Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Zakharchenko “Liquidation” – Update (2)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

Chances are Russia is cleaning house with the assassination of Zakharchenko.

Russian information-deception operations, however, are accusing Ukraine of the assassination. As if that’s a bad thing…

Russia is claiming the assassination is a “provocation”.  Gleiwitz, indeed. 

</end editorial>

No surprises. Larionov’s analysis does fit the data – Russia may indeed attempt a full scale invasion of Ukraine, or possibly an easier target, while he still has the means to do so.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin’s Falling Ratings Even More Likely to Lead Him to War and Dictatorship than They Were Before 2014, Larionov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, September 1 – Over the last three months, the ratings of Vladimir Putin and the Russian authorities have fallen by almost 20 percent, down to a level not seen since the protest era of 2011-2012. His ratings then led him to invade Ukraine, Viktor Larionov says; now, they are likely to lead him to launch a far larger and bloodier conflict. The reason for that is this, the commentator says. “If in 2011-2014, … the threat to the regime, if it existed, was only in the heads of Putin and his entourage [but] today, it is really visible to the unaided eye” and has been “established by the efforts of Putin himself” ( And that is something that Putin and his people in the Kremlin not only understand very well but see only one way out: the unleashing of war, but this time “not in the form of ‘a small but victorious’ one but rather in a large and bloody one, but hopefully without the application of nuclear weapons.” “The goal of this war is not the recovery of ratings as was the case in the era of ‘Crimea is ours’ but rather the introduction of martial law which will allow the regime to deal with dissatisfaction and establish a pure and unconcealed dictatorship. The variants, besides ‘a liberation campaign on Kyiv,’ are not that many,” Larionov says. “In this connection,” he continues, “the murder of ‘DNR’ head Aleksandr Zakharchenko after which the pro-Kremlin ‘media’ began to write that Ukraine supposedly has moved its forces up to the borders of ‘the republic’ must be viewed as very serious indeed.”

Inglourious Basterds – war news | UNIAN

The abominable life of Kremlin puppets in the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions usually ends with an inglorious death, that’s regardless of the “status” they managed to achieve in various ways throughout the years of Russian aggression against Ukraine. The death of Alexander Zakharchenko, the leader of the “young republic” of the “DPR” is generally no different from the elimination of other recognizable pro-Russian militants in Donbas. Shortly after declaring a three-day mourning across the “DPR” of the deceased Russian singer and MP Iosif Kobzon, a vocal supporter of the “right to self-determination” of Buryat tankers in eastern Ukraine, he heard the bell toll for himself. As Russian media reported on Friday afternoon, an explosion rocked the Separ café in the center of Donetsk, not far from Zakharchenko’s office. First sources reported from the scene that one person had been injured in the powerful blast, without identifying the victim. A little later, there came reports that the “DPR” leader, Alexander Zakharchenko, died at a local hospital from fatal wounds sustained in the blast. While militants in Donetsk traditionally put all blame for the brazen act on mysterious Ukrainian saboteurs, the Security Service of Ukraine confirmed that Zakharchenko had been killed in the explosion. “The information being received by the Security Service of Ukraine confirms that today there was an explosion, as a result of which Zakharchenko was killed, and not only him,” said Ihor Huskov, head of the SBU staff. Read alsoMysterious deaths of chieftains in Russian-backed “republics” since 2015 – Infographic “We have reason to believe that Zakharchenko’s death can be the result of internal criminal conflicts among militants, primarily related to the distribution of businesses seized in 2014-2018,” he said. “But we do not rule out attempts by Russian special services to eliminate a rather odious figure, which, according to information we have, was a hindrance to Russians, and today became superfluous,” added Huskov. There may be many versions, but the fact remains: Russia, whether by the hands of local criminals or through its special services, removes the “leaders” it no more finds relevant. The Kremlin today does not need any extra witnesses to all the atrocities that have taken place in Donbas since 2014 ……..

Klimkin: Zakharchenko’s death could trigger new Russian provocations – 01.09.2018 19:00 — Ukrinform News

The death of Alexander Zakharchenko, the leader of Donetsk terrorists, could trigger new provocations on part of Russia.

