Last week, Moscow's Svobodnaya Pressa commented on the statements of Putin's advisor Sergey Glazyev, who called "Russia's refusal in 2014 to completely liberate Novorossia a big mistake". "If Russia had defended southeast of Ukraine at that time, Glazyev is sure "there would have been no war and tens of thousands of victims today. The Kyiv regime could only stand in Kyiv and Western Ukraine", - Svobodnaya Pressa writes. At the same time, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the Kremlin media considers Ukraine not as a sovereign state, but simply as a springboard for the "liberation" war…
"The deepest strategic mistake"
Svobodnaya Pressa emphasizes that, according to Glazyev, Russia's indecision in "liberating Novorossia" is "the deepest strategic mistake", because as a result, "the West "outplayed" the Kremlin in Donbass".
"Then how could we do the West's bidding, allowing ourselves to be deceived again?", - Svobodnaya Pressa is indignant.
However, "deputy director of the Institute of CIS Countries, historian and political scientist Igor Shishkin" "calms" the media.
"Everyone is good in using the benefit of hindsight. It is always easy to talk how to act a few years ago with the knowledge of how events developed. Let's not write off everything to the fact that the West has deceived us, naive Russian leaders, again. Even if this was, it rather means that someone in Russia really wanted to be deceived. It is necessary to understand as well that politics is the art of achieving the possible, - Shishkin states and suggests: "Let's see: did we have the opportunity to solve the Ukrainian issue at that time? Could the then-Russia (and, by the way, the current one) do it?".
Shishkin argues: "They say: we would have then freely got to Odessa. The entire east and whole south of Ukraine would have been taken. We would have had a corridor to Transnistria… Everything looks fine. By the way, this was really quite possible. Only another question arises: what would have happen to the rest of Ukraine in this case? Why do we take the east and south, and leave Kyiv - the mother of Russian cities? Then I want to ask: what about the center? I'm interested in, let us say, Chernihiv. Does not Russia need Chernihiv?".
But Shishkin and Russia need not only Odessa and Chernihiv. "I would like to remind you that Lviv is an Old Russian city, which is often verbally given to Poles for some reason, forming all kinds of concepts for the division of Ukraine. Western Ukraine is being slathered at all. There, in Volyn, just a hundred years ago, the most widespread non-governmental organization was the Union of the Russian People. And in Galicia, just a hundred years ago, the most mass movement was the so-called Moscophiles' movement", - Shishkin continues.
"Let's also understand that we cannot evade the resolution of Ukrainian issue at large. Life itself has shown that Russia and Ukraine are independent, they will never be, as they liked to tell us, something like the USA and Canada, or even like Russia and Poland. Independent Ukraine will always develop in the direction of becoming Anti-Russia. And it is not even that it will be the hostile to Russia state right at our borders. It is more important that Ukraine is a third of the Russian nation. This is one of the branches of the Russian nation. As soon as we completely lose Ukraine, if it remains independent, we weaken the state-forming ethnos of Russia by one third. And, excuse me, a weak state-forming ethnos means a weak state. With all the ensuing consequences for all other peoples and ethnic groups of the Russian Federation", - Shishkin warns.
At the same time, he maintains that in 2014, Russia could not "integrate Ukraine into the Russian Federation as painlessly as Crimea", because even in early 2013, "the Russian movement as a political force was practically absent in Ukraine". And he explains why: "First of all - as a result of the activities of the so-called "pro-Russian" Party of Regions and Viktor Yanukovych personally. Secondly, it turned out that not only the all-Russian, but namely the Great-Russian self-consciousness is strongly developed in the Crimea, as well as in the East and South. But not by 90%, as in the Crimea".
Shishkin recalls that in Ukraine in 2014, "a huge number of people really believed that the only way out of the situation in which they found themselves, out of the ruin in which the Kyiv government plunged the richest Soviet republic in, was joining the EU".
"And then Russia comes, imagine. European integration is being closed. And what do we offer them in return? Kolomoyskyi would be replaced by Fridman? Or Pinchuk by Abramovich? Ain't that a fact? Would it be easy for us to incorporate this territory, integrate it into a single Russian state without creating a colossal zone of instability? I doubt it. All is not so clear… And was the Russian elite ready for this?", - Shishkin continues.
He argues that Russia's lack of confidence in the seizure of Ukraine in 2014 lies in the "Western-inspired ideology" that "hit, first of all, the center of Russia".
"Did our elite radically change? From the anti-Russian and pro-Western - to the pro-Russian one? Nothing of the kind. A lot has been said about the nationalization of the elite, but does anyone really notice it in reality? Yes, there are certain changes. But nothing more. Therefore, even now Russia is not yet ready to resolve the Ukrainian issue. The Ukrainian issue and its solution are not in Kyiv or Lviv. The keys to Ukraine are in Moscow", - Shishkin states.
"Until Moscow becomes the center - in every sense of the word - of the Russian world, until those who have the highest goal of becoming Europeans, and the West is the only "apple of their eyes", will rule there, we will not solve the Ukrainian problem. It is obvious. And just lunging at Kyiv and declaring it part of Russia - does not mean solve the problem. This problem was implanted through the destruction of the all-Russian national identity. Therefore, it can be solved only through the restoration of Russian national identity. By the way, issues with all the other nations of the Russian Federation will be resolved then. Because when Moscow was a Russian city, it was able to unite all the numerous peoples of Russia in a single state", - Shishkin grandiloquently concluded on the pages of Svobodnaya Pressa.
"Lukashenko helps Kyiv to regain the Donbass"
The same Svobodnaya Pressa published an article under this headline with an accusatory subtitle: "Russian ally supplies everything to its enemies: from army trucks to missile systems".
"By 2016 in Donbass, the Ukrainian army was facing a threat of transport collapse. On the one hand, the reason was huge losses of heavy vehicles in fighting. On the other hand - extreme wear-out of the fleet of military personnel who have not received such replenishment for a long time. And suddenly, it turned out today that the situation with trucks in the AFU came almost back to normal. How so? By means of what? …As it turned out, the invaluable help to Ukrainian generals was rendered in Minsk. Specifically - by Lukashenko who sanctioned "fraternal assistance" to Kyiv bypassing allied relations with Russia", - Svobodnaya Pressa accuses.
The media states that "it happened exactly at the level of Lukashenko's competence - in March 2016, an intergovernmental agreement was signed on the assembly production of Belarusian MAZ-6317 trucks in Cherkasy, at the car assembly plant No. 2, the subsidiary enterprise of Bogdan corporation, which is a monopolist of the Ukrainian car industry. Belarusian MAZ-6317 was urgently renamed "Bogdan-6317" for the sake of decency by agreement of the parties".
"Minsk and Lukashenko in particular could not fail to be aware that these trucks are supposed to be manufactured in Cherkasy not for housekeeping needs, but for the APU, which barbarously fired and continue to fire from all improvised means not only at the positions of the Donetsk and Luhansk pro-Russian fighters, but also at the villages and city quarters of Donbass", - the Kremlin media is indignant.
"Of course, there is interest of large national business, which any state and Belarus in particular should take into account. But not nearly as bad as to arm the country which calls Russia its archenemy! And tries to do us harm in every possible way. That is expressed not only in words, for example, about the intention to blow up the Crimean bridge, but also in certain cases. And these cases are quite certain - from the seizure of Nord fishing vessel in the Sea of Azov to sending saboteurs to Russia", - Svobodnaya Pressa does not stop.
But that is not all. Svobodnaya Pressa continues to resent the fact that "Ukraine would have experienced an acute shortage of fuel at the front, if not for all the same Belarus".
"It is Minsk that is one of the main suppliers of gasoline and diesel fuel for the army of Ukraine. Moreover, the fuel prices, the abundance of which in Belarus, as known, has Russian roots. Nevertheless, Minsk sets preferential prices for Ukrainians. As for aviation kerosene for Ukrainian ground-attack planes, tactical bombers and helicopters, including Mi-24, it can be said that it flows from Belorussia to the Ukrainian Armed Forces like water. In general, Ukraine has only two suppliers of aviation kerosene today - Bulgaria, the supplies from which are scanty, and Belarus", - Svobodnaya Pressa points out.
"However, Minsk has fairly succeeded in creating quiet lethal arms for Ukraine. This happens sometimes due to the joining of Belarusian and Ukrainian military-industrial complexes. For example, a significant part of the Orsha Aircraft Repair Plant belongs to the Ukrainian Motor Sich company. It is in Orsha where the modernization of Ukrainian combat helicopters is carried out… These are points of direct military assistance to Ukraine, hostile to Russia. However, quite significant stream of military products comes from Belarus to Ukraine covertly. Statistical reporting makes it possible to verify the fact that this flow does not grow smaller, and that it is significant", - Svobodnaya Pressa "continues to "expose".
The media points out that "shortly after the now ruling regime came to power in Kyiv, an unexplained, at the first glance, burst appears to be in the Belarusian military-industrial complex on a number of positions. For example: bulk delivery factories of cotton and linen material necessary for sewing military uniforms to the Ukrainian garment factories, and a 3.1 times increase in exports from Belarus of these same fabrics at once".
"Since 2015, exports of night vision devices, sights, binoculars, monoculars and other optics have also suddenly grown in Minsk. This situation continues up to this day. Do not you find that we have quite a fancy way of Alexander Lukashenko to strengthen allied relations with Russia? Yes, of course, Belarus is an absolutely sovereign country. Of course, it has the right to decide what and whom to sold, not asking anyone. But, helping to bring the Donbass to its knees, why should it pretend to be Moscow's unselfish companion-in-arms? Lukashenko often explained his increasingly close relationship with Kyiv by saying that allegedly in Ukraine, the fraternal people live. No one argues. But whom, then, do the weapons and equipment delivered from his country help to kill in the Donbass? Not fraternal people?", - Svobodnaya Pressa aggrievedly concludes.
"Complaining of mopping up"
RBK told how "former members of the Central Elections Commission of the self-proclaimed LNR complained to the Russian authorities of threats from the leadership of the republic. Liudmila Cherechukina, who was a member of the commission, told this to RBK. Her words were confirmed by her colleagues Daniil Goverdovskiy, Pavel Shupranov and former CEC head Alexander Shubin".
RBK specifies that the "representatives of the LNR" sent their complaints to head of the presidential administration of Russia Anton Vaino and chairman of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation Alexander Bastrykin.
"The authors point at the decapitation" of the LNR under the "wartime conditions" before the elections (in November, elections of the heads and legislative bodies will take place in the self-proclaimed republics)", - the media notes.
RBK recalls that 46-year-old Alexander Shubin was a notary, and after seizing Luhansk by the separatists, he received a portfolio of the "Minister of Justice of the LNR".
"As Shubin told RBK, on May 3, Dmitriy Horoshilov, vice-speaker of the LNR People's Council, citing the decision of head of the council Denis Miroshnichenko, suggested that the CEC recognize nine people as deputies. They were to occupy the seats of parliamentarians who left the parliament for various reasons from 2014 (there are 50 seats in the People's Council). But the proposed figures were not on the electoral lists, and recognition of them as deputies is an official crime, Shubin replied. During May, Miroshnichenko and head of the administration of the LNR leader Olga Bas tried to persuade the CEC leadership to go on expanding the election lists in hindsight, including with the promise of money for a car and apartment to Shubin, the elections commission' members said. On May 17, the CEC officially decided to refuse recognition of the proposed candidates as deputies. A few days later, deputy head of the CEC Dmitriy Zakurdayev called secretary of the commission Daniil Goverdovskiy (according to his story) and said that at the insistence of Miroshnichenko, he voluntarily resigned, warning that "all CEC members will be damaged one by one" without notices of resignation", - RBK writes.
"Soon Goverdovskiy found on his desk a sheet with the words "last warning" and the signature "heirs". "I have three young children. I perceived this threat as real", - he told RBK. The CEC of the LNR sent a complaint to the prosecutor's office, the Ministry for State Security and the acting head of the LNR Leonid Pasechnik. There was no response from the authorities. On June 25, the CEC chairman was summoned to the administration of the LNR leader and was told about the order of dismissal in connection with the loss of confidence. Shubin refused to resign, because according to the laws of the republic, its head cannot dismiss members of the CEC. The next day, Shubin was visited by three armed men who introduced themselves as officers of the Ministry for State Security. In one of the soldiers he recognized a personal security guard of the head of the republic. They took away documents, certificates, and seal of the election commission. "This is the chief’s order", - one of the fighters told. Shubin was taken outside and was forbidden to return to the workplace", - the newspaper reports.
"On June 29, the People's Council of the LNR recognized the decision on the appointment of Shubin as a member of the CEC to be invalidated... Soon, the remaining members of the commission were dismissed within the "scheduled rotation". Elena Kravchenko has become a new chairman. Before the war she worked as an inspector of the criminal executive inspection of Rovenky, and then was a deputy of the people's council", - RBK writes.
