During the previous week, the Russian-installed leader of Donetsk Aleksandr Zakharchenko informed that his political rival Denis Pushilin, speaker of the so-called People’s Soviet of the DNR, was dismissed from one of his posts, namely he lost his seat of the head of the Central executive committee of the “public movement Donetsk Republic,” the ruling pseudo party with a majority in the “DNR” fake parliament. Theater manager Nataliya Volkova was appointed as the party leader.
Pushilin has been a key rival of Zakharchenko in the political in-fighting for the leadership over the occupied part of Donetsk Oblast.
Ms.Volkova is a director of the “state enterprise” Donetsk National Academic Musical and Drama Theatre and it is hard to call her an independent political figure.
Ironically, in March of 2014, the Donetsk City Council published a video titled and captioned “The Donbas is Ukraine,” showing Nataliya Volkova addressing Donetsk residents amid tensions between separatists and supporters of united Ukraine. She says in the video, “I think we should all unite our efforts and resolve all our problems, our issues only by peaceful means, by the means of negotiations.” She finishes her address calling the Donbas “the heart of Ukraine.”
Denis Kazansky, a popular pro-Ukrainian political blogger who fled Donetsk for Kyiv after the outbreak of conflict, believes that the Kremlin is behind all such appointments and replacing Pushilin by Volkova is a serious argument in favor of the fact that the Donetsk “republic” is being double-crossed by Russia.
Meanwhile, Zakharchenko said that Denis Pushilin is going to top an “important branch of activity,” namely “the integration of Donbas to the Russian Federation.”
Before the war, Denis Pushilin was a swindler who represented the Russian Ponzi scheme company MMM in Donetsk and he didn’t participate in the military actions. Now Denis Pushilin is a “speaker” of the DNR People’s Soviet, he also represents the Russia’s puppet Donetsk republic in the Trilateral Contact Group for Ukraine (Minsk Group). Meanwhile, Aleksandr Zakharchenko has been a warlord since the beginning of the war. In 2016, he admitted that he burned down the Ukrainian border village Kozhevnia amid the direct invasion of the Russian-hybrid forces from the territory of Russia in summer 2014.
Since 2015, a number of local separatist leaders have faced a mysterious death or were assassinated in Luhansk and Donetsk, both occupied territories of the Donbas region. Several versions explaining those deaths are usually mentioned, one of them is a local struggle for power among the separatist leaders. However, as we can see, there are other means of the struggle for power in occupied Donetsk, not just killing the rivals.
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