The Donetsk People’s Republic, the contested area of eastern Ukraine that has been the scene of violent confrontations between Ukrainian troops and separatist rebels, recently elected a new leader, Alexander Zakharchenko. On The John Batchelor Show, Stephen Coehn explains that it was not clear whether or not the Kremlin wanted this to take place. The situation reminds us that “the Kremlin is not in complete control of the Donbass.”

“[Zakharchenko]…is an interesting figure partly because he is so local,” says Cohen. “He is representative of the political forces in the Donbass, not the ones in Moscow.”

—Jessica McKenzie