The last year and the beginning of this year are uneasy for Putin’s Russia. Our “hybrid brothers” fail on all fronts. The events of the last days in Syria, when already after Putin’s statements about the victorious end of the military operation of the Russian Air Force, Russians lost several military aircrafts and human losses, generated not only a lot of Internet memes. This is an alarming call, including for Ukraine.
Damaged by the Syrian events, the Russian reputation and new sanctions, which will become even more “life-giving” in 2018, may turn out a new scenario of the Russian Federation in the Donbass for us. We should not discount the presidential election campaign in the Russian Federation, within which steps can be taken to fertilize the great imperial ambitions of the Russian electorate. Kremlin can recover all its failures in Ukraine and its people, at least – squeeze out maximum for themselves from the situation in the Donbass.
In the Russian Federation, they can play a card of the transformation of the greatest murderer of the 21st century into a blessed “peacemaker”. Moreover, the flywheel launched by the civilized world of the machine of enforcement to peace in the Donbass leaves the Russian king and his KGB environment ever less place for maneuvers. But they still have a little chance. Taking into account the previously embedded pitfalls, Putin has a chance to cheat everyone. The leadership of Ukraine and its allies should pay close attention to the Kremlin cheater.
According to the “Information Resistance” group, Putin’s environment considers own conditionally “peacekeeping” scenario as one of the possible variants of localizing its own aggression in Ukraine using baits, which the contracting party should agree. Due to the West’s lack of progress in negotiations on the Donbass, they propose the option “neither here nor there” implying a huge step forward. It can look something like this: an international peacekeeping contingent is allowed to extend to the entire territory of the LDNR right up to the Russian-Ukrainian border, which the West requires. At the same time, peacekeepers are deployed along the current line of demarcation in the LDNR, which Russia is seeking. In this case, “a huge step forward” would mean freezing the conflict, since further negotiations will be deadlocked by the Russian side.
The entry of peacekeepers into the territory of the Lugansk region, occupied by the Russian Federation, is also planned to be carried out on the conditions of Moscow. It means that the interstate border will be drawn by the Russian side, and the local “LNR” authority will consist exclusively of the FSB agents. They will have the “direct dialogue” with Kiev.
The Russian invaders are transferring the Russian-Ukrainian border in the temporarily uncontrolled Ukraine section of the Lugansk region since 2014. The occupiers are building engineering facilities, equipping the new border. According to our information, this situation is observed outside the border settlement of Veliky Sukhodol (Krasnodonsk district of Lugansk region). During the three years of the war, Russian occupants moved the line of the state border twice. Each transfer was accompanied by the establishment of border fences.
In 2017, the Russian occupiers did not calm down and continued engineering work to transfer the state border in the direction of Biryukovo-Pavlovka (RF). Because of Russia’s illegal actions, the dam of the Kundruchya River (flowing through the territories of the two countries, the tributary of the Seversky Donets River), which located on the territory of the LNR, came under the control of the FSB border guards. The invaders dug ditches and installed a guard. From the Ukrainian side, access to the dam is completely lost.
It is possible that the Russians are carrying out similar “work” in other uncontrolled sections of the border. The purpose of such actions is obvious: to take the most advantageous positions from the point of view of tactics in case Ukraine begins to restore sovereignty and regain control over the LDNR.
This is the lesser evil that the local gardeners have lost their gardens where on the site of their beds with radishes is a “border” of the Russian “brothers” now. The fact that the Russian Federation systematically cuts off pieces of Ukrainian territory should be made public in international courts, within the framework of the relevant processes. Until this happens, our country will have an unresolved territorial issue with an inadequate northern neighbor. That is a frozen conflict.
Direct dialogue with the FSB and the collapse of the ideas of “Novorossia”
As we noted earlier, one of the signs of time in the “LNR” is the growing influence of the Russian FSB. During the “rule” of Surkov’s protege Plotnitskiy, “the republic” was controlled by the competing FSB and the GRU of the RF Armed Forces. This often led to conflict of interests and real conflict situations. Plotnitskiy himself, as the curator-assistant of the president of the Russian Federation ordered him, gravitated toward the GRU. After the “coup” and the flight of the ringleader of the “republic” to Russia, representatives of the FSB sharply intensified in LNR. In addition to total control over the business environment under the S.Kurchenko, the FSB “sat down” in leadership positions in the “army units”, exercising constant control over the situation right up to the company level. The goal is obvious: to find and “re-educate” dissatisfied with the new “power” and the situation in the “LNR” among the militants.
In general, there is a decline in morale and disbelief in the “bright future” among the “servicemen”. It is already clear that the “Novorossia” turned out to be an empty shell, and the “warriors” themselves are used as pawns in political games.
Another interesting trend is that after the change of “power” in the “LNR”, some persons come back to the management, which at one time left LNR because of the problems with Plotnitskiy. At the same time, there was a “clean-up” of old personnel.
It means that everything is ready for the discharge of the “republic” and the puppets are ready for dialogue with Kiev and the peacekeepers … with the subsequent demands of Moscow to change the Ukrainian legislation in order to legitimize its influence on the development processes of our country. More precisely, to make these processes impossible.
In the DNR, probably, the Russian scenario will be played out, where the peacekeepers “sit down” only on the demarcation line and provide security to the OSCE observers. Russia will pursue one goal – to leave the occupied territories of the Donetsk region as a zone of a frozen conflict, implementing the described scenario. Why here? Thanks to many years of propaganda work on the Kremlin methodologies, the DNR population is more pro-Russian. In addition, Russia will incur less expense for one “republic” than to feed Lugansk “brothers” also.
“Peacekeeping” benefits for the Kremlin
Amid of the deteriorating situation for Russia on all fronts, in Europe, Syria, the United States, in domestic politics and economy, this is the best option for Kremlin dwarfs to maintain influence in the occupied parts of Donbass and reduce financial influence at one time.
Returning to the starting point of our analysis, the possible peacekeeping efforts of Putin in the LDNR is a demonstrative desire to “establish peace” in the Donbass for the naive Western public, and the establishment of complete control over local “power” and “Army Corps” that gives an extremely favorable position to the Russia.
From the point of view of big politics, it is even a phantom, but the possibility of at least partially removing sanctions and demanding strategic concessions from the United States, and also to have the advantages to strengthen the contradictions between the states and Europe, while building up the possibilities of the pro-Russian lobby in Europe.
For Putin personally, this also gives a chance to use the image of the “dove of peace” in the eyes of his electorate, presenting the situation as “direct negotiations of Ukraine with the separatists”.