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“LNR” separatist field commander killed in car explosion: three versions why

The car of Anashchenko was destroyed in an explosion in the center of Luhansk. Photo: RIA Novosti
“LNR” separatist field commander killed in car explosion: three versions why
Article by: Oleksandr Nykonorov
Translated by: Alya Shandra
A series of mysterious deaths and murders of the leaders of the political and military branches of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk “People’s Republics” has taken place in the last year. We can expect this trend to continue, as the Russian commanders of the so-called “separatists” will continue to eliminate the leadership of the Russian-backed enclaves. The first leaders of the “republics” that rose to power in the spring-summer of 2014, the most odious field commanders and participants of large-scale smuggling and corruption schemes are in the first zone of risk, writes military analyst Dmytro Sniehyriov.

The elimination of Oleg Anashchenko

At 7:50 of 4 February 2017, a car explosion in the center of Luhansk took the life of Oleg Anashchenko, “Luhansk People’s Republic” (“LNR”) field commander and head of the “Administration of the people’s police.” Information about this was spread by the internet portal of the Luhansk separatists “LITs” referring to the press service of the “people’s police,” and the event was called a terrorist act.

Oleg Anashchenko was born in 1968, graduated from the Higher Military Command-Engineering School of Missile Forces in Russian Rostov in 1991, worked in the missile forces, after which made a career in managing the coal industry and became a deputy and member of the Party of Regions, the political party of disgraced Ukrainian president Yanukovych.  He took the separatists’ side in 2014, and held the position of “head of the anti-aircraft defense of the LNR” and in August 2015 was appointed Head of the training center of the “LNR people’s militia” and rose to the position of “Head of staff of LNR people’s militia.”

Oleg Anashchenko. Photo:

The police forces of the Luhansk separatists have been quick to blame the Ukrainian special services for the death. The so-called “LNR Prosecutor’s office” have opened a “criminal case” which is now being considered by the “Ministry of state security of the LNR.”

A participant in the preparation of a “coup”

According to military analyst Dmytro Sniehyriov, Oleg Anaschenko as a figurant of the case of the so-called coup against the “LNR Head” was assassinated on the order of Igor Plotnitsky himself.

Read more: Alleged “military coup” followed by purge of “LNR” chieftains

In late September 2016, the self-proclaimed “Deputy chief of people’s militia of the LNR” Vitaliy Kyseliov and “ex-Prime minister” Gennadiy Tsypkalov were arrested in occupied Luhansk under accusations of attempting to carry out a coup. On 24 September, they were to be interrogated together, but the day before Tsypkalov was reported to have committed suicide in his cell. According to the version of the “Prosecutor General’s Office of the LNR,” Kyseliov organized the financial support for the rebels and corrdinated their weapons supply. During the interrogation, Kyseliov testified that a number of “LNR” officials were participants of the “coup”: the ex-speaker of the “parliament” Oleksiy Kariakyn, ex-Prime Minister Gennadiy Tsypkalov, field commander Oleksandr Kostin, “agriculture minister” Serhiy Lytvyn, head of the “Administration of the people’s police” Oleg Anashchenko, and “Head of the state safety Ministry” Leonid Pasechnyk.

The goal of the participants of the “coup” was to remove Ihor Plotnitskyi from power and return Valeriy Bolotov, who was first to head the “LNR” in 2014, to Luhansk.

Sniehyriov claims that the Russian curators of the “LNR” didn’t cover Anashchenko’s elimination up by a heart attack from which Bolotov allegedly died in Moscow one week before, but decided to use a car explosion as it happened with field commander Driomov in December 2015.

According to the expert, these deaths are no coincidence – they result from the Russian curators’ decision to elevate the role of the chieftain of the militants of the self-proclaimed “LNR” Plotnitsky, concentrating the military-political power of the “republic” in his hands. Sniehyriov claims for the Russians Plotnitskyi is the only “legitimate” representative of the self-proclaimed “LNR” and signatory of the Minsk accords with which Kyiv must negotiate to resolve the conflict in Donbas. With this, the Kremlin attempts to present the conflict as an internal Ukrainian one.

The sequence of deaths of the “LNR” chieftains over the last year can indicate that the Russian side is starting to eliminate unnecessary witnesses who participated in the separatist rallies of 2014 and were carriers of secret information about the participation of the Russian special services in the occupation of Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts of Ukraine. Apart from that, these figures took part in the smuggling and corruption schemes which involved influential representatives of the Russian establishment, criminal authorities, Ukrainian oligarchs, and Russian politicians.

A part of the deceased chieftains of the “LNR” took part in the attempts to organize “coups” against Plotnitskyi,  of which there were three starting from fall of 2014. The majority of the organizers were forced to leave “LNR” for Russia or were eliminated by the Russian special services.

Thus, three explanations for the death of Anashchenko can be offered:

1) He was killed by the groups of Igor Plotnitskyi and Vladislav Surkov who aimed to eliminate the opponents of the Plotnitsky regime and therefore concentrate all power in the hands of the acting “Head” of the Russian-backed enclave. Presumably, representatives of the “Prosecutor General’s Office” took part in the operation;

2) He was killed as part of an operation of the Russian special services to eliminate the most odious and charismatic field commanders of the separatists who endanger the Minsk process. The representatives of the “first wave” of separatists are the idea-driven ones who reject the compromise Minsk process which forces them to make concessions to the Ukrainian government. It is possible that the Kremlin is attempting to instill order into the occupied territories and bring their political and military systems closer to the state of other Kremlin “frozen conflict” projects like Abkhazia or Transnistria;

3) He was actually killed in an operation of the Ukrainian special services, which would mean that Ukraine now has a renewed and extremely effective department at its service.

This elimination process is likely to continue. Opponents of Plotnitsky’s regime in the “LNR” are in the most danger, as well as participants of large-scale smuggling and corruption schemes in occupied Donbas.

Translated by: Alya Shandra
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