Pro-Russian “Cossacks” have been involved in the conflict in Ukraine from its early stages. These are warriors and war re-enacters who romanticize Russia’s imperial past, dress in antiquated clothing, and even ride around on horseback brandishing Kalashnikovs (in addition to swords). These nostalgists are a core constituency among those favoring Russian Vladimir Putin’s “Novorossiya” imperial project. According to the online newspaper Ukrainska Pravda, pro-Russian Cossack leader Pavel Dryomov (a commander of forces now controlling much of Ukraine’s Luhansk region), is reported to be calling for the resignation of the “president” of the self-proclaimed “Lugansk People’s Republic” (LNR) Igor Plotnitsky. He accuses Plotnitsky of thievery, and of being a protégé of Natalia Korolevska, a former minister in the government of ousted President Viktor Yanukovych.
This story highlights a current phenomenon in Ukrainian politics, whereby figures associated with the former regime are mistrusted not only by the Ukrainian loyalist forces, but also by the pro-Russian separatists. Presumably, the pro-Russian separatists should view Korolevska favorably: she was elected to parliament October 2014 from the list of the “Opposition Bloc,” which is supposedly hostile to the current government. But, rather like Ukraine’s richest man, Rinat Akhmetov – one of the largest employers in the Donetsk region prior to the war – she is mistrusted by all sides in the war. Plotnitsky’s anti-Ukrainian credentials should be in little doubt, since he recently challenged Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to a “duel,” yet Dryomov reviles him. The Cossack leader also notes with distaste Oleksandr Yefremov, former head of the Party of Regions faction in parliament and former governor of Luhansk region. All are viewed, apparently, as part of a cabal of thieves.
“Cossacks” of Lugansk region: Plotnitsky is a protege of Korolevska
30 December 2014
The Cossacks who control several cities in the Luhansk region, and who are not subject to the self-proclaimed formation of the “LNR” [Lugansk People’s Republic], are demanding the resignation of self-proclaimed rebel leader Igor Plotnitsky.
Cossack leader Pavel Dryomov declared this in his address.
“Your minions, Mr. Plotnitsky, steal train cars of coal every day. I personally counted 164 today. There are documents to prove it,” said Dremov. “How long will these Plotnitskyites – these Yids – rob us? I’ll tell you who Plotnitsky is: a protege of Natalia Korolevska. Now Yefremov’s people come to the ODA,” he said.
Dryomov also alleged that, “of the 10 so-called ‘humanitarian convoys’ [from Putin – Ed.], only one made it to the people.” He also said that during the so-called elections on 2 November, people were blackmailed with social aid.
“I’ll tell you how these elections were held. Stop lying. We came out for freedom. We are a free people! Plotnitsky said that the Cossacks were lawless people. You are a thief! A thief of the people’s trust! You have played the social card: if you do not come to the polls, you will not get your pensions… This kind of blackmail is not seen anywhere in the world, not even in ‘fascist Ukraine.’ We demand your resignation. And all of Lugansk region will rise up in support of us,” said Dryomov.
He also accused Plotnitsky’s “warriors” for the fact that they “steal everything that is possible and impossible.”
As you know, Dryomov’s “Cossacks” control several settlements, including Stakhanov.
Note: The video associated with this article is no longer available due to a copyright claim by the “Press Center of the Novorossiya Army Staff.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Axv6Pf_rGl8