WATCH: Exclusive Insider Report on Lugansk ‘Coup’ Tells All


November 30, 2017 – Fort Russ News- 

By the Editorial Board of The Cossack Herald, exclusively for FRN – edited by Jafe Arnold – 

Since February 2017, Fort Russ has had the privilege to receive exclusive reports from Cossack Media Group and their newspaper, The Cossack Herald, based on the ground in Stakhanov, Lugansk People’s Republic. In this latest piece generously presented exclusively to Fort Russ, the ins and outs of the recent coup in Lugansk are presented as well as the historical background of the power struggle, such as the “coup” of September 2016. This is a revelatory piece which deserves wide circulation and discussion. – Special Editor Jafe Arnold


Last week, the LPR was shocked by turbulent events that ended with the resignation of the head of the Republic, Igor Plotnitsky. 

Ex-Head of the Lugansk People’s Republic, Igor Plotnitsky

Relations between the Minister of Internal Affairs of the LPR, Igor Kornet, and the now former head of the Republic, Plotnitsky, had long been tense. In August 2016, a first attempt was made to dismiss the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the reason being the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ attempts to initiate criminal proceedings against Igor Plotnitsky’s personal security agents, who were suspected of committing serious criminal offenses. 

This first attempt failed. The first chairman of the People’s Council of the LPR, Aleksey Karyakin, and the first Prime Minister of the Republic, Gennady Tsypalkov were forced to leave their posts, and in September 2016 they were accused by Plotnitsky and his circle of attempting a coup d’état. 

To recall, Karyakin and Tsypalkov were among the leaders of the protests in the spring of 2014 which resulted in the uprising of the people of Lugansk and the storming of the building of the SBU (the Security Service of Ukraine, often called the Ukrainian Gestapo). They were among the organizers of the referendum on independence of the LPR. At the time of the alleged “conspiracy” in September 2016, Vitaly Kiselev served as Deputy Commander of the Lugansk People’s Militia. In the summer of 2014, he had played an active part in protecting the Republic from Ukrainian aggression. 

Absurd accusations were hurled against Karyakin, Tsypalkov, Kiselev, and others, according to which these figures had attempted to “get the Ukrainian army in Lugansk.” 

Plotnitsky announcing a “coup conspiracy” in September 2016

When the “conspiracy” was announced by Plotnitsky, Karyakin was in Russia. Tsypkalov and Kiselev were detained on the decision of the LPR General Prosecutor’s Office. The day after his arrest, it became known that Gennady Tsypkalov had died. Representatives of the General Prosecutor’s Office claimed that Tsypalkov had committed suicide. In fact, as is now known, Tsypkalov was tortured to death in the basement of the General Prosecutor’s office. The source of this information later became the confessions of the prosecutors themselves. According to them, Tsypalkov was beaten to death by Plotnitsky’s personal security guard.

Reports then spread that the same fate befell Vitaly Kiselev. However, it soon became known that Kiselev was alive, only in very serious condition, and had been taken to the hospital. On October 21st, 2017, the General Prosecutor’s Office of the LPR announced that Kiselev was found guilty of attempting to seize power and sentenced to imprisonment for 12 years and 6 months, with confiscation of all his property and deprivation of his military rank of colonel.

On the same day, October 21st, a new attempt was made to remove the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the LPR, Igor Kornet, during a meeting of the People’s Council under Plotnitsky’s control. Numerous accusations were hurled against him. On November 6th, Kornet publicly responded to his accusers from the People’s Council, calling them a “pro-Ukrainian fifth column.”

On November 8th, the Ministry of State Security of the Lugansk People’s Republic circulated information that Ukrainian special forces were planning to assassinate the leaders of the LPR’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Ministry of State Security. This same Ministry of State Security, on the orders of its head, Leonid Pasechnik, had in October 2015 arrested the Ministry of Coal and Energy, Roman Lyamin, for smuggling coal to Ukraine. Plotnitsky pardoned Lyamin. 

The next day, Plotnitsky personally, in the presence of journalists, evicted Igor Kornet from the house where he lived, and handed the keys to his hostess, Nina Khmelevtsova. Khmelevtsova had lived in Kiev before, and her daughter, Marina Bukaeva (Khmelevtsova), is known for actively supporting the Ukrainian Nazi Aidar battalion. Together with the punitive forces of this battalion, she is directly linked to contraband flows across the demarcation line.

Solemnly, and humiliatingly, in front of press cameras, Kornet, who had distinguished military merits in service of the Republic, was evicted from the house, only for the residence to be solemnly handed over – not for constructive use, such as for a  kindergarten, for example – but to sponsors of Aidar. 

News report showing Plotnitsky forcing Kornet to publicly relinquish his residence [in Russian]

On November 10th, on a professional militia holiday, it was reported that the building of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the LPR had been rigged with explosives. From that day on, Igor Kornet put the ministry on self-defense footing, and the building of the Ministry of Internal Affairs was reinforced protection in “Operation Fortress.” 

