September 23, 2016 – Fort Russ News –
Dmitry Radionov, Svobodnaya Pressa – translated by J. Arnoldski
LATEST UPDATE: Motorola and his Sparta battalion have been transferred to the LPR to provide anti-coup security
In the Lugansk People’s Republic, a coup d’etat attempt has been thwarted. This was stated in a video address on September 20th by LPR head Igor Plotnitsky.
Plotnitsky also revealed the plans of the conspirators to be provoking mass protests and arranging the entry of the Ukrainian army onto the republic’s territory.
“There was another attempt, so to speak, at a coup, but the point was not the fact of a coup in the LPR itself as much as creating a precedent with which to outrage the Ukrainian people, and then have the Ukrainian army sent in. We worked ahead of the curve, and we know everything perfectly well,” he said.
“We know those internal enemies and those who have patrons, perhaps even in the Russian Federation,” Plotnitsky emphasized. He concluded: “They did not succeed. We worked, and we will work. The republic has already long since held its own.”
Lugansk Trade Union Federation demonstration: “Our strength is in unity”
Back on August 6th, an assassination attempt was made on the LPR leader when a land mine was placed under his car. Igor Plotnitsky was wounded, but within two days he was discharged from the hospital and returned to work. According to the report of Lugansk law enforcement forces, the attempt was committed by a Ukrainian saboteur group.
“Yes, there is a Fifth Column”
Sergey Litvin, a member of the LPR head’s Public Council, an LPR army captain, the ex-minister of agriculture and food production, and the former deputy chairman of the ministerial council of the LPR, assesses the statement of the republic’s leader as a desire not to hide existing problems from people. He believes that a “fifth column” stands behind the coup attempt.
Litvin told Svobodnaya Pressa: “Yes, there is a fifth column, and a war is raging. In this context, there has been collaboration between some government officials and the former elites and, perhaps, the Ukrops. Nevertheless, I believe that a UAF invasion is unrealistic. We have an efficient army, the People’s Militia. As for the personages standing behind this attempt, the republic’s head has not named them, and this means work is ongoing on outing them. I can only guess that these are some of the former thieves trying to push the head of the republic out.”
Litvin continued: “When the National Council approved my resignation, I said: ‘I was and remain a Soldier of the Empire, a Soldier of the Republic, and I am ready to carry out any order of the Supreme Command!.’ But my resignation was voluntary. Working for the state service, I spent all the resources I had worked for before the war, but others got in differently and now they’re itching for more. But I’ll repeat: this does not affect the capability of our army. In fact, the Ukrops understand that they can’t take us head on, and so they will fight against us in every other possible way, stealthily…”
Plotnitsky vs. the security services?
In a comment given to Svobodnaya Pressa, a deputy of the National Council of the LPR who wished to remain anonymous was skeptical about the head of the republic’s statement. He said:
“This statement is very seriously doubted within the republic. There are many uncertainties. First: whom does this coup benefit? According to the Constitution, if Plotnitsky is overthrown, then authority passes to the head of the parliament, but this is Plotnitsky’s guy. He is hardly likely to participate in a conspiracy. Another figure who could legally occupy the position of head of the republic is Prime Minister Sergey Kozlov, the former chief of staff of the People’s Militia, and this man has repeatedly proven his loyalty to the LPR. It is also difficult to suggest that he would welcome in occupation forces.”
“The sound of this message is first and foremost another warning signal, primarily for the security forces who have been regularly subjected to criticism since the assassination attempt on Plotnitsky. This is the minister of state security, Leonid Pasechnik, and the minister of internal affairs, Igor Kornet. But these are the people who are now opposing the Kiev junta and their agents of influence the most effectively. Plotnitsky frequently criticizes them, not only behind the scenes, but also publicly. Moreover, there have been attempts to express distrust for security forces even through the parliament and attempts to replace them with loyal officials,” the deputy said.
The anonymous politician continued: “The hint at patrons in Russia says that Plotnitsky is going to continue to make such statements to discredit the security services and concentrate the republic’s direction in his own hands. So far, avoiding such ‘leaderism’ has been successful only thanks to the activities of the security services. On the other hand, if the coup attempt failed, then only officers of the Ministry of State Security could have been the ones that stopped it.”
“Lately, Plotnitsky has been very weary of excessive tutelage from Russia, so he is most likely hinting towards the Russian advisers that visit him so often. So we are probably dealing with a political coup rather than a coup d’etat…” the deputy concluded.
When “coup” means “stay on your toes”
Political analyst and ex-information minister of the LPR, Yuri Pershikov, does not believe that the scenario described by Plotnitsky is real:
“Even in the event of a coup, power would be concentrated either in the hands of the head of parliament or the prime minister, and these are tested, loyal people. It shouldn’t be forgotten that there is also the headquarters of the People’s Militia. In order to let in the Ukrainian army, one would have to disband our own troops, which means several brigades in a matter of a minute plus the territorial defense battalions and the militia. I don’t think that they would happily and joyfully welcome those who have been terrorizing their land, creating difficulties for them and their families, and decimating the population for a few years already. Overall, the scenario of a coup including the entry of Ukrainian troops is, in my opinion, unlikely. There is a sufficient number of factors preventing such a scenario.”
Yuri Pershikov (right) with Mozgovoy
Svobodnaya Pressa: “So what is this statement about?”
Pershikov: “Perhaps this is an attempt to once again mobilize law enforcement, carry out drills, and once again keep them from relaxing during the election primaries. Are provocations possible? Undoubtedly, and this is why vigilance is required on the part of all law enforcement structures. In short, I’m inclined to think that such a statement bears the character of pre-election rhetoric.”
Svobodnaya Pressa: “What about the “fifth column”” or hidden sympathizers of the Ukrainian government?”
