The pro-Kremlin Svobodnaya Pressa suddenly stated that it turned out that in Russia "over the past few years, there has not been any alienation to Ukraine as a good-neighborly country", and "the actions of the Ukrainian authorities raised eyebrows". So the Russian media are obviously trying to "reset" the Kremlin's relations with Ukraine with confidence that Volodymyr Zelensky will be more compliant…
"No one will give Zelensky five years to wait"
Svobodnaya Pressa makes clear that "Zelensky will decide the fate of the rebellious Donbass". However, it immediately warns: "No one will wait for the new president for five years - neither the West nor Russia".
"Judging by the news reports about the first steps of new Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, his activity boils down to diving with Russian politicians on the Internet for various reasons and supposed scenarios of relations with the Donbass, which is still called "temporarily occupied territories". To president Zelensky's credit - he puts the heavy-handed approach on the back burner and, unlike his predecessor Poroshenko, does not threaten with new attacks on the Donbass and destruction of the "separatists". His current speechwriters, who are called "representatives of Zelensky's team" (he has no right to make official statements before taking office), are now voicing the main theses of their boss and their rhetoric with seeming aggressiveness is quite peaceful", - Svobodnaya Pressa admits.
The media quotes a certain political scientist and media consultant Alexander Zimovsky, who believes that "Ukraine made a choice in favor of Volodymyr Zelensky not by chance".
"Figuratively speaking, all the other characters were too cloying with their unfulfilled promises and caused no piety. Zelensky turned out to be a winning face, accepted both by the east and west of Ukraine. He did not even really have time to promise anything, but his promises to the electorate were perceived quite positively. In addition to solving the economic problems that have stumped Ukraine over the past five years, he introduced a fresh impetus to a possible solution to the situation in Donbass. For Ukrainians, this is a pebble in the shoe, with which it seems you can walk, but rubs very much. These are financial expenses, new victims and a certain status of uncertainty in territorial integrity", - Zimovsky says.
At the same time, he suggests recalling the "recent situation in Chechnya by way of example".
"War, blood, ruin - bottom. It could last long, no one has yet managed to break the partisan movement and even more - to eradicate it. They gave Chechnya status and money, presented a compromise leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who was militant, by the way, but now he is a “true Putinist". Chechnya has become a full-fledged member of the federation, its residents have Russian citizenship and enjoy all the publicly available benefits, salaries and pensions, the Chechens feel quite comfortable in all Russian cities. Yesterday's enemy has become an ally. If Ukraine could accept the Donbass in the same capacity, then all the problems would be solved by themselves. And the Donetsk residents, who have always been traditionally opposed to both Kyiv and Lviv, could again enter Ukraine as full-fledged citizens", - the Russian political scientist suggests.
"Zelensky, who already, unlike Poroshenko, does not want to "waste Donbass in the outhouse", needs to make a number of concessions, to some extent compromises. Including for his fellow citizens, who need to see that there are no enemies in the south-east of the country. To demonstrate the peace-loving nature of intentions to Donetsk and Luhansk and, at least, stop the shelling and open a buffer zone of demarcation for free movement. Well, how can it be without Russia? Here we need to build the format of relations of good-neighborliness and understanding of both common interests and building our own independent policy, to which Moscow has no special complaints. Summarizing, we can say that Zelensky should first of all "settle" with the Donbass", - the political scientist Zimovsky believes.
"Russia is now waiting for reconciliation steps by the new Ukrainian government. In recent years, we have not had any alienation to Ukraine as a good-neighborly country, and the actions of the Ukrainian authorities have caused a lot of confusion. In this connection, the interest in political transformations in Ukraine and change of power in Kyiv is not accidental, and if we imagine at least a theoretical voting of the Russians for the President of Ukraine, Zelensky would receive here no less votes from the "aggressor country". The main thing is not to be mistaken in expectations…", - political analyst Zimovsky concludes.
"Humanism in certain areas"
In a publication under such headline on the pages of Novaya Gazeta, the opposition to the Kremlin deputy for the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg Boris Vishnevsky sharply criticized Putin's decree granting Russian citizenship to residents of the occupied Donbass.
"On the one hand, it is obvious that the concern of the Russian authorities for the observance of human rights in the "LDNR" would have looked more sincere if they were concerned about the observance of these rights for current Russian citizens. Who have long had every reason to consider the second chapter of the Constitution "Rights and freedoms of man and citizen" as unscientific fiction. Who see every day how the authorities actually relate to the "generally accepted principles and norms of international law". And who see every day how freedom of speech and freedom of assembly is ensured, what situation is with the right to housing and social security, right to free health care and education, fair justice and participation in the formation of government bodies. And much more", - Vishnevsky writes.
"On the other hand, the residents of "certain areas" do have "humanitarian" problems. But first of all, it is necessary to understand why these problems appeared. They did not appear until April 2014 - until the appearance in the east of Ukraine of armed saboteurs from Russia (like Girkin-Strelkov), pretending to be "desperate miners and tractor drivers", and the military, pretending to be "vacationers" and "volunteers". Secondly, it should be understood that these problems are not in any way solved by the distribution of Russian passports", - Vishnevsky emphasizes.
