Aleksey Mozgovoy

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Aleksey Mozgovoy
Aleksey Mozgovoy discusses military matters, Aug 7, 2014.jpg
Birth nameAleksey Borisovich Mozgovoy
Born(1975-04-03)3 April 1975
Nizhnyaya Duvanka, Svatove Raion, Voroshilovgrad Oblast, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
Died23 May 2015(2015-05-23) (aged 40)
near Mykhailivka, Luhansk Oblast, Ukraine
Allegiance Lugansk People's Republic
Service/branch Ukrainian Armed Forces
Novorossiya Armed Forces
Years of service1992–1998 (Ukraine)
2014–2015 (Novorossiya)
RankSenior sergeant (Ukraine)
Kombrig (Novorossiya)
Unit Prizrak Brigade
Battles/warsWar in Donbass

Aleksey Borisovich Mozgovoy or Mozgovoi (Russian: Алексе́й Бори́сович Мозгово́й, Ukrainian: Олексі́й Бори́сович Мозгови́й, romanizedOleksii Borysovych Mozghovyi; 3 April 1975 – 23 May 2015) was a rebel commander of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic in Ukraine. He was the leader of the pro-Russian Prizrak Brigade and also served as "judge" on the "People's court", notorious for issuing controversial death sentence.[1] He was assassinated in Donbass, with conflicting reports on who was responsible.[2]


Mozgovoy was born in the village of Nizhnyaya Duvanka, Svatove Raion, Luhansk Oblast located in the eastern part of Ukraine. Mozgovoy grew up in Svatove township where he participated in a local choir, the Svatove Cossacks.[3] Just before the 2014 pro-Russian unrest in Ukraine, (the "Russian Spring") Mozgovoy was a guest worker, employed as a cook in Saint Petersburg.[3] In 2014, during conflict in eastern Ukraine, he became commander of the military formation "Prizrak" (Ghost). Unofficially, his armed group was known as the Antratsyt Cossacks.[4] Mozgovoy was allied with Igor Girkin, the Donetsk People's Republic minister for defense. He was known for infighting with other Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) rebels.[5] Mozgovoy had contact with the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, and the leader of A Just Russia, Sergei Mironov.[6][7]

Prior to his death, Mozgovoy's Prizrak brigade had been having supply issues due to his refusal to join the formal LPR power structure. It had dwindled from 3,000 fighters to several hundred. Mozgovoy and two of his colleagues, Andrey Kozlov and Anna Samelyuk, decided to move into politics and, with the assistance of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), sent an application to Kiev to register the political party Narodnoye vozrozhdeniye (National Renewal). It was sent to Kiev instead of to Lugansk as a proper legal process did not yet exist in the LPR for the registration of political parties. The application was received by Ukraine's Ministry of Justice on May 5, and accepted by May 8, thus becoming the first and only political party registered by Ukraine that originated in one of the breakaway rebel territories, and the only one that Ukraine would recognize legally according to the Minsk II peace agreement.[citation needed] On May 8, there was an international anti-fascist forum in the city of Alchevsk in the LPR, which included around 100 attendees, including OSCE members.[citation needed] By the evening, the registration of the new party had become widely known among the attendees. The following day, the LPR authorities denied Mozgovoy permission to stage a May 9 Victory Day parade.


Mozgovoy was killed in a car ambush on the road between Luhansk and Alchevsk, nearby village called Mykhailivka [uk] (Perevalsk Raion), on May 23, 2015. The attack on Mozgovoy's motorcade consisted of a roadside bombing followed by machine-gun fire. The first reported death toll was said to be 7 people.[8][9][10] Press secretary Anna Samelyuk, a driver, and six bodyguards were also killed.[11][12]

Mozgovoy's third fellow National Renewal party founder, Andrey Kozlov, was arrested by the LPR authorities the following day. After several months, his friends and family lost contact with him. His current whereabouts and health status are unknown.[citation needed]

Two months prior to his death, Mozgovoy had survived a similar assassination attempt in the same area. He was said to be dismissive of threats to his life.[13]


The LPR press service attributed the attack to undefined "saboteurs".[14] Surviving leaders of the Prizrak Brigade stated that Ukrainian commandos were responsible, and they called on their supporters to not spread false rumors.[15] Anton Gerashchenko, the adviser to the Ukrainian minister for internal affairs, claimed Mozgovoy was assassinated by Russian GRU special forces.[6][16] Mozgovoy's supporters widely believed that Igor Plotnitksy the head of the LNR at the time was responsible for his death.[17]

Events following death[edit]

On May 23, 2016, a statue of Mozgovoy was erected in Alchevsk, Ukraine.[18]

In 2020 a court in the unrecognized Luhansk People’s Republic determined that Mozgovoy and fellow Prizrak brigade member Aleksandr Kostin had planned and commanded the 2014 ambush and murder of a family for cash. Oleh and Iryna Burykhin were shot dead in their car, and their ten-year-old daughter Liza was left an invalid from her wounds.[19][20]


In October 2014 he presided over a so-called "people's court" (Russian: Народный суд) that issued a death sentence against a suspect accused of rape by asking the audience to raise hands.[21][22] Answering questions from the audience afterward, Mozgovoy said that he ordered his patrols to "arrest any woman found sitting in a pub or cafe".

