UARU
Who is Now in Charge of Occupied Donetsk?
1 September, 2018

For the past four years, the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) has been led by Aleksandr Zakharchenko. However, this all changed on August 31, when the the leader of the occupied republic died in an explosion in a cafe in Donetsk city center, which also injured the republic’s “incomes and fees minister” Alexander Timofeyev.

At the start of 2000s, Dmitri Trapeznikov was the manager of the Shakhtar Donetsk football club. He was thought to be a "secret agent" of the the club's owner Ukrainian businessman Rinat Akhmetov. Photo from the militant's website.

Shortly after the news broke, the republic’s so-called “cabinet on ministers” convened and announced that DPR vice prime minister Dmitri Trapeznikov would take on the role of acting head.

This comes just months before the DPR was set to hold its “elections.” According to the self-proclaimed republic’s “constitution,” elections are to be held every four years, and November would have signalled the end of Zakharchenko’s term in office.

Local media wrote that Trapeznikov led a behind-the-scenes struggle for influence of the "DPR" head Aleksandr Zakharchenko. Dmitri Trapeznikov (first on the right) and Aleksandr Zakharchenko (second on the right) Photo from the militant's website.

Hromadske has gathered some information on the new acting head.

Trapeznikov is 37 years old. According to his biography on the official site of the republic’s “council of ministers,” he graduated Donetsk State Academy of Civil Engineering and Architecture in 2004 with a specialism in Industrial and Civil Engineering.

At the start of 2000s, Dmitri Trapeznikov was the manager of the Shakhtar Donetsk football club. He was thought to be a "secret agent" of the the club's owner Ukrainian businessman Rinat Akhmetov. Photo from the militant's website.

From 2001 to 2005, Trapeznikov managed the Shakhtar Donetsk football club. Locals also noted his links to the football club’s president Rinat Akhmetov, referring to him as the oligarch’s secret agent.

He then moved into business and held positions in the LLCs Baustandart and Billiardai, and also headed the Ukrzovnishtorg trade house.

From 2010, he served as deputy head of Donetsk’s Petrovsky district council.

After the war in Donbas broke out, Trapeznikov remained in local politics and was named the head of the “temporary administration” in the Telmanive district of the self-proclaimed DPR in September 2014. Since then, he has held various positions within the so-called “administration” of the head of the self-proclaimed republic.  

Local media wrote that Trapeznikov led a behind-the-scenes struggle for influence of the "DPR" head Aleksandr Zakharchenko. Dmitri Trapeznikov (first on the right) and Aleksandr Zakharchenko (second on the right) Photo from the militant's website.

In April 2016, Trapeznikov was appointed “acting deputy head” of the “council of ministers” and head of the “department of internal and foreign policy” within Zakharchenko’s administration.

READ MORE: Occupied Donetsk Leader Zakharchenko Killed in Explosion

Local media then reported that Trapeznikov was leading a behind-the-scenes struggle for influence over Zakharchenko between “deputy head of the council of ministers” Alexander Timofeyev and “administration head of the DPR” Maksym Leshchenko.

Local media wrote that Trapeznikov led a behind-the-scenes struggle for influence of the "DPR" head Aleksandr Zakharchenko. Dmitri Trapeznikov (right) and Aleksandr Zakharchenko (left) Photo from the militant's website.

In his role as head of the “department of internal and foreign police,” it was reported to have been impossible to get a meeting with Zakharchenko without agreement with Trapeznikov.

According to local journalists, Trapeznikov also kept the information space around the self-proclaimed republic under his personal control.

Several media, including Ukrainian business weekly Delovaya Stolitsa, named Trapeznikov as one of the top ten most influential militant leaders.