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Documents that appear to have been bound for the Russian state regarding the invasion of Ukraine have been leaked on Telegram. Consisting of 14 slides — some of which are missing — the records show a map of Ukraine after a successful Russian invasion and various industrial plants within its newly captured territory targeted for capture. Telegram channel VChK-OGPU, an investigative website that documents criminal activities by Russian oligarchs, published the report.
It alleges that the document was written by Konstantin Malofeev, a Russian businessman and pro-monarchist who is said to have ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The work suggests that if Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had been successful in 2022, Ukraine’s heavy industries would have been seized and taken over by oligarchs.
Essentially, the document, labeled the DMZ Concern, sets out a presentation of a business plan for the “expansion of production assets based on the results of the Special Military Operation”.
The first slide shows a map of what appears to be the territorial division of Ukraine post-war. Vast swathes of the country, including the whole of Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Mykolaiv and Odesa oblasts are placed under Russian control.
It means that Ukraine, in the presentation, is entirely starved of access to its Black Sea coast, all its ports, and access to many of the heavy industrial areas that supply it with a significant source of revenue.
Twitter user ChrisO_wiki, an independent military historian with a significant following, has documented much of the Ukraine war. Referring to the leaked documents, he writes that the move would have resulted in an “economically devastated and landlocked rump state, likely under the control of a pro-Russian puppet government”.
Eastern Ukraine is home to much of the country’s heavy industry
Much of eastern Ukraine has faced conflict since hostilities broke out in 2014
In slide two of the document, the author goes on to speculate the expansion of an existing metallurgical plant in eastern Ukraine, the Donetsk Metallurgical Plant, whose initials spell out DMZ.
A translation of the message reads: “Consolidation of existing financial, economic, technical and market opportunities of enterprises of key industries in the liberated territories of the DPR, LPR and Kherson, Zaporizhzhia regions, which form the [economic] basis of the south-east region of the former Ukraine.”
The document goes on to list DMZ’s existing holdings, appearing to suggest that these locations would integrate with the newly acquired sites. The translation reads “enterprises located in the liberated territories [that] are possible [candidates] for integration”.
Some of those sites included in the list are Europe’s largest mining and mineral processing plants, like the Manganets Mining and Processing plant, the Nikopol Ferroalloy plant, which are both in Dnipropetrovsk oblast, as well as the Zaporizhstal steel plant, Zaporizhzhia oblast.
The seventh slide sets out a number of Ukrainian factories that may be considered for seizure post-invasion.
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The report showed how the authors believed Ukraine would look like post-invasion
The depth and detail of the plans suggest that the documents are more of a set of instructions to act on as opposed to a potential business plan.
Emily Ferris, a Research Fellow in the International Security Studies department at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) said the document revealed the extent to which Russia has planned ahead in Ukraine.
She told Express.co.uk: [The report] says a couple of things about Russia and strategic planning. The way that Russia tends to do a lot of its strategy, especially towards something like Ukraine, is that there are a lot of different options.
“There’s a lot of different scenarios that they’ll have worked out. This could very well have been one of them.
“[After the flare-up in hostilities from 2014] the [heavy industrial] companies just kind of folded, and many people were displaced and so workers ended up leaving. I don’t think [the separatists] were capable of turning those plants into a profitable industry that Russia could use.
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Workers sifting through coal at a factory in Donetsk, 2001
The outbreak of hostilities in 2014 significantly reduced industrial output
“Over the years, Russia started to have plans for those territories, not necessarily as they are now, to annex them fully, but they tried to bring them more closely into Russia, but also for them to be financially independent because they were a bit of a drain on Russian financial resources.”
She added: “So I think this is probably a big part of their political and practical consolidation of the area.
“There’s also a financial gain to it, and it can help in what Russia would call the reconstruction of those areas. Obviously, they were the ones that bombed it, but a ruined Eastern Ukraine that Russia is occupying is not so useful for it. So it does need those areas to be reasonably self-sufficient.”
ChrisO_wiki claims that the “legal work had been done and management agreements had been signed as part of a three-stage plan to be carried out through 2022–2027”.
Further slides include details on plans to extend the newly acquired Ukrainian plants into the markets of the Eurasian Economic Union, the Middle East, South-East Asia, Turkey, and Africa.
The regions Russia has held membership referendums in correlation to those shown in the report’s map
Russia has continued its economic relationship with many of these regions throughout the war. In Africa, for example, leaders have met with Putin to discuss future trade relations and political alliance. Although, 70 percent of all Russian-African trade is concentrated in just four countries: Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, and South Africa.
Moscow has similarly maintained trade ties with many south-eastern nations, offloading its oil at cut-rate prices.
The opportunity to further trade with those regions in things like steel, coal and other metallurgical products would enable Russia to bolster its sanction-stricken economy.
It is assumed that the DMZ Concern would seek to establish direct ties with the Kremlin, as the plan sets out a goal of aligning the DMZ Concern with a “strategic partner” and inclusion of its enterprises in “the state programs of the Russian Federation.” “
It is unclear who exactly owns the DMZ plant
On slide eight, the end result is stated: “[The] Reactivation of cooperation and activities of enterprises in the key sectors of the liberated territories of the DPR, LPR and south-eastern Ukraine […] in the form of a cumulative increase in annual financial indicators from RUR 70 billion ($990million; £800million)](data for 2021) to RUR 220 billion ($3.1billion; £2.5billion) by 2024.” This would achieve the “creation of a major enterprise in the interests of the Russian Federation.”
It is unclear when the plans were drawn up and how they were leaked. It is also unclear why oligarch Malofeev would orchestrate the takeover and expansion of the DMZ. He is not listed as a current owner of any of the metallurgical plants in eastern Ukraine.
Since 2014 and the outbreak of hostilities in eastern Ukraine, DMZ has been operating on and off, rarely making a profit.
In 2016, the leadership of the unrecognized Donetsk People’s Republic (DOR) installed external managers at the plant, and in 2018 began to supply products to Turkey, Iran, and Syria.