Soft power

chance to break from the Donbass deadend

If you do not change anything, then nothing will change.

Ukraine has changed very little in the Donbass. Yes, it has changed the ATO to the OOS, but how did this affect the situation?

Donbass does not change anything radically: they do not fight (the Minsk agreements do not allow), and they do not agree. The conflict has reached a dead end.

Meanwhile, life behind the line of demarcation changes quickly and purposefully.

The main trend of the last two years in the occupied Donbass is self-isolation from Ukraine.

“Nationalization” of the economy, the ban on free territory for budget workers, the artificial creation of problems for carriers and the displacement of Ukrainian mobile operators …

And most importantly, the children grow up there. They no longer remember another, peaceful life.

When Donbass people rejoice in the data of sociologists on the growth of patriotism and national consciousness on the free territory of the Donbass, one must take into account that the same thing is happening in the occupied territory, only in the opposite direction: patriotism there is growing regional, and national self-consciousness is increasingly becoming Russian. Time does its job!

“Either fight, or agree, but you can not live like this!” – say the inhabitants of the front-line territories, which for years have to live under bullets and shells flying from both sides of the front line.

For them, the worst thing is not war, but the absence of prospects for its end.

At first Donbass listened for three years about the non-alternative nature of the Minsk agreements, now, another year, about UN peacekeepers.

But both are just a drag on time, as each side of the conflict sees both the first and the second is completely different from its opponent.

The inability of the Minsk Agreements lies in the contradictions of the text itself. And peacekeepers are impossible, if only because they do not identify the parties that must agree to them.

Even if Putin says “ok” and takes out his “vacationers” from there, what will prevent him from letting peacekeepers into the occupied territory with the trunks of some zaharchenok beekeepers who formally do not obey him?

At the same time, it is both unacceptable and foolish to negotiate with Donetsk and Lugansk (as Moscow demands). Putin’s slippers, although they are on the feet of their master, but can not guide his feet …

Although, if you expand the conflict over the interests of its sides and set yourself the goal not to outwit the enemy, but to get out of the military impasse and bring peace to the Donbass, then there is a way out …

Putin admits that the Donbass is a Ukrainian territory, but (rightly) does not believe that the Ukrainian state is able and willing to implement the political part of the Minsk agreements, in which it is interested.

Therefore, he does not stop the conflict in the region – he does not see the possibility of solving it with benefit for himself under the current political situation in Ukraine.

The main argument of Putin, by which he justifies Russia’s support of the “republics”, is the fear that the return of the Ukrainian state will turn into a “massacre … as in Srebrenica.”

At the same time, the Russian president agrees to the introduction of UN peacekeepers, but only as a security mission for the OSCE Monitoring Mission, which in no way can change the situation in the warring region.

Putin can go to stop the military form of the conflict in the Donbass, unless this will deprive him of the opportunity to continue using this region as an instrument of influence on Ukraine. That is, if you see the prospect of implementing the political part of the Minsk agreements.

In turn, Kiev is interested in holding local elections in Donbas, which will create a legitimate subject for dialogue, which is not related to DNP-LNR.

At the same time, the Verkhovnaya Rada will not go to hold such elections, while the border with Russia is open, and Moscow controls the occupied territories.

Kiev also can not go on direct negotiations with illegitimate “authorities” in Donetsk and Lugansk and recognize them as a party to the conflict. The law of Ukraine has already called Russia the aggressor and occupier, and the authorities of the “DNR-LNR” – “occupation administrations”.

This makes it impossible for Kiev and the “authorities” of DNR to interact in social and economic security of the region when blue helmets go there.

And who and how, in this case, will pay pensions, social benefits, ensure the protection of human rights and social guarantees after the entry of peacekeepers there?

The idea of ​​the UN peacekeeping mission discussed today, even with the component of the International Interim Administration, does not answer these questions.

In this situation, the main danger for Ukraine is that President Trump may want to resolve the issue of peace in the Donbass already during the meeting with Putin on July 16.

Given Trump’s desire for partnership with Moscow and the fact that peacekeeping itself is more important for him than the domestic political consequences of such a world for Ukraine, he can agree to “peace” on the terms of Moscow. That is, to force Ukraine to implement the Russian vision of Minsk.

Kiev itself must offer the US president such an option for peace in the Donbass, which in the eyes of Trump would be acceptable to Russia. At the same time, the decision should give chances and opportunities for Ukraine to regain its jurisdiction over the territory that is now as they believe is occupied by Moscow. This compromise option is designed to keep Putin confident that ending the military phase of the conflict in the Donbass will not deprive him of the opportunity to influence Ukraine and its Euro-Atlantic aspirations, otherwise he will simply not agree to it. Such a compromise option may be the introduction to the Donbass not just of a peacekeeping mission, but – shifting the emphasis (!) – of the Interim International Administration to the component of the UN peacekeepers as its protection and the instrument to ensure its mandate. The transition of control over the region to an international mediator with a UN mandate consisting of countries that have signed the Budapest Memorandum and are members of the UN Security Council will make it impossible to “massacre”, but will create conditions for peace, cessation of humanitarian catastrophe and holding elections to local councils. For Moscow, this option may be acceptable, as it gets the opportunity to implement the political part of the Minsk Agreements and, at the same time, mitigate international sanctions and the financing of “republics”. Also complies with Putin’s demand that there be no military NATO in the peacekeeping mission. He did not say anything about the composition of the MBA. And Kiev is interested in this option, since the introduction of the MBA will allow peacekeepers to establish control over the border, deprive the resource and financial base of illegal armed groups and withdraw Russian troops from the territory of Donbass. Holding legitimate local elections and restoring financial and economic ties will give Kiev the leverage to influence the legitimately elected local authorities and economic elites of the region. The presence in Russia (not in the military component of the mission!) Of Russia will allow the Kremlin to retain face and control, and Kiev – to avoid a conflict with Moscow’s reluctance to recognize itself as a party to the conflict. In contrast to Kiev, the MBA, through the Russian representatives in it, will be able to decide on the fulfillment of its mandate directly with the “authorities” of Donetsk and Lugansk. The “DNR” – LNR militants have repeatedly stated that they will consider the armed peacekeepers as “the next enemy” and “target.” However, they will not be able to provide armed resistance to the Civilian Peacekeeping Mission – the MBA, especially if it includes Russia. The armed opposition to the UN peacekeeping mission is unlikely, since the mere fact of the introduction of an MBA into the occupied Donbas secures the prospect of its transfer to Ukraine, confirmed by Russia. Moreover, if militants resist such a mission, this would mean entering into a conflict not only with Ukraine, but also with the countries-permanent members of the UN Security Council, of which representatives should be an MBA. The initial positioning of the military component of the mission as an MBA and the mechanism to ensure its mandate, rather than independent military force – will not allow occupation propaganda to introduce peacekeepers as occupiers and agents of Kiev. According to sociological surveys, the main fear (81%) of the inhabitants of the occupied territories of Donbass is the resumption of active hostilities. Therefore, active armed resistance to the peacekeeping mission will deprive the militants of the support of the local population and, consequently, of a possible political future. The main instrument for the activity of the MBA should not be military force, but control over all financial and material flows coming to DNR-LNR, including from Russia.

Gradually, the functioning of the territory of the banking and financial systems of Ukraine, the notary, registration of civil acts should be restored through it … In practice, it may look like this: opening of the bank branches (Ukrainian or Western) registration of property rights, civil acts, registration and taxation of business, notaries and other services provided in the Ukrainian legal field and necessary for citizens of Ukraine. Thus, the MBA should become the main distributor of benefits for the population, a mechanism for the realization of civil rights, a guarantor of peace and a symbol of economic improvement. This, among other things, will ensure the loyalty of local residents.