the influence of 'Minister of Revenues and Duties', but they cannot remove him from the game completely due to the Zakharchenko's relentless support of his protege.
Before the war, 46-year-old Timofeev worked on the cable television and the Internet services, as the founder of DonSatTV (this company has been successful until now in the occupied Donetsk). His nickname 'Tashkent' he gained due to the studying in Tashkent Higher Combined Arms Command School in 1989-1991. He finished his military education in 1993 at a similar school in Blagoveshchensk, Russian Far East. But formally he never served in Russian army: in 1996 he returned to Donetsk after working as the chief of security at the diamond factory in Yakutsk for two years.
Alexey Dikiy
'Minister of Internal Affairs of the DPR'
One of the iconic traitors to Ukraine, and an example of collaborationism among the officials of the law enforcement system. In the spring of 2014, as Head of Organized Crime Department in Donetsk regional office of Ukraine's Interior Ministry, he quickly switched sides to pro-Russian militants, whose main base was just a base of his Department. He was one of the organizers and curators of attacks on the government buildings, and the capture of the regional prosecutor's office in particular, where many criminal cases and other important documents were stored. Then, in April 2014 Dikiy was issued a passport of the Russian Federation (with the assistance of the Russian FSB), with nominal place of residence in the town of Yevpatoria in Russia-occupied Crimea.
At the moment of his treason 43-year old Dikiy was in the rank of Lieutenant Colonel of Ukrainian Militia, now he is 'Lieutenant-General of DPR Police'. His authority covers not only all the local 'policemen', 'Migration Service' and 'Traffic Police', actively issuing 'DPR passports' and car licence plates with separatist symbols, but also all kinds of prisons on the occupied territory. But the backbone of Dikiy's 'office' are the Organized Crime Department (headed by 'the first deputy minister' Sergei Tishchenko, his former subordinate in Donetsk Militia), 'Berkut' riot police unit (also commanded by a traitor, a former Ukrainian police officer Andriy Tereshchenko), a 'quick response' special unit ('SOBR'), etc. Also he controls 'Internal Troops of the DPR', headed by 'Deputy Minister' Oleg Makarchenko, who in 2014 worked in private security companies in Donetsk. All these illegal formations are directly involved in combat operations and guard duty at checkpoints. Also they are actively used during the organization of various parades in Donetsk.
Dikiy has a permanent conflict of interests with the 'State Security Ministry' ('MGB of the DPR'), he was repeatedly lowered in status to 'Acting Minister', and in 2015 even held under short-term arrest. 'Security officials' and the information channels under their control from time to time accuse Dikiy of stealing money allocated to the 'DPR police', drug trafficking, jiggery with Russian 'humanitarian aid', even of ties to Ukrainian special services. However, recently the 'head of the Interior Ministry of the DPR' again got rid of the 'acting' status. On the other side, Dikiy was sentenced in absentia by the Ukrainian court in Toretsk (Donetsk region) to 12 years in prison.
Dmitry Trapeznikov
'Deputy Head of the Council of Ministers of the DPR'
Serves as a 'secret agent of influence' of the former 'master of Donbas' Rinat Akhmetov in the 'leadership of the DPR'. Works in conjunction with another unofficial Akhmetov's ally, 'Acting Minister of Industry and Trade of the DPR' Aleksey Granovsky. Trapeznikov has a fierce backstage confrontation with Alexander Timofeev – ' Deputy Head of the Government' and 'Minister of Revenues and Duties', and the head of Zakharchenko's administration Maxim Leshchenko. They are fighting over the influence on the 'head of the DPR'.
Previously 36-year-old 'vice prime minister of the DPR' Trapeznikov was Leshchenko's subordinate while serving as the 'head of the department of internal and foreign policy of the head of the DPR'. Their relations spoiled so much that one day Trapeznikov even shot Leshchenko in his leg with his own pistol. This incident had no consequences for both, but after that Trapesnikov overtook control of the key figures of Zakharchenko's 'administration'.
Currently, unofficial 'Trapeznikov's group' includes Alexander Zakharov ('the head of the management of affairs' in Zakharchenko's administration), Anna Kotova ('the head of the control and audit department') and Alexander Pototsky ('the head of state-legal management'). Also the 'vice PM' has some influence on 'the head of the secretariat of the administration' Olena Filippova. His main opponents are Leshchenko and Igor Martynov, former self-proclaimed Mayor of Donetsk, now in charge of social policy issues in Zakharchenko's 'administration'.
In the pre-war period, Trapeznikov was the head of the 'Ukoopzovnishtorg' Trading House. Before that he worked as deputy head of the Petrovskoy District Council of Donetsk city and at the same time was the leader of the fan-club of Donetsk 'Shakhtar' football team, belonging to Rinat Akhmetov. He started working as the FC Shakhtar manager back in 2001, while studying in the Donetsk State Academy of Civil Engineering and Architecture.
Oleksandr Bobkov
a former 'Party of Regions' MP
One of the few former members of the 'Party of Regions' parliamentary faction, who remained in the Russia-occupied part of Donetsk region, and even took part in the fight with the Ukrainian army in the ranks of 'Pyatnashka' militant battalion (currently brigade). As the former chief organizer and financier of the Kharkiv 'Oplot' and his Donetsk branch, he has a serious impact on the 'head of the DPR' Alexander Zakharchenko. Moreover Bobkov himself and 'Vice Premier of the DPR – Minister of Revenues and Duties' Timofeev are mentioned from time to time as possible replacement for Zakharchenko. Previously Timofeyev was Zakharchenko's 'chief of stuff', while the latter commanded the 'Oplot' militants in Donetsk. Bobkov de facto still controls the separatist channel 'Oplot TV'. Also he is one of the links connecting 'the leaders of the DPR' with the criminal world, the oligarch Rinat Akhmetov and Putin's assistant Vladislav Surkov.
The whole biography of the 57-year-old Bobkov is connected with Budonivskyi District of Donetsk city. During 'the wild 1990s' he, as director of the local kolkhoz market, had business affairs with his old acquaintance at the local boxing section Givi Nemadsze, then the leader of a key organized crime group in the Akhmetov' service. In 2002, he became the chairman of the Budonivskyi District Council, and since 2004 he also was the head of the Donetsk city organisation of the 'Party of Regions'. Thus he became the Akhmetov's supervisor of Donetsk mayor Alexander Lukyanchenko. In 2010, Bobkov was promoted – powerful Boris Kolesnikov made him a deputy in the regional party organization. In 2012 he was elected to the Verkhovna Rada in Donetsk single-member electoral district No. 41 (Budonivskyi District).
Today Bobkov runs a coal business together with his ex-partner in the parliamentary faction of the 'Party of Regions', the collaborationist oligarch Andrei Orlov. The business involves both small illegal mines and seized state mines. He also continues to deal with Vyacheslav Lyashko, the son of his long-time partner, Mikhail Lyashko (known as the Donetsk criminal boss 'Mishana Kosoyi', who was killed in the occupied Crimea in 2015). Now Lyashko Jr. is partly controlling tobacco factorу 'Hamadey' (together with two more crime bosses, Parubets brothers – Vladimir 'Liver' and Anatoly 'Count'). Also he runs the export of counterfeit alcohol and scrap metal from the Russia-occupied territory.
Ekaterina Matyuschenko
'Deputy Head of the Council of Ministers of the DPR',
'Minister of Finance of the DPR'
One of the few members of the 'government of the DPR', still in office since the first day of its existence. She has been bypassing all personnel perturbations, cleansing and arrests for more than three years. From the very beginning, she has been issuing normative acts on behalf of the fake 'Ministry of Finance', and organized the collection of material aid for the militants. She has a direct connection with the economic curators of the 'DPR' in the Russian government, in particular, with Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, who, in fact, is responsible for all budgets and intergovernmental relations in Russia. Also she is connected with Deputy Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation Sergey Nazarov, Russia's Deputy Minister of Finance Leonid Gornin, and others.
38-year-old 'Vice Prime Minister of the DPR' Matyuschenko has orders and medals from her chief, Alexander Zakharchenko. Her alleged merits include introducing at least some rules in the process of budgeting and cash operations in the 'young republic', and inventing some system of budget classification according to certain norms and standards. It is noteworthy that the only experience in this field the 'head of the Ministry of Finance' ever had has been gained back in 2002-2008. She was listed then as the chief specialist of the budget department of financial board in the Yasynuvata Town Council. And by February 2014, Matyuschenko was a financial director of the little-known 'Construction Finance Corporation'. Therefore, it seems that all these accomplishments on the 'budget of the DPR' she was awarded for, has been made at least under strict control of her 'mentors' from Moscow. Or everything was done even without her participation at all.
In reality, the daily paper work of the 'Ministry of Finance of the DPR' is in the deep crisis. Even the basic mechanism of the reception of documents has not been established, causing unprecedented delays in the consideration of elementary issues. Instead, there is a clear timetable for taking bribes, which, at least, allows Matyuschenko to regularly show off in public in a new and expensive fashion clothes with exquisite accessories. At the same time the absolute majority of the population of the Russia-occupied territory lives in extreme poverty.
Sergey Zavdoveev
Secretary of the executive committee of the organization 'Donetsk Republic'
He is known as a militant field commander 'Frantsuz' ('Frenchman'), 'Commander of 'The Legion' particular risk unit of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of DPR' in the rank of 'colonel', 'MP of the DPR People's Council', and 'the secretary of the executive committee of the separatist organization 'Donetsk Republic' – 'cartel party' in the occupied part of Donetsk region. In all his hypostases, he performs the functions of Alexander Zakharchenko's personal 'special task expert', ly, 'the head of the Dnieper', acting as a hammer against his domestic among other collaborationists.
In particular, Zavdoveev headed the 'temporary parliamentary commission' in 2016, investigating the activities of Zakharchenko's direct opponent – Alexander Khodakovsky, former 'Secretary of the Security Council of DPR'. Commission adopted a resolution banning Khodakovsky from holding any office in the puppet state. Another 'interim commission', headed by Zavdoveev, was responsible for the 'nationalization' of markets in the occupied territory. As a result, after the few months of 'work' he managed to overtook control over more than two dozen markets to Zakharchenko's benefit. It caused some conflicts with the 'Minister of Revenues and Duties of DPR' Alexander Timofeyev and his business partner Konstantin Kuleshov, who also actively raided small businesses, but in their own favour. Currently Zavdoveev as a head of this 'interim commission' is replaced by the head of the 'Donetsk Republic' parliamentary fraction Alexander Kostenko (former Zakharchenko's personal bodyguard with indicative nickname 'Skromny' ('Modest')), and this rotation was controlled by Timofeev-Kuleshov duet.
The 35-year-old 'Frenchman's' armed gang is now legalized under the banners of the local 'Emergency Ministry', headed by 'Major General' Alexei Kostrubitsky (before his treason in 2014 he was deputy chief of the Donetsk regional department of Emergency Ministry of Ukraine in the rank of Lieutenant Colonel). Previously, the 'Legion' was part of the militant 'Oplot' brigade under Zakharchenko's command and carried out reconnaissance-sabotage and assault missions. According to the militant propaganda legend, in 1999, Zavdoveev used to serve in the French Foreign Legion in Afghanistan (hence his nickname 'Frenchman'). But that's a fake: firstly, he was only 17 years old then; secondly, the operation of the international coalition against the Taliban began in 2001 in response to the infamous terrorist attack of 9/11; and, thirdly, none of the real French legionnaires never heard of Zavdoveev in 1998-2004 (his alleged service term in the Foreign Legion).
In fact, before becoming in 2014 a militant, 'Frenchman' worked in 'Unitech' company, producing and selling children's playgrounds and fitness equipment. Before that this Makiivka-born man graduated of the Donetsk Polytechnic Institute majoring in 'metallurgical engineering'. Then he was a sales manager in several firms in Makiivka that were retailing building materials, plumbing and electrical appliances, or computer and office equipment. However, today Zavdoveev is a key element in the confrontation between Zakharchenko and 'speaker of the parliament' Denis Pushilin. Zavdoveev is pushing him back in the 'parliament' by taking control over former head of the 'Donetsk Republic' Anatoly Koval's group of MPs, and in this 'cartel party' itself. In June, 2017 the leader of 'Legion' became the secretary of the executive committee of the organization 'Donetsk Republic', in which almost all local state employees, students and employees of 'nationalized' enterprises, its total number of about 180 thousand, are enlisted.
Maksim Leshchenko
'the head of the administration of the head of the DPR'
The member of the inner circle of the Alexander Zakharchenko since 2014. In September of that year he was appointed 'mayor' and 'military commandant' of two towns at once – Khartsyzsk and Illovaysk, and in December he took the chair of 'the administration of the head of the DPR'. His influence among the collaborationists is weakened due to the sharp and constant conflict with his former subordinate and current 'vice-premier of the DPR' Dmitry Trapeznikov. Noteworthy, that both Leshchenko and Trapeznikov are commonly listed among those dependent from the Donetsk oligarch Rinat Akhmetov.
Before the war Leshchenko used to work for a few construction firms in his hometown Khartsyzsk, which thrived by having contracts with local municipality (it should be noted that the city-forming enterprise is Akhmetov's Khartsyzsk tube plant). His brightest career success was the chair of the director of the economic issues of the 'Zhdanovska' mine, owned by the businessmen Oleksandr Rotov and Anatoly Diachenko. The main consumer of the mine's coal was 'DTEK Trading Ltd' of the same Rinat Akhmetov.
By the way, the general director of the 'Zhdanovska' then was Ruslan Dubovsky, generally known as the protege of Serhiy Kuziara – coal top-manager of the Yanukovych's 'family'. Later on, when Dubovsky headed 'the Coal and Energy Ministry of the DPR' in 2015-2016, the coal from the occupied territories has been actively sold in free Ukrainian regions, and now he returned successfully to his chair in 'Zhdanovska' mine.
By the moment Leshchenko, aged 44, is trying hard to retain his influence in Zakharchenko's 'administration' by pulling his men to Donetsk. But the circle of 'his men' is limited to Khartsyzsk only. The current head of the 'administration of the Kalininsky district of Donetsk' Vasily Tkachuk (separatist 'mayor' of Khartsyzsk after Leshchenko), and 'first deputy minister of Revenues and Duties of DPR' Alexander Zakharov (former 'black cash' administrator of the Khartsyzsk bus station, later 'deputy head of the administration of the head of DPR') are originated from that town. Leshchenko can't rely on anyone else but the Khartsyzsk compatriots.
Yuri Chertkov
a former 'Party of Regions' MP.
He controls the production of counterfeit vodka and its trading in 'DPR', 'LPR' and Ukraine. Chertkov has strong influence on other crime bosses, running businesses in Russia-occupied territory and taking part in massive smuggling schemes to Russia, Ukraine and from there. He was elected to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine three times (in 2006, 2007, and 2012) as a member of 'Party of Regions'. In the party Chertkov was the member of Rinat Akmetov's informal group and was always guided by the oligarch personally in all his deeds.
55 years old Chertkov is known as 'Chort' ('Devil') in Donetsk since the mob wars of 'wild 1990s.' At the time he was the member of the Vasily Sorokin gang, who controlled Petrovsky district of Donetsk. Later he joined more powerful Akhat Bragin's gang.
Official biography of MP Chertkov is blank since 1988, when he retired from the position of the digitally programmed worktables on Petrovsky repair-mechanical plant, till 1997, when he became the director of ' Petrovske' private enterprise. During this period he is mentioned in many criminal cases and different police files.
Some sources say that during all Donbas war Chertkov financed illegal armed formation, called 'Russian Orthodox Army'. Leading positions in this unit were occupied by Pysarchuk brothers, Ruslan and Andriy. They were well-known in Donetsk in 1990s as 'Philia' and 'Pisar' – Chertkovs personal killers, experts in murders and terror. There is an unconfirmed information, that Chertkov currenly lives in Kyiv, and visits 'DPR' from time to time.
Alena Filippova
'Chief of the Secretariat of the head of DPR'.
One the most trusted persons of Alexander Zakharchenko. As his secretary, she controls the contacts of other collaborationists with their leader. She is successfully manoeuvring between different centres in Zakharchenko's 'administrtion', above all – between conflicting nominal chief of the 'administration' Maksim Leshchenko and most influential 'vice-premier of the DPR' Dmitry Trapeznikov. Actually she is appointed by Russian FSB as some kind of 'supervisor.' On July 14, 2015 she survived the assassination attempt – the bomb was planted on her Range Rover and exploded on the way.
48 years old 'Chief of the Secretariat of the head of DPR' was introduced into Zakharchenko's inner circle by Russian FSB Lieutenant General Vladimir Antiufeyev. In July-September 2014 he was the 'First Vice-Premier of DPR on State Security Issues,' and Filippova was known as his secretary.
Basically, short stay of experienced FSB official Antiufeyev, who was 'State Security Minister' of self-proclaimed 'Transnistrian Republic' on Moldovan territory for 20 years, had two aims. First – push off Russian terrorist Igor Girkin ('Strelkov') from all affairs, and second – to set up FSB agent all over the puppet state of 'DPR'. It seems, he completed both tasks successfully.
In 2015 Filippova herself moved up her 24 years old daughter Alexandra to the chair of the 'First Deputy Chief of the Main Intelligence Department of the DPR,' with assigning the military rank of 'Major'. 'Major Sasha' became well known in Donetsk for militants of 'DPR Intelligence' under her command started robbing expensive apartments, kidnapping businessmen for the ransom, running racket and committing ordered murders under the pretext of 'fighting enemy's sabotage groups.' As a result of this volcanic criminal actions Filippovs family managed to buy 5-room apartment in Moscow, villa in Moscow region and even opened the bank account on Cyprus.
Andrey Orlov
a former 'Party of Regions' MP
Long-time partner of Donetsk 'Orthodox oligarch' Victor Nusenkis (currently the Russian citizen), whose industrial assets on Russia-occupied territory were 'nationalized' in March, 2017. Also he runs joint coal business with his ex-colleague in 'Party of Regions' parliamentary fraction Alexander Bobkov, one of the 'grey cardinals' of the 'DPR.' Their business involves both small illegal mines and seized state mines. Orlov was elected to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine for two times, in 2006 and 2007, as a member of 'Party of Regions.' But in 2012 he fell into disfavour due to the conflict over the control over the 'Makiivvuhillia' state enterprise with the most powerful party member Yuri Ivaniushchenko, and the latter won the battle.
Today 47 years old Orlov is not seen in public, which is understandable, due to his past and current unofficial control over lots of enterprises beyond both sides of the frontline. In particular, those are eight coal-enriching factories – 'Antratsyt,' 'Dzerzhynska,' 'Kondratiivska,' 'Selidovska,' 'Stakhanivska,' 'Proletarska,' 'Torezska,' and 'Chumakivska.' Also he controls Horlivka chemical plant, 'Energotrans' transportation company, 'Energocaital' metal plant, and 'Europe' hotel in Russia-occupied Crimea.
Since the end of 2016 the illegal coal businesses of Orlov's commercial structures are under the investigation by the Prosecutor's office of Donetsk region. On the contrary, his 'Europrombank,' named 'problematic' by National Bank of Ukraine in 2015, still working, after changing his legal address from Donetsk to Kyiv.
Meanwhile, ex-Chairman of the Board of the 'Europrombank' is the 'Head of the Central Republican Bank of the DPR.' This fake 'financial institution' pays 'pensions from the Pension fund of DPR,' receives payments 'for communal services,' settles the exchange course of Russian ruble and Ukrainian hryvnia on the territory of the 'Republic,' gives 'agreements on the foreign currency transfer through the customs border of the DPR for the treatment or studying expenses,' and even issues payment cards and runs ATMs. Truth is, 'Republican Bank' installed correspondent relations only with South Ossetian 'International Clearing Bank,' transferring the money from Russian federal budget, and with the 'State Bank of LPR.'
Alexander Khodakovsky
'ex-Secretary of DPR Security Council.'
In 2014 he was one of the most influential warlords on the Russia-occupied territory of Donetsk region, as a commander of the 'Vostok' ('East') brigade nicknamed 'Scythe.' Under the premiership of the Russian citizen Alexander Boroday he headed 'the DPR Security Service,' and since the November, 2014 till March, 2015 he held the chair of the 'Secretary of DPR Security Council,' being the 'DPR People Council MP' of the organisation 'Donetsk Republic.' After he lost all his positions in the puppet state, he declared himself and his organisation 'Donbas Patriotic Forces' in opposition to Alexander Zakharchenko. Still he was mentioned in media and internet almost as often, as the 'head of the DPR', leaving far behind 'the speaker of the parliament' Denis Pushilin and other collaborationists.
Khodakovsky, 44, is perhaps the most famous traitor to the oath to the Ukrainian people. Prior to Russian aggression, he was the head of the Special Operations Center 'A' ('Alpha' special unit) of SBU Office in Donetsk region. During the events at the Kyiv Maidan, he participated in the assault on the House of Trade Unions – the headquarters of the opposition to Yanukovych regime.
With the onset of the so-called 'Russkaya Vesna' ('Russian Spring') in Donbas, he immediately switched sides to the Russian aggressors. He as well seems to be serving Russia's secret services for long time. Also he is one of the key 'assets' of Donetsk billionaire Rinat Akhmetov on Russia-occupied territory. Khodakovsky controlled the western frontiers of the 'DPR' For a long time, and had his share in the smuggling of grocery goods and drugs across the frontline.
'Vostok' brigade protected the Akhmetov's property, including the Donetsk 'Donbass Arena'. Also, Khodakovsky' militants escorted and secured the humanitarian goods of Akhmetov's fund 'Pomozhem' ('We will help' and alternative supplies of petrol from Ukraine and its trading in the 'DPR', in particular, through gas stations network 'Parallel', then controlled by Akhmetov's affiliates.
Currently, the influence of Khodakovsky on all military, political and economic processes in the Russia-occupied territory is actually reduced to zero, but he is still on the 'bench of spare' of the Russian special services, and can be considered as a candidate for any office, including 'the head of the republic.'
Eduard Basurin
'Deputy Commander of the Operational Command 'Donetsk' of the DPR Forces.'
He is the main media figure of a limited contingent of the Russian Armed Forces on the Russia-occupied territory of the Donetsk region, referred to as the '1st Army Corps of DPR' or 'operational command 'Donetsk'. He is playing the main propaganda and deceptive role, regularly reporting 'republic's' view of the fighting on briefings. He is acting strictly according to instructions, received from Russian generals, who are in charge of the war in Donbas. It gives him good contacts in the Russian Defense Ministry and the GRU of the General Staff of the Russia's Armed Forces. He is considered as a 'spare' in case of a possible rotation of 'Defense Minister of DPR' Vladimir Kononov. Despite his high status, 51-year-old Basurin is still in the rank of 'Colonel'.
According to formal features, the 'Deputy Commander of the 1st Army Corps of DPR' is considered to be local, since he was born and raised in Donetsk, where he also resided for the past 20 years. However, after graduating from 1987 Donetsk General Yepishev High Political And Military School of Engineers and Signal Corps, he was sent to the Urals – to the town of Kungur in Perm region. He served there in the Army Air Defence as political officer. Basurin retired from the Russian Army in 1997, then returned to Donetsk, where he first began to work as a history and physical education teacher, and then in various polyethylene production companies.
In the spring of 2014, Basurin, as a long-time GRU agent, was activated and immediately joined the organization and conduct of the fake separatist 'referendum.' Subsequently he became the 'political officer of the 'Kalmius' battalion, which was quickly reformatted into 'Separate Artillery Brigade 'Kalmius' of militant forces. In particular, this unit took an active part in the bloody battles for Saur-Mohyla mounting. And in the fall of that year, Basurin became 'Deputy Defence Minister for Personnel Issues'.
Since the battle for Debaltseve in January and February of 2015, this character is also the unofficial press secretary of the 'DPR Forces,' telling lies about 'ISIS militants in the service of the Kyiv junta,' 'sacrificing of Donbas residents to pagan god Perun by Ukrainian punishers,' and the other outright nonsense. Besides that, Basurin has friendly relations with the infamous Kremlin propagandist Graham Phillips, and is constantly hindering the OSCE mission with their duties in Russia-occupied territory. In February 2015, he appeared in sanction lists of the European Union.
Aleksey Kulemzin
'Acting Head of Donetsk City Administration'
Since October 2016, he rules the 'capital of the DPR' in the status of 'acting mayor', positioning himself as some kind of 'manager', bothered exclusively with Donetsk communal problems. He was appointed by Alexander Zakharchenko by the results of last year's October 'primaries' in the city, although even in this pseudo-vote, Kulemzin gained only 5% of the votes, while Igor Martynov, then 'acting head of Donetsk administration' – 83%.
The latter, who has been 'mayor' since October 2014 to October 2016, is currently in charge of the entire social bloc in the 'administration of the head of the DPR', and therefore retains a significant influence on the Donetsk municipality and Kulemzin himself. In the pre-war period, Martynov was a member of the Donetsk City Council from the 'Party of Regions' and director of the Scherbakov Culture and Recreation Park.
The 43-year-old Kulemzin before the Russian invasion has always been working in the Donetsk Regional State Administration. He has got there almost immediately after graduating from the Economics Faculty of the Donetsk State University in 1997. In 2007, he became the Head of the Department of Foreign Economic Relations and European Integration of Donetsk Region State Administration, and since 2011 became Deputy Head of the Main Department for Regional Development, Investments and Foreign Economic Relations. He also joined the secretariat of the so-called 'Donbas Euroregion.' Despite this European name, under the Yanukovych regime this association was supposed to facilitate border cooperation between the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine and the Voronezh and Rostov regions of Russia.
Now, the official biography of this collaborationist on the website of the occupation administration of Donetsk, all this 'eurointegration dirt' is absent, there is only one line: 'From May, 1998 till 2014 he worked in Donetsk Region State Administration.' While Martynov was the 'mayor', Kulemzin was listed as the 'director' of the communal enterprise 'Donelectroavtotrans'. Under his leadership the enterprise decreased 14 pre-war tram routes to alleged 9, and 19 trolleybus routes – to alleged 11.
Illarion (Roman Shukalo)
Metropolitan of Donetsk and Mariupol of Ukrainian Orthodox Church
(Moscow Patriarchate)
He lives in the occupied Donetsk, performing almost all his liturgies in the territory of the 'DPR,' welcoming all leading militants and local collaborationists, including Alexander Zakharchenko. Due to that, the occupation administration supports all dioceses of the Moscow Patriarchate Church in the territory under its control in obtaining land plots and various property, repairing temples, etc. But occasionally Metropolitan Illarion goes to Ukraine-controlled Mariupol, where he incites the people with there the propaganda slogans of the Kremlin and the Moscow Patriarchate during the worships. One of the most passionate supporters of the so-called 'Russian world' among the highest clergy of the Ukrainian Church. He strictly follows all instructions of Moscow Patriarch Cyril (Gundiaev), and even forces the subordinate clergy to hold prayers for Russia, her power and the army.
Despite the fact that Roman Shukalo was born in 1951 in the village of Rudne near Lviv, all of his life he lived in Donbas. In 1980s he served in several churches in the Luhansk region. After graduating from the Moscow Theological Academy in 1991 he has been serving as a bishop of Ivano-Frankivsk for a short period of time under the monastic name 'Illarion'. Then he was appointed the head of Kherson diocese, and in 1996 he was finally transferred to Donetsk. In 2000, the head of the Donetsk diocese Illarion was given the rank of Metropolitan, and made friends with Viktor Yanukovych. By the way, during the presidential elections-2004, he at the eparchial meeting called his friend Yanukovych 'Orthodox President', and his rival Viktor Yushchenko – 'Satan's servant'.
Since October 2015, Metropolitan Illarion (Shukalo) transferred all Ukrainian Church's internal financial issues in 'DNR'-controlled territory to using Russian rubles (with the exchange rate 1 hryvnia/2 rubles) and set new higher prices for rituals and the sale of church stuff. Since then, baptism costs 1,2 thousand rubles, burial – 900 rubles, wedding – 2,1 thousand rubles, and the liturgy – 450 rubles. This caused the indignation of some clerics, who said that 'raising tariffs' during the war was burdensome for parishioners. In response, Metropolitan declared those clerics as 'saboteurs,' and began to threaten them with the pushing them off the diocese with negative characteristics, that will no longer allow to find a place in other dioceses of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate.