In times of peace these people would be unlikely candidates for any dignified government offices. The majority of them showed no interest for politics until spring 2014. The publication “Gordon” collected information about the thirteen most active separatists and mercenaries that have to do with the bloody events in Ukraine.
As we have managed to find out, four out of thirteen are citizens of Russia, eight of them are Ukrainians, and one of them possibly has both passports. Among those who placed themselves as the leadership of Donetsk and Luhansk “People’s Republics,” there are even those that don’t have university diplomas. Some of them even rooted for the MMM financial pyramid, some distributed marijuana, another one sold toilet cleaning products. Among today’s “voices of Donetsk” there are former convicts, successful political technologists, there are machinators that say they are Ph.D. candidates. It should be noted that the list also includes a person who has been engaging in separatist activity in the east for almost 10 years. Why for so long and why so successfully, as we can see now, is a question for the Ukrainian law enforcement.
1. Pavel Gubarev. Calls himself the “people’s governor” of Donetsk oblast, leader of “Novorossiya” movement.
Born in 1983 in Sievierodonetsk of Luhansk oblast. Holds three diplomas: one in history and two in management. His wife, Yekaterina Gubareva, is the “Minister of Foreign Affairs” in the self-proclaimed “People’s Republic of Donetsk” (“PRD”). He has three children – two sons and a daughter.
In the beginning of the 2000’s he was part of the ultra-nationalist movement “Barkashov’s Russian National Unity,” which he admitted himself. “It was 12 years ago, and I was young and hot-headed. I am thankful to this organisation for the military training – they don’t train like this in the Ukrainian army,” claimed Gubarev. Later he became part of Natalya Vitrenko’s Progressive Socialist Party, and was elected a member of the Kuybyshev district council in Donetsk from this party in 2006. A year later he resigned as, according to him, “saw instances of government lawlessness.”
In the mid-2000’s he engaged in business. He was a founder of the Donetsk company Patison, which specialises in street advertising, and the director of the party-planning agency “Morozko.” There is a video posted on the Internet, dated back in 2012, where Gubarev poses in Father Frost attire and talks about the prices on his services.
According to INSIDER, in 2005 Gubarev spent several months as head of the Donetsk “Centre for commercial security” LLC, and in 2007-2009 – LLC “PKF Rekkom.” These firms, according to the publication, owe “Prominvestbank,” which gave loans to them, millions of hryvnia. Besides, journalists note that they were controlled by people close to former President Viktor Yanukovych’s “Family.”
Before March 1st of the current year, when at a meeting near the Donetsk Oblast State Administration he was elected “people’s governor,” Gubarev was not well-known to the broader public. Since the first days of the protests he called to hold a referendum for the region’s self-determination. In March his supporters took administrative buildings in Donetsk by storm and occupied them numerous times, and established the Russian flag over them.
On March 6th SSU workers detained Gubarev in his Donetsk apartment. He was accused of violent government coup and separatism. He was under guard in the investigative temporary isolator of the Ukrainian Security Service in Kyiv. On May 7th he was freed in exchange for three Alpha soldiers, which had been captured by the mercenaries in the end of April in Sloviansk. During Gubarev’s arrest, Russia called him a “political prisoner” and demanded his immediate liberation.
Criminal charges have been drawn up against Gubarev according to part 1 of article 109 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (actions committed with the intent of a violent change or toppling of the constitutional order or capture of government power). The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) web site states that he is hiding from the bodies of pre-court investigation and is wanted on the entire territory of Ukraine.
As of today Gubarev is not part of the government bodies of the “PRD” and, as his website claims, engages in “recruiting and sending rebels to the heroic city of Sloviansk.” Besides, Gubarev is calling to create “an independent federative state of Novorossiya,” which would include eight southeastern oblasts of Ukraine: Odesa, Mykolayiv, Kherson, Zaporizhya, Donetsk, Luhansk, Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk.
2. Alexandr Boroday. Calls himself the Prime Minister of the self-proclaimed “People’s Republic of Donetsk.”
Born 1972 in Moscow in the family of a well-known Russian philosopher Yury Boroday. Graduated from the philosophy department of the Lomonosov Moscow State University, has a degree. We were unable to find information about his family.
Russian journalist Oleg Kashin reported that Boroday’s history professor was the co-owner and editor-in-chief of radio station “Echo Moskvi” Aleksey Venediktov, who worker at Moscow school #875 in the end of the 70’s – beginning of the 90’s.
in the 90’s – 2000’s he worker as a journalist, PR expert and political technologist. He participated in over ten electoral campaigns of various levels. In 1994 he made reports about the first Chechen war for NTV and ORT. In 1997 he was published Alexandr Prokhanov’s newspaper “Zavtra,” which glorified the Russian imperialistic ideology, and wrote about hot spots on the front. It is in the editorial office of this publication that he met the leader of Sloviansk mercenaries Igor Girkin, as some say, whom he now calls his friend. In 2011, together with Prokhanov, he founded the Internet TV channel “Den TV.” In the “About us” section of the TV channel’s website, in particular, it is said that “Russia has to be huge, combining great spaces and numerous peoples ‘of one sixth of land,’ giving it comprehensive government and harmony.” Starting 2001 he has been the owner of the company “Sotsiomer,” which specialises in consulting in crisis situations.
Before moving to Ukraine he worked as a representative of the investment fund “Marshal Capital” belonging to Konstantin Malofeyev, whom the Russian mass media call “an orthodox oligarch.” In an interview to the Russian media Malofeyev confirmed the information regarding Boroday but noted that he was never part of the company, and only consulted them.
During the Russian annex of Crimea in spring this year Boroday was on the peninsula, where he consulted the self-proclaimed Prime Minister Sergey Aksionov. Kashin stated that in Crimea the locals have dubbed Boroday “Minister for Propaganda,” however he himself asked to view it as a joke. In mid-May, already after his appointment as the “PRD Prime Minister,” Boroday gave his first press conference in Donetsk, at which he confirmed he had been present on the peninsula. “When I finished my job in Crimea, I immediately came here to work in the southeast,” he noted.
Boroday’s voice was identified in a recording of a phone call intercepted by the SSU in mid-April. Girkin is reporting to Boroday regarding the attack on Ukrainian law enforcement officers near Sloviansk, when one Alpha soldier died. In response, Boroday (the SSU calls him Alexandr from Russia) promised that a group of people with experience of war would go to Sloviansk from Luhansk.
Boroday stated to the journalists numerous times that he in Ukraine as a private agent, the Russian government has nothing to do with it. Besides, he spoke of himself as a “professional consultant” with experience in ethnic conflicts.
In the end of May Boroday claimed that the optimum option for the “PRD” is to end up as part of the Russian Federation. “If this option is not accepted, we will have no other choice but to remain an independent state,” emphasised Boroday.
At the talks regarding the execution of the peace plan in the east, which were held on June 23rd in Donetsk with the participation of former President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma and Russian ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov, Boroday represented the “PRD.”
Criminal charges have been drawn up against Boroday based on part 1 of article 258-3 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (creation of a terrorist group or terrorist organisation).
3. Denis Pushilin. Calls himself the speaker of the self-proclaimed High Council of the “People’s Republic of Donetsk.”
Born in 1981 in Makiyivka of Donetsk oblast. In his 2013 autobiography he claimed that he had high school education. According to some data, he studied at the Donbas National Construction and Architecture Academy at the department of economics, marketing and management, but he never graduated. He is married and has two daughters – born in 2004 and 2008.
The website work.ua still has Pushilin’s CV uploaded, which notes that he is looking for a job as head of a sales department or regional manager. The CV also states that in 2000-2008 Pushilin had a private business, worked as a manager of the advertising department in “Art-Mosaica” newspaper, a dealer at “Cascade” casino, head of the sales department in LLC “Union Product” and executive director in LLC “Slaviya.” He never worked a single job for more than a year. The longest time he worked (2003-2005) was in the company “Sladkaya Zhizn,” where he started as a sales representative, and resigned as manager for VIP clients.
In the recent years he has been one of the heads of a department of Sergey Mavrodi’s financial pyramid “MMM” in Ukraine. The website of the Ukrainian “MMM” department still mentions Pushilin. In 2013 he ran for the Verkhovna Rada at the second parliamentary elections in the 94th district (Obukhiv, Kyiv oblast) as part of MMM party. Pushilin did not become part of the Parliament: he got only 0,08% of the votes (77 people voted for him).
In his electoral campaign he promised to decrease taxes and increase pensions, there was no mention of changing Ukraine’s borders. But already in April of the current year Pushilin claimed that there is no difference between the citizens of Ukraine’s eastern regions and citizens of Russia, that they are united by the “Russian World.” Then he addressed the Russian government numerous times to deploy a “peacekeeping contingent” in Donbas.
Pushilin once said that he is familiar with imperialistic values and distant from western ones. In particular, he noted that he would never have gay friends.
Two attempts have been made on Pushilin’s life, both times in Donetsk. On June 7th Pushilin was shot at from assault rifles, his assistant Maksym Petrukhin died then. On June 12th her the Oblast State Administration, his van was blown up, three people died. Starting June 10th, Pushilin is in Moscow, in an interview to “Dozhd” he stated he did not know when he would return to Ukraine.
Pushilin has made many resonant statements. For example, on May 20th he promised to nationalise all of the region’s production facilities, and on June 20th he called billionaire Rinat Akhmetov “an enemy of Donbas.”
Criminal charges against Pushilin have been drawn up according to part 1 of article 109 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (actions committed with the intent of a violent change or toppling of the constitutional order or capture of government power). He is wanted in Ukraine. The EU and US included Pushilin in the sanctions list.
4. Andriy Purgin. Calls himself the Vice Prime Minister of the so-called “People’s Republic of Donetsk.”
Born in 1976 in Maryinka of Donetsk oblast, now he lives in Donetsk. He graduated the Donetsk National Technical University with a specialty in “Computer information technology and automatics.” Married, no information about children.
Purgin noted on social network VK.com that between 1996 and 2009 he had his own business in Donbas. The internet mentions a construction shop “Vse dlya remonta,” owned by “SPD Purgin A.E.”
On their part, the publication INSIDER, citing the physical persons database notes that since the beginning of the 90’s and until the mid-2000’s Purgin had about 70 different jobs, which included sales companies, charity organisations and even the Donetsk circus.
In 2005, together with Alexandr Tsurkan and Oleg Frolov, he founded the organisation “Republic of Donetsk.” Its activists conducted protests in various cities of Eastern Ukraine, propagating ideas of separatism and federalisation of the country. In 2007 the organisation was banned by the Donetsk district administrative court, and the SSU drew up criminal charges against its leaders for calls to infringe on Ukrainian territorial integrity. After this the “Republic of Donetsk” went underground and never demonstrated high activity.
In June 2012 the activists of the organisation opened their own “embassy” in the headquarters of the “Eurasian youth union” in Moscow, where they issued passports for “Republic of Donetsk” citizens. The flag of this organisation is now being used by the “PRD.”
According to “Novosti Donbasa,” Purgin participated in storming the Donetsk Oblast State Administration in March this year. Back then there was information regarding his detainment by the SSU, but it was not confirmed.
On SSU, MIA and Office of Prosecutor General websites there are not data regarding criminal cases against Pushilin. In April he was included in the list of sanctions of the EU, and in June – of the US.
5. Roman Lyagin. Calls himself the Minister for Labour and Social Policy of the “People’s Republic of Donetsk,” he was head of the “Central Elections Committee” at the illegal referendum of May 11th.
He has been in politics starting the beginning of the 2000’s. At the presidential elections of 2004 he worked in Viktor Yanukovych’s Donetsk headquarters, engaged in “organisation-mass work.” In 2005 he created the civil organisation “My,” which was in opposition to President Viktor Yushchenko. In an interview to “Fraza” in June 2005 he admit that “My” coordinated its activity with the Party of Regions.
In 2006 he ran for Mayor of Donetsk. For the elections, he changed his name and surname to “Oleksandr Viktorovych Lukyanchenko,” but that did not help him. The Mayor elected was the current city head of Donetsk Oleksandr Olexiyovych Lukyanchenko.
He made separatist statements back in the mid-2000’s. As such, in 2007, in an open letter to the former leader of the Party of Regions Viktor Yanukovych, Lyagin stated that “when our children grow up, Ukraine will no longer exist.” “Based on the ethno-cultural, historical, political integrity, part of the regions will reunite with the Russian Federation. Ukraine is Ukrainian, headed for the West, and will get the historical change to reunite with Europe,” stated Lyagin’s letter.
In 2012 he ran for the Verkhovna Rada in the 44th district (Donetsk) as a self-nominated candidate and got 0,32% of the votes. The Donetsk journalists called him a technical candidate of regional Mykola Levchenko who won in this district.
According to “OstroV” publication, in the end of 2013 he appeared at Euromaidan protests in Donetsk, but never made a statement before the protesters. In February 2014 he was beaten by unidentified people in the Donetsk city centre, which, according to eye-witnesses, had St. George’s Ribbons on their sleeves.
He joined the Donetsk separatists in April as, according to him, he feels “responsibility for his mother region.” He was the head organiser of the illegal referendum regarding Donetsk’s self-determination on May 11th.
In an interview to Hromadske.TV the director of the separatist-occupied Donetsk art centre “Isolation” Liubov Mikhailova stated that Lyagin’s family is living in Germany. “Roman, in reality, is a very sympathetic person. His family is living in Germany. He is not one of those who never went anywhere. He is consequential, he constantly came to our meetings, always expressed respect for what I was doing, tried to take photos. I was told that he was working for the Party of Region’s black PR, but I always thought that here, the man is interested, he wants to learn something,” said Mikhailova.
Criminal charges on part 1 of article 258-3 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code have been drawn up against Lyagin. On June 23rd, the Shevchenko district court of Kyiv gave permission to detain him.
6. Igor Girkin (aka “Strelkov”). Calls himself the commander of the People’s Rebellion of Donetsk, the Minister of Defence of the so-called “People’s Republic of Donetsk.”
Born in 1970 in Moscow. The existence of the Russian saboteur with the call sign “Strelok” was discovered on April 16th, when the SSU published his facial composed. First the Ukrainian special services claimed that his name was Igor Strelkov, however later they stated that it was a pseudonym and his real name was Ignor Girkin. In the end of April “1+1” journalists found his apartment on the outskirts of Moscow. His neighbours confirmed that his mother, sister, former wife and two of his sons (10 and 16 years of age) are still living in this house. Girkin himself was last seen here in the beginning of the year. His classmate whom the Ukrainian journalists talked to said that he studied well at school, but he was “too smart,” therefore “nobody contacted with him much.”
Girkin received his higher education in the Moscow State Historical Archive Institute, however he never worked according to his specialty, and preferred the career of a soldier. He has been to three hotspots: in the beginning of the 90’s as a volunteer in the military conflicts in Transnistria and Bosnia, and also fought on the side of the Russian government forces in both Chechen wars, during which, according to Russian rights advocates, he kidnapped and possibly had something to do with the murder of local citizens.
According to the SSU, he is an officer of the Main Intelligence Headquarters of the General Headquarters of the Russian Armed Forces (MIH), but Girkin himself denies this categorically. “I never served in the MIH, I was an FSB worker. Now I am in retirement,” he told the Russian journalists. As such, according to “BBC Russia,” Girkin’s last workplace in the FSB was the headquarters for international terrorism.
For over 20 years he has been engaged in military reconstruction. In the end of the 90’s the was published in Prokhanov’s newspaper “Zavtra,” where, as has been said above, he met the “Prime Minister” of the PRD Boroday. It is Boroday, according to Kashin, that involved Girkin in the Crimean conflict.
Before 2014, according to the SSU, Girkin has been to Ukraine numerous times. He crossed the border legally for the last time on February 26th – when he flew to Simferopol. Kashin stated that during the “Crimean crisis” he had seen Girkin on the peninsula, where he was presented as Aksionov’s advisor. According to some information, it was Girkin who convinced the former commander of the Ukrainian Naval Armed Forces Admiral Denys Berezovskiy to switch sides. “Strelkov really was an active participant of the Russian operation in Crimea. On the peninsula, as opposed to Donbas, the RF led a really thought-out and prepared operation. A simple person would not have gotten close to Aksionov,” Kashin told “GORDON.”
In the end of May, the Russian “Novaya Gazeta” published a series of emails that presumably belonged to Girkin. In a letter to an unknown addressee on March 31st he wrote that “he practically can do nothing in Crimea now,” and the local colleagues and the police view him as “a dangerous madman.”
In April Girkin moved to Sloviansk, where he has been until now. The SSU suspects him of having something to do with the murder of pro-Ukrainiain Horlivka city council member Volodymyr Rybak, whose body was found in the end of April in a river near Sloviansk with traces of a violent death. In the UN report on June 15th it is noted that two mercenaries have been shot on Girkin’s order for refusing to steal, kidnap a person and wage war.
Time after time he records video addresses in which he reports on the operative situation in Sloviansk and calls for the citizens of the region to “join the rebellious ranks.” In mid-May he complained that the local men are unwilling to take up arms and asked the women of Donbas to enrol in the fighter troops.
The SSU opened a criminal case against Girkin due to organised intentional murder, infringement on the territorial integrity of Ukraine, the conduct of diversion and undermining activity, and the Office of the Prosecutor General accused him of terrorism. Girkin is subject to visa and financial sanctions of the US and EU.
7. Sergey Zdriliuk (aka “Abwehr”). He calls himself the deputy commander of the armed forces of the so-called “People’s Republic of Donetsk,” Girkin’s right hand.
Nationality: Ukraine, received a Russian passport in 2014.
Born 1972 (according to other data – in 1970 or 1973) in the village of Frontivka in Oratovsky district of Vinnytsya oblast. Graduated the Simferopol Higher Military Political Academy, he studied together with Aksionov. The group “InfoResist” supposes that it is during his studies that he was recruited by the Russian special services.
In Crimea he married the daughter of a Russian general, they have two children: a daughter, who is a university student, and a son, who is in school. He worked in the military counterintelligence of the SSU, from where, according to the information of the service, he was fired in 2003 on suspicion of cooperation with Russia. Meanwhile “InfoResist” claims that the SSU fired Zdriliuk because of a different reason: they say he engaged in financial affairs, in which he tried to involve his fellow soldiers. After getting fired from the SSU, he started his own business, but it did not go well, and he got a job as a tax inspector. According to Ukrainian special service data, he was fired from there for corruption. Later, as “InfoResist” informs, he picked up another business, got into a lot of debt and found solace in playing cards.
In February of the current year, so before the Russian annex of Crimea, he received Russian citizenship (he also has a Ukrainian passport). At the same time he underwent special military training. The SSU states that in February-March he participated in the occupation of administrative buildings and military units in Crimea, and on April 12th, as part of Girkin’s group, with whom he possibly got acquainted on the peninsula, he came to Donetsk oblast.
In an interview to TV channel “Inter” he denied his connection to the Russian special services. “Our structure is the people’s rebellion of Donbas, it is commanded by Girkin Igor Ivanovich, I am his deputy. I want to reiterate that nobody here, neither myself, nor Igor Girkin, have any connections with the MIH, or the Russian FSB, we do it of our own volition,” said Zdriliuk. He frequently speaks to Ukrainian journalists in Ukrainian.
