by Nikolay HOROHOV
The self-proclaimed leader of "The Lugansk national republic", commander of the armed gang "Zarya"
According to the official biography of Plotnitsky, published by the Russian and separatist mass media, the future leader of "LNR" was born in 1964 in Lugansk. However, inquisitive journalists found roots of Plotnitsky in Bukovyna. Residents of the Kelmentsy village, Chernivetsky region, confirm that the family of a future separatist really lived there, and it was their village where Plotnitsky went to school. In 1982 Plotnitsky was called up for military service in Penza. After the end of conscription service he remained in armed forces, and in 1987 graduated from the Penza Higher Artillery Engineering School. Left military service in 1991 in the rank of major.
At the beginning of the 1990s Plotnitsky arrived to Lugansk, where he worked for some commercial structures. Later he started his own fuel trading business. From 2004 to 2012 he had been working at public service in the Regional Inspection for consumer right protection.
Since the beginning of separatist disorders in the east of Ukraine Plotnitsky takes a side with the so-called "LNR". In April he organizes the battalion "Zarya", and since May 21, 2014 is appointed to the position of the "Minister of Defense". After the first head of "LNR" Valery Bolotov had resigned, Plotnitsky replaced him at this position. Later, when Plotnitsky took part in the so-called "elections" of the head of "LNR", he claimed that "had been appointed" to this post, however, he never specified who exactly had appointed him.
Journalistic investigation of "Ukrainian Pravda" indicates a direct link between Plotnitsky, as well as "the government of LNR" controlled by him, with the ex-governor of Lugansk region and an influential former member of Party of Regions Alexander Efremov.
At the moment Igor Plotnitsky and bands under his control are contestant with the gangs of "Cossacks" which have occupied the South of Lugansk region. The actual jurisdiction of "the head of LNR" extends on the territory slightly bigger than the area of Lugansk.
Commander of the "Great Don Army"
The future "Cossack ataman" was born in 1956 in Dzerzhinsk, Donetsk region. In 1978 he graduated from The School of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Kharkov, then worked as a custodial supervisor. In 1985 the ensign Kozitsyn was dismissed from the Police Force for numerous official misconducts, among which there were both alcoholism and the non-manual relations with prisoners.
Since 1990 Kozitsyn has been participating in formation of the Don Cossacks structures, which had been created on the wave of patriotic feelings growth in Russia in the late eighties. In 1992 together with a group of volunteers he takes part in a war on the side of Russians in Transnistria. In 1993 takes part in the Georgian war on the side of Abkhazia. In the same year he became an ataman of the "Great Don Army".
In 1994 on behalf of the Don Cossacks Kositsyn signs an agreement on cooperation with the leaders of the Dzhokhar Dudaev's self-proclaimed Chechen republic, which caused a big scandal, although after the beginning of the First Chechen war Kozitsyn's contacts with Dudaev helped to recover many Russian war prisoners. However, Kozitsyn's "Cossacks" did not take active part in that war.
In the late nineties Kozitsyn takes part in the Yugoslavian conflict on the side of the Serbians, where he had direct contacts with the former president of Yugoslavia Slobodan Milosevic.
Prior to the start of the Ukrainian conflict Kozitsyn had been constantly living in his residence in Novocherkassk of the Rostov region. There he acquired ranks and regalia which he often invented by himself. If what "ataman" said is true, he is a Doctor of Economics, a writer, a Maltese and an academician. However, it may be true that some of the 28 state awards of Kozitsyn, including Zhukov's Prize, are quite real as Kozitsyn and his "army" have been in good graces of the authorities of the Russian Federation for quite a long time.
After the beginning of military operations in the east of Ukraine Kozitsyn and his "Cossacks" take an active part in engagements on the side of separatists. Parts of the "Cossack national guard" controlled by the "ataman" occupied Antratsyt (which is the informal capital of Kozitsyn's possessions), as well as Rovenky, Krasnyi Luch and some other towns in the south of Lugansk region. Kozitsyn also has "ataman" from Stakhanov Pavel Dremov in his sphere of influence.
Nikolay Kozitsyn openly disclaims the existence of "LNR" and considers the territory under his control "the territory of the Russian Empire".
