Skip to comments.Shadowy veteran of pro-Russian rebellions in Ukraine
Posted on 07/29/2014 7:03:02 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
If John le Carré were to visit the pseudo-statelet run by Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine, he might feel oddly at home with Vladimir Antiufeyev.
The onetime British agent in le Carré would recognise a fellow survivor of the cold wars shadow games, and the great spy novelist would glimpse some of his characters in the mysterious Siberian veteran of the Soviet security services.
Antiufeyev arrived secretly in eastern Ukraine early this month before being named deputy prime minister in charge of security affairs for the separatist Donetsk Peoples Republic. This week he became its acting prime minister, when incumbent Alexander Borodai went home to Moscow for consultations.
Antiufeyev (63) was a top security official in Latvia when it broke with the Soviet Union, and a leader of pro-Moscow forces who tried to crush the independence movement with deadly attacks on protesters in Riga in January 1991. He says he fled Riga for Moscow two hours before he was arrested, and was invited soon afterwards to establish the security services of Transdniestria by Kremlin-backed rebels who sought to split the region from Moldova. There under the pseudonym Shevtsov Antiufeyev for 20 years crushed dissent as head of the local KGB, backed hard-line leader Igor Smirnov and linked the isolated, unrecognised republic with its friends and financiers in Russia.
During an interview in rebel headquarters in Donetsk, Antiufeyev revealed that he also worked on security issues in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Russian-backed breakaway provinces of Georgia, and did [his] duty in Crimea when Russia annexed Ukraines Black Sea peninsula this year.
He would not give details about his work in any of those regions, but said he had been based in Moscow since 2012, mostly working on private matters, after backing the wrong horse during political changes in Transdniestria.
It is hard to believe an operator as experienced and well connected as Antiufeyev simply made a political miscalculation, but he insists he played no role in planning the insurgency that has claimed hundreds of lives in eastern Ukraine.
With the wry smile that often plays on his lips, Antiufeyev said his resumé gave someone grounds to think of me when groups in Donetsk and Luhansk regions allegedly organised and supplied by Moscow took up arms against Ukraines new pro-western leaders.
Certain people it doesnt matter who thought I have the appropriate experience in fighting national fascism, said Antiufeyev, who is still a wanted man in Latvia and Moldova and is persona non grata in the European Union.
Prominent figures around the Kremlin and Russian nationalist movement claim Ukraine is gripped by national fascism, as they believe other ex-Soviet republics like Moldova and Latvia were when they sought to escape Russian domination and assert their independence.
Russia was a guarantor of the territorial integrity of Ukraine, but Ukraine did not take that into consideration when it began military actions against the Russian-speakers in the country, said Antiufeyev.
Ukraine is an artificial country, and in its current form it has not stood the test of time. There are contradictions between its territorial and ethnic make-ups, which always existed and reasserted themselves when the state became weak.
Showing disdain for Ukrainian statehood that is common in Russia, Antiufeyev added: Its ambitions are not in accordance with its possibilities . . . Ukraine did not use the opportunities it was given by history.
With frequent reference to fairytales and folk sayings, Antiufeyev claimed largely Russian-speaking parts of Ukraine that were known as Novorossiya in Tsarist days were rejecting Kievs tilt to the West and seeking Moscows help.
But Russia cannot make this happen this is the peoples will, he said, of a rebel movement that in fact does not have overwhelming public support in the east.
People awaited the arrival of Russian forces as liberators. They are still waiting . . . But I think Russia will find other ways of establishing peace here.
Antiufeyev, like the Kremlin, sees Ukraines revolution as the latest phase in a decades-old US project to weaken Russia and poison its relations with Europe.
He denies suggestions that he is taking orders from colleagues in Russias security services, however.
Theres no need, Antiufeyev said, his smile affable beneath glinting eyes.
I know what I am doing.
Certain people it doesnt matter who thought I have the appropriate experience in fighting national fascism,
Then you should be fighting the people who hired you, a-hole.
there must be an Ufeyev to counteract this..