Putin’s aide, Vladislav Surkov, met with Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) ringleader Denis Pushilin in Moscow on Wednesday, Russian news agency TASS reports.
The two met to discuss preparations for the upcoming “elections” in the DPR and social issues in the Donbas.
“I spoke at length with Vladislav Yuryevich about the situation in the republic. A high appraisal was given of the functioning of all administrative structures during the transitional period. The clear and professional work of the Election Commission Center was noted. We received guarantees of support from Russia in everything which concerns security and a better quality of life for citizens,” Pushilin said.
According to him, “a number of decisions of a humanitarian nature will soon be made, which will make it possible to tangibly increase the pay for a variety of groups of the population”.
“Containing the price increases on several necessities has also been recognized as a priority,” Pushilin added.
He also noted that he invited Surkov to visit Donetsk, and that Surkov accepted the invitation.
The meeting was also attended by Alexey Filatov, a representative of the Russian Border Collaboration Office, who is currently in charge of “humanitarian and political cooperation with the DPR and LPR”. Notably, he is responsible for collaborating with the Donbas in matters pertaining to the “election campaign”.
“Before this, he oversaw relations with South Ossetia. He did the job well, and has now been promoted,” the report notes.
Pushilin has acted as head of the DPR since the death of Alexander Zakharchenko, who was killed in an explosion in a restaurant in Donetsk on August 31 this year. Dmitry Trapeznikov briefly stood in as acting head of the DPR, but was replaced by Denis Pushilin on September 7. The members of Zakharchenko’s close circle have fled to Russia.
In September, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) published a recording of an intercepted phone call between Trapeznikov and Pushlin in which they agreed on how to get rid of Zakharchenko’s cronies. The recording’s authenticity was confirmed by the terrorist Alexander Khodakovsky.
Following Zakharchenko’s death and Pushilin’s appointment, the Russian occupation government in the Donbas has scheduled “elections” for November 11 to determine the leaders of the DPR and LPR, as well as of the so-called “people’s councils”. The Foreign Ministry of Ukraine considers Russia’s decision concerning “elections” in the occupied territories to be grounds for new sanctions against Russia. Members of the EU and US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker have also spoken against the elections.