Zakharchenko killed as a result of eliminating witnesses, conflict on commercial grounds – SBU head

Head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) Vasyl Hrytsak has denied a possible involvement of the Ukrainian side in the death of DPR Head Alexander Zakharchenko and tends to the fact that the main reason for his elimination could be conflicts on a commercial basis.

Zakharchenko killed in local criminal feud or eliminated by Russian special services

Chief of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR) Alexander Zakharchenko has been killed in Russian-occupied Donetsk either as a result of criminal fights among militants, or liquidated by Russian special services, head of the staff at the SBU Ukrainian Security Service’s chief Ihor Huskov has said.

Lavrov calls murder of Donbass leader ‘blatant provocation’ — RT World News

The assassination of the Donetsk People’s Republic’s leader Aleksandr Zakharchenko is intended to undermine the ceasefire deal in eastern Ukraine and make European-backed peace talks “impossible,” Russian FM Sergey Lavrov said.

Lavrov: Killing of rebel leader in Ukraine aimed against Minsk treaty | News | DW | 01.09.2018

The killing of rebel leader Zakharchenko is a provocation aimed at disrupting the peace process, said Russia’s top diplomat, Sergey Lavrov. Talks involving Kyiv, Moscow, Berlin and Paris are currently “impossible.”

Russia says talks on Ukraine in ‘Normandy format’ not possible now – Ifax | Reuters

Russian foreign minister said on Saturday talks on Ukraine with leaders from Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany, known as the Normandy format, were impossible after the killing of a rebel leader in eastern Ukraine, Interfax agency reported.

Zakharchenko’s Murder Organized by Ukraine’s Special Operations Forces – Adviser – Sputnik International

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The assassination of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic’s (DPR) leader, Alexander Zakharchenko, was organized by the Ukrainian Special Operations Forces, Zakharchenko’s adviser Alexander Kazakov told Sputnik.

Acting DPR Leader Vows to Push for Integration with Russia – Sputnik International

DONETSK (Sputnik) – The farewell ceremony and funeral for the assassinated leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic Alexander Zakharchenko are set to take place on September 2, acting DPR leader Dmitry Trapeznikov said Friday.

LPR Introduces High Alert Regime Over Murder of DRP Leader – Acting Head – Sputnik International

LUGANSK (Ukraine) – The self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) has introduced a high alert regime for its law enforcement bodies due the assassination of the head of the neighboring self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), Alexander Zakharchenko, acting head of LPR Leonid Pasechnik said.

TASS: World – Chechen leader Kadyrov vows support to Donbass after DPR head’s death

Alexander Zakharchenko, who had been Prime Minister of the DPR since 2014, died in an explosion in downtown Donetsk on Friday

Kremlin says Zakharchenko’s murder threatens Minsk agreements | KyivPost

Russian top officials have claimed that the murder of Alexander Zakharchenko, the separatist leader of the Russian-controlled part of Donetsk Oblast, harms the Minsk peace process. The leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany have been unsuccessfully trying to enforce the agreements reached in Minsk, Belarus to halt the war in the Donbas since 2015. On Aug. 31, Zakharchenko was killed in a bomb blast in a Donetsk cafe. The Kremlin called his assassination a terrorist act and placed the blame on the Ukrainian special services. “This is chaos which annuls all step that Russia and the global community have been taking to stop the war in eastern Ukraine,” said Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of the Russian federal parliament, according to the Russian Interfax news agency on Sept. 1. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called Zakharchenko’s murder “a provocation aimed at disrupting the Minsk agreements,” according to the Russian state news agency TASS. “In the current situation, it is impossible to talk about upcoming meetings in the Normandy format like many of our European partners want,” Lavrov said on Sept. 1. “This is a serious situation that we need to analyze.” The Ukrainian authorities have not yet responded to these statements.

Russia says talks on Ukraine in ‘Normandy format’ not possible now: Ifax | Reuters

Russian foreign minister said on Saturday talks on Ukraine with leaders from Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany, known as the Normandy format, were impossible after the killing of a rebel leader in eastern Ukraine, Interfax agency reported.

Almost 20 people go missing after Zakharchenko’s assassination in occupied Donetsk | UNIAN

Nineteen people have gone missing in the Russian-occupied city of Donetsk after leader of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) Alexander Zakharchenko was assassinated on August 31. Ten of the 50 people detained by the “DPR” have already been freed.

