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Published in Stream:
Day 715: February 2, 2016
Press by
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Pavel Gubarev Appointed 'Mayor' Of DNR-Held Yasinovataya
4 years
Ukraine Reports 56 Attacks Over 24 Hours; Zaytsevo Checkpoint To Be Closed

Pavel Gubarev, the former 'people's governor' of Donetsk during the early phases of the Russian-backed conflict in 2014, has been appointed 'mayor' of the separatist-held town of Yasinovataya.

The order for Gubarev's appointment to head the administration of the town, which lies just northeast of Donetsk, was signed by Aleksandr Zakharchenko, the leader of the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic (DNR), on January 27.

Gubarev, who has been a member of the neo-Nazi Russian National Unity party and then the Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine, took part in the occupation of administrative buildings in Donetsk and declared himself the "people's governor," vowing to hold a referendum on secession from Ukraine.

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Although he was arrested by the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) in March, 2014, he was subsequently released as part of a prisoner exchange.

By the autumn of that year, Gubarev had fallen somewhat in the ranks of the separatists and, despite a cameo appearance in a music video calling for a united Russia "from Kamchatka to Odessa," his Novorossiya party was excluded from the DNR 'elections' by the separatist authorities on October 12.

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The next day he was the victim of a failed assassination attempt near the Russian border. He was left severely wounded after he crashed his car when gunmen opened fire.

Gubarev's woes did not end there.

In January last year, he was, by his own admission, abducted and questioned by Chechen fighters who were apparently dissatisfied with comments he had made about Ramzan Kadyrov. 

Then, in June, he was arrested and briefly detained by fighters from the Russian-backed Sparta Battalion in Donetsk. Gubarev was accused of firing a sniper rifle from a window and described by Sparta commander Arsen Pavlov as a drug addict. 

Gubarev's return to an official post, albeit one far less significant than the one he initially claimed, does suggest that he is out of the woods now with regards to his fellow separatists.

-- Pierre Vaux