November 27, 2017

The Military Coup in the “LPR” as a “Mirror” of Confrontation in Russia's Ruling Elite

Last week's main event in the zone of conflict in the Donbas was a military coup in the “LPR”, which ended in the leader of the self-proclaimed republic I. Plotnytskyi's removal from power. As you know, the overthrow was carried out by the hands of the so-called Minister of Internal Affairs of the “LPR” I. Kornet with the support of the Special Forces of the “DPR” and Russian military. At this, power in the territory occupied by Luhansk region went to L. Pasechnik — the chief of the so-called Ministry of State Security of the “LPR” — a local branch of the FSB of the Russian Federation.

Ukrainian, Russian and Western experts have already provided a wide range of assessments of the reasons for this event — from banal “routines” between the criminal groups in the “LPR” and the attempts of Moscow and its accomplices in the Donbas, despite everything, to create “Novorossia” by uniting two self-proclaimed republics — to the projection on the region of disagreements in the leadership of Russia.

All this can really and truly be taking place, including as the combination of interconnected factors. At the same time, the military coup in the “LPR” has a deeper background and is objectively linked with the growing split in the ruling elite of the Russian Federation, which directly affects V. Putin himself and undermines the basis of his power. As previously noted by “Borysfen Intel”, the catalyst for this process was the introduction by the United States of new sanctions against Russia, which provide for not only creation of critical barriers to the work of leading sectors of the Russian economy, but also identification and possibility of interlocking Western assets of the Russian establishment (including relatives and fugitives of the actual holders of accounts and property).

An evidence of the decisiveness of such intentions was the arrest of a Deputy of the Federation Council of Russia from Dagestan, billionaire S. Kerimov, who was detained at the French airport of Nice on 20 November, 2017. Despite S. Kerimov's diplomatic immunity, he is held in custody on charges of tax evasion during buying property in France. In particular, this applies to Villa Hier on the Cote d'Azur, which was nominally purchased by a Swiss businessman. According to the Police, the villa was officially sold for 35 million Euros, but the seller was transferred 60 million Euros, which allowed to evade paying the full amount of tax.

Obviously, the same measures can be used to other Russian rulers, as shown in S. Kerimov's case. Moreover, this is a clear signal that western intelligence services have all the information on foreign assets of Russian ruling circles and that leading European countries strongly support the US sanctions.

This situation is causing a completely expected panic in the leadership of the Russian Federation and, accordingly, leads to an escalation of the confrontation between those who would like to change the country's policy and those who support its current course. It is clear that the first of these groups includes representatives of the big business of Russia, who are the main targets of sanctions of the  USA and the EU, and the second — the security forces, which have nothing to lose.

In the given context, the Kremlin's latest steps have shown V. Putin's willingness to find some compromises with the West over the Ukrainian issue. At this, of key importance was the first personal telephone conversation of the Russian President with the leaders of the “DPR” and “LPR” O. Zakharchenko and I. Plotnytskyi on the 15th of November 2017, which showed that the problem of the armed conflict in the Donbas has come onto a qualitatively new level of state significance for Russia.

Proceeding from this circumstance, the military coup in the “LPR” is not at all a reflection of disagreements between the Adviser to the President of Russia V. Surkov — the curator of I. Plotnytskyi, and Colonel-General of the FSB S. Beseda — the curator of I. Cornet and L. Pasechnik (and the entire power bloc of the self-proclaimed republics), as claimed by a number of mass media, but a personal challenge to V. Putin by Russian security forces. In this way he faces the fact of the impossibility of adjusting the course of the country. Besides, the removal from the power of I. Plotnytskyi, who participated in the Minsk Agreements (albeit in informal status), actually creates preconditions for the final disruption of the peaceful settlement of the conflict in the East of Ukraine.

At the same time, the RF FSB, which had been the basis of V. Putin's power, is actually turning into opposition to him, which fundamentally changes the situation in the country. In fact, the Kremlin is losing control over the main secret service of the country, which is especially dangerous in the situation of growing disagreements in the ruling elite of Russia, as well as the spread of protest moods among the Russian population. The nearer the presidential election in the Russian Federation approaches (March 2018), the sharper this problem will become with the tendency of its transformation into an internal confrontation in the country.

We will not make far-reaching conclusions yet, but let's pay attention to some other indicative facts. This year V. Putin has replaced more than 20 governors of the Russian regions, which was aimed at strengthening the vertical of his power. Against this background, measures were taken to expand the rights and strengthen the Federal Service of the National Guard troops, both by increasing the number of its personnel and by the adoption of heavy military equipment (including armored personnel carriers, tanks, barrel and rocket artillery), aircrafts and the ships. Besides, they are considering a transfer of forces and functions of the Ministry of Emergency Situations to Rosgvardia, as a result of which by its strength it will be equal to the ground forces (Army) of the Russian Armed Forces.

Thus, V. Putin is actually creating his own alternative army — devoted personally to him. By the way, Rosgvardia is going to get the functions of protection of governors of the country, in fact — of overseeing them.

Well, all this fully corresponds to some experts' seeing the military coup in the “LPR” as a “rehearsal of the civil war in Russia”.