Putin’s shadow government for Donbass exposed
Written by Julian Ropcke
The records of the «Inter-ministerial Commission for the Provision of Humanitarian Aid for the affected Areas in the Southeast of the Regions of Donetsk and Luhansk» from 23rd October 2015 reveal what observers have long feared: The Russian government is steering all affairs of the «separatist areas» in the east of Ukraine.
Russian ministries are responsible for Ukrainian politics
In this regard, the concrete plans extend far beyond «humanitarian issues». In six working groups, the subject areas of «Finance and tax law», «Defining wage policies as well as residential and public service matters», «Restoration of industry», «Trade with energy sources», «Establishment of a market for electricity» and «Transportation infrastructure» are being planned down to the last detail. The regions are consequently being treated as parts of Russia’s sovereign territory.
Experts to whom BILD showed the document saw practically no difference from commission records concerning the Russian state itself. Deputy leaders of five ministries of the Russian Federation head the relevant cross-departmental working groups; the secret service «FSB» has supervision over each working group.
Even four members of the Russian homeland(!) secret service «FSB» are named. Only the Commission Chairman and the Liaison Officer to the Government of Russia are above them in terms of hierarchy.
Numerous other Russian authorities, such as the Federal Customs Office and the Anti-Monopoly Service attend the regular sessions of the Commission in the Russian Duma.
Explosive: As the sole Ukrainian, a representative of the Ukrainian energy giant «DTEK» owned by the oligarch Rinat Achmetov was present at the meeting in October last year, according to the record.
In contrast, absolutely no member of the so-called separatist governments of Luhansk and Donetsk was present at the session, the puppet politicians were only informed about the results of the meeting. Common practice, as was confirmed to BILD from expert circles.
Concrete tasks of the Russian ministries are for example the «an assessment of the effectiveness of the collection of taxes and dues by the tax authorities of the (Ukrainian) territories and the development of proposals for the improvement of their function and strengthening of the budget discipline».
Another working group deals as an example with the «development of proposals for a further support of the restoration and maintenance of the public transport system in the territories for 2016». This includes the delivery of spare parts for «busses, trams and trains» as well as «proposals for the optimization of the transport logistic».
In conclusion, the five involved Russian ministries address their respective genuine tasks with the remarkable anomaly of controlling the fate of Russian-ruled areas in eastern Ukraine.
The leading figures of the shadow government
The commission, which an insider referred to as shadow government of the Donbass while talking to BILD, is chaired by the Russian politician Sergey Nazarov. Nazarov began his political career in the Rostov region, which neighbours Ukraine. He was active there in various functions in the coal business before he was summoned to Moscow.
The Deputy Minister for Economic Development of the Russian Federation reports the results of the meeting directly to Dmitry Kozak, Deputy Prime Minister of Russia and close friend of Vladimir Putin.
Officially, Kozak and Nazarov work together within the framework of the Commission for the Socio-economic Development of the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol. This commission met, amongst other dates, on the 15th October 2015, only a few days before the secret session of the Donbass Commission.
The Deputy Commission Head of the Donbass Commission is Leonid Gornin, also Deputy Minister of Finance of the Russian Federation. Gornin has continually championed the fiscal consolidation of Russia in recent years, but spoke out, amongst other things, against a financial reallocation in favour of the annexed Crimean Peninsula. With him, it appears, as cost-effective as possible a governance of the occupied Donbass is to be realised.
Ensuring the authenticity of the Russian paper
To not endanger the source of the secret paper, BILD will not publish the document itself. However, BILD was allowed to see the original document and owns a digital copy, which it provided to several experts for verification.
BILD checked the authenticity with the help of numerous sources and informants. Ukrainian oligarchs, who had fled to Russia in 2014 with the pro-Russian ruler Viktor Yanukovych, indicated they knew about the objectives of the Duma Commission. They too were asked for money to implement the plans.
The foundation document of the «Inter-ministerial Commission for the Provision of Humanitarian Aid for the affected Areas in the Southeast of the Regions of Donetsk and Luhansk» from December
BILD also showed the document to high-ranking government representatives of the Russian Federation, Russian journalists and secret services of several countries. The unanimous assessment of all experts: The paper in the hands of BILD is genuine.
The commission’s work is already bearing fruit.
The Donbass Commission, or de facto government of the Russian-occupied areas in eastern Ukraine, was established in December 2014. Officially: on account of «the urgent need and critical humanitarian situation» in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Yet directly after its foundation, the Commission disappeared from the scene, officially never meeting again.
The founding document from December 2014 contains the Russian name of the commission, dedicated to deal only with «humanitarian aid». The commission disappeared shortly after.
As BILD has found out, regular meetings of the Commission were actually held at intervals of two to four weeks. But nothing was known about their content – until now.
Just five months after the commission was founded, the entire occupied areas began to be supplied with Russian roubles, as BILD reported exclusively in January 2016. It is to be assumed that this measure came about as a direct result of the commission’s work. The plans now unveiled extend far beyond maintaining financial support for the so-called Peoples’ Republics.
Evidently, the Russian government has assumed control over all areas of state responsibility for the Ukrainian regions – and this without Ukrainian involvement, not even the separatists! This not only determines the present destinies of the regions with roughly three million inhabitants. The long-term planning for the future of the territory is also pressing ahead.
Intelligence agency sources have confirmed to BILD that it actually appears as though Moscow is completely controlling the Ukrainian region. The still contested part of the Donbass appears «like a satellite state of Russia», is how experts interpreted the situation.
The commission is taking the Minsk Agreement to the absurd
Put simply, this means that Moscow is only promoting the implementation of the Minsk Agreement as a show for the West. Behind the curtains, a separate plan for the controlled areas in the Donbass has been put into effect since the end of 2014 (only three months after signing the peace plan Minsk).
Rather than envisaging a reintegration of the regions in the Ukraine over the medium term, this plan aims to secure its long-term existence under complete Russian control. The aims of the commission coincide with the events observed locally, which BILD brought to light in January 2016, but extend far beyond this.
Russia is planning a permanent stabilisation of the political, social and economic situation in the Donbass under its control. That will make the Donbass a puppet state of the Russian Federation, whose future is set to be decided exclusively in Moscow. This is confirmation of the failure of the Minsk Agreement, adherence to which by Russia is merely pretence.
Furthermore, the west’s demand that Ukraine should enable democratic elections in the areas not under its control is taken to the absurd by the revelation. The political figures up for elections in such vote would not be the ones in charge for the development of the area. Those that hold on to power are located in Moscow.