"Shubin told that after the release of the decree on the dissolution of the CEC, the armed men took him to the Ministry for State Security department where they took away his phone and detained him in the cell without windows, sinks or toilet. There also were former head of the Office for Supervision of Law Enforcement in the Military Sphere Sergei Rakhno, and former Prosecutor General Vitaly Podobry (both were arrested after the change of power in the republic last fall). "They released me two and a half hours after the intervention of the Minister of State Security", - Shubin told RBK. The employee of Ministry for State Security Alexey with the call sign "Borets" told the ex-head of the CEC that if they receive other complaints, the remaining members of the commission will get to the cell".
"Cherechukina told RBK that now all the dismissed members of the CEC are afraid for their lives. According to her, Russia, as a guarantor of the implementation of the Minsk agreements, must intervene in the situation of "usurpation" of power in the republic and return the LNR to the legal field”.
The source, "close to the leadership of the LNR", declared that "the conflict is connected with Pasechnik's appointment of loyal people in all branches of power. This is necessary in the context of preparing for elections and consolidating his positions in the republic".
"There is a martial law in the LNR, and nobody is particularly concerned about compliance with formalities", - political analyst Alexey Makarkin says. He reminds that violent actions against government officials happen in the LNR not for the first time. In particular, former republican Prime Minister Gennady Tsypkalov died of torture. "At the moment, status quo remains there. Russia has no major claims to the new leadership of the LNR yet, and everything else is not really that important", - he explained”.
"The deputy chairman of the Central Election Commission of the LNR Pavel Shupranov received a response to his complaint from the Russian president's office on citizens' appeals: "We would like to inform you that we have taken note of your concerns and considerations concerning the sphere of competence of the Russian Foreign Ministry". The response of the main investigative department confirms consideration of the complaint about illegal actions of the administration of the republic and threats against the members of the CEC. The competence of investigators "does not include checking the legality and validity of decisions taken by state authorities and local governments of foreign countries", - the letter reads.
In simple terms, Moscow ignored the complaints of the offended "members of the LNR CEC".
"Formally, they cannot respond to the appeal - there is no infringement of the interests of Russian citizens, the facts of illegal methods of war, etc," - a source in the department explained", - the publication concludes.
"Kyiv plans to stop railway communication"
The newspaper Kommersant decided to find out "why Ukraine wants to block the railway communication with Russia".
"As it often happens, from a big interview of a serious official, one small phrase becomes really important. Out of a 25-minute interview of Ukrainian Minister of Infrastructure Volodymyr Omelyan, only one his statement was spread: We are now considering the option of closing railway communication with Moscow. The minister did not give any details, but that was enough. Because the railway is the only relatively comfortable way to get directly to Ukraine: the planes do not fly there, and it takes too long to get there by car or bus", - Kommersant notes.
"So you have to choose a train, says Muscovite Yuri: "Ukrzaliznytsia trains, which go to Russia, are horrible. There are about 2 million passengers such as Yuri. Tickets are expensive: a compartment ticket from Moscow to Kyiv will cost $146. It turns out that Ukraine risks losing its income, and citizens will be deprived of a way to get to Russia", - the newspaper notes.
The publication notes that it called "the former deputy minister of transport of Ukraine Oleksandr Kava - he is sure that if trains are banned, Belarus will take over the passenger traffic".
"Belarusian Railways will be very happy. Thanks to the banning of air traffic in 2015, passenger traffic at the Minsk airport began to grow tremendously. And Minsk, in fact, has become a transit point for air communication between Ukraine and Russia. In case any similar decisions are taken on the railway communication, then, accordingly, the geography of trains from Minsk to other regions of Ukraine will expand", - Kava said”.
"But there are also more creative options for those who are not satisfied with the timetable and the prices of railway. For example, you can get to Kharkiv by bus through Belgorod. So, the entrepreneur Alena Sabanova, if necessary, gets by bus to Dnipro. "I, as a busy person, often choose the shortest night routes. There is a bus route from Moscow to Dnipro. It turns out to be faster than a train", - she says”.
"Two million passengers, of course, will get angry. But much more significant issue is cargo railway communication. Its cancellation can turn into a trade catastrophe", - concludes Kommersant.
"Why Russia cannot be Ukraine's younger brother"
The Vzglyad newspaper wants to prove this, because it was outraged by the words of the head of the Center for Ukrainian Studies of the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences Viktor Mironenko.