The statement that caused the controversy was:

If tomorrow I see in a cafe, in a pub even one young lady, she will be arrested ... А woman should be the guardian of the hearth, the mother. And what kind of mothers do they become after pubs? ... A woman should stay in the house baking pirozhki and only celebrate [meaning "drink" in this context] on the International Women's Day. It is time to remember that you are Russian! It is time to get your spirituality back![citation needed]

After the statement caused a significant critical response in Russian media, he had to explain that he said that because he thought that women "should care about their safety", that the intention of the statement was to make people think about morals and that he was not going to arrest anyone.[23][24]

Alexey Mozgovy's address to all warring on both parties (from an interview, given to DNR24 channel[citation needed]):

By and large we kill each other instead of punishing those who have to be punished. We are at war against oligarchs, and we kill for some reason each other, ourselves. We make systematic suicide... While weapon works, there will be only death. Turn on the heads...

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Allison Quinn (23 May 2015). "Russian-backed military commander assassinated after speaking out against cease-fire". Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  2. ^ Orlando Crowcroft (4 June 2015). "Ukraine crisis: Who killed rebel leaders Alexei Mozgovoy and Alexandr 'Batman' Bednov?". International Business Times. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  3. ^ a b Путін ставить на шапкових отаманів. Луганщина [Putin bets on the "capped" atamans. Luhansk region]. Espreso TV (in Ukrainian). 16 May 2014.
  4. ^ Чому терорист Мозговий пошле на три букви «генерала Новоросії» Бєса [Why terrorist Mozgovoy tells the "General of Novorossiya" Bes to piss off]. DS News (in Ukrainian). 22 September 2014.
  5. ^ Kirill Mikhailov; Mat Babiak (6 January 2015). "Something is rotten in the Luhansk Republic". Ukrainian Policy. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Avakov's adviser: Mozgovoy eliminated by Russia's GRU special forces". UNIAN. 23 May 2015. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  7. ^ "Ukraine crisis: Inside pro-Russia militia training camp". BBC. 19 May 2014. Archived from the original on 12 October 2014. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  8. ^ Radina Gigova (25 May 2015). "Separatist commander killed in eastern Ukraine". Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  9. ^ [18+ ] Видео с места убийства Мозгового. Михайловка, retrieved 2019-05-03
  10. ^ France-Presse, Agence (2015-05-24). "Separatist commander killed in Ukraine". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-05-03.
  11. ^ "Commander of 'Ghost' brigade (LPR Army) Aleksey Mozgovoy was assassinated". APA. 23 May 2015. Archived from the original on 24 July 2015. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  12. ^ "Ukraine crisis: Rebel commander Alexei Mozgovoi 'killed'". BBC News. 23 May 2015.
  13. ^ Oliver Carroll (24 May 2015). "Ukraine crisis: The last days of Aleksey Mozgovoi, rebel hero of the 'Ghost' battalion - killed in an ambush". The Independent. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
  14. ^ "Russian-backed military commander assassinated after speaking out against cease-fire". Kyiv Post. 23 May 2015. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  15. ^ Roland Oliphant (24 May 2015). "Ukrainian separatist warlord assassinated by land-mine". The Telegraph. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  16. ^ "Управление ФСБ по "Русскому миру"". Retrieved 2015-07-20.
  17. ^ "Who Killed Prizrak Commander Aleksei Mozgovoy?". Retrieved 2019-05-03.
  18. ^ "In LC, a monument to the brigade commander "Ghost" Brain". Ukrop News 24. 2016-05-24.[dead link]
  19. ^ Coynash, Halya (2020-04-22). "Luhansk militant court admits Donbas "hero" was a criminal who killed a family for money". Human Rights in Ukraine. Retrieved 2020-04-24.
  20. ^ Казанский, Денис (2020-02-06). "Подвиг героя Новороссии. Как Мозговой расстрелял целую семью" [Achievement of a hero of Novorossiya. How Mozgovoy shot down a whole family.]. Блог Дениса Казанского (Denis Kazanskiy’s Blog) (in Russian). Retrieved 2020-04-24.
  21. ^ "Rebels in Ukraine 'post video of people's court sentencing man to death'". The Telegraph. 31 October 2014. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  22. ^ Dina Newman (3 November 2014). "Ukraine conflict: Summary justice in rebel east". BBC. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  23. ^ По морали военного времени [By the morals of war time] (in Russian). 5 November 2014. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  24. ^ Мозговой отказался от собственных слов и заявил, что девушек арестовывать не будет [Mozgovoy renounced his own words and stated that he won't arrest young women] (in Russian). 6 November 2014. Retrieved 8 November 2014.

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