About it Center for Investigative Journalism learned from their own sources.

Residents of Razdolny said that Vasily Zabara began to call himself the “chairman of the village council” back in June. But he, along with unknown persons in civilian clothes and several collaborators from the same village, broke into the administrative building of the local headman only on Tuesday, August 2. Before that, the newly appointed Gauleiter of the village took away the keys to the offices from the lawful headman Tatiana Zhuzha.

In addition to Gauleiter Razdolny, the Russian invaders appointed his deputy, Victoria Manyura, and the “law enforcement inspector,” Lidia Pavlovna Veligoshina, who is Zabara’s sister. Local entrepreneurs were told that it was to these “appointees” that they should pay “taxes and fees” for doing business.

As residents of Razdolny told the CJR, on August 4, Lidia Veligoshina began introducing herself as “deputy chairman of the village council,” and Victoria Manyura as “secretary of the chairman and village council.”

“In the building of the headman, Vasily Zabara was waving a piece of paper signed by Gauleiter of Kakhovka Pavel Filipchuk. It says on it that he is appointed “chairman of the village council.” When people told Zabara that such a position does not exist in the village of Razdolnoye, just as the village council itself has not existed since 2020, he replied: “Nothing, now it will!”, the villagers said.

According to them, Vasily Zabara was a party organizer during the Soviet Union, but he was eventually expelled from the Communist Party. This did not prevent him from publicly expressing his love for the USSR and its symbols, nor did he hide his hatred for Ukraine. Many times Vasily Zabara unsuccessfully tried to head the former Razdolnensky village council. Even in the last elections, only 5 people voted for him. So he never enjoyed respect among his fellow villagers.

It is Vasily Zabara that the residents of Razdolnoye call the main initiator of the appointment of a new “leadership” in the village. Back in early June, he made door-to-door rounds and invited all his fellow villagers to a “meeting” to elect a “chairman.” He also offered people to donate 20 hryvnias “for mowing the grass.” However, there were few people who wanted to give money, especially since the local communal farm removed all the weeds even without additional donations from the population.

At all meetings with fellow villagers, representatives of the occupation authorities insisted that people apply for Russian passports. In order to somehow “appease” them, Vasily Zabara organized on July 30 the departure of the residents of Razdolny to Kakhovka by bus to receive “material assistance” from the invaders in the amount of 10 thousand rubles. Despite the day off, this “handout” was given to everyone. However, according to witnesses, there were few of them.

“Now Zabara constantly says that the Ukrainian authorities will not do anything to him, because he has been retired for a long time and does not have any property. However, people asked him why, as a passionate admirer of Russia, he should not refuse the Ukrainian pension and return it to the state in full? However, judging by his evasive answers, he really likes to receive a pension from Ukraine,” said the residents of Rozdolny.

The occupiers are not able to organize the work of the Razdolnenskaya school in any way. At the end of May, a guest performer from Sevastopol agreed to “lead it on a voluntary basis” Nadezhda Antonova-Makovik. However, she did not “supervise” there for long and “transferred” to the position of “director” of the Kakhovka school No. 4. Over time, the teacher of the Ukrainian language and literature of the Razdolnensky school agreed to cooperate with the invaders, 46-year-old Svetlana Khlystova, the daughter of the self-proclaimed “inspector for the protection of law and order” of the non-existent “village council” Lidia Veligoshina and the native niece of Gauleiter Razdolny Vasily Zabara. But soon she changed her mind and told her colleagues that she would not work in the occupational administration of the educational institution.

The material was created as part of the Life of War project with the support of the Public Interest Journalism Lab and IWM.

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At 4 am on February 24, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” in the occupied Donbas. Russia launched missile strikes on the territory of Ukraine and launched a direct full-scale invasion in four directions. The armed forces of Ukraine are rebuffing the enemy, the blitzkrieg plan – to capture Kyiv in two or three days – failed, the Russian army retreated from the capital. The Russian military commits thousands of war crimes and crimes against humanity throughout Ukraine.

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