"Viktor Mironenko, head of the Center for Ukrainian Studies at the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences, advisor to the Mikhail Gorbachev Foundation, drew a response in Russia by saying that Ukraine "bears great responsibility for Russia, like the UK, for example, for the United States", because "the main intellectual inflow to Russia has long been carried through Ukraine". A Russian scientist, a native of Chernihiv, said on 112 Ukraina TV channel that Russia was allegedly secondary to Ukraine. "There is no doubt that Russia is a younger brother, of course", he said, stressing that "he speaks as a historian", - writes Vzglyad.
"According to Mironenko, Kyiv, Chernihiv, Pereslavl were a core. And this "core", he said, gradually expanded, "people left". Fellow historians from the Russian Academy of Sciences commented on Mironenko's words. Some perceived his statement as a blatant illiteracy, while others suggested that it should be regarded as an unsuccessful joke, since it has become fashionable in Ukraine to assign Ukrainian nationality to Russian and Soviet historical figures, like Russian artist of Armenian origin Ivan Aivazovsky, the daughter of Yaroslav the Wise Princess Anna, the baptizer of Rus Prince Volodymyr and the legendary hero Ilya Muromets. Ukraine is engaged in rewriting history based on nationalism, but historians need to separate facts from politics", - the pro-Kremlin Vzglyad points out.
”Boris Kovalev, Doctor of Historical Sciences, professor and leading researcher of the St. Petersburg Institute of History of the Russian Academy of Sciences, in his conversation with the correspondent of the newspaper Vzglyad, noted that the concept of "Old Rus state", which is the key subject of the dispute, appeared early, put got its popularity only at the end of the XIX century... The historian recalled that, because of the prosperity of southern Rus cities, the Tatar-Mongol invasion was more difficult to endure. According to the expert, Kyiv was destroyed in the 13th century and that it was barely a settlement. "Then it was the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, then – the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and only at the end of the 17th century Ukraine became part of the Russian state. It seems to me that the statement of this person should be taken less seriously, as some not quite a good joke", - Kovalev noted".
"The historian recalled that the secretaries of the CPSU Central Committee Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev were from Ukraine, like many other Soviet politicians. In this sense, Ukraine was a good starting point for the party career of many people who have been determining the destiny of the Soviet Union. Kovalev expressed the opinion that the leadership of the Russian Academy of Sciences will turn a blind eye to supporting the Ukrainian myths of Mironenko, since the level of freedom and fraternity is very high", - adds Vzglyad.
The newspaper continues: "Publicist Yegor Kholmogorov reacted to Viktor Mironenko's position more emotionally, calling his statement the next "delirium" of Ukrainian nationalists. "There is no reason to view Russia as a junior compared to Ukraine. To begin with, Ukraine cannot be fully considered as a continuation of Ancient Rus with its capital in Kyiv. The fact that Ukraine partially occupies the same territory does not make it a successor, given the prevalence in Ukraine of Catholicism, Uniatism, the notorious "Western choice". This all does not correspond to those principles of the Orthodox civilization on which Ancient Rus was built".
"The publicist commented on Mironenko's words that Gorbachev's wife was from Ukraine and, like many other Soviet politicians, had an important influence on Russia: "Given how many Russians feel about Gorbachev, he gave a very dubious example. It says about the harm that such people could inflict. Of course, educated people came from Ukraine too. The Kiev-Mohyla Academy was established, where in the XVIII century many bishops, monks and scholars studied in a Western European way. But this does not speak of Ukraine's outstanding contribution, but of the fact that in the era of Peter the Great's reforms there was a demand for this type of intellectuals. But as soon as Russian scientists began to study in Germany, the demand for scientists from Kyiv immediately disappeared".
"Prince Oleg conquered Kyiv, killed other princes and established a new capital there. Smolensk, Rostov – they were the centers of Ancient Rus. In this sense, there is simply no Ukraine’s seniority over Russia, and this is a foolish fantasy". - Kholmogorov said".
Another expert, head of the Center for the History of Ancient Rus at the Institute of Russian History of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladimir Kuchkin, told Vzglyad that "Mironenko does not know the history well, calling his words frank stupidity": "He does as his predecessors did, who believed that it is necessary to raise the downtrodden Ukrainian people to cultural heights, and now announce things that are not in harmony with history. He clearly wants to prove that the Ukrainians had existed since ancient times and that they also influenced Russian princes, as Great Britain influenced the United States in the XVIII century. The parallel is bad", - historian Kuchkin concludes.
The review was prepared by Mykhailo Karpenko, OstroV