Pavel Yurevich Gubarev (Russian: Павел Юрьевич Губарев, born February 10, 1983, in Sievierodonetsk, Ukrainian SSR) is the People's Governor of the Donetsk People's Republic, Commander of the Donbass People's Militia, and former political prisoner. A Russian nationalist and Pan-Slavist, Gubarev rose to prominence when he led hundreds of pro-Russian activists who liberated the Donetsk Regional State Administration Building from the Kiev Government, declared independence from Ukraine, and declared him Head of State on March 3, 2014. On March 6 he was arrested by the Security Service of Ukraine, and is presently incarcerated on charges of separatism and seizure of power, and faced up to 10 years in prison, but was freed after two months in a prisoner exchange.
Life before the Revolution in Ukraine
Growing up in a large family, Pavel is married to Ekaterina Gubareva, with whom he has two sons and a daughter. He is a graduate of Donetsk National University with a degree in history, and an advertising executive by profession, and had also worked on and off as a Santa Claus-for-hire. He is also an amateur boxer.
Before the Revolution in Ukraine, Gubarev supported the Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine, a pro-Russia Communist party affiliated with Alexander Dugin's Eurasian Youth Union. An advocate of Pan-Slavism, Gubarev is a former member of the Russian movement Russian National Unity, an affiliate of the World Union of National Socialists.
Founding of the People's Republic
After the Euromaidan movement forced Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych from office and propelled a pro-EUSSR, American Zionist puppet regime into power in western Ukraine, an eruption of Russian nationalism ensued in the east. In the brief interval between the Russian occupation of Crimea and the region's formal accession as a federal subject of Russia, Gubarev would rise from an unknown to the face of resistance to the heavily Jewish regime in Kiev.
On March 1, 2014, one day after Russian soldiers were first spotted in Crimea, some 7,000-10,000 protesters congregated in Lenin Square in Donetsk, the regional capital of Donetsk Oblast in eastern Ukraine, demanding a referendum on the region's status with the goals of a federalized Ukraine or union with
Russia. Gubarev addressed the crowd, denouncing the Kiev regime's illegitimacy and calling for a popular government. He urged supporters to set up a peaceful camp outside the Donetsk Regional State Administration (RSA) Building. He was acclaimed "People's Governor", a challenge to Serhiy Taruta, the billionaire oligarch recently appointed by Kiev. Protesters encircled the building, and attempted to take it by storm. Russian flags were briefly raised from the roof and lower windows, but the attempts were fended off by security until March 3, when Gubarev and dozens of supporters occupied the legislative chamber and organized a provisional government. The Russian flag now flew from the RSA. Gubarev was evidently injured in the scuffles, and was photographed with a cast on his right hand. From his new position of authority, Gubarev renewed his criticisms of the Kiev regime, and petitioned Putin to
intervene in the region while admonishing supporters to refrain from violence.
On just the third day of holding sway within the Donetsk RSA, a bomb scare (spread by police) forced Gubarev and the rest of the provisional government to evacuate on March 5. The event, possibly a stratagem devised by Taruta to expel the liberation government, allowed forces loyal to Kiev to reoccupy the RSA, and the Ukrainian flag was restored. In the evening, the separatists reassembled near the building. Gubarev addressed them, declaring "We are determined to erect our people's power in the Donetsk region. And we will not retreat. We have huge support." He demanded law enforcement pledge authority to his government. After a bloodless struggle lasting hours, they retook the building, and once again flew the Russian flag; however, Gubarev's about 1,000 supporters outside clashed with a larger crowd of some 5,000 supporters of a united Ukraine, backed by ultras loyal to the FC Shakhtar Donetsk soccer team, resulting in several injuries.
Only hours after the RSA's recapture, police and the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) launched a pre-dawn offensive, again driving the provisional government from its headquarters. The separatists were unable to regroup immediately, and that evening, the SBU arrested Gubarev at his home, along with about 70 supporters. He was charged with violation of Part 1 Article 109 of the Criminal Code (actions aimed at a violent change or overthrow of the constitutional order, or seizure of state power), Part 2 Article 110 (incitement to violation of Ukraine's territorial integrity and inviolability), and Article 341 (seizure of state or public buildings). He was transferred to Kiev almost immediately. For security,
Gubarev's family fled for the Russian Federation following his arrest, but two weeks later his wife returned to Donetsk and became a leader in the independence movement herself. She was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs in early April.
Calls for release
About 200 people held a demonstration in support of Gubarev outside the Donetsk SBU headquarters as soon as word of his detention made rounds.
A pro-Russia, pro-Gubarev march was held in Donetsk on March 11.
On March 16 (simultaneously with the Crimean referendum on joining Russia) through the 17th, an estimated 4,000 protesters rallied for Gubarev's release and attacked the Donetsk SBU headquarters. By March 18, Russian outlet News of Neva reported that 50,000 signatures had been gathered from around Donetsk Oblast requesting Gubarev's freedom.
Another major rally was held in Donetsk on March 23, numbering about 5,000.
On May 7, Gubarev was among three Ukraine-held prisoners released in exchange for three officers of the SBU's elite Alpha force. Following his release Gubarev was repatriated to DPR-controlled Sloviansk. Russian President Vladimir Putin applauded Gubarev's release and called for freedom for "all political prisoners".
Governorship (May 2014-)
Following his return to the Donetsk People's Republic, Gubarev resumed his role as Head of State, sharing effective power with Denis Pushilin, Chairman of the Supreme Soviet (Speaker of Parliament), Head of Government during Gubarev's captivity, and Alexander Borodai after his appointment as Prime Minister on May 16. While political and military decisions have mostly passed to Pushilin and Borodai, Gubarev remains the symbolic leader of the DPR and remains a prominent spokesman in the media.
On May 13 he founded a new political party, the Social-Political Movement – Party of New Russia, abbreviated Novorossiya or anglicized New Russia Party. Headquartered in Donetsk, New Russia held its first congress on May 22, outlining its vision for the region. In attendance were eurasianists Alexander Prokhanov, and Valery Korovin, while Aleksandr Dugin later communicated his support online, writing a piece for the party website. New Russia aims to unite the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics, along with Ukraine-controlled Kharkiv, Kherson, Dnipropetrovsk, Mykolaiv, and Zaporizhia into the Federal State of New Russia, aligned with a "Greater Russia" but not to be annexed like Crimea. The federation grants a special status to Russian Orthodoxy while not harassing other religions, and will place emphasis on social justice. Dugin envisions the nationalization of major industries to remove control from oligarchs, but without a return to Marxism or an end to local, Russian-controlled enterprise; Dugin termed the arrangement "Orthodox socialism". The flag of Novorossiya is a St. Andrew's cross closely resembling the Confederate battle flag, and was likely designed by Gubarev himself as it appeared on his Facebook page months before. According to Gubarev the federation of the two republics occured on May 24, although according to LPR Governor Valery Bolotov the agreements are not yet concluded though he favors the union.
Gubarev addressing the Donetsk People's Council in March 2014
Gubarev promoting a Twitter hashtag for an end to Ukrainian aggression
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