November 13, 2017

Three Steps of the Empire of Evil

According to the adopted in the USA in August this year “Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act”, in February 2018 (on the eve of the presidential election in Russia), American intelligence agencies should submit a report on the assets and business ties of Putin's entourage in the West countries. In case of Moscow's non-fulfillment of Minsk Agreements and refusal to return the Crimea to Ukraine, on the basis of the said report, against Russia will be imposed additional sanctions of a qualitatively new level that will directly affect the interests of the Russian ruling elite.

The reality of such intentions in Washington is testified to by the publication in the USA of materials from influential research and analytical institutions and results of journalistic investigations on the structure of the Russian business in the United States and Europe. In particular, an example is the publication by the American newspaper The New York Times of the so-called “Paradise documents” that convincingly reveal Russian business ties with the West. These are the signals about the United States' having all the necessary information, which can be brought into play at any time.

Under such circumstances, it is quite obvious that Putin's entourage is seeking ways out of the situation, which on the one hand would allow Russia to demonstrate a progress in the Minsk process, and, on the other — would guarantee realization of Russian interests regarding Ukraine. The manifestations of this are the demonstrative steps lately taken by the Kremlin, both at the highest state level and through other channels.

In particular, in August this year (immediately after the adoption in the USA of the “Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act”, President of Russia V. Putin agreed to the possibility of deploying international peacekeeping forces in the conflict zone in the Donbas. Despite the fact that Moscow's consent regarding the deployment such forces only on the line of collision between the parties, this was the Kremlin's principal concession. Thus, the deployment of UN peacekeepers in the East of Ukraine will actually make impossible further expansion of the Russia's military intervention into Ukrainian territory.

The second of these facts is the move of the Russian TV presenter Ksenia Sobchak, who has announced her candidacy for President of the Russian Federation in the March 2018 elections, and made a number of resonant statements regarding the illegality of Russia's annexation of the Crimea, as well as Moscow's responsibility for the armed conflict in the Donbas. At this, she directly blamed the RF President's Assistant V. Surkov of organizing it. At the same time, K. Sobchak proposed to hold a second referendum on the status of the Crimean Peninsula. Given the close relationship between K. Sobchak and V. Putin (she is the baptized daughter of the Russian President and the daughter of his “political Godfather” —former Mayor of St. Petersburg A. Sobchak), the actions of the Russian “rebel” