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Characterization of the War in Ukraine Through a Look at Alexey Mozgovoy (1975-2015)

Article #4, continued from

"Victor Shapinov"

This article is directed against the liberal-left interpretation of the war in Ukraine. They see the war as a “people’s uprising” of the East of Ukraine (Donbass), against a fascist regime in Kiev, backed by Western imperialism. This primitive characterization is given voice, for example by Patelis Dimitris, an activist from Greece, who was speaking at the International Forum of Solidarity with Donbass, organized by Alexey Mozgovoy, in May 2015:

What is happening today in Donbass is an uprising of popular masses against fascism, the first such uprising in XXI century «Происходящее сегодня на Донбассе — это восстание народных масс против фашизма, первое такое восстание в XXI веке”

Such is the naïve, primitive understanding by left activists of the war in Ukraine. And this war concerns not only Ukraine, but Russia too, and the fate of socialism in general.

Who was Alexey Mozgovoy (1975-2015)? He was a former commander of a military brigade “Prizrak” (Ghost), which was a semi-independent military organization in the South-East of Ukraine, battling against the regime of Poroshenko, in Kiev.

Alexey Mozgovoy was a worker in his social origin. Before the events of 2013-14 in Ukraine, he used to be a “guest worker” in St. Petersburg, Russia, working on a building project, it seems as a cook.

In his political views, he was a curious mix of left and right wing ideology, which is so typical for modern day post-USSR. He was a socialist in that he argued for nationalization of strategic enterprises, which have been stolen from the state by oligarchs. He also argued for a constitution which would return the political power to the people, making the bureaucrats people’s servants, not visa versa. The 3 slogans, upon which his brigade was based were: 1. People’s power, 2. Anti-fascism, 3. Anti-oligarchy (see the movie «Первый», “First” about A. Mozgovoy).

A. Mozgovoy was also a Slavic nationalist and an anti-Semite. His close friend was Igor Strelkov, who used to be the first Minister of Defense in the newly formed Donetsk People’s Republic. Strelkov is known for his sympathy to the monarchist movement. If we look at the set of principles upon which the Prizrak Brigade was based, under #12, we find the concept of “Russian world”. The idea is that Russians, Ukrainians and Byelorussians should unite against their common enemies. These enemies Mozgovoy sees as Jews, who are conspiring to divide up the Slavic people and make them slaves (see many entries in his diary for 2014-15).

Mozgovoy was killed because he spoke against the bureaucracy and oligarchy, which is the ruling caste both in the newly formed Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics (LPR & DPR), and in the “mainland” Ukraine. Most important are his 2 articles, called “The System” and “The System-2”, published in early May, 2015, shortly before his murder on 23 May, 2015. He writes:

The System… there is so much… chaos in this word today! But, it is organized and controlled… For each, there is his “trough” and a clear distribution of privileges. Anything else is not interesting for the members of this group. The most important thing is that the System should not falter; god forbid that anyone shows an initiative and makes a step aside, even if this step is in the direction needed for the people. This can contradict the politics of the System itself… and this is similar to death for its many prominent representatives and simple functionaries. «"СИСТЕМА"... как много в этом слове на сегодняшний день - БАРДАКА!
Но, зато он организован и подконтролен... У каждого своё "корыто" и чёткое распределение привилегий. А большее, для членов этой группировки, просто не интересно. Главное, что бы "СИСТЕМА" не давала сбой, и не дай Бог, кто-то проявит инициативу или сделает шаг в сторону. Даже если этот шаг, в нужном направлении для народа. Ведь он может противоречить политике самой "СИСТЕМЫ"... а это смерти подобно для многих видных деятелей и простых исполнителей»

In other words, the regime which they have in Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics is the same bureaucratic system which they used to have in the USSR, and which was kind of frozen-up in Putin’s Russia. This system doesn’t give a green light to people’s initiative, doesn’t provide conditions for creativity and negates life. This system, which is modern version of Stalinism, is doomed.

Mozgovoy continues:

I am not a member of this shithole, under the title of a “System”; I think it is below human dignity to be a part of it. «я не вхожу в клоаку, под названием "СИСТЕМА", так уж получилось, что я не считаю достойным для человека в ней быть»

Mozgovoy says that officers in the newly formed armies of Luhansk and Donetsk People's Republics, who are motivated by the ideas of justice and people’s power, are killed by their own government. The only people who remain - in the army, in the education sphere, etc - are those who are motivated by money. They make money through various corruption schemes, e.g. supplying the army with low-quality clothes, taking bribes for admitting a student, etc.

Mozgovoy says that the system is decrepit and self-defeating (маразм). For example, people come to him every day, asking for help. And when one Russian fund offered to help the people, the government in Luhansk refused the offer because they would not be in control of the supplies. And the way they – the bureaucrats - make money is through resale of humanitarian aid on the markets.

The main thing which the bureaucracy hates is the initiative and self-organization coming from the people. This would put them out of business. It would deprive them of sources of income, which is based on theft of state resources. As it is, they are the supreme rulers in the political sphere, as the only party permitted in Luhansk is the party controlled by Igor Plotnitsky (the nominal head of LPR). When Mozgovoy attempted to organize an international forum in solidarity with the people of Donbass, in May 2015, this forum was forbidden by the bureaucracy, as it would impinge on their monopoly in the political sphere.

