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The First Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic

Alexander Vladimirovich Zakharchenko was elected Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic on November 2, 2014.

Short biography of the Head of the DPR, Alexander Zakharchenko

Alexander Vladimirovich Zakharchenko – Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Chairman of the DPR Ministers’ Council and Supreme Commander of the DPR Armed Forces.

He was born on 26 June 1976 in Donetsk to the family of a Russian mother and a Ukrainian father. He was married, fathered four sons.

After graduating from school No. 4 of the city of Donetsk in 1991, Zakharchenko went on to Donetsk College of Industrial Automation, specializing in mining electrical engineering. He graduated from the College with honours.

The first employment of Alexander Zakharchenko was a mine at which he became a grade five electrical engineer. He entered Donetsk Law Institute of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

After working as an electrical engineer for a year and a half, Zakharchenko started up entrepreneurial activities connected with the coal-mining industry.

In 2010, Zakharchenko became head of the Donetsk branch of the Oplot public organization (established in Kharkov). Oplot’s objective is to provide social, financial, legal and psychological assistance to the families of the police officers who gave their lives in the line of the duty. Along with that, Oplot supported disabled soldiers. Members of the organization actively denounced the glorification of the UPA (the Ukrainian Insurgent Army). Oplot followed the maintenance in good condition of the Great Patriotic War monuments.

In 2014, Alexander Zakharchenko was fully engaged in the struggle for freedom and independence of the Donetsk People’s Republic.

After the so-called Euromaidan took place in Kiev in the winter of 2013-2014, followed by the coup d’etat, Alexander Zakharchenko took a hard line against the Maidan and joined the militia forces, which were being formed at that time, protesting against the coup in the country. Zakharchenko made it a prior objective to regain for the Donbass residents the freedom to determine their own future, the state system, to decide which country they want to live in and what language to speak. After the voice of Donbass had once again been ignored, he had to take up arms.

In the spring of 2014, on April 16, Alexander Zakharchenko led a group of armed people who occupied the Donetsk City Administration building.

After the referendum on the independence of the DPR was held on May 11, 2014, Zakharchenko first became the military commandant of Donetsk, and later the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of the Republic.

The Oplot unit of the DPR army remained under his command until July 7, 2014.

He personally participated in battles in the territory of the Donetsk region. In late May 2014, Alexander Zakharchenko was wounded in the leg in the course of the assault on the Donetsk International Airport named after Prokofiev. A month later, he got promoted to be a Major.

In August 2014, Prime Minister of the Donetsk Republic Alexander Borodai resigned. Deputies of the Republic’s Council appointed Alexander Zakharchenko as his successor. This decision was virtually unanimous. The same day, Zakharchenko took the oath of allegiance to the people of the Republic and assumed his duties.

In October 2014, Alexander Zakharchenko submitted documents to the Central Election Committee (CEC) of the DPR as a candidate to be the Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic, becoming the first candidate to get registered for this post.

The elections were conducted on November 2. 75% of the DPR citizens cast their votes for Zakharchenko. The inauguration of the elected Head of the Republic took place on November 4 at the Donetsk Academic and Musical Drama Theatre.

In February 2015, at the first congress of the Donetsk Republic Public Movement, Alexander Zakharchenko was unanimously elected as Chairman of the Movement.

On February 17, 2015, he was wounded in the leg during the battles of Debaltsevo. Deputies of the DPR Parliament awarded Alexander Zakharchenko the title of the Hero of the DPR and promoted him to the extraordinary military rank of Colonel for the successful military operation undertaken. Furthermore, Debaltsevo having been liberated, Alexander Zakharchenko was awarded the LPR Order of Glory and was given the rank of Major General of the Lugansk People’s Republic by the decision of the deputies to the LPR parliament.

Despite being severally wounded and undergoing an energy draining rehabilitation course, he continued to exercise sufficient leadership, and fully participated in the construction of State institutions.

Through the efforts of Alexander Zakharchenko, humanitarian disaster and the economic collapse caused by the Ukrainian blockade of the DPR were averted in the Donetsk People’s Republic. Amid the ongoing military conflict, the first Head of the DPR managed to establish stable growth of the economy, create a defensive army, launch social programs, and ensure secure payment of salaries, pensions, and social benefits.

Alexander Zakharchenko was tragically killed in a terrorist attack staged by a Ukrainian subversive group on August 31, 2018.

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