At a press conference in the beginning of June he stated that in Donbas he is fighting against “fascists, nazis, oligarchs and other animals.”
“1+1” journalists found Zdriliuk’s family in Vinnytsya oblast. His elder sister Olga said he was a “sworn enemy” of Euromaidan and emphasised that she does not understand his motives, as their family had always been patriotic. Zdriliuk’s fellow villagers are surprised by his statements: “He says we are Banderites, he wants to shoot us, chase us all the way to Paris. But he should think of where his roots are!” Zdriliuk’s mother addressed her son through the journalists with the call to leave Donbas: “Be reasonable! I taught you to be a good person, I was proud of you! What did I do to deserve such trouble at the end of my life?”
According to Ukrainian special services, Zdriliuk was the organiser of the attack on the participants of the anti-terrorist operation near Sloviansk on April 13th, when an SSU officer died. Besides he is suspected of kidnapping the OSCE military observers in the end of April.
The SSU opened a criminal case against Zdriliuk according to part 1 of article 258-3 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (creation of a terrorist group or terrorist organisation).
8. Vyacheslav Ponomarev. The self-proclaimed “people’s mayor” of Sloviansk (deposed on June 10th).
Born 1965 in Sloviansk, where he spent practically his entire life. He served in the Soviet army, possibly in the fleet. In an interview to “gazeta.ru” in April he claimed that in his “younger years” he got a diploma in construction. He spent six years living in Kyiv, where he worked on construction, and returned to Sloviansk in 2011. He divorced his wife almost 20 years ago, and still lives with his mother. He has a 26-year-old son Anton.
On April 13th during the storming of the Sloviansk SSU building, he called himself the “people’s mayor.” Before this, according to The Wall Street Journal, he drove cars from Russia to Ukraine, was head of a sewing factory and oversaw the supplies to a military hospital. At the moment he is head of a small soap making factory in Sloviansk.
Ponomarev was memorable to the press because of his “out-of-office” look: he would usually attend press conferences in a cap and a black hoodie. He joked a lot, promised to deal with the “Kyiv junta,” “punch” President Poroshenko “in the face,” and impose “his own sanctions” against the European Union.
On June 10th, on Girkin’s orders, Ponomarev was detained. On the same day he was deposed as “mayor.” He is in the SSU building where the mercenaries are holding all the hostages. In an interview to the Russian media Ponomarev’s mother stated that he was detained for not supplying water and electricity to Sloviansk. On June 24th the journalists of the Russian publication LifeNews spoke to Ponomaryov for the first time since his detainment. He said he was feeling well, that he is being regularly let out for walks and allowed to see his family.
According to the SSU, in the end of April Girkin ordered Ponomarev to move the body of the murdered Horlivka city council member Rybak from one of the administrative buildings captured in Sloviansk. During the phone call Girkin told Ponomarev the following: “Slava, please, solve the issue with the corps, so that they take him away as soon as possible. What is he doing here, stinking up the place…”
On June 20th the US imposed visa and financial sanctions against Ponomarev.
9. Igor Bezler (aka “Bes”). The leader of the Horlivka mercenaries.
Born 1965 in Simferopol. He studied in the Dzerzhinskiy Military Academy in Moscow. According to the website of the separatists “Russkaya Vesna,” he participated in the war in Afghanistan, and has been awarded the Red Star Order. Unmarried, no children.
According to the SSU, before 2002 he served in the departments of the Russian intelligence, finished the service as a podpolkovnik, after which he was sent to Ukraine and settled in Horlivka. According to Donetsk publication “OstroV,” he led the local communal funeral service business “Prostor,” where he was fired from in 2012. He was accused to stealing fences and memorials, and also extorting money for cemetery lots. After his firing he found a job in a security guard agency. Besides, he was the head of the Horlivka city organisation of airborne soldiers.
