As I went to write this, some on Twitter starting sending me the latest video from Khodakovsky, in which he, represented as a ‘Donbass commander’ claims that Ukraine would have long taken over were it not for ‘100,000 Russian soldiers’. Add a ‘sigh’ emoji to that, and let’s get on….
There’s few things that the western, and Ukrainian of course, media love more than someone on the DPR / LPR side ‘speaking out of turn’. The war’s been 3 years now, and enough former leaders, and prominent figures have left the DLPR for various reasons, gone to Moscow with their various grievances, and been more than happy to sit in studios there and launch missives against the DLPR, notably former DPR commander Igor Strelkov. Of course, what they’re actually doing is looking to stick the knife into those who wronged them, the reason they’re not there any longer.
But actually you’d really be hard pressed to find a figure who has given more headlines to western media than Alexander Khodakovsky, (pictured), founder of the Vostok Battalion, and actually still in Donbass himself – have a look –
Ukraine’s Eastern Separatist Leaders Turn on Each Other
Moscow is bankrolling Ukraine rebels: ex-separatist official
Exclusive: Ukraine rebel commander acknowledges fighters had BUK missile
And actually, this is just the tip of the iceberg, in as much as what makes it into maintstream western media. On his VKontake account, Khodakovsky keeps up a stream of posts detailing ‘heavy losses’ among DPR fighters, in his words, how ‘everything is terrible’ in the DPR command’, Moscow is controlling everything, and more – much of which makes it into Ukrainian, and Russian opposition media. However, here are 5 simple reasons why, as per the above, you shouldn’t believe any of it –
1. Khodakovsky, in contrast to how he is conveniently described in the media, does not have any position in the DPR, he is not a ‘commander’ of anything at all, and hasn’t been since his Vostok Battalion were incorporated into the regular DPR army, in the latter stages of 2015.
2. Khodakovsky feuded with Strelkov for control of the DPR in 2014, and wanted to be succeed Borodai as leader of the DPR in October 2014, however Alexander Zakharchenko got the position, and since then Khodakovsky has pursued a campaign against Zakharchenko, and de facto, the DPR he heads.
3. Who is Khodakovsky actually working for? He has close ties with Donetsk billionaire Rinat Akhmetov, from Donetsk and known to be angry at the recent nationalisation of his businesses there, by the DPR.
4. Add to that, that Khodakovsky was once a senior member of Ukraine’s SBU Security Service, and talk lingers of ongoing connections.
Yet, this isn’t a personal attack against Khodakovsky, who I believe I even met some time in 2014, and who was perfectly civil with me. I have no personal issue with him, and I know a lot of men in Donbass who are still loyal to Vostok, and to him. And perhaps 3, and 4 can be explained, perhaps the Donetsk-native really does want the best for the DPR, as he claims, writes what he writes because of the ‘greater good’ etc. Yet, to reason 5, as to why what he writes, and says cannot be taken as anything more than comment, hearsay, or speculation.
5. Khodakovsky never provides any evidence of his claims. It’s all bare words. And they, particularly recently, are all from the same agenda – against the DPR authorities, claiming ‘everything is terrible‘, etc. Khodakovsky makes no effort to correct the common misconception that he’s a ‘commander’ etc, rather he plays up to it. Where he’s writing this from? Seemingly, his home, apprently in Donetsk. And if he can’t, within his own sphere, find enough negative information, he’ll just assume the worst and write it anyway, as even he admits –
“I do not have the information about the losses in the other units, but I can guess that they are considerable too…
So, that’s that. Khodakovsky is a lot of things to a lot of people. But, with due respect to the man, and sad to say even about a man who made so many noises at the start about wanting to do the right thing etc, just do not believe a word he says about Donbass.