First Lugansk uprising leader dies in Moscow suburbs

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January 28, 2017 – Fort Russ – 

PolitNavigator 1 + 2 – translated by J. Arnoldski – 

On January 27th, one of the main organizers of the storm of the Lugansk SBU directorate on April 6th, 2014, Valery Bolotov, died in Russia. Bolotov was the first head of the Lugansk People’s Republic and the leader of the Russian Spring protests in Lugansk.

A colleague of the deceased, also a participant of the protests in Lugansk and the first speaker of the People’s council of the LPR, Aleksey Karyakin, reported to PolitNavigator: “Yes, he died today at home. Presumably from a heart attack. Appropriate examinations will be done and then there will be more detailed information. For now there’s nothing more I can say.” 

Bolotov’s death has also been confirmed by other sources. In particular, ex-deputy of Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada, Oleg Tsarev, reported that Bolotov died in the Moscow suburbs. Russian Spring journalist Ivan Takhmetov also wrote on social media: “Valery Bolotov (LPR) is dead. That’s right. They called 20 minutes ago.”

The head of South-East Front Information Center, Konstanin Knyrik, also called the reason of death a heart attack. According to him, Bolotov “suddenly became very bad.”

Karyakin has categorically denied the theory going around on social networks that the ex-head of the LPR died from alcohol abuse. According to Karyakin, on the contrary, Bolotov led a healthy lifestyle. 

Valery Bolotov was the head of the Lugansk People’s Republic from May to mid-August 2014, after which he resigned over injuries received a few months earlier in an assassination attempt on him. Bolotov subsequently became involved in the organization of humanitarian aid deliveries to Donbass only to later state in an interview that he was ready to return to the active political life of the Lugansk republic.

The acting officials of the LPR believe Bolotov’s death to be mysterious. A participant of the negotiations in Minsk stated: “More and more are thinking about how this could happen to such a strong and young man that two hundred bullets couldn’t take down.” 

Oleg Tsarev, the famous opposition politician who was the only one in Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada to openly support Novorossiya and a close friend of Bologov, has since discussed the situation surrounding Bolotov’s life and death in more detail in an interview with PolitNavigator: 

Valentin Filippov: In a nutshell, what’s happened with Valery Bolotov? He died so suddenly at such a young age.

Oleg Tsarev: He wasn’t feeling well yesterday [January 26th]. But this morning [January 27th] he felt fine. At 2:30 he was still texting Lena, his wife. But at 3:00 she came home and he was already dead. Apparently, it was his heart. It’s such a pitiful situation.

VF: What has Valery been busy with for the last two years since he left the LPR?

OT: He lived the life of the republic, albeit at a distance. He fully participated in all processes. I very often saw him at the State Duma. We have common friends. He came to visit me in Crimea not too long ago.

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We met in Lugansk in the SBU building. I came to him and the protesters as a presidential candidate. I was very warmly received.

Then there began a crazy overload. A nervous overload. The people who seized the SBU building never doubted that they were doing the right thing, but they were sure that they would be killed. They lived in anticipation of an assault that would clear them out…

Then we worked together on organizing the referendum. We were together in the administration building when Ukrainian aircraft bombed it. 

Then, when Lugansk was practically surrounded and children and the elderly were killed, it was all very hard psychologically. I’ll say that few know about this, but he was very emotional. Very. He took everything in while trying to keep a straight face on the outside.

When events started to unwind, I sent my family to Crimea from Dnepropetrovsk. For obvious reasons. I proposed to send his family there as well. And our families lived together for a whole year until he left Lugansk. Our wives became friends and so did our children. 

VF: Did Valery have any enemies? I don’t think that he had rivals in the LPR, since he didn’t claim leadership. But maybe there could be enemies from Kiev? Someone who wanted him dead? 

OT: When my friends died or were killed one by one, I always gave several theories. And he always said that they could be true. But here I have no doubt that he died – his heart just couldn’t hold out.

Of course, there hasn’t been an autopsy yet. Everything happened yesterday between 2:30 and 3:00. But there are no reasons to say that this was murder.

VF: Alright, well, thank you very much. Let your comrade in arms rest in peace. Not all of us could do much as he did.

OT: If I start to look back, only a handful of those who actively participated in those events remain alive. 

VF: Everyone know what they were getting into. They gave their part. The main thing is that in the end it was successful. Thank you very much.

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OT: Goodbye. 

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