Donetsk and Lugansk are close to freezing

The Kremlin does not expect good news from the Donbass

The conflict in the Donbass can be frozen for decades to come if the “Party of War” will remain in power in Kiev. This statement was made on Tuesday, January 15, in an interview with “Arguments and Facts” by the press secretary of the Russian president, Dmitry Peskov.


– It will depend on Kiev, on whether the war party will be in power there. In this case, there is no chance that the conflict will end. On the contrary, if there is a party of peace and diplomacy, then there is a chance, – he said.


In addition, he is very pessimistic about the current situation in the south-east of Ukraine. “Things are really bad,” complained the head of the Kremlin press service.


At the same time, Peskov noted that currently there are no votes on the Ukrainian political arena that would call for solving problems “through dialogue, and not by confrontation.” On the contrary, in his opinion, the new aggravation of relations with Kiev is now associated with the election campaign of Petro Poroshenko.


– He is desperately seeking to catch up with Tymoshenko’s rating. For this, he needs a variety of techniques, including such as provocation in the Kerch Strait, – said Peskov.


He also expressed the opinion that the main possibility of overcoming the crisis is the implementation of the Minsk agreement.


At the same time, despite all the problems listed above, Peskov emphasized that Ukrainians remain a close people for us, which Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly said. Interstate conflicts, he said, should not change that.


– At the beginning of the conflict, a great deal was said about the terms of its resolution,” recalls the director of the Center for Public and Information Cooperation “Europe”, political scientist Eduard Popov.


– But I personally heard from the first persons of the republics of Donbass completely different assessments: that the conflict will be resolved quickly enough within a few months. What is meant by conflict resolution: access to the administrative boundaries of the former Donetsk and Lugansk regions of the Ukrainian SSR. However, these people, who then led the republics, were given even bolder predictions: the liberation of the whole of New Russia.


As of April-May 2014, such forecasts looked quite realistic, and I, I confess, was inclined to this opinion. The Ukrainian army and the Ukrainian statehood were, as they say, dismantled and unable to resist. Ukraine could be dismantled brick by brick. If it were not for the help of the West and certain forces in Russia, which literally saved Ukraine from financial, economic and political collapse, Ukraine as a state would not have existed for about four years.


In Israel, they told the truth about the coup in Ukraine, comparing it with a bloody rebellion in Romania.

– “Things are really bad,” complained Peskov. Does this mean that a clear understanding has emerged in the Kremlin that the problem has to be solved, or is Moscow still ready to “freeze”?


– The situation in the Donbass and in the former Ukraine may develop in different ways. To a large extent, this is due to the strategy that Moscow chooses. In my opinion, in official Russian circles they elected – I don’t know on what basis, I guess that it’s not just that – the strategy of appeasing the aggressor-Ukraine. For me, one thing is certain: Ukraine will never be more than just a friendly – neutral state with respect to Russia. Whoever won the election, even if the winner is “pro-Russian” Boyko or Medvedchuk. We have badly burned ourselves on Yanukovych to believe in the possibility of elections to positively influence Russian-Ukrainian relations.


The coup d’état of February 2014 and a lot of hard work were done by the Americans not to allow us to steal their victory. Therefore, I am skeptical, or rather, with complete disbelief, referring to the illusions expressed in relation to the possibilities to change the situation through diplomacy and political dialogue.


– And Peskov believes that if in power in Kiev “there will be a party of peace and diplomacy, then there is a chance.” Is there such a party there?


– There is no such party in Ukraine. In June 2009, at the conference on the upcoming presidential elections in Ukraine at RISI, I said that even if “pro-Russian” Viktor Yanukovych wins the elections, we have already lost the elections. The bet on the “pro-Russian” Party of Regions, which was pushed through by some well-known Russian politicians, State Duma deputies and experts turned out to be a blunder. Moreover, there are no pro-Russian or even simply neutral forces with respect to Russia in the current Ukrainian political. It’s bad that the same people we owe mistakes in Ukraine continue, as far as I can tell, to “steer” Ukrainian politics in Russia today.


– What do you think the likelihood that something will happen before the presidential elections in Ukraine?


– The question is very complex, and I constantly ask it myself. Of course, Poroshenko is very interested in such a solution of the issue, who is ready to go to war and the inevitable defeat of Ukraine, just to retain power. But the issues of war with Russia are not determined by the puppet power in Kiev. Therefore, I consider a full-scale war or even large-scale provocation on the eve of the presidential elections to be very unlikely. From the power of 20 percent.


– If freezing, how much? In Karabakh, it has been going on for 30 years …


– I do not think that the freezing of the conflict in the Donbass will last so long. I believe that the conflict in the Donbass will be resolved in the next year or two, maximum three. But the conflict with the fragment of Ukraine, from which other territories will fall away, will indeed be frozen for decades.


– There are many frozen and smoldering conflicts on the planet, – reminds Igor Shatrov, deputy director of the National Institute for the Development of Modern Ideology.


– The Arab-Israeli confrontation has lasted for 70 years, despite the presence of a huge number of resolutions and other documents of the UN General Assembly and the Security Council of this organization. In fact, this conflict broke out as a result of the implementation of the United Nations decision on the creation of a Jewish and Arab state in the territory of Mandate Palestine. That is, international participation and close attention to the problem not only did not extinguish the conflict, but on the contrary ignited it.


There are several frozen conflicts on the territory of the former USSR. The Moldovan-Transdniestrian and Karabakh conflicts have been in existence for three decades. And only the political will of the leadership of Russia, who forced Georgia to peace by force, and then recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states, put an end to the Georgian-South-Ossetian and Georgian-Abkhaz conflicts.


– Peskov believes that if there is a party of peace and diplomacy in power in Kiev, then there is a chance. Is there such a party there, or in whom does the Kremlin try to discern it?


– Sooner or later, Poroshenko will retire. The Kremlin hopes that the new politicians who came to power will not be bound by the commitments that have confused the current Ukrainian president in arms and legs. Moreover, these are not only obligations to the West, which, for the sake of conjuncture for the sake of it, can also change attitudes towards Russia. Poroshenko is no less dependent on radical nationalists, on whose bayonets he ascended the throne. At the same time, the Kremlin deliberately does not name those with whom it would be ready to communicate if it wins the presidential election. I won’t do that either. But there are such people.


– How do you understand the statement of Peskov?


– Peskov says that the Russian leadership still has hope for the opportunity to communicate with Ukraine in a dialogue mode, and not from a position of strength. It’s another matter how much Moscow will have to wait for the change of power in Kiev and whether communication with the new government will indeed be productive. Examples from the recent past, in particular, and the one to whom I recalled the events of 2008 in the Caucasus, say the opposite: presumptuous political adventurers understand only power.


– If the “party of war” remains in power, does this mean that the Kremlin will take on the solution of the problem?


  • This is a difficult question to which the Russian leadership, it seems to me, has not yet found an answer. But if the war in the Donbass resumes with a new force, Russia will have to rely only on itself, and not on the world community. And somehow stop the conflict will have to.


– Peskov sees the Minsk agreements as the main way out of the crisis.


  • The Minsk agreements are not fulfilled, but there are no others. Russia, France and Germany are the guarantors of the peace process. And their task is either to persuade the parties to observe “Minsk”, or, if it is impossible to agree on the same conditions, to sit at the negotiating table and help develop new conditions. At least, Russia sees its mission in this way as a country that is part of the “Norman Four”. The refusal of “Minsk” in the absence of other documents of a similar nature will bring relations between Ukraine and the Donbas from a conditionally legal field into a zone of chaos and again put on the brink of a large-scale conflict.