The SSU states that in April the Russian MIH re-established its connection with Bezler and sent him to Crimea. According to the service, there he participated in the occupation of military units and administrative buildings. In April he returned to Donbas. He participated in the storm of the Donetsk SSU headquarters and the district police department in Horlivka. On April 14th Bezler, when talking to the Horlivka police, introduced himself as “a podpolkovnik of the Russian army.”
According to the Ukrainian special service, it was Bezler who “gave the order to neutralise” the Horlivka city council member Rybak, who was later found dead. This is evidenced by the phone calls between Bezler and his subordinates, the recordings of which have been published by the SSU. Besides, according to law enforcement, Bezler has to do with the kidnapping of OSCE representatives in Sloviansk in April of the current year. In a comment to the British publication Daily Mail, Bezler stated that it was his people that attacked the Ukrainian military camp near Volnovakha in Donetsk oblast on May 22nd. 17 people died then. In the end of May and in the beginning of June he staged a shooting of the hostages twice: first, of two policemen, second, of an SSU officer Oleksandr Vasiushchenko and an activist of the local Euromaidan Vasyl Budyk.
On April 17th the SSU stated that Bezler has been announced wanted, but he is not in the database of the MIA among those wanted by the police.
10. Alexandr Mozhayev (“Babay” or “Boogeyman”). One of the most notorious Kramatorsk (and Sloviansk) mercenaries, a member of the Russian Cossack organization “Wolves Company.”
Born 1977 in Belorechensk (Krasnodaskiy kray, Russia). Between 1995 and 1997 he serviced in the army in St. Petersburg, he left the service as a senior sergeant. In the mid-90’s he enrolled in the local Cossack organisation. Married, he has a 9-year-old daughter. In May, when Mozhayev was already in Ukraine, his son was born.
In an interview to “Komsomolskaya Pravda” Mozhayev stated that he spent five years in jail for distributing cannabis. Besides, according to him, as of today he is wanted for “attempted murder using a knife.” He calls the accusations against himself fabricated.
Mozhayev told the Russian journalists that before Donbas he had been to Crimea, where he came on March 7th. Together with the rest of the Russian Cossacks, according to him, he patrolled the streets in Simferopol, guarded the TV tower and participated in blocking the Ukrainian military units. In mid-April he came to Sloviansk, then moved to the neighbouring town of Kramatorsk, where he has been until now. He participated in the occupation of administrative buildings. According to Donetsk publication “OstroV,” which is citing eyewitnesses, it was Mozhayev in mid-April that blew up a helicopter in Kramatorsk from a grenade launcher. However he denies this information.
Some mass media in April have stated that Mozhayev participated in the Russian-Georgian war in 2008, but he called this a fabrication. “I have never been to Georgia, even on vacation,” he told the American journalists.
Mozhayev does not hide his Russian citizenship and even showed his passport on camera, but said he did not represent Russian federal bodies and came to Ukraine of his own will.
“As soon as Crimean events started, I immediately decided on the crusade, for this fascist Kyiv junta never to come to my motherland of Kuban,” he told the journalists once.
He became famous for his appearance. The entire spring he wore a papakha and did not hide his weapons. When Mozhayev appeared in Kramatorsk, the locals lined up to take a picture with him.
Mozhayev stated that he began growing his beard in September last year, when the incident with the knife happened. He promised to shave it only when “he uncovers the truth in this case.” The Ukrainian law enforcement did not state the opening of criminal cases against Mozhayev.
11. Valeriy Bolotov. He proclaimed himself to be the head of the so-called “People’s Republic of Luhansk,” before he introduced himself as the “people’s governor” of Luhansk oblast.
Born 1970 in Tagandrog (Rostov oblast, Russia), in 1974 his family moved to Stakhanov in Luhansk oblast. In the end of the 80’s he served in the Vitebsk airborne division, and participated in the military action in Yerevan and Nagorniy Karabakh as part of it. He is a senior reserve sergeant. After the service, according to the Russian media, he got two university diplomas – in economics and engineering. He calls himself the chairman of the civil organisation “Union of airborne armed forces veterans.” Married, has two children (6 and 13 years old).
