Russian experts comment on separatist appointments in Ukraine’s Donetsk

Text of report by the website of mass-circulation Russian newspaper Moskovskiy Komsomolets on 19 May

[Report by Yelena Gamayun and Tatyana Melikyan: "Boroday – Protege of the Oligarchs, or Revolutionary Romantic? DNR Troop Units Transferred to Control of Volunteer Militiamen"]

The newly proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic [DNR] has acquired a prime minister, a head of parliament, a defence minister, and a minister for economic development. One of the sensations was the appearance of Russian political scientist Aleksandr Boroday as the head of the Donetsk cabinet of ministers.

Of himself, Boroday says as follows: "My surname is Ukrainian, but I was born and grew up in Moscow and graduated from Moscow State University; I am a specialist in the settlement of conflicts, including interstate conflicts. I have worked in several ‘hot spots.’" Indeed, Boroday worked as a journalist in Chechnya (in 1994) and Dagestan (in 1999) –  he wrote for RIA Novosti and filmed reports for NTV and ORT. In parallel, from 1998, he worked as an independent PR consultant. In 2001-2, he occupied the post of deputy chief editor of Russkiy Predprinimatel [Russian Entrepreneur] magazine. From April 2001, he was cofounder and general director of the Sotsiomaster Closed Joint-Stock Company, which specializes in consultancy in crisis situations. During the Ukrainian crisis, his name was first heard in the Crimea: Boroday was named as adviser to Crimean Prime Minister Serhiy Askyonov [Sergey Aksenev]. The Ukrainian mass media mentioned his name in mid-April: Boroday’s voice was identified on a recording of intercepted conversations on a cell phone near Slovyansk published by the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU). On the intercept, one "Aleksandr from Moscow" and his interlocutor with the call-sign "Strelok" discuss the destruction of a group of Ukrainian separatists. Boroday has not denied the actual fact of these conversations, although he did state that the Ukrainian mass media had "invented" many details. At the same time, Boroday does not hide that Ihor [Igor] Strelkov ("Strelok") is an old friend of his. In 1999, they visited Dagestan together in the capacity of special correspondents of the Zavtra newspaper, delivering reports on Wahhabi villages. Ihor Strelkov once again took part in the Crimean events, as he himself has repeatedly stated. So that the Strelkov-Boroday coupling is an old one. And in this sense, his appearance as head of the DNR is explicable.

Ihor Strelkov, meanwhile, has been appointed head of the DNR Defence Ministry, which is entirely understandable. Among the new minister’s latest achievements is the transition of two troop units to the DNR’s control. The same pattern as was tested in the Crimea. First troop units are blockaded, then they enter into negotiations with the servicemen. Those who agree to go over to "the side of the people" take the pledge of allegiance to the DNR; those who are against, go away, but without their weapons. It was in this manner that the volunteer militiamen succeeded in taking control of two troop units over the weekend: On Saturday, they took control of troop unit No.3037, and on Sunday, of troop unit No.3004, which was stationed on Vulytsya Shchorsa. "The majority of military persons voluntarily came over to the side of the DNR," the republic government’s press release noted.

 

Meanwhile, combat operations are not dying down in Slovyansk and Kramatorsk. Sunday was marked by the mass shelling of the streets of Kramatorsk. Artillery fire rained down from Mount Karachun. The civil defence siren was switched on in the city, and local inhabitants were asked to hide in basements and vaults. On websites, inhabitants report that, as the result of mortar and artillery fire, some houses had their window panes blown out. There are cases of shrapnel going through the windows of apartments.

At midday, Slovyansk also got ready for defence. Reports had been received that a Ukrainian Army landing party had disembarked in the vicinity of a fish farm. Slovyansk’s volunteer militiamen attempted not to allow the military beyond the roadblocks, which had been reinforced on the previous day with concrete blocks and antitank structures. Near the village of Andreyevka, a level crossing leading to the city had been blocked already on Friday by a freight train, with which the road was barred so that the National Guard would not be able to get through to the city. For two days, the train was torn apart by artillery fire, and the cars have been transformed into sieves, but it is still not possible to drive through the crossing – a pair of wheels bars the way.

Experts commented on Aleksandr Boroday’s appearance in Donetsk to Moskovskiy Komsomolets:

Vyacheslav Smirnov, director of the Scientific Research Institute for Political Sociology:

"In such contentious moments from the point of view of legitimacy, material resources are always necessary. And people are found who suggest candidacies for posts in various provisional governments [be given them] in return for their material aid. On the other hand, there is a demand for human resources. Therefore Aleksandr Boroday, a fairly well-known and experienced crisis manager, who is backed by certain Russian and Ukrainian financial circles, can easily become prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic. Evidently, there are sponsors behind him who are interested in investing in the Donetsk Republic.

"Right now, the Russian authorities have no interests in the Donetsk Republic. It is the sponsors, whom the Russian authorities do not prohibit from carrying out certain projects of their own, who have interests there. But at the same time, they want to eat one another as well. By sponsors, I mean people who want to get their hands on the mines in Donetsk – Russian big business and intermediary business (various investment funds, which could finance certain risky activities and then give up their positions in the leadership, converting them into money).

"After all, the same thing is happening in Ukraine itself – oligarchs are being appointed governors. Only there, this is happening directly, while in Donetsk, it is happening via intermediaries."

Aleksandr Prokhanov, writer, political figure:

"Of course, this is a fantastic situation, I agree. The revolution is sweeping away all the old structures and creating empty places, and new people are arising in these empty places. Boroday is a unique person. I have known him for a very long time, from when he was extremely young, almost still an adolescent. He is the son of a well-known philosopher and metaphysician who studied mankind, explaining why, with the passage of time, many taboos arise for man, which he cannot break. An amazing mystic, he was a friend of Lev Gumiliyev [Soviet historian, ethnologist, anthropologist and translator from Persian, known for his highly unorthodox theories of ethnogenesis]. When I became acquainted with his son Aleksandr, he was such a bright, enchanting, critically minded adolescent, who later grew up to be a big expert in domestic and foreign politics. The variety of his connections was astonishing. He made friends with representatives of the radical patriotic opposition of the 1993 era. On the other hand, his connections extended to oligarchic circles. He has often appeared in our newspaper. He was the author of articles and the friend of our staffers. His articles, which I remember and rate highly, were delivered from the frontlines of the two Chechen wars. He took part in assaults and battles; he is a very valiant and frenzied person. And despite the fact that he is an intellectual, he is at the same time also a ‘field commander.’ Evidently, it was these two attributes that brought him to the Donetsk Republic. As for the fact that he is a Russian citizen, there is nothing surprising in this. [Ex-Georgian President] Saakashvili, for example, also has American citizenship. But I have heard that before becoming prime minister, Aleksandr Boroday received citizenship of the Donetsk Republic.

"I do not share the opinion that he is the protege of Russian business. What does business want to get its hands on there? Surely our businessmen have not suddenly lost interest in shady schemes and offshore zones, and thrown themselves into the small, semi-ruined cities of the Donetsk gubernia, in order to make their gigantic future fortunes there?"

MEANWHILE [as published]

The commander of the volunteer militia and defence minister of the DNR has complained that the frontiers of Slovyansk and Kramatorsk are being defended only by volunteers arriving from Russia and other regions of Ukraine. The local inhabitants are not rushing to join the militia: From its 4.5 million inhabitants, Donbass has not mustered even 1,000 volunteer militiamen prepared to fight for the DNR on the frontlines, Strelkov complained.

Source: MK (Moskovskiy Komsomolets) website, Moscow, in Russian 19 May 14

 

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