Russian “siloviki” oversee power vertical of occupied Donbas

DNR's Zakharchenko

"DNR" head Alexander Zakharchenko and other "DNR officials" declare the state of Malorossiya. Donetsk, 18 July 2017. Credit: dninews 


Russia controls the situation in its proxy state in eastern Ukraine, the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DNR”) via Russian-established law enforcement agencies, or siloviki, which are at the top of the pyramid of power in occupied Donetsk. Their real controlling functions are mostly kept under the radar. However, the law enforcers keep control of the entire situation and clamp down on any opposition to the established order. The law enforcement agencies include a local army, special service, police, courts, prosecutor’s office and other agencies.

This is one of the points made in the article by Euromaidan Press “Who is who in the Kremlin proxy “Donetsk People’s Republic,” which outlines the major influential groups in the “DNR” and the mechanisms of the external Russian control of the occupied region.

The army is fully controlled by the staff of a Russian army stationed in Russia’s Rostov Oblast near the Ukrainian border and by the GRU, the foreign military intelligence agency of the Russian Armed Forces. The Donetsk local special service is known as MGB, it is under full control of the Russian special service FSB. There are multiple pieces of evidence to the fact:

  • Many Russian officers who have been observed in the “DNR” army, which gets its full army supply from Russia (equipment, ammunition, manpower)
  • Most “DNR” battalions were trained in Russian territory or Crimea, before training camps and artillery ranges were created in the occupied territory of Donbas.
  • When regular Russian units were invading Ukrainian territory, their actions were synchronized actions with the “DNR army,” with the two divisions acting as one.
  • Several ceasefires brokered by the Minsk contact group involving representatives from Ukraine, Russia, and/or France, Germany, and the OSCE showed that the “DNR” forces can stop military action by an order from Moscow.

To create an illusion of “DNR” statesmanship, Russia established the local government bodies, formed almost exclusively out of figures fully dependent on the Kremlin. In 2014, Aleksandr Zakharchenko, a warlord of a Russian-trained armed group, was appointed as a head of the “DNR,” and his appointment was covered by staged elections. Russia formed a local fake government, two political parties, and even a parliament.

The person behind the political processes in occupied Donetsk is Kremlin’s aide Vladislav Surkov, who supervises the Russian separatist projects in the occupied territories of Ukraine and Georgia. He has full-fledged political control over the region and represents Russia in US-Russia talks on Ukraine.

Back in 2014, the Russian government also established the Inter-ministerial Commission for the Provision of Humanitarian Aid for the affected Areas in the Southeast of the Regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, which is allegedly kind of a shadow government for the occupied territories of the Donbas with mandate going far beyond “humanitarian issues.”

Read more on influential groups in Russian-occupied Donetsk in the article Who is who in the Kremlin proxy “Donetsk People’s Republic.”

DNR influence

Read also:



Dear readers! Since you’ ve made it to this point, we have a favor to ask. Russia’s hybrid war against Ukraine is ongoing, but major news agencies have gone away, which is why it's extra important to provide news about Ukraine in English. We are a small independent journalist team on a shoestring budget, have no political or state affiliation, and depend on our readers to keep going (using the chanсe - a big thank you to our generous supporters, we couldn't make it without you.)  If you like what you see, please help keep us online with a donation

Tags: , , ,


  1. Avatar Микола Данчук says:

    So, anything we don’t know?

    1. Avatar svend says:

      No common knowlege since 2014.

      1. Avatar Микола Данчук says:

        And what would you consider “common knowledge” since 2014?

        1. Avatar svend says:

          That is is Putler who control everything in occupied Donbas.

    2. Avatar Ihor Dawydiak says:

      In all fairness, Mykola, we must understand that there are many part time or first time viewers who could be far less acquainted with the intricacies of the terrorists and their Russian masters in Eastern Donbas. On a further note, it could also be added that the somewhat repetitive nature of these news stories are necessary to combat the continuing stream of false propaganda being utilized by the Kremlin. As such, the more that the general public are aware, the better.

      1. Avatar Микола Данчук says:

        Yes, very true.
        The regurgitation of Kremlin misinformation (lies) far surpasses the reality which is in force. It must be that we are reminded of who the actors of this atrocity are so they can be held accountable.

  2. Avatar Screwdriver says:

    Imaginary war with Russia is only in the Ukr. agitprop news, TV and press,
    People keep taking direct trains from Kiev to Moscow, enjoying visa free travel.
    Embassy and Consulates are open as normal.
    Ukrainian visitors to Russia are up this year – almost 6 mln Ukrainians visited Russia in 2017
    Ukrainian and Russian singers, performances, etc… keep visiting each other
    Russia is the biggest investor in Ukraine economy , – what a war ! 🙂

    1. Avatar focusser says:

      I guess this is the latest “news” from RT.

      1. Avatar Screwdriver says:

        Which facts you trying to doubt ? I can provide you from Ukrainian sources.
        Try to find a single quotation from RT from me before making stupid comment like that.

        1. Avatar Brent says:

          So even RT has come to learn how useless you are???

      2. Avatar Screwdriver says:

        P.S. Sorry I forgot, I can not give you Ukrainian sources, since you believe they are Serbian. Can not help with that.

    2. Avatar Brent says:

      Josef Goebbels made the same claims about the first Nazzi regime in Germany that you are now making about the new Nazzi regime in your beloved Muscovy….

  3. Avatar veth says:

    The Russian Federation has neither the legal nor the moral right to talk about the situation in Ukraine in the UN Security Council until it returns the occupied territories and compensates Ukraine for the losses incurred, said Deputy Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations Yuriy Vitrenko, at a UN Security Council meeting about children and armed conflict, in response to a statement by the Russian delegation about the situation in Ukraine.
    “The UN General Assembly has recognized Russia as an invader state in Ukraine and, therefore, as a party to an international conflict. In accordance with Article 27 of the UN Charter, because of its status as an occupying state and party to the conflict, Russia has neither the legal nor, especially, the moral right to speak about the situation in Ukraine in this room [the Security Council],” Vitrenko said.

    “At least not until it returns the Crimea to Ukraine, withdraws its troops from the Donbas, and compensates for all the losses incurred in connection with its aggression,” the diplomat added.

  4. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

    RuSSian puppets.