"Let us ask ourselves a question: what rights do residents of "certain districts" enjoy in Ukraine today? And what are they having problems with?
The first. All residents of "certain areas", having the citizenship of Ukraine, as soon as they get from "certain areas" to the territory controlled by the Kyiv authorities (through checkpoints), are completely free to move throughout Ukraine.
The second. They can use all the services of the Ukrainian state, stipulated by the current legislation, including the registration of a biometric passport of a citizen of Ukraine.
The third. Having issued a foreign passport, they can travel to more than one hundred countries of the world without a visa (that is, they have much more rights to freedom of movement around the world than Russian citizens). Also, having received a visa, residents of "certain areas" can travel to countries with which Ukraine maintains visa regime.
The fourth. They retain the right to receive Ukrainian pension. However, since the departments of the Pension Fund of Ukraine do not work in the territories that are currently not under the control of Ukraine, pensioners from "certain areas" must go to the territory controlled by Ukraine in order to receive a pension there and then return home. Yes, this is not very convenient, and the passage of checkpoints sometimes takes a lot of time. But this situation can be rectified by regaining Ukraine's control over "certain areas".
The fifth. Residents of "certain areas" have the right to vote in Ukraine - now only in the presidential election. And upon the condition of registration of voting place in the territory controlled by Ukraine. Uncomfortable? Yes. But it is worth recalling that the self-proclaimed authorities of the "DNR" and "LNR" do not recognize either the laws of Ukraine or the authority of Ukraine. Do they (and those who support them) feel sad about the difficulties with voting for the Ukrainian president? And again, these difficulties will immediately cease as soon as Ukraine's control in "certain areas" is restored.
What "humanitarian goals" will be achieved by distributing Russian passports in "certain areas"?
As it turns out – NONE", - the Russian deputy states.
Vishnevsky emphasizes: "Russian passport will not help you to receive Ukrainian pension in "certain areas". And Russian pension, as the Russian Pension Fund has already explained, will be received only by those who will move to Russia for permanent residence. Those who will continue to live permanently in "certain areas" will not receive Russian pensions. Russian passport will change nothing in the voting procedure for residents of "certain areas" in the Ukrainian elections. And Russian passport will not help to get through the checkpoint to the territory controlled by Ukraine faster. In other words, Russian passport will not save the residents of "certain areas" from any of the problems associated with the undeclared war. On the contrary, it can create new ones: statements by Ukrainian politicians that those who receive the citizenship of the aggressor states should be deprived of the citizenship of Ukraine and corresponding benefits and payments are already heard".
"The decision on the "simplified procedure" for obtaining Russian citizenship is not "humanitarian". In the same way, the notorious "convoys", heading to the east of Ukraine some time ago with unknown contents, inaccessible for control by the Ukrainian authorities (and carrying, most likely, not humanitarian aid, but weapons, ammunition and spare parts), were not "humanitarian" (as they were presented to be).
The implementation of the decree on passports will require "only" about 100 billion rubles ($1.53 billion). This is almost four budgets of the Pskov oblast.
Or - expenses of the federal budget in 2019 for high-tech medical care, not included in the basic program of the CMA. For help that is constantly lacking. And on which relatives of patients are forced to collect money through the media and social networks, begging to save the life of the loved one", - deputy Vishnevsky concludes.
"The loss of time now will turn into the loss of the future"
Well-known Russian politician Grigory Yavlinsky is sure of it. He stated on the pages of Novye Izvestia that today's Russia "even more strengthened the idea of itself as a mafia state following the "path that does not exist", - to Eurasia, China, back to USSR, somewhere else…".
"Putin called the decree on the simplified procedure for issuing Russian passports to residents of certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine a "humanitarian measure". That is, it is like taking care of suffering people. In fact, in order to alleviate the suffering of the residents of Donbass, one must first of all end the war. And the decree on passports, on the contrary, is the continuation of the policy that gave rise to the war in the east of Ukraine", - Yavlinsky states.
"It is this hypocritical foreign and domestic policy of recent decades that has brought our country to a deadlock. As a result, the current situation in Russia may be called a hybrid political crisis, which gradually develops into a comprehensive… However, the Kyiv's course (with all the political failures and surprises) is the European way, striving for the European Union, and this is the main stabilizer of the current situation in Ukraine, the window and door to the future for the country. Kazakhstan with its problems of political transit despite the manageability of the situation tends to European political culture so much that, fearing Russian imperial politics after the Crimea and Donbass, officially refuses the Russian language and Cyrillic in favor of the English language and Latin… The endless frictions in relations with Belarus are another symptom of the state in which Russia approaches the crisis… This is how the annexation of the Crimea, war in Donbass and, obviously, harassment aimed at including Belarus into Russia as the 86th subject of the federation backfire…", - Yavlinsky points out.
"The active phase of the conflict with Ukraine has been going on for more than five years: people are dying, life is being destroyed, time is running out. The problems are only getting worse. But instead of solving them - the desire to step on the tail of triumphant trampism with increasing confrontation with the USA… Almost two decades passed - two decades of movement nowhere, two decades of lost time. If we continue in the same vein, the loss of time will somehow result in the loss of the country's future", - Yavlinsky warns.