Zakharchenko funeral in occupied Donetsk: Students, public sector workers forced to attend (Photo) | UNIAN

Local students and workers from budget-financed enterprises and organizations have reportedly been forced into attending the funeral of recently killed leader of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) Alexander Zakharchenko in the Russian-occupied city of Donetsk on Sunday, September 2. Russian-backed terrorists have introduced enhanced security measures in Donetsk.

🇷🇺 🇺🇦 Russia accuses Ukraine of killing Zakharchenko | Al Jazeera English – YouTube

Al Jazeera English Published on Sep 1, 2018 Russia has accused Ukraine of assassinating prominent separatist leader Alexander Zakharchenko in Eastern Ukraine. The Russian-backed leader of rebels in Donetsk was killed in a blast at a cafe in the city centre. Al Jazeera’s Rory Challands reports from Moscow.

Russia, Ukraine Trade Blame Over Zakharchenko Killing

The leadership of the pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine has been thrown into disarray after the head of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic was killed in an explosion at a cafe designed…

Second Person Dies In Donetsk Cafe Blast That Killed Separatist Leader Zakharchenko

The leadership of the pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine has been thrown into disarray after the head of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic was killed in an explosion at a cafe designed…

All You Need To Know About Bombing Of Top Separatist Leader In Ukraine And Why It Matters – The Drive

The assassination has sent accusations flying and comes as Russia takes an even more aggressive stance along Ukraine’s land and sea borders.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russians Get Serious — Old Outrageous Distractions No Longer Work, Gudkov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, September 1 – The Poles have a saying, frequently heard at the end of the Soviet occupation, that when times are bad, people tell political jokes; but when times get worse, they stop. Something analogous appears to be happening in Russia today – and the new seriousness among Russians may portend a serious new situation for the Kremlin. For most of the last three decades, a small number of Russian politicians – Vladimir Zhirinovsky is only the most famous – have by their very outrageousness often served to distract the Russian people from the difficulties they themselves face and the crimes their leaders have committed. In the last few years, one of the most active of these public “clowns” has been Duma deputy Vitaly Milonov who could be counted on to enliven the public space even at the most awful times with his outrageous proposals. But this week, his ability to do so appears to have worn out, Dmitry Gudkov says ( This week, the opposition politician says, Milonov tried to lighten the atmosphere with three of his trademark ideas – a call for closing all adult stores, a plan to frighten Russians who eat Western fast food with pictures of headless bodies, and the suggestion that soldiers be fed shaurma. “But in response was a deafening silence.” “The times have changed.” Russians are no longer going to be distracted by such notions. “Reality has overtaken the wildest fantasies because when they (again) put people in prison for anecdotes and pictures,” nothing Milonov “with his stupidities” can do will change the public mood. “The jokes are over,” Gudkov says. “The time of bestial seriousness has arrived: even Putin condescended to speak with the people on television. A clear understanding is hanging in the air: this is no time to be smiling! We have crossed an important line,” and now people are taking things far more seriously than they did. Two wars, attacks on people at home and now the destruction of people’s expectations about pensions have made Russians aware that under Putin, they live a life of “total theft, arrests-arrests-arrests, and tortures-tortures-tortures.” That is no laughing matter, however much clowns like Milonov try to make it into one. “Clowns have always understood that they are clowns,” and they generally know when to exit the stage. The last year has created that condition, Gudkov says. “A critical mass of bestiality has taken shape in which it is difficult to breathe and in which one doesn’t feel like laughing.” There was a breather during the World Cup when some “fresh air” came in from abroad, but now things are depressed again. No one is laughing at the Milonovs of Moscow any more. Instead, they are silently waiting for “the funeral bell” to sound, signaling the end of the era in which they have been living.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin Actively Using Cold War Stasi Network in Germany, Reitshuster Says