In “System-2”, Mozgovoy continues characterization of the regimes both in Donbass and in Kiev:

As of today, there is no government – there is a dictatorship. And it is neither military, nor of proletariat… It is a dictatorship of stage directors from the former times… And the representatives of the Ukrainian army should not be glad, as they face the same picture. One year ago, many of you honestly believed in the destruction of the power of oligarchy and in returning to the people their dignity. But, in the end, instead of one group of thieves, another one came – more bloodthirsty. Practically the same analogy can be drawn for our territory. All who have risen here have done so in the name of justice and leadership of the PEOPLE! In the end, one side and the other got the same thing – murder. Murder of themselves. на сегодняшний день, власти нет - есть диктатура. Но не военная и не пролетариата. Диктатура постановщиков из прежних времён... И пускай не радуются представители ВСУ, ведь у них картина та же самая. Год назад, многие из вас искренне верили в разрушение олигархической власти и в возвращение народу его достоинства. В итоге, в место одних воров пришли другие - более кровожадные. практически такую же аналогию можно провести и на нашей территории. Все, кто поднимался здесь - поднимался за справедливость и главенство НАРОДА! В итоге, что одна, что другая сторона, получили одно - убийство. Убийство самих себя. 

This war is a kind of suicide of the people of Ukraine, for the interests of the bureaucrats from the Soviet times. Hence, in its lies, in motivation of the soldiers, it reminds us of World War I, where people were told that they are fighting for the brotherhood of the people and justice, when they were really fighting for the imperialist interests of their masters.

Here is Mozgovoy’s short characterization of the war in Donbass (given at an interview):

- Why (this war)?

- Business. It’s only business. A repartition of property and influence.

— Зачем?

— Бизнес. Всего лишь бизнес. Передел собственности и влияния

The government he characterizes as «воровское правительство», i.e. government by the thieves. So, all of you - "left" - please remember: we don't have a "bourgeois" government and "bourgeois" ruling class. We have a chaotic situation in which we're governed by THIEVES. It is a dictatorship, for many people are killed for voicing dissent (e.g. Oles' Buzina in Kiev, Aleksey Mozgovoy in Luhansk). 

In the video called “Soldiers of Freedom”, part 11, about Mozgovoy, we hear that the governments of DPR and LPR cooperate only in one thing, which is the theft of coal. In a video address to Putin by an unanimous volunteer,  we hear that Donetsk is divided up between two military gangs: “Oplot” and “Vostok”, which make money through re-sale of humanitarian aid. See the poster: “This war was started by the dirt which doesn’t want us to know how much they have stolen”.

Now we come to the question: who killed Alexey Mozgovoy? The answer seems obvious. He said himself that if he went ahead with the international forum of solidarity with the people of Donbass, in May 2015, and if he staged an independent military march in Alchevsk, on May 9, 2015, he would be either arrested or killed. Other commanders, who threatened the existing regime in Luhansk, were killed before him. For example, Ischenko threatened to turn his guns against Luhansk, and was killed on 25 January, 2015 (see video).

Through this war, Mozgovoy came to see the prime enemies of the people as the governments of Luhansk and Donetsk, and not in Kiev. The masterful way in which an ambush on 23 May, 2015, was organized reveals the killers to have been professionals, not amateurs. The most likely killers of Alexey Mozgovoy are the FSB, the State Security agency controlled by Vladimir Putin.

We should not forget that this would not be the first such killing in the biography of V. Putin. When, during the Chechen war, Russian army general Lev Rokhlin threatened to turn the army around and march on Moscow, as he plainly saw the war betrayed from the headquarters, Putin, who was a colonel in the security agency, headed the team which killed general L. Rokhlin; then they accused his wife of the murder.

So, in addition to being ruled by thieves, we have a dictatorship of gangsters. Thieves and gangsters, in the guise of bureaucracy, have occupied all the key positions in the social system, they control the system, and its various sub-systems (education, medicine, housing, etc.). Anyone who threatens their rule is either threatened into silence, or bought, or killed. 


1. The system we have in the former USSR - Ukraine, Russia, etc. - is a continuation of the system we have had in the USSR, only the bureaucracy have turned into open thieves and gangsters. This is a temporary system, and it is bound to explode from contradictions between various gangs of bureaucracy, often organized on ethnic lines (as many of its representatives come from provincial towns and villages). 

2. One such explosion we now see in Donbass, in the wars between Kiev and Donetsk and Luhansk. This was is a sequel to the mafia wars we've had in 1990's, only writ large. 

3. We should clearly understand that this system is not a "capitalist" society, but rather a thieves' dictatorship. Based on this understanding, we should strive for self-organization, but not on national scale, as many left propose, but on international one. Our problems are common, and most difficult, and can only be solved if we unite globally. The governments - both in the U.S. and in the former USSR - interfere with this self-organization by the people.

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