"The law on the prohibition of the Russian language"
Kommersant observer Mikhail Gurevich believes that the law on the exclusive status of the Ukrainian language adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine "should be called the law prohibiting the Russian language".
"There is such a worldwide presidential tradition: to approve laws or decrees before the end of the rule that for some reason were previously inconvenient or wrong to sign. Especially when the power has to be transferred not to a fellow party member, but to the opposition rival. Let us recall the same Obama: handing over the Oval Office to Trump, he showed on almost all fronts of the U.S. foreign and domestic policy - banned drilling in the Arctic, refused to veto an anti-Israel UN resolution and, of course, extended anti-Russian sanctions, knowing perfectly well that he not so much solves the immediate problems, as shows his attitude to the choice of Americans.
Outgoing President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko decided to act similarly. And the main "gift" that he leaves to Vlolodymyr Zelensky will be signing of the law on the protection of the Ukrainian language. Although if you do not engage in casuistry, it should be called, of course, the law banning the Russian language. A solution was found for the rest of the national minorities in the Rada, having prescribed the rights of English, Crimean Tatar and official languages of the EU. The deputies perceived the voting results almost as a win over Russia", - Gurevich notes.
"But let us be honest: the enemy, who was so confidently defeated by the people's elected representatives, was no Moscow, but the overwhelming majority of citizens of their own country and the new president personally. And no matter what language this majority prefers to speak at work or at home. Having chosen Zelensky, they all recently voted precisely against similar approaches to solving Ukrainian problems. Zelensky said before the elections that it was necessary to introduce the state language in all spheres of life not by means of prohibitions, but by means of encouragement - and the deputies decided to introduce penalties for violations in the language regulations. Russian propaganda should be opposed by our own information efforts, the new president convinced the voters - and the deputies did everything to ensure that there were no Russian-language media in Ukraine at all. Finally, discussing ways to solve the problem of Donbass, the elected guarantor of the Constitution proposed convincing residents of the unrecognized republics that living together is better. Therefore, the Rada decided to strangle the cultural life in the language of Pushkin and, by the way, Gogol as much as possible, having totally prohibited its use in schools and universities",- the observer of Kommersant points out.
"In general, the only people who will like the law on the language are the very experts on the Russian talk shows who told about the oppression of Russian-speaking Ukrainians all five years after Maidan. It seems that thanks to the latest efforts of the loser president and his parliamentary majority, these horror stories are finally becoming a reality. The Kremlin will thank very much, because the program for distributing Russian passports to all those Ukrainians who want it will now clearly receive the increased demand, what, in turn, will be the best estimate of Poroshenko's government in general and his last greeting in particular", - Gurevich believes.
"Little nastiness for Zelensky"
Georgy Satarov, former assistant to the Russian President Boris Yeltsin, one of the participants in the creation of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, now professor at the Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration made a stand on the pages of Sobesednik. He reasons why Russia introduced a simplified procedure for issuing Russian passports for the CADLO residents.
"…If we keep in mind those who invented all this, it may be quite a traditional goal of all such initiatives – to make a little nastiness to someone you do not like and who you are afraid of. Because I see no farsighted plan behind this. Now some attribute it to the preparation of occupation of the territories of the LNR and DNR under the slogan that it is necessary to protect the Russians. But if there is such an intention, it is late for 4-5 years. It was necessary to do this immediately. Now it is doomed to total failure, because the international situation has changed greatly, as well as attitude to Russia and to Putin personally. It is unlikely that there will be any hesitation in the USA or NATO if there is a direct and overt aggression", - Satarov notes.
"Will the distribution of passports of the Russian Federation cause any damage to the one against whom it is directed - to the Ukrainian authorities? No, just the opposite! Because this initiative throws off the husk of the assumptions from Zelensky that it is a Kremlin project, and consolidates the Ukrainian population around the new president. It turns out that the introduction of passports is such a mental cramp that is not associated with any rationality", - Satarov believes.
"Is it necessary for those who consider themselves residents of the LNR or the DNR? Not very clear. The official information that this citizenship is not associated with the payment of pensions, for example, has already passed. Our Kremlin does not care now – after the so-called pension reform was carried out, pensioners, like Putin's permanent nuclear electorate, began to shrink back from him, and here the flight could just begin. Now it is not at all clear why the LNR and DNR take these passports, what benefits they will get from it. Because according to Russian laws, they are recommended to give up Ukrainian citizenship with all the ensuing consequences", - Satarov indicates.
"But there are similar processes on the other side of the border. I mean the adoption of the law on the exclusivity of the Ukrainian language. I do not know why Poroshenko sign this rather controversial law after the citizens of Ukraine throughout almost the entire territory of the country expressed their attitude towards it. If only it is such a petty revenge. To say first "I will help you in every possible way to become president", and then introduce such a law for a knowingly bilingual country… To cut off a substantial part of the literate population from public service – why is this for? Feeling of the petty nastiness to Zelensky. And no more", - Satarov is sure.
The review was prepared by Mykhailo Karpenko, OstroV