A Dangerous Climate for Russian Puppets

On December 22nd, in the Kherson region of Ukraine, Andrei Shtepa’s life was ended by a car bomb. Shtepa, nicknamed “Schnir,” was the Russian-appointed government official of Lyubymivka and Vasylivka in the Kakhovka district. The locals referred to Shtepa as a “Gauleiter,” which was the term for a Nazi provincial governor under Adolf Hitler.

This video captured by a passerby shows Shtepa’s car totally engulfed in flames and putting out an enormous billowing cloud of black smoke. As you can tell by the text in the Tweet, people didn’t exactly seem fond of him.


Pro-Russian officials took to Telegram to make their announcement of his death:

Today Andrei Nikolayevich Shtepa, a sincere patriot of his native land, died tragically as a result of a car explosion set up by Ukrainian terrorists.”

Russian News agency TASS stated, “He died; explosives were planted in the car. Today Ukrainian terrorists attempted to attack the head of the village of Lyubimovka of the Kakhovsky municipal district, as a result of which he died.” He reportedly burned alive in the car with another man who was probably the vehicle’s driver and personal security for Shtepa.

Shtepa in an undated Selfie. Screenshot from mil.in.ua

MSN reports that Shtepa was of “Russian origin” but had been living in the village of Vasylivka for 15 years, where he worked nearby on a communal farm. Before the invasion,  he had previously sought positions in local government but was never elected. Moscow appointed him to a leadership position in June of this year. The Ukrainian news website Censor.net pegged Shtepa as a traitor for aiding the enemy in overthrowing the legitimate government of the region.

Death Comes in the Form of a Car Crash

Vehicle-related assassinations and “accidents” have seemed to become popular fates for Russian sympathizers in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine. A few weeks ago, in November, the Russian-installed deputy head of local administration in Kherson, Kirill Stremousov, died in a car crash under mysterious circumstances. Like Shtepa, Stremousov sought public office, but when he ran for mayor of Kherson in 2020, he only managed to garner 1% of the vote. He was born in Ukraine and eventually worked in the state fisheries inspectorate.