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Published in Stream:
Ukraine Live Day 477
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Pavel Gubarev Among 15 Arrested By Motorola's Battalion; Released After Drug Test
6 years
Shelling Reported In Donetsk
OSCE Spots More Armour East Of Volnovakha. Preparations For A Pincer North Of Mariupol?

Yesterday, June 8, Pavel Gubarev, the former "people's governor" of the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic" (DNR), was arrested after a shooting incident, and then released.

Translation: Pavel Gubarev detained for shooting from a sniper's rifle in Donetsk.
Translation: Pasha Gubarev has screwed up??!!

LifeNews reported that Gubarev was detained along with 15 people after unknown persons, apparently from the DNR forces, opened fire from the SkyCity empty office building, evidently from an SVD [Dragunov snipers' rifle]. Agents from the DNR's Ministry of State Security (MNB) went to the scene and closed off Artyom street and surrounded the building, then dragged out the suspects and threw them to the ground. They reportedly were able only to find a pistol.

Ukrainian press had a different version of the story.

Translation: Motorola's group seized the DNR Communications Ministry and Gubarev - Interior Ministry

Vyacheslav Abroskin, head of the Donetsk branch of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, told that "the DNR's Ministry of Communications was seized" reportedly by fighters from Motorola's brigade with the help of armored vehicles. Motorola, the call sign of Arseny Pavlov, is the commander of the Spartak Battalion and among the most popular of the separatists. The ministry's  office is located in the SkyCity business center. Motorola was quoted as saying that 15 fighters were sent "to the republic's drug clinic" for testing and that they were "drug addicts." reported Gubarev as saying:

"The incident with the surrounding of the SkyCity building took place, but I had nothing to do with it. I am home now, everything is fine with me. As for the rest, I believe the investigation should get to the bottom of this situation,"

This latest affair was seen as another indication that the "Novorossiya" cause was being wound up by Russia and even its proxies in Donetsk. Yet Gubarev, once the "people's governor" of Donetsk and the main hero of the DNR has been far less visible since his resignation in September and less active since an alleged assassination attempt on him last October when his car was shot near the Russian border. His arrest among 15 people in what may have been infighting among the DNR fighters or a party gone out of control doesn't necessarily signify a "hit" has been made on  him.

Even when the assassination attempt was said to be made on him, there was speculation that the incident wasn't war-related but some internal dispute. He didn't suffer any gunshot wounds  but was hospitalized with traumatic brain injury, then recovered and resumed campaigning for the Novorossiya cause on talk shows, and helping his wife Yekaterina Gubareva, one of the main fund-raisers for "Novorossiya."

Gubarev was briefly kidnapped -- and quickly released -- by Chechens earlier this year, which shed light on the fact that Krasnodon had been taken over by Chechen fighters -- and Gubarev was still relevant enough to kidnap.

Russian-backed fighters continue to use the Novorossiya flag and insignia and proclaim its ideals as we can see from a recent convoy May 29 moving into  position for what turned out to be the June 3 offensive. There are many other recent instances of the flag and rhetoric. The leadership of the DNR and LNR may be forced into some seeming compromise as their recent statements indicate but they continue to take over Ukrainian territory and kill Ukrainians.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick