Elections in Donbas: Minsk agreements violation that has its reasons

Author : Mykyta Sinitsyn

Source : 112 Ukraine

After the death of the "head" of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic Alexander Zakharchenko on August 31, Moscow and Kyiv faced a difficult question: how to resolve the situation in the self-proclaimed DNR, which could affect the front line?
13:42, 10 September 2018


The choice, in fact, is not so difficult: either close our eyes to the future violation of the Minsk agreements called "the election of the head of the" DNR ", or to expect military action in the front or rear of the DNR.

Despite the justified status of an artificial "head of the DNR", the death of Alexander Zakharchenko could have serious consequences, especially for the population of the "people's republic." And this can be a boomerang on both the front and the neighboring territories of the Ukrainian Donbas and the Russian Federation.

The reason for this is the legal and factual conflict in the matter of choosing a successor to the post of "head of the DNR ", which originates in the "Legislation of the DNR" and in the personnel policy of Alexander Zakharchenko.

Though not officially recognized, but formally a state entity, the "DNR" had its own "Constitution", in Article 62 of which the question of the continuity of power in case of early termination of the powers of the "head of the DNR" was mentioned.

It would seem that everything is clear: the "first deputy prime minister" should become the "heir", but the fact is that there are no such posts in the "Council of Ministers of the People's Democratic Republic" as the first deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers, there are three "simple" deputies:

1) Dmitry Trapeznikov;

2) "Minister of Taxes and Charges of the DNR" Alexander Timofeev ("Tashkent");

3) "Minister of Finance of the People's Republic" Ekaterina Matyushenko.

That is, from the point of view of the "DNR Legislation", none of them has the formal rights to hold the post of "head of the DNR ". In addition, they are all equal, since they occupy, in fact, the same post.

Therefore, apparently there should be external pressure, which resulted in the appointment of one of them to the post of "head of the DNR ". However, since Timofeev was injured in the blast and was in the hospital, and Matyushenko is unlikely to be taken seriously, there was essentially one candidate - Dmitry Trapeznikov. He eventually took the empty "throne."

However, a problem appeared immediately. If Zakharchenko could be called "the lawfully elected king", then Trapeznikov became more likely to be the leader as a result of a concurrence of favorable circumstances for him.

From the point of view of the "legislation of the DNR", the rights of Timofeev and Trapeznikov to the post are, in general, equal (and equally doubtful), so there is nothing surprising in the fact that news of Tashkent's discontent soon arose in connection with this situation.

Telegram-channel "Notes from the Red House" even said that Alexander Timofeev ordered other "ministers" not to follow orders and decisions of the new leader of the "DNR" Trapeznikov.

In general, there were grounds for this - Timofeev caused too much discontent and outright hatred, both in the "DNR" and outside it, controlling almost all the profitable business in the "people's republic" and demanding a solid share from it. Depriving his power in the "DNR" meant not just getting rid of the lion's share of property, but also a direct danger to life.

However, Dmitry Trapeznikov himself is far from sinless. He was persistently associated with Rinat Akhmetov, since in 2001-2005 Trapeznikov worked in the FC Shakhtar owned by businessman, supervising the fan movement of the club and predicting the strengthening of Akhmetov's positions, and Ukraine’s position also in the territory of the present DNR.

However, both Timofeev and Trapeznikov clearly decided to disprove their difficult relationship, showing everyone that they continue to be in the same team. In YouTube, there was a "touching" video of how they bring wreaths to Alexander Zakharchenko's tomb together and declare that "there is no split in Zakharchenko's team."

However, this can be called a temporary alliance, which was provoked by external attacks, for sure by the "Speaker of the Parliament of the DNR" Denis Pushilin, formally the second person in the DNR.

Pusilin's ambitions were never a secret, although he did not personally advertise them. However, this time Pushilin began to act too straightforward. Thus, on one of the main DNR websites appeared the opinion of the Center for Political Conjuncture director, Alexei Chesnakov, who stated that at the moment the only legitimate organ of the republic is the People's Council of the DNR, which means that its head, Pushilin, is Zakharchenko's "legitimate" successor.

And Pushilin has experience in the coups - in 2015 he forcefully removed his chief, "head of the People's Council of DNR" Andrei Purgin.

Today, the chairman of the "Committee on Criminal and Administrative Legislation" (the Free Donbas Faction), Alexei Zhigulin, said that the announcement of Dmitry Trapeznikov as the acting "head of the DNR" does not stand up to criticism, from a legal point of view. Seeing such a demarche within the walls of the "parliament of the People's Republic" was previously impossible, which means that someone, most likely, was directed by the stranger. Most of all, suspicion falls on the head of the parliament Denis Pushilin.

In this configuration - three opponents per seat - it is best to unite with two players and jointly crush the third, which, apparently, Trapeznikov and Timofeev try to do. However, it is not so simple.

First, after the victory over Pushilin in accordance with the laws of the political struggle for power, Trapeznikov and Timofeev will surely get to grips with each other. That is, their union will only delay the fight, but not prevent it.

Secondly, it is possible that new players will join the fight, for example, "fugitives" from the "DNR", such as "ex-head of the National Security Council of the People's Republic " Alexander Khodakovsky, "ex-speaker of the parliament " Andrei Purgin and "ex- Prime Minister of the People's Republic Alexander Boroday. True, all of them, especially Purgin, do not like Pushin, but for strategic purposes it will be better for them to support him, as the weaker one, in the event of the unification of Trapeznikov and Timofeev. And this can make the struggle more protracted.

Thirdly, it is not known how the internecine strife will take place - in the form of black PR in the information space, decrees, statements or, as is customary in the "DNR", with mysterious murders in which Ukrainian intelligence will be accused.

In any case, it will not do for the benefit of the DNR residents, and will inflict another blow on the reputation of the DNR in the Russian Federation, which will weaken the positions of the latter at the negotiations in Minsk.

The only way out of the current situation without the start of an internal strife between the candidates for the "throne" in the DNR is the election of the "head of the People's Republic" which was previously questioned.

The fact is that holding the elections of the "head of the DNR" in November would be a direct violation of the Minsk agreements, since the latter do not presume the existence of such states as "LNR" or "DNR", considering them special regions of Donbas as part of Ukraine.

In the current configuration, this is becoming an important issue, since it will at least prevent armed clashes between the leaders of the "DNR" and allow them to form a "legitimate" government at least in the eyes of the Russian Federation and the residents of the LDNR. True, it will still be a violation of Minsk agreements.

The Russian Federation, I think, will try to justify or neutralize this violation. In fact, the statements of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov about the death of the Minsk agreements, together with the death of Zakharchenko, are already the first bell of such "justification."

Not surprisingly, there was information that the Russian presidential administration had already agreed on a decision on elections in the "DNR", and the Interfax even reported that on September 7 the "parliament of the Donetsk People's Republic" will consider this issue.

It is curious that Ukraine has some benefit from holding these elections, since not only the armed struggle of the candidates for the post of "head of the People's Republic", but also the activation of battles on the front can become an alternative to "elections ".

It is no accident, I think, that the "DNR" the other day announced about the alleged plans for a large-scale offensive of the DNR army and even published a certain "map" of this offensive.

But what if they decide not to talk about the offensive in the "DNR", but provoke active hostilities on the front line? In the end, the war, preferably small and victorious, has always been considered the best way to distract the population from internal problems, which "DNR" has more than enough.

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