He was head of the meat factory in Stakhanov, had small businesses.
On April 5th Bolotov made a video address on YouTube, calling for the citizens of the southeast to “come out in an open rebellion” against the Ukrainian government. On the next day, he participated in the occupation of the SSU Building in Luhansk.
On April 21st, at a closed session in the occupied SSU building, Bolotov was appointed “people’s governor” of Luhansk oblast. He then ordered to form their own army and a High Council.
On May 13th Bolotov’s companions stated an attempt had been made on his life. On the same day he went to Russia in order to receive medical treatment, according to the western media. On June 17th Bolotov returned to Ukraine. He was detained by the Ukrainian border service, but the mercenaries managed to get him out in several hours, according to the National Border Service.
On June 15th Bolotov admitted that it was his people on the night of June 14th that shot down the Il-76 jet which carried Ukrainian soldiers during its landing in Luhansk airport. 49 people died then.
According to the Luhansk activist and publicist Sergiy Ivanov, Bolotov has close ties to member of the Parliament, leader of the fraction of the Party of Regions Oleksandr Yefremov. They say he worked as his driver, and then was promoted to “overseer of illegal mines.”
Back in May, the OPG accused Bolotov of creating a terrorist organisation. He is on the sanctions lists of the EU and the US.
12. Olexiy Kariakin. Calls himself the speaker of the self-proclaimed High Council of the “People’s Republic of Luhansk.”
There is practically no information about Kariakin from open sources. On the webite of the military-patriotic union “Rubezh” he is mentioned as a weapons collector – modern and World War II weaponry. In 2013 he helped organise the weapons expo in Rubizhne of Luhansk oblast.
In April 2014 Kariakin participated in the separatist protests in his town of Stakhanov and then moved to Luhansk. On April 5th, together with another five activists, he was arrested and placed in the Luhansk isolator, and soon was set free. According to the Russian mass media, during Euromaidan he participated in the protests in support of “Berkut” and “even collected money for the injured soldiers.”
On May 18th he was appointed “speaker of the People’s Republic of Luhansk Parliament.” Lately he has been making frequent statement in the name of its self-proclaimed leadership.
Criminal charges have been drawn up against Kariakin according to part 1 of article 111 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (state treason). He is wanted across Ukraine.
13. Vasyl Nikitin. Calls himself the Prime Minister of the so-called “People’s Republic of Luhansk.”
Born 1971 in Uzbekistan. He lived in Chelyabinsk (Russia), where he graduated high school. Later he moved to Kremenne in Luhansk oblast. He received a diploma in economics in the Luhansk Agricultural Institute. He lives in Luhansk. He is married, and has two children.
According to “Informator,” he has been in business since 1995, for the most part, in agriculture. As such, in 2008 he founded the farming business “Bratya Nikitiny,” and in 2010 – a company that produces ecologically clean goods “House Resources.” The latter has a wide variety of goods. As is noted on the website, it sells seeds, biological fertilisers, lactose cultures, laundry powder, teas, toilet cleaners and even agricultural equipment. “Informator” claims that Nikitin drove around Ukraine and advertised his goods himself, introducing himself as “a doctor of biology, leading bacteriologist, member of the Ukrainian National Science Academy.” This information, according to the publication, has nothing to do with reality: there has never been a doctor Vasyl Oleksandrovich Nikitin in Ukraine.
He actively participated in the organisation of the “referendum” regarding the status of Luhansk oblast, which took place on May 11th, was the press secretary of the headquarters of the so-called “United army of the southeast.” On May 18th he was appointed “Prime Minister of the PRL.”
Criminal charges according to part 2 of article 110 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code have been drawn up against Nikitin (infringement on the territorial integrity of Ukraine committed by a person who representes the government either repeatedly or by conspiracy with a group of people). Announced wanted.
Translated by Mariya Shcherbinina