Russia/Ukraine politics: Quick View - Coup in Luhansk, but nothing will change

Content Type
Country Data and Maps
Institution
Economist Intelligence Unit
Abstract
No abstract is available.
Topic
Politics, News Analysis, Forecast, Political stability
Political Geography
Russia, Ukraine

Event

On November 24th Leonid Pasechnyk, the security chief of the Luhansk People's Republic (LNR), one of the two self-proclaimed separatist states in the Donbas region, announced that he was taking over after Igor Plotnitski, the head of the LNR, resigned (officially for health reasons). This alleged coup took place four days after Mr Plotnitski fired his interior minister, Igor Kornet, and ordered his arrested.

Analysis

On November 21st, one day after he was arrested, Mr Kornet made a statement reaffirming his loyalty to the LNR and alleging that Mr Plotnitski had been manipulated by Ukrainian agents who plotted a takeover of the LNR by Ukraine. Mr Plotnitski subsequently issued a counterstatement denying Mr Kornet's allegations, proclaiming his loyalty to Russia and insisting that he had control of the LNR military, which no longer seemed to be the case at that point. Later that day a large column of military vehicles was seen entering Luhansk from the Donetsk People's Republic (DNR), the other Donbas separatist state, to support Mr Kornet. At about the same time the office of the attorney general of the LNR (the only law enforcement agency that was still loyal to Mr Plotnitski) was surrounded by military men without badges of rank or national insignia.

On November 22nd these men, whose demeanour was described as polite, restrained and professional (as that of the Russian special forces, dubbed the "little green men", when they took over Crimea in February 2014), occupied the attorney general's office and took over the Luhansk television station. Mr Plotnitski landed in Moscow, the Russian capital, later that day in an attempt to ask for Russia's help. Russian officials have so far remained silent.

Throughout this strange, bloodless, coup Russian state media speculated about a merger of the LNR and the DNR. Mr Kornet's statements regarding the help that he received from the DNR fuelled this speculation. The DNR confirmed that it had co-operated with its Luhansk counterpart to "uncover and liquidate a large-scale conspiracy of the Ukrainian intelligence services intended to destabilise the LNR".

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