Paul Goble Staunton, September 1 – Boris Reitschuster, author of Putin’s Secret War, says that the Kremlin is “actively using the old agent network” that the East German intelligence service set up in the West during the Cold War not only to achieve specific foreign policy goals like North Stream but also to set the tone in German discussions about Russia. Despite the received opinion, he tells US-based Russian journalist Kseniya Kirillova that the Stasi network “was not unmasked after the end of the Cold War. Yes, the archives were opened, but their informant concerned mostly the Stasi agent network in East Germany” ( “As far as the agents from among the citizens of West Germany is concerned, Reitschuster says, “information about them was taken back to Russia, something Putin has openly acknowledged. One is speaking about several thousand people including politicians and generals. According to some, up to 20,000 residents of Western Germany were Stasi informers.” Unmasking these people is more difficult in Germany than elsewhere, he continues. On the one hand, there isn’t a special program to do so as there is in many east European states like Lithuania. And on the other, anyone found to have cooperated with the Stasi can be charged with treason, something that makes it easier for Moscow to put pressure on them to this day. As a result of this, Reitschuster says, Russia has an agent network in Germany far larger and more influential than in any other country. It continues to penetrate the political parties and the economy, with Russian firms increasingly owning large shares of formerly purely German ones and pushing for projects like North Stream. The Stasi-origin agents mostly operate on the left, but Moscow has also elaborated an agent network among the far right of the political spectrum. Its operatives have close ties with the Alternative for Germany (AfD) and often host that party’s leaders in the Russian Federation. Not surprisingly, that party opposes sanctions against Moscow. According to the journalist and researcher, “Russia’s agents of influence are strong not only in the economy and political system but also in the information space of Germany.” That has been made easier, Raitschuster suggests, by the disappointment many Germans feel in the US under the presidency of Donald Trump. Moreover, he says, “over the last 70 years, [Germans] have not been responsible for their own foreign security and this has led to a definite infantilism among out politicians. Not long ago, for example, left radicals from among the so-called ‘anti-fascists’ … wrote on a wall in Hamburg an appeal calling for ‘saving the residents of the Donbass from the Ukrainian army.” In general, Reitschuster says, the notion that “’Ukraine attacked Eastern Ukraine’ is quite popular” in Germany. “Many believe that Putin although ‘not entirely a democrat’ is nonetheless ideally suited for the Russian people.” And despite history, they accept Russia’s seizure of Crimea as legitimate because it supposedly has belonged to Moscow from time immemorial.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Universal Patriarch to Grant Ukrainian Orthodox Autocephaly, Greek Church Source Says

Paul Goble Staunton, August 31 – The Universal Patriarch of the Orthodox Church, Bartholemew I, has decided to grant autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, according to a Greek church site, giving a major victory to Kyiv and inflicting an even larger geopolitical defeat on the Moscow Patriarchate and the Kremlin. Archbishop Yevstraty Zorya, the press secretary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, citing the Greek outlet, says that Bartholemew informed Moscow Patriarch Kirill about his decision during the latter’s recent visit to Constantinople ( Yevstraty added that the headline in the Greek source could be translated as “The Die is Cast! Ukraine is Receiving Autocephaly.” He said that Patriarch Kirill left his meeting with Bartholemew “in not the best spirit.” But Ukrainians are celebrating what will be a major victory for them. A spokesman for the Universal Patriarch told that “no one wants yet another split,” something Moscow has threatened if Constantinople proceeded. “Everyone wants unity in the Church.” But he added the Universal Patriarchate won’t be guided in its action by “threats from anyone,” a clear rebuff to Moscow. According to the spokesman, the Universal Patriarch took the decision about offering autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church in April and is now in the process of implementing it. And in the months since, Constantinople has signaled that it intends to meet Ukraine’s request although it has not provided a specific date. It is important to recognize what the grant of autocephaly in Ukraine will and won’t do. It will elevate the status of the Ukrainian church and underscore its separation from Moscow, but it won’t end the existence of the Moscow Patriarchate’s network of churches in Ukraine, although it will undoubtedly cause many of them to shift their subordination to Kyiv. Most important, it will undermine the Moscow Patriarchate’s claim to speak for all Orthodox on the former Soviet space and cost the church itself a great deal of its income given that half of its existing congregations are in Ukraine rather than in Moscow. And it will call into question Moscow’s claim to be the largest Orthodox church in the world. Obviously, Moscow both religious and secular isn’t going to accept this without a fight. But the decision of the Universal Patriarch means that Ukraine has won a major victory, one that it is likely to build on in the future and one that may serve as a model for other post-Soviet states as far as Orthodoxy is concerned.