Pershikov: “Of course they exist in both government organs and security structures. We are dealing with a classic civil war, and it is hard to understand what factors influence such people whose relatives live on both sides of the contact line.
“These are mainly bureaucrats, and bureaucrats are a class that can work for any government. We saw this in Crimea as well, where the most active ‘Eurointegrators’ and supporters of Yulia Tymoshenko and ‘Our Ukraine’ then quite effectively fulfilled the tasks set by Russia’s top leadership. God forbid that Ukraine will come again and they’ll repent once again just to get their next ministerial portfolios.
“Donbass is no exception. Even today there are still sympathizers with Ukraine, but they are not formidable enough to launch coup d’etats since they have no support. They have no resources, whether military or financial. In addition, the intelligence services have begun working over the past few years since independence from Ukraine. That the republic’s head announced that the coup was thwarted once again speaks to the efficiency of the republic’s Ministry of State Security.”
Who is to blame?
Political analyst Eduard Popov says: “I am not revealing any big secret by saying that LPR head Igor Plotnitsky does not enjoy great authority among the republic’s population, unlike DPR head Alexander Zakharchenko, who is much more popular in the republic and abroad.”
“Therefore, Plotnitsky constantly needs reminders that he is useful and independent. The recent failed assassination attempt on Plotnitsky objectively increased his popularity, as the very fact of its preparation attested that the LPR head poses a threat to Ukrainian authorities. Of course, no evidence of a thwarted coup d’etat will be presented, as this subject is too ‘specific’ for evidence,” Popov posited.
Svobodnaya Pressa: “In your opinion, how realistic is the coup scenario described by Plotnitsky?”
Popov: “In my opinion, the scenario described by Plotnitsky is quite realistic. Discontent among the population of the LPR is a reality to be reckoned with. Overall, life in the republic for people is very difficult, and this is largely tied to the quality of public administration and the state of the economy.
“According to the sources I have, the situation in the LPR is much worse than in the neighboring DPR. If it weren’t for the humanitarian aid from Russia, then things would be even much worse. Thus, there is a social basis for protest. The Ukrainian side is not sleeping, and treats any discontent, whether social or economic, as nostalgia for a ‘united Ukraine.’ There are such patriots of ‘united Ukraine’ in the republics as well. This is the ‘fifth column.’ Therefore, it can be assumed that any kind of large protest would be used by Ukraine as a springboard for breaking the republics from within.
“It should be recognized right away that the leadership of both republics has done more than a little that has contributed to the emergence and spread of discontent. This is especially true for the situation in the LPR. Just a year ago, we read about the scandalous arrest of the LPR’s minister of fuel, energy, and mining industry, Dmitry Lyamin. This figure, appointed to his post by Plotnitsky, was selling coal to Ukraine. Moreover, as those informed of the situation in the LPR have affirmed, he acted with Plotnitsky’s consent. Lyamin’s arrest occurred while Plotnitsky was absent from the republic and caused great dissatisfaction with his leadership. Instead of going to the republic’s budget, coal was being supplied to Nazi Ukraine. This is not politics, just pure business. Therefore, if there are any forces in Ukraine interested in a coup d’etat in Lugansk, it is those officers and officials who have common business with corrupt officials in the LPR.
“It is objectively profitable for some forces in the LPR’s ruling circles to cover up their own incompetence and corruption with the machinations of a foreign enemy. The Poroshenko regime acts similarly when it blames all its failures on Russia.
“In addition, Ukraine is actively pushing its agents into various government positions in the DPR and LPR. As my friends in the republics tell me, former Ukrainian employees are present in such structures as the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the customs service, and the tax bureau.
“In 2014-2015, I frequently crossed the border into the DPR. First, there were volunteer militiamen guarding the border. Then, according to my partners from the DPR, they were replaced by former Ukrainian customs officers. As my friends from Donetsk and Lugansk report, there are many Ukrainians, and even SBU employees, in both republics’ ministries of state security. This is resultant of both the lack of professional cadres as well as the ruling organs of the DPR and LPR’s blunders. The situation is especially desperate in the LPR even though there are no strong pro-Ukrainian sentiments in the republic. Such exist only among a certain layer of managers. The state and security apparatus, of course, need to be purged, and radically.”
Svobodnaya Pressa: “What about the ‘patrons from the Russian Federation?’ Who are they?”
Popov: “It’s difficult for me to say who Plotnitsky had in mind when he spoke of ‘internal enemies in the Russian Federation.’ Perhaps he meant those forces in the establishment that are ready to betray Donbass for the sake of profitable business with Ukraine and the ‘international community.’ There is certainly an abundance of such people in our leadership and especially among the oligarchs. But the hard line of President Putin is supported mainly by the security agencies, while the liberal-Westernist party dreams of returning to the ‘single family of nations’ headed by the US. There is no doubt that these forces are acting or can act in tandem with the Ukrainians. Perhaps this is whom Plotnitsky had in mind.”
Svobodnaya Pressa: “Will there be more attempts? How ready are the republics for them? Is Plotnitsky exaggerating in saying that ‘they did not succeed; the republic has long since held its own’?”
Popov: “I think that the greatest threat for the republics are not conspiracies organized from the outside, but the incompetence and corruption of their own ‘elites.’ With literally few exceptions, there is a layer of politicians in both republics that don’t stand up to criticism. And this layer is incompetent even in comparison to neighboring Ukraine, whose political level is well known. I’ll repeat myself once again: the Donbass republics are repeating the experience of the Ukrainian matrix.
As regards the final part of your question, Plotnitsky is right. Lugansk and Donetsk will never return to Ukraine. And Ukrainians have only themselves to blame for this.