Igor Kornet began publishing revealing materials about Plotnitsky’s entourage and associates. Particular attention was paid to the activities of Irina Teytsman, the head of the administration of the LPR leader. She was accused of buying the position for $1 million and lobbying the interests of the former governor of the Lugansk region, Vladimir Pristyuk. Teytsman was also accused of smuggling contraband across the front line from the Ukrainian side. As is well known, the main lobbyist of contraband is Poroshenko, who only supported Ukrainian neo-Nazis’ blockade of Donbass to end illegal trading once he was presented with a fait accompli.

Kornet’s compromising materials were not personally directed against Plotnitsky at this point, but only against Irina Teytsman and the head of Plotnitsky’s personal guard, Yevgeny Seliverstov.

The catalyst for confrontation was apparently a telephone conversation on November 15th between Plotnitsky and Russian President Vladimir Putin regarding the exchange of prisoners with Ukraine. Having seen his personal communication with Putin as a kind of buffer or green light, Plotnitsky went on the attack.

On November 19th, it was announced that Igor Kornet had been dismissed “by court order”. 

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Then “polite people”, i.e., unidentified armed men, appeared on the streets of Lugansk. Together with officers of the LPR’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, they took the center of Lugansk and the administrative buildings under their guard. It immediately became known that this was a unit and operation of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. 

The websites of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of State Security started publishing confessions by representatives of the General Prosecutor’s Office and testimonies that Teytsman and Seliverstov had falsified the “coup” in September 2016.  The ministries also published reports that the director of the State TV and Radio Company, Anastasia Shurkaeva, had assisted the Ukrainian sabotage group that killed the Deputy Chief of the People’s Militia Corps (the de facto Ministry of Defense), Oleg Anashchenko.

The General Prosecutor’s Office was cordoned off by armed men. The leadership of the General Prosecutor’s Office armed their employees and ordered them to shoot back “to the last bullet.” After two days of siege, however, the staff finally managed to leave and return home, and the “polite people” came in and arrested the leaders.

Igor Kornet then stated that if Ukrainian agents efforts’ to remove him and the interior ministry’s leadership had succeeded, then the next day the third regiment of Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense’s special forces (the Main Intelligence Directorate) would be ready to invade the Republic. 

On November 23rd-24th, Igor Plotnitsky, along with Irina Teytsman and Anastasia Shurkaeva, left for Russia, from where Plotnitsky announced his voluntary resignation and the transfer of the post of Acting Head of the LPR to Leonid Pasechnik. 

The sites of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and of the Ministry of State Security published the expository confessions of high-ranking prosecutors about how the case of Tsypkalov’s September 2016 “coup” had indeed been falsified by Plotnitsky’s associates.

The Ministry of State Security is now investigating the case of Shurkaeva’s involvement in the murder of Anashchenko and the discrediting of the Republic’s law enforcement agencies. Detained Ukrainian saboteurs who committed acts of sabotage on the territories of the LPR and DPR since 2014 have offered their testimonies, saying that in 2014 Lugansk was shot at with mortars by agents of the Ukrainian special services, who were, at the time, posing as soldiers of the Zarya battalion. At that very time, this battalion was commanded by Plotnitsky. Valeriy Bolotov, the first head of the LPR, shortly before his death, officially announced for the first time that the shelling of the city had been done by fighters from Zarya.

The narrative that the pro-Ukrainian coup was not invented and that Ukrainian Spetsnaz were really ready to enter Lugansk confirms the fact that the functions of the head of the Republic have been transferred to the head of the Ministry of State Security, – not to the Chairman of the People’s Council as the Constitution of the LPR stipulates. Deputies of the People’s Council urgently voted to amend the relevant article of the Constitution to allow Pasechnik to become head on November 25th. This amendment and appointment indicates that the situation was indeed extraordinary and required extraordinary measures.

New LPR head Leonid Pasechnik

The fact that Plotnitsky signed the Minsk Agreements gives him some immunity. Moreover, it is clear that this capacity was still open for him before leaving for Moscow and resigning from his position. Now Plotnitsky will represent the LPR ​​at the Minsk talks, and Leonid Pasechnik will try to redeem the Republic from what it degenerated into under  Teytsman, Seliverstov and Plotnitsky.

It is very likely that the details behind the shocking murders of militia heroes – those who died not in combat, but from shots in the back – will follow. These “strange deaths” became a symbol of our Republic under Plotnitsky. 

The fact that the “coup” operation involved hundreds of armed people but without a single shot fired speaks to the highest professionalism of the LPR’s security forces. Swiftly and surgically, a tumor has been removed from the body of the Lugansk People’s Republic. 

First of all, this should inspire us to tip our hats to Lugansk’s security forces. Secondly, it testifies to the fact that they are accountable to the Republic and do not waver or oversleep when it matters. They are responsible for the future of the Lugansk People’s Republic. Moreover, LPR’s security forces have shown that they act openly only when other methods are impossible, and even then violence is kept to a minimum or even zero. 

This inspires hope that the situation in the Lugansk People’s Republic will remain under control and now, after this operation, Lugansk and its people will recover.  

“Our strength is in unity” – LPR’s Trade Union Federation

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