<span style="color: #808080;">There is a lot of speculation about Putin’s end goal. They range from “Putin wants to conquer the Ukraine and then Moldova, the Baltic States and (who knows?) even Poland” to “Putin wants to back-stab Novorussia and sell it in exchange for Crimea”. And these are not just empty speculations, because your assessment of what is happening today will largely depend on what you believe Putin’s end goal is. For example, if you believe the “Putin is about to sell-out” theory, then the Minsk agreement is just the first phase in a general surrender of Novorussia to the Nazis. But if you believe that Putin’s end-goal is to regain control of all (or most) of the Ukraine, then the Minsk agreements are just a way to keep the junta at bay while giving it the time to commit economic suicide before striking. So what is Putin’s end goal?
Putin’s 8 point peace plan:
The Ukrainian newspaper Zerkalo Nedelia, UA, has recently published a fascinating article entitled “Blood Topography” which made a detailed analysis of the line of separation agreed upon in Minsk and whether it should have included the Donetsk Airport or not (it placed the airport on the Novorussian side). But at the end of the article, the author, Tatiana Silina, writes that according to her sources, Putin’s real peace plan for the Ukraine is composed of all of the following elements:
- The federalization of the Ukraine (even if under another label such as “de-centralization”).
- A special status for the LNR and DNR which would include the creation of a purely local political authority not subordinated to Kiev.
- A full budgetary autonomy.
- Full freedom to choose their official language
- Full cultural freedom
- The right to “choose the vector of economic integration”
- The Ukraine must be declared a neutral state
- All of the above must be explicitly stated in the Ukrainian Constitution.
Tatiana Silina added, “Putin’s methods may have changed, but not his goal: to attach the Ukraine to Russia“.
Now here is where it gets really interesting. Consider this: how is it that Silina begins by listing 8 goals which (apparently) are designed to separate the Donbass as much as possible from the Ukraine and then concludes that these goals are designed to attach the Ukraine to Russia? This is a crucial question, so let me repeat it again:
Why does separating the Donbass from the rest of the Ukraine attach the Ukraine to Russia?
The second question is no less important, and it flows from the first one:
Why does Putin not simply demand the full secession of the Donbass or even its reunification with Russia?
To understand, let’s make a simple but crucial thought experiment. First, let’s consider if the Donbass fully secedes from the Ukraine and joins Russia and then compare it with Putin’s solution.
The Novorussian secession option:
We assume that Kiev agrees with this (out of political, economic or even military necessity). The Donbass follows Crimea’s example and pretty soon becomes the southwestern region of the Russian Federation. The first obvious consequence is that the war stops and that the rump-Ukraine becomes much more unitary. Having lost the potential support of Crimea (gone!) and the Donbass (gone!), other “trouble” regions (Odessa, Nikolaev, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhie, Chernigov, Kharkov) soon basically give up any notion of resisting Kiev and those who cannot accept a Nazi junta are forced to either shut up or relocate (“encouraged” by the Ukie-Nazi slogan “suitcase – train station – Moscow”). Furthermore, the regime at this point will say that Russia betrayed the Ukraine whose sovereignty she had promised to guarantee when the Ukraine gave up nuclear weapons and that joining NATO is the only way to preserve the rest of the country. The population will mostly agree. There is no Russian language constituency left, so Ukrainian becomes the only language, the Russian language media disappears. The multi-billion effort to rebuild the Donbass becomes “Russia’s internal problem” while the US and EU “aid” is directed only at the comprador elites of the rump Ukraine (aka “privatization” and “opening up of the economy”). This new Ukraine completes the NATO encirclement of Russia from the Baltic to the Urals.
Novorussian autonomy inside the Ukraine:
Formally, de jure, the Donbass remains part of the Ukraine and thus it remains represented at the state level: the Rada. Because the LNR and DNR are free to choose their vector of economic development (i.e. join the trade union with Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Armenia), they begin to have a “gravitational pull” on the entire Ukrainian economy. There is *much* more money made in lucrative contracts with Russia than there is by trying to sell something to the EU. The Russian language and culture remain vibrant in Novorussia and the effects of that are felt throughout the Ukraine. In contrast, the Ukrainian language becomes the “dialect of the loser”, the sign of the pauper. And because the Ukraine remains constitutionally neutral, NATO simply cannot get in. The economies of all the regions listed above (Odessa, Nikolaev, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhie, Chernigov, Kharkov) become more and more dependent on the “Novorussian special economic zone”. Since the West has nothing to offer economically, it can only rely on the west-Ukrainian minority to promote the Empire’s interests, which is wholly inadequate to counter the effect of the political and economic power of the eastern Ukraine.
Which of these two scenarios make more sense to you?
The first one basically hands over the Ukraine to the Empire, while the second one uses Novorussia as an unbreakable tether tying the rest of the Ukraine to Novorussia and Russia. In other words, Tatiana Silina is absolutely correct “Putin’s methods may have changed, but not his goal: to attach the Ukraine to Russia“.
The fact is that to truly (de jure) cut-off Novorussia from the rest of the Ukraine is tantamount to hand over the rest of the Ukraine to Uncle Sam and his EU puppets. Keeping a nominally unitary Ukraine with the Donbass de facto independent makes it possible for Russia to “reel in” the entire Ukraine. And since there can be no safety or security for either the Donbass or Russia with a NATO run Nazi regime in power in Kiev, regime change and the full de-nazification of the entire Ukraine is the only viable long term solution to this conflict. That goal can only be achieved if Novorussia remains nominally part of the Ukraine.