[Marxism] Fwd: Rebel’s killing spurs war between Luhansk insurgent groups

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Jan 8 07:15:42 MST 2015


The leadership of the Kremlin-backed unrecognized Luhansk People’s 
Republic is now facing a violent crisis, waging an effective war with 
rival insurgent groups in the same region.

Analysts have attributed the infighting to a period of relative calm 
during Ukraine’s war with Russia, worsening economic conditions and 
efforts by the Kremlin and Igor Plotnitsky, head of the self-proclaimed 
republic, to introduce centralized administration and crack down on 
independent militias.

“This reflects the relatively calm situation on the front,” said 
political analyst Volodymyr Fesenko, head of the Kyiv-based Penta 
research group. “As a result, conflicts have intensified.”

He added that the situation in the Luhansk People’s Republic contrasted 
with that in the Donetsk People’s Republic, where the insurgent 
leadership’s authority is not challenged by rival groups.

The conflict flared up after Alexander Bednov, head of the republic’s 
Batman military unit, was killed by men loyal to Plotnitsky on Jan. 1. 
Bednov’s supporters have accused Plotnitsky of murder, saying that 
Bednov’s car was ambushed and burned with Shmel rocket launchers, while 
those who jumped out of the car were killed with either machine guns or 
assault rifles.

According to the Prosecutor General’s Office of the unrecognized 
republic, Bednov refused to obey orders given by the republic’s 
authorities, resisted them and was killed as a result. The Prosecutor 
General’s Office has opened a criminal case against Bednov and his unit, 
accusing them of torturing prisoners.

The killing has triggered resentment from Plotnitsky’s critics.

Earlier this month Alexei Milchakov, head of the Kremlin-backed 
insurgents’ Rusich subversive group, said he would wage war both against 
Ukraine and the Luhansk People’s Republic. He said in an interview with 
Anna News released on Jan. 5 that Bednov had been targeted because he 
had tried to prevent looting and drug trafficking allegedly organized by 
his enemies in the self-proclaimed republic.

The Rusich (Russian) subversive group is a unit comprising Russian 
ultranationalists. The group’s insignia features a kolovrat, a kind of 
swastika popular among Russian neo-Nazis.

Milchakov, a native of St. Petersburg, has posted pictures of himself 
with a Nazi flag on his Vkontakte social network page. In 2012 Melnikov 
killed a puppy, showed off its severed head and ate the puppy, 
publishing pictures of the process online.

Igor Strelkov, a former insurgent leader who left Donbas in August, has 
also lashed out at Plotnitsky’s administration and urged separatists who 
disagree with him to leave eastern Ukraine.

“Regardless of the motives of this murder, even if (Bednov) and six of 
his fighters had been demons incarnate, killing them in the way it was 
done has no trace of lawfulness (even under emergency law) or ordinary 
human decency,” Strelkov said on Jan. 2. “If Bednov had deserved arrest 
or even execution, this should not have been done through a criminal 

The killing of Bednov has also increased tensions in the south of the 
Luhansk Oblast, controlled by Cossack leader Nikolai Kozitsyn’s Almighty 
Don Host.

Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for Ukraine’s National Security and Defense 
Council, said on Jan. 7 that Plotnitsky’s units were trying to seize 
cities run by the Almighty Don Host.

On Jan. 4 Rashid Shakirzyanov, the Cossack “commandant” of Antratsit in 
the Luhansk Oblast, said in a YouTube video that the Luhansk People’s 
Republic had no legitimacy whatsoever. Shakirzyanov’s predecessor, 
Vyacheslav Pinezhanin, was killed in November in a conflict between 
Plotnitsky’s units and the Almighty Don Host.

In another YouTube video released on Jan. 4, Kozitsyn also questioned 
the legitimacy of the Luhansk People’s Republic, saying that he believed 
Putin to be the emperor and that the areas under the Cossacks’ control 
were part of the “Russian Empire.” Kozytsin had to leave the Luhansk 
Oblast for Russia in December due to the conflict with Plotnitsky before 
coming back to the area in the same month.

In December another insurgent leader and critic of Plotnitsky’s regime, 
Pavel Dryomov, released a video demanding Plotnitsky’s resignation. 
Dryomov, head of the Stakhanov-based Cossack National Guard, accused 
Plotnitsky’s men of theft, including stealing coal, and of voting fraud, 
saying that those who did not vote were not given pensions. Dryomov also 
said that only one out of Russia’s 10 “humanitarian aid” convoys had 
reached those in need, while the rest of the aid had been sold. 
Ukrainian online newspaper Insider wrote, citing anonymous sources, that 
Dryomov left the Luhansk Oblast for Russia before publishing the video.

On Jan. 5 the blogger known as Johnan Carlson, who describes himself as 
a representative of Ukrainian partisans in Donbas, said that Dremov’s 
unit had clashed with Plotnitsky’s men in Luhansk, killing six 
insurgents and injuring 18.

Both Bednov and Dryomov have lambasted the Sept. 5 Minsk ceasefire 
agreement and repeatedly accused Plotnitsky of treason and surrendering 
to Ukraine.

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