Commander of the "Ghost" band
Mozgovoy was born in 1975 in the north of Lugansk region ,in Nyzhnia Duvanka village, Svatovsky district.
Served in the Ukrainian army under the contract, worked in Svatovo's military commissariat for some time. Left in the rank of sergeant.
Since the end of the 1990s Mozgovoy has been politically active on the local level – worked as a canvasser and a judge of election. Mozgovoy's political views can be inferred by the fact that he was a member of the “Young Guard” organization headed by the famous separatist Arsen Klinchayev.
In the spring of 2014 Mozgovoy was an active participant of Lugansk Antimaydan. In April he organized "A national army of Lugansk region" and on April, the 10th, officially visited Moscow as one of the "leaders of protest", where he had meetings with the heads of parliamentary fractions of LDPR Vladimir Zhirinovsky and "A Just Russia" Sergey Mirnov. However Mozgovoy never became the actual leader in "LNR". He failed to share power with the head of separatists of that time Valery Bolotov and on April, the 21st, together with his people, went to Lysychansk, where he consolidated, and on May, the 6th, declared his official reconciliation with Bolotov.
Mozgovoy together with Pavel Dremov, who at that time was commanding the Severodonetsk station of militants, conducted defense against the summer onslaught of the Ukrainian army in the area of Rubezhnoye – Severodonetsk – Lysychansk.
After he had been forced to leave the cities, Mozgovoy, who by that time had already gained the name “Ghost”, together with a unit he was in charge of, receded to Alchevsk, where he created his own administration, having separated from Plotnitsky's "authorities" and Kozitsyn's "Cossacks" .
Mozgovoy is a creative person. Not only is he a field commander, he is also a poet, and a folk singer, both Russian and Ukrainian. In peacetime he even was the soloist of the men ensemble.
It was Mozgovoy who made a now popular on the Internet statement that women have to stay at home and do the embroidery instead of going to bars, with the subsequent punishment for those who disobey.
Photo: Free press
The commander of "The Platov first Cossack regiment"
There is little known about Dremov's life before the war. He was born in Stakhanov in 1976 and was the bricklayer. In one of his interviews Dremov said that he had served in the Ukrainian army, "which sent him to the war in Transnistria under bullets", which is quite unlikely not just because the Ukrainian army did not take part in Transnistria War, but because in 1992 Dremov was 16 years old.
For the first time Dremov appeared as the head of terrorists in the summer of 2014 in Severodonetsk, where he organized groups of "Cossacks" with assistance of Nikolay Kozitsyn. In one of the interviews of that period the Russian mass media introduced Dremov as "the legendary Batya". The cover name Batya is really assigned to Dremov, but it seems impossible to find out what the ex-bricklayer's fabulousity consists in.
After the onslaught of the Ukrainian army Dremov receded from Severodonetsk to Stakhanov, of which he became the sole governor, having remained in the formal union with Nikolay Kozitsyn who was controlling the south of the area.
Dremov gained wide popularity thanks to the videos in which he pulls no punches in criticizing other separatists, in particular the leader of "LNR" Plotnitsky, with whom he is in a condition of the overt conflict, as evidenced by continuous firefights between different gangs.
According to Dremov, he has a "memory drive" with the evidence incriminating all the leaders of "LNR". Apart from secret information, Dremov also claims to have the personal number of the prime minister of RF Dmitri Medvedev.
Besides, Dremov is known as the active anti-Semite. In particular, he calls Igor Plotnitsky a "kike", and the Minsk truce – "a trick of the Jewish oligarchs".
Commander of the "Rusich" band
Milchakov was born in 1991 in St. Petersburg. He was a fan of the Petersburg's "Zenith", later became addicted to neo-nazism. Milchakov became known in the city's right subcultural circles as Fritz. Owned the hunting and traumatic weapon. In 2009 was brought to administrative action for firing in an unallowed place.
Milchakov gained wide fame in 2011 when he posted the photos of murdering a puppy, whom he later ate, in his "Vkontakte" profile. Despite a wide public resonance, criminal case on cruelty to animals against a young Nazi was never opened, and Alexey left St. Petersburg for some time.
Later Milchakov appeared in Pskov on service in the 76th landing division. After the service he immediately went to Lugansk region, allegedly as a volunteer, where in the summer of 2014 he formed the “Rusich” gang out of his ultra-right ideological mates and took the signal name Serbian. At the war Milchakov demonstrated his cruel squints again when he published the photos taken against the killed Ukrainian military men.
As a part of his division Milchakov fought in the murdered Alexander Bednov's ("Batman") gang. Took part in fights with "Aydar" where, along with the “Rusich” gunmen, distinguished himself by extra cruelty.
After Alexander Bednov was eliminated by Igor Plotnitsky's group, Milchakov declared war against "the leaders of LNR".
Photo: personal page Vkontakte
Commander of a band "Wood demon"
Was born in 1975 in Primorsk, Zaporozhye region. Graduated from technical training college in the hometown. From 1993 to 1995 did military service in the 529th mechanized regiment in the
Since 2007 Pavlov – Cossack "ataman" in the village Kadiyevskaya near Stakhanov. Future leader of separatists registered the organization on behalf of "The union of the Cossack formations" which roots are in
In the spring of 2014 takes active part in separatist performances in Lugansk. After occupation of the city by fighters he forms "Smersh LNR" as a part of which he is engaged in detentions and tortures of activists of Lugansk Euromaidan.
At the same time the division called by his code sign is formed. Base of the battalion "Wood demon" – is the building of SBU in Lugansk, and later - the Lugansk Institute by Ministry of Internal Affairs. During the short period in the summer of 2014 Pavlov even was actually an individual owner of Lugansk after withdrawal of Valery Bolotov's power.
Recently Pavlov and his division was in a shadow because of the conflict with Carpenter's group.
Photo: TV screenshot
The commander of a band "Stronghold", the self-proclaimed "head of DNR"
Was born in 1976 in
Besides business Zakharchenko is engaged in public work – he heads the
On April 16, 2014 among group of the armed fighters carries out occupation of the building of Donetsk OGA. In May becomes "the military commandant" of
On August 7 after departure from
Ex-commander of a band "East", head of "security council of DNR"
Hodakovsky – the former commander of Special Forces of SBU "Alpha" in
As a part of the division Hodakovsky was in February, 2014 in
In the spring of 2014 Hodakovsky gathered the former Ukrainian security officers from "Berkut" and "Alpha". Then mercenaries from the
"East" received baptism of fire in collision with the battalion "Donbass" in fight near Karlovkaya on May 23. And already on May 26 "East" as a part of other forces of terrorists the band suffered heavy losses in attempt of occupation of the
In race for power in Donetsk Hodakovsky clashed with Aleksander Boroday who arrived from
Together with Hodakovsky a half of his "battalion" left, while the others swore on fidelity to "the Minister of Defence of DNR". In
With Zakharchenko the commander of "East" found a common language much more simply, and on November 13 by the decree of "the head of DNR" was appointed to the position (which he created himself) of "the head of security council of DNR". The German journalist André Aykhofer interviewing Hodakovsky told that now from a window of the cabinet of the former field commander the view of a central
Commander of a band "
Was born in 1983 in the
The destiny of the Motorola made abrupt turn after he under impression of news on the Russian TV arrived to Donbass to defend "the Russian peace". Pavlov joined Girkin's group in
Talkative and moderately photogenic the Motorola attracted the Russian journalists who in a large number happened in
The second Motorola's wife (the first remained in Komi) who is sharply contrasting with him the high silent brunette was in the ranks of "militia" in
After a wedding the Motorola with the newly made spouse went to the Crimea – to have a rest and heal the wounds he got near
The division of the Motorola takes part in the organization of the Ilovaysky copper for the Ukrainian military. Then "
Commander of a band of "
Was born in Ilovaysk in 1980. In 1998-2000 passed conscription service in the Ukrainian army. In
The call sign received in army not for the Georgian origin, but for external similarity with Caucasians.
According to own statement, always sympathized with
As the commander of militants for the first time approved himself near Ilovaysk. There the group under command of Givi was directly involved in blocking of the Ukrainian troops trying to go out of an entrapment.
From an early autumn of the 2014th together with the Motorola directs attacks of fighters to the