The question of agency – and whodunit? PlotnitskyiAugust 6, 2016
The 6th August brought with it an assassination attempt (perhaps it will prove to be successful yet) upon the life of “Lunhansk People’s Republic leader” Igor Plotnitskyi.
The car in which Mr Plotnitskyi was being driven/was driving was apparently hit by an explosion, it is claimed seriously injuring Mr Plotnitskyi and his driver (or no driver depending upon sources).
Albeit there is currently (perhaps surprisingly – or not) little noise regarding the incident within the social and “main stream” media of the occupied territories, it is suggested that the explosive device was attached to a post passed which Mr Plotnitskyi’s car was driven.
Perhaps true with the vast majority of damage being to one side of the vehicle. It would also suggest detonation occurred via “line of sight” to insure the car was adjacent to the explosive device when it was triggered. Indeed there appears to be a felled pole next to the damaged car in the photograph below
An unexpected bonus for Ukraine? Hardly.
Whether Mr Plotnitskyi lives or dies makes little difference to Ukraine with regard to the war or the occurrences within the occupied territory of Luhansk beyond its control. Mr Plotnitskyi is not a man with agency when it comes to dictating any interaction with Ukraine (and neither is Mr Zakharchenko, his equivalent in the occupied Donetsk), nor major “domestic” policy within the “LNR” either.
Mr Plotnitskyi’s death would mean that The Kremlin would have to replace him with another local with loyalties to Moscow – and someone who could insure the continuance of cash flows from illicit money relating to racketeering still finding its way to Moscow at the agreed percentages. Other than that, whether he lives or dies is also rather irrelevant to The Kremlin too.
In short, Mr Plotnitskyi is entirely without agency, and is long since recognised as being so by both The Kremlin and Kyiv.
Ergo, unless The Kremlin wanted to replace Mr Plotnitskyi in a very public way and simultaneously insure any possible Plotnitskyi related “issues” were permanently dealt with, it has no reason to be involved – unless it be a planned precursor for something larger (a faux casus belli?). Ukraine has no real interest, and little to gain, from his assassination either.
Thus having discounted the probability of State actors being involved, the question is “whodunit”?
During 2015 and 2016 Mr Plotnitskyi has overseen the assassination of numerous warlords/crime bosses within the “LNR” occupied territories which he nominally controls as “leader”. Half a dozen or so have met untimely and violent ends internally of the “LNR”. It is questionable however, as to how well this has brought these unpredictable groups to Mr Plotnitskyi’s heel. Well enough to dissuade the warlords/crime bosses to forego assassination attempts?
There are yet further considerations, such as the on-going power struggle between Mr Plotnitskyi and Leonid Pasichnyk, a man that continues to survive and flourish within the “LNR” senior echelons despite several “management purges” undertaken by the “leader of the LNR”. Mr Pasichnyk clearly has friends in The Kremlin of equal weight to those behind Mr Plotnitskyi.
It has been claimed for some time that the two are at loggerheads over many issues, including the (lucrative) control of the fuel arriving from Russia. (Indeed this may account for Russian fuel supplies mysteriously catching fire in Alchevsk with no attempt to blame Ukraine.)
Is Mr Pasichnyk therefore behind this attempted (thus far) assassination? Would he act in such a blunt manner? If so, why now and not previously if he wanted to assume the “leadership of the LNR”?
Should Mr Plotnitskyi survive (and he may not) and (rightly or wrongly) point the finger at Mr Pasichnyk, would he survive another Plotnitskyi purge – or worse, Plotnitskyi retribution via a reciprocal act with a similarly explosive modus operandi in the future?
On the subject of modus operandi, why an explosive device affixed a pole by the roadside – which is not the most successful assassination method employed within the “LNR” over the past few years.
Whatever the case, whether Mr Plotnitskyi lives or dies nothing changes for The Kremlin or Kyiv – but the “whodunit” and why now are interesting questions nevertheless – for internal strife within the occupied territories clearly continues.