I’m here in Donbass, and this is the first of these updates, to keep you up to date with what’s really happening here! All my work is completely independent, made possible by crowdfunding, you can support mere here – https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/3-months-independent-objective-donbass-journalism#/ – Graham Phillips
Those of you looking on at events in the Lugansk People’s Republic over this last week must be doing with a sense of both disbelief and ‘what comes next’…
Just o week ago, September 20th, leader of the LPR, Igor Plotnitsky (pictured), reported both his parents as having died in the preceeding days. The reason given was that they’d eaten poisened mushrooms, which only added to rampant speculation on the theme.
This was only added to by the following revelation, that there had been an attempted coup in the LPR. Details of that were provided via press conference, and statements, with video of the actual coup itself, as reported, yet to emerge, if they exist.
There were 3 men accused of the reported coup – Alexey Karyakin, a former senior figure in the LPR hierarchy, involved right from the start of proceedings in 2014 (here’s my video of him from that time). After being earlier cited as planning something against Plotnitsky, Karyakin was put on a ‘wanted list’ in the LPR, and headed to Russia, in April 2016. The next was Gennady Tsipkalov (pictured), another who had been involved in the 2014 anti-Maidan uprisings, which led to the formation of the Lugansk People’s Republic. Tsipkalov had been arrested by Plotnitsky’s announcement of the 20th. On the 24th, it was announced he had died in his cell, reported by the LPR as having hanged himself.
This announcement, perhaps unsurprisingly, sent speculation into overdrive. This was followed by similar frenzy the next day, when Ukrainian media started announcing that Vitaliy Kiselov, known by his call-sign of ‘Communist’, another activist from the early days, turned commander, then deputy minister of defence in the LPR, had been ‘killed in an LPR cell after arrest‘. The ‘death’ of Kiselov was reported across Ukrainian media as fact.
Kiselov (pictured) was indeed in LPR captivity, detained, and accused of being complicit in the reported coup. But, on September 26th, the LPR displayed him alive, unmarked.
All of these events have led to some hysteria, about, and even in the LPR. Lies and half-truths have spread across the Ukrainian, and western, media, either slow to be corrected when the truth has emerged, or not at all. I interviewed Manolis Pilavov, Lugansk city head, on the 27th in Lugansk. He spoke about the situation, stating there had been an attempted coup, but that things had subsequently stabilised, and ‘these problems were to be expected in a new republic, as Lugansk, in the circumstances in which Lugansk is in.‘ He added that there were currently ‘many problems‘ in the LPR, but the authorities were dealing with them, and there was ‘no crisis’.
I’m now in Lugansk, and the city is functioning absolutely normally, with no hysteria on the streets etc. Actually, there are around 30 international observers here for the upcoming primary elections, of which I’ll write more in the next update. I’m also looking forward to soon bringing you more English-language reportage from here!