"Cause I'm TNT, I'm dynamite. TNT, and I'll win the fight"
I would like to add one more thing:
If there were a proper separatist party or organization in Donetsk, its leader would be a natural candidate to lead the new republic. Who is this leader? Who is the best man the Russians could find?
His name is Denis Pushilin, and he actually comes from the Donetsk region. He used to be involved in a financial pyramid, then he was in a party that was formed out of this financial pyramid. In 2013 he ran for a parliament seat in the Kyiv region, receiving a total of 77 votes. Separatism was not an issue for him at this time.
In fact, the pure separatist and the popular politician.
I've just checked the wiki entry for Volodymyr Saldo, the head of the collaborationist administration in Kherson after the 2022 invasion:
"Saldo stated that he did not support the creation of a "people's republic" in the Kherson Oblast, and claimed his collaborationism was driven by a desire to maintain Kherson as part of Ukraine."
It says something about the strength of the pro-Ukrainian identification of people in the (Russian-speaking) Kherson region that even a pro-Russian collaborator feels compelled to make such statements.
Thanks for the info on Vilkul. The Kyiv Independent article, which this post used to link to, shows that he was pro-Russian in the period between 2014 and 2022, but the things he did after the 2022 invasion clearly show that he was not a traitor. This reinforces my view that while the 2022 invasion should be unanimously condemned, the verdict on of the events of 2014 is more complex. If a Ukrainian patriot like Vilkul cooperated with the Russians after 2014 and called the overthrow of Yanukovych "a coup", who am I to say that he wasn't right? I'm just a stupid foreigner, after all.
"According to leaked audio published by the Censor.Net media outlet right after parliamentary elections, Vilkul allegedly had a celebratory phone call with Vladislav Surkov, then-deputy head of Vladimir Putin's administration in charge of Ukraine affairs.
In the recording, a person whose voice resembles that of Vilkul accepts congratulations on successful elections and agrees to come meet Surkov in Moscow to discuss future collaboration. By then, Crimea was already annexed, and Russia's war in the Donbas had been raging for six months."
"In December 2016, speaking at a talk show on the Inter TV channel, Vilkul called the EuroMaidan revolution that ousted Yanukovych “a coup,” following the narrative pushed by the Kremlin and pro-Kremlin politicians in Ukraine."
"When asked why he didn’t act as patriotically as now back in 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea and invaded Donbas for the first time, he said that it only “seemed” that he was being unpatriotic."
"He denied ever being “pro-Russian,” saying that his past political stances were dictated by what he thought was best for the country at the time."
And now Putin admits it was Russian army all the time: https://twitter.com/nexta_tv/status/1651942418139299840