Donbas: What is next? 06.09.2019

“Bellum omnium contra omnes”.
(c) Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes

The situation in Donbas has been at the forefront of the world media for five years now. At the same time, almost no one has an objective assessment of the situation, and the propaganda factor dominates everywhere, sometimes pushing boundaries of common sense. Therefore there is a desire to try to understand the problem objectively.

The most important aspect of the "Donbas problem" and the entire south-east of Ukraine is historical. The fact is that the "historically established Ukraine" is Kyiv, Poltava, Sumy, Vinnytsia and Chernihiv. Southeast Ukraine, namely Odesa, Mykolaiv, Kherson, Zaporizhzhya, Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv, were included in the Ukrainian SSR only in 1922. With the then-existing practice of Russification, they could not become Ukrainian but instead served as a factor for the Russification of the "historically established Ukraine". For these purposes, Vladimir Lenin, most likely, invented such a format of unification of the regions in the Ukrainian SSR. As for the inhabitants of Eastern Galicia, namely of Lviv, Ternopil, Ivano-Frankivsk and other regions of Ukraine, hyped by propaganda, as the basis of the Ukrainian nation, they joined the Ukrainian SSR after World War II in 1945 (the period of the first joining of these territories - 1939-1940). Moreover, such a city as Lviv had never been a part of Ukraine before and belonged to the Russian Empire for only one year, from August 1914 to July 1915, during its centuries-old history. The situation with Southern Bessarabia, Subcarpathia, Northern Bukovina, Lutsk, Rivne, and Crimea, which became part of the USSR in 1954, is the same.

No "United Ukraine", even in the Soviet period, could, consequently, ever be formed. The inhabitants of the South-East in their absolute majority associate themselves with Russia, the inhabitants of Southern Bessarabia with Romania (they are actively obtaining the same Romanian citizenship), there is a nation of its own in Subcarpathia - the Ruthenians, etc. During the period of independence, this state of Ukraine could only be stable if the central government in Kyiv took into account the interests of all peoples living in the former Soviet Union. All the "centres of power", whether in Moscow, Washington, Brussels or London, understand this very well. Moreover, everyone is well aware that the Western intelligence services began to form Russophobic militant groups on the territory of Western Ukraine, the main one being the "Ukrainian National Assembly - Ukrainian People's Self-Defence" (UNA-UNSO was declared extremist by the Russian Supreme Court on 17 November 2014 and its activities are banned in Russia) whose militants participated in several military conflicts against the Russian armed forces. The militant groups of complete Russophobes were formed for more than a decade until winter 2013-2014, and another Maidan began.

Once again, I want to focus on one significant fact. There could be a calm situation in independent Ukraine only if the local authorities took into account the interests of all the numerous nationalities and cultural groups living on the territory of this country. One unnecessary step could lead to disaster. Therefore, those who prepared the Maidan in 2013 and implemented it in 2014 were well aware of what they were doing. However, the war did not come to Ukraine only from the West...

I was working as an independent observer in Syria in 2013, and Marat Musin, the person who was supposed to organise workflow but was hindering this work in every way, was telling interesting things. Namely, in February 2014 (he mentioned the exact date), there would be a military conflict next to Russia (he did not say where), and it would be necessary to take part there not only as independent observers. We even discussed with some "comrades" from the team who would be engaged in this "future war" and what weapon they would use. Back then, I considered it just another delirium tremens Marat got. However, I should not have. A little further on, there will be an explanation of how all of this is connected to what happened in Ukraine in 2014.

In today's world, war is usually a mutual affair. It is difficult to introduce troops somewhere, let alone bring charges against a neighbouring state without any real reasons. All the more so when an entire autonomous republic has already "escaped" from under their noses. Oh, and a few words about Crimea.

After it became obvious that the coup d'etat in Ukraine happened in February 2014, and the forces directly controlled by Washington's Obama-Clinton cartel, which had already destroyed Libya three years before, came into power, the near future of Crimea in Ukraine promised only the expulsion of the Russian Black Sea Fleet from the peninsula and the appearance of American military bases there. Moreover, the population of Crimea, to put it mildly, was not particularly sympathetic to the new Kyiv government. As a result, Crimea became part of Russia as early as March 2014, practically without a single shot being fired. In the current situation, Moscow was understandably concerned only about Crimea, and there were no "little green men", "polite people", the Buk missile system and other forces associated with the Russian Defence Ministry in south-eastern Ukraine, at least until August 2014.

At the same time, after the coup d'état in Kyiv, and even more so after the reunification of Crimea with Russia, the entire south-east of Ukraine from Odesa to Luhansk was feverish. Overall, this entire territory could have easily separated from Ukraine and become an independent state, or joined Russia, had there been systematic work on the part of Russia. However, it did not. Yes, Russia supported individual activists on the territory of Ukraine, who, among other things, raised the idea of recreating Novorossiya for several years. However, the Kremlin was not planning to create any Novorossiya independent of Ukraine in the spring of 2014, and this is an obvious fact. Pro-Russian protests in Ukraine were unsystematic and often local. Far-right militants of nationalist formations created outright negativity with the support of the SBU, which at the time had already become a branch of the US CIA. For example, when they burned the Trade Union Building with people in Odesa at the beginning of May 2014. Unfortunately, there are many such examples. In Ukraine itself, the forces that organised the Maidan and the coup d'état provoked aggression in the country's south-east.

The biggest demonstrations against the new Kyiv government were in Kharkiv, Luhansk and Donetsk when at the beginning of April, protesters seized local administration buildings and declared their refusal to comply with the decisions of the coup d'état perpetrators in Kyiv. Such actions were localised and unsystematic and were, once again, related solely to internal factors. Namely, the elite in south-eastern Ukraine, represented in particular by oligarch Rinat Akhmetov, wanted to gain at least some control over the situation after the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych, and such actions were more of the nature of blackmailing Kyiv, where the protesting masses were given free rein to gain at most autonomous regions in south-eastern Ukraine without further infringement on the country's sovereignty. These plans of Rinat Akhmetov were also well known in Moscow, and there is undeniable evidence of that. The situation would never have come to a war of any kind if external forces had not intervened.

Thus, on 7 April 2014, the speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, acting President Oleksandr Turchynov, announced his intention to start an anti-terrorist operation against those who had seized administrative buildings in Luhansk, Donetsk and Kharkiv regions. That is, he announced the start of the so-called ATO. By the way, Oleksandr Turchynov is the leader of the Ukrainian branch of the American sect "Church of Christ" and is known for his longstanding ties with the US CIA, so everything is more or less clear with him. The only problem was that there were, in fact, no terrorists for the anti-terrorist operation. Unarmed protesters occupied the administrative buildings without any resistance from the Ukrainian "security forces" (it was due to the already indicated position of Rinat Akhmetov and several other oligarchs who, de facto, had always controlled these very "security forces" in the South-East of the country). Nevertheless, the real terrorists were found very quickly and directly from Russia.

On 11 April, Igor Girkin and Aleksandr Boroday, consultants to Marshall Capital Partners, a company owned by oligarch Konstantin Malofeev, crossed the Ukrainian border. Konstantin Malofeev had a long court case against VTB Bank in London and then tried to merge his company Marshall Capital Partners with some obscure funds in France and Luxembourg. Moreover, it was against the background of this business situation that he suddenly and for some unknown reason became enamoured of ideas in Ernesto Che Guevara and Mikhail Bakunin style.

The war essentially began after Girkin and Boroday, with a company of like-minded people, got to Ukraine. On 12 April, these people, calling themselves supporters of the Donetsk People's Republic, seized administrative buildings in the city of Sloviansk in the Donetsk region with weapons in their hands, announcing that the city was under the authority of the DNR. Immediately afterwards, on 13 April, the Ukrainian authorities announced the launch of an "anti-terrorist operation" in Slovyansk. The Girkin-led armed gangs began blocking Ukrainian military units and armed provocations against Ukrainian "security forces," which prompted the Kyiv authorities to start the "hot" phase of the ATO in Donbas, blaming the Kremlin for everything and completely foiling an attempt to form autonomous regions within Ukraine in the southeast, which would have led to a peaceful resolution of the issue.

By the way, the local people were not particularly eager to fight, so Girkin even recorded a video appeal where he expressed his dissatisfaction with their passivity. As a result, Igor Girkin designated himself and his gang of terrorists as members of the Russian Defense Ministry and began recruiting volunteers from Kaliningrad to Nakhodka for the war in the Donbas. By the way, this had already been practised in Syria in 2013 but was stopped by Russian FSB officers. The activities of Girkin and the company were not interfered with by the Russian FSB for some reason.

I want to point out that the ANNA-News channel, where I was one of the co-authors back in 2011 and whose admin I was in Syria in 2012 and 2013, directly cooperated with Igor Girkin from the very beginning of the conflict in Donbas. At that time, I had already publicly stated the danger posed by the activities of the channel's editor, Marat Musin, and those affiliated with him. In particular, it had to do with the attack on the Russian embassy in Libya in the autumn of 2013, which led to the disruption of defence contacts and the de facto severing of diplomatic relations with Libya and some other things. All relevant Russian organisations were informed about all this by me even before the events in Ukraine, but there was no action on their part taken to stop it. Moreover, I was the only one who regularly encountered real problems.

As for Igor Girkin and the company, having fulfilled the task of setting a precedent for introducing Ukrainian troops and paramilitaries into Donbas and unleashing a large-scale war there, began to retreat quietly, planning to surrender Donetsk in August 2014. At that time, "nationalist battalions" consisting of fighters from several terrorist Ukrainian organisations started a systematic genocide of the population of south-eastern Ukraine, carrying out the "territory without population" project. The genocide was halted by Russia's intervention in the conflict, whose representatives took control of the leadership of the LDPR and managed to stop the war crimes committed by militants of Ukrainian terrorist organisations, often jointly with servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. All this took place with the whine about "Russian aggression" by the "civilised international community", as well as by representatives of this very "community" in the Russian Federation, such as Lev Shlosberg in the Pskov region. By the way, so far, the real factors behind the outbreak of war in Donbas have not been published in either the Russian or foreign official media or reports. None of those responsible for starting the war in Donbas and the genocide and justification of the genocide of the population of south-eastern Ukraine has incurred any criminal punishment. Moreover, some of these individuals, on both Ukrainian and Russian sides, continue to be politically active in their country, and some are members of regional parliaments or even the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. At the same time, the war in Donbas, which occurred due to the fault of specific individuals on both Ukrainian and Russian sides, who carried out a project developed by analysts from some Western special services, is still not over.

While the history of the conflict in Donbas is more or less clear, the prospect of solving this conflict is still dim. Certain shifts are now taking place in Eastern Europe. In particular, Volodymyr Zelensky has replaced Petro Poroshenko as President of Ukraine. And the odious oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc has been ousted from Moldova. Such shifts are related to the change of elites in another country, the United States of America. Now Donald Trump's team is "finishing off" the offspring of the "evil genius" of the previous White House rulers both at home and worldwide. Therefore, the replacement of Hillary Clinton-affiliated Petro Poroshenko with Volodymyr Zelensky, who is affiliated with Igor Kolomoysky, a close associate of the new White House administration, will not affect the attitude of official Kyiv to the situation in Donbas. Equally, Vladimir Plahotniuc leaving Moldova only strengthened the position of the current even more pro-Western Prime Minister of Moldova Maia Sandu and, in fact, leads in its perspective to the annexation of Transnistria by Moldova, especially given the fact that Transnistria is now headed by an organised criminal community represented by the puppets of the "Sheriff" holding.

Therefore, in the current geopolitical realities, Donbas has only three options. The first one is to return to modern Ukraine, and this can happen only with autonomy status according to the "Gagauzian scenario", but the current curators of the Ukrainian government from the USA, interested in creating "hotbeds of instability" on the borders of Russia will not agree to. The second one is to join Russia following the "Crimean scenario", which could lead to a direct military conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which is beneficial to the US but not to anyone else. The most likely scenario so far is the path of a partially recognized state, which Luhansk and Donetsk are currently following.

However, it should be understood that the situation in Donbas may develop differently at any time. For example, if Russia weakens, Ukraine may begin to complete its "territory without population" plan, which will end in another genocide. Alternatively, Ukraine will cross the line, and Russia will officially introduce its troops into the Donbas region, which will end either in the "Crimean scenario" or the "Abkhazian scenario". In any case, the situation in Donbas is now one of the most problematic "geopolitical points" for Russia, and it is essential to correctly assess what happened there five years ago to avoid a relapse. Unfortunately, the Kremlin is having a hard time understanding the importance of the latter.

Dmitrii Ershov, political scientist.

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