In recent days, the Donbass topic has been sharply actualized once again. The UN peacekeepers, law on the "reintegration", prolongation of a special status... What is the reason for such activation and what is the reason for all this? Let us think together.
The first fact is that Ukraine is striving to get out of Russia's control and become a European country.
The second fact is that Russia, or rather the Russian Empire, had been controlling Ukraine for 300 years, banned its language, used its resources and history. Russia even counts its statehood not from Moscow, which is 870 years old, but from Kyiv, which is twice as old. Hence the simple conclusion is: as long as the Russian Empire exists, it simply cannot allow Ukraine to be independent. Otherwise, Russia loses both history and pride, and the status of an empire that is more important to Russians than human rights or even wealthy life. Therefore, its natural goal - and now it is Putin's goal - to destroy Ukrainian sovereignty (as they have already de facto done with Belarus).
Every step Russia takes is to subordinate Ukraine to itself!
This issue will become especially urgent after 2018, when Putin will go on his last presidential term and naturally will want to remain in history as a "collector of Russian lands".
He can reach his goals only in two ways: an armed invasion (and the Russian army is preparing for it), or planting a pro-Russian government in Kyiv, as it was in the case of Yanukovych.
The invasion is not the most profitable scenario for Moscow. It is expensive, fraught with losses, international isolation, etc. But North Korea's experience has shown that those who have nuclear weapons can do what they want and do not bear real responsibility for this. This inspires, especially if you have the world's biggest nuclear potential.
Therefore, the nature of the latest exercises of Russian troops and the regular formation of armies, corps and brigades indicates that Moscow plans to use armed forces in offensive operations. The Ministry of Defence of Russia has prepared a draft law on the conscription of citizens during the war. It is planned to amend the law "On Defence" and "On Military Service". The number of Russians who will be conscripted during the war is not indicated in the bill, the General Staff will determine this. That is, the numerical composition of the army can be limitless.
This does not mean that Moscow will necessarily attack - it can use the army as an instrument of blackmail and external pressure on Kyiv, but it is also impossible to exclude such a variant.
However, a more likely scenario is the establishment of control over Ukraine in a political way. That is, by subordinating, recruiting or buying the Ukrainian elite. Unfortunately, such cases have happened in our history before. Putin needs the war in the East and Minsk process to implement the second scenario - to subjugate Ukraine politically, but using Russian army as an instrument of blackmail or for its intended purpose.
As long as Putin has the opportunity to solve the Ukrainian issue in a political way, he will try to do just that. And the main instruments of this are the Minsk agreements and the so-called "special status of the Donbass", that is, political mechanisms that will create a serious pro-Russian lobby in the Ukrainian parliament, which, accordingly, will form the pro-Russian government. As it was in the case of Yanukovych.
Or these mechanisms, if this scenario is implemented, will cause people's indignation and create the ground for the split of the country, the third Maidan, civil war or something else - Putin will also be quite happy with it.
Knowingly, commenting on the signing of the Minsk agreements in 2015, he said: "If something did not suit us in Minsk agreements, we would never have signed them”.
That is why there is all this fuss around the implementation of the Minsk agreements in the Ukrainian legislation. Because for today they are just a piece of paper, and do not have the status of a legal document. But after the appearance in the law of Ukraine, even as a reference, they will become a legal document that is binding for Ukraine.
Why has it become so relevant right now? Because on October 18, the three-year term of the so-called "special status" of Donbass expires. That law was adopted in September 2014, after the military defeat of Ukraine near Ilovaisk, Novoazovsk, etc. This "special status" is the basis of the Minsk process in general, and the only chance for the separatists to become a subject of political negotiations with the government of Ukraine, that is, to consolidate their power in the occupied territories, and even influence Kyiv.
"The main thing is still Minsk - the most important and the main direction, which should lead to the full recognition of the Republic as a party to the political process". Such an explanation of the importance of Minsk was given recently by the so-called Foreign Minister of the puppet "LNR" Vladislav Danego in an interview with the Lugansk Media Centre.
It is interesting that just two days before Poroshenko's introduction of bills on the so-called "reintegration of the Donbass" to the parliament, Putin himself stated that the key to the Donbass conflict settlement in the political sphere is in the Minsk agreements. He said this on October 3 at the delivery presentation of credentials by ambassadors in the Kremlin.
"Nowadays, conflicts must be resolved with consideration for many, sometimes extremely sensitive, factors by quest for a compromise. Such understanding, applied to the Ukrainian crisis, lies at the heart of a set of measures, agreed upon in Minsk crisis in February 2015. This document notes all the key components of the settlement both in the political sphere and in security matters", - Putin stated.
Do you think what Putin, who attacked Ukraine, wants might be good for Ukraine?
But the most interesting, and not very good, is that after the meeting with Surkov, Kurt Volker, the U.S. special representative for Ukraine, who used to say that Minsk is actually an agreement on the division of Ukraine, - now made it clear that Washington intends to put pressure on Kyiv in order to implement political part of the Minsk agreements.
"If we can offer another way of guaranteeing security, in particular with the help of peacekeepers, then we can expect that the Russian troops will leave. Therefore, there will be space and time for the necessary political steps, and this, in turn, will allow us to reach the end of the Minsk agreements", - he stated in the interview to ZN.
That is, the Americans view peacekeepers as an instrument for stopping shooting, what they need to be able to realize political part of Minsk, that is: elections, their courts and militia, new constitution in agreement with the separatists, special relationship with Russia, etc.
What does the adoption of these laws that extend the validity of the Minsk agreements give Moscow and the West? - Both Moscow and the West want to end the hot phase of this conflict. Moscow - on its own terms, that is, the terms of Minsk. And the West – no matter how, if only not being at war with Russia, - even at the cost of Ukraine's sovereignty. Therefore, the West does not care, whether there will be "special statuses", separatists, etc. in Ukraine, or not. It just does not want to have war and refugees. And what is more, to remove the sanctions from Russia, which prevent from making money with it… And in this regard, the West is more of Putin's ally in the implementation of his plan of political subordination of Ukraine. Peace is important for it, and "death solves all problems"…
Moreover, it is important for the Russian authorities, firstly, to show the West their peace, and secondly, they want to slightly remove the Donbass topic from the information space before the presidential elections, because they have nothing to boast about in this topic – the war of death and no movement to the "Russian world". That is why they "allowed" the West to drag themselves into the long-playing theme of peacekeepers. At least until the presidential elections in March, they have enough of this topic to talk about.
Furthermore, given Putin's strategic goal, it can be assumed that Moscow can even agree to some progress with peacekeepers on the Russian-Ukrainian border, if it gets guarantees of political part of Minsk. After all, this is its purpose, which is a trade-off with the Americans.
It is a pity that the West does not understand that after 10 thousand deaths and millions of people, thrown out of their homes, to solve the Donbass problem on the terms of Moscow, that is, in point of fact, by capitulation of Ukraine – means not to end the conflict, but to transfer it to the entire country, what, in fact, Putin is striving for.
Do the Ukrainian authorities understand the fatality of the Minsk scenario? – I am sure they understand. But they are pressured by the USA, Europe, Russia and this practically leaves them no choice. Especially considering their business and shadow schemes ties that are transparent to the West. Therefore, extending special status of the Donbass, Poroshenko's entourage thinks of fairy tales about compromises. Although what a compromise it is, if we give them "chairs" right now, and they give us "money" only in the evening, and that is far from certain. Nevertheless, representative of the president in the Rada Iryna Lutsenko avows:
"I repeat once again – this is the only small compromise, allowed by us, in order for Russia to agree to the introduction of peacekeeping mission on our terms".
The logic and purpose of the Ukrainian authorities is: "just to close the border with Russia. We will close the border, and then, when we return the territory under control, - we will somehow get out".
What are the chances of an amateur to beat an experienced sharper at his card table?
In general, this is how the goals and strategies of participants of this great geopolitical game, the victim of which was Donbass, are seen today. Unfortunately, none of the scenarios benefits Ukraine because no scenario is its scenario. Even the peace that the Minsk agreements can temporarily bring will ultimately result in even greater instability for the country because, while Russia exists as an empire, not as a democracy, it will not leave Ukraine alone. It just cannot leave, - this is a question of self-preservation for the Russian Federation. And this is the main thing that we need to know about the Minsk agreements, the Donbass and the laws on its "reintegration", because of which there is so much noise. We compromised with the aggressor by these laws, hoping that he would refuse further aggression. Technically, we had no choice. But the main thing, - there is no need to cherish illusions that he will refuse. He will simply change the instrument of aggression.
We are fighting against the flame of a dragon, but we need to fight against the dragon...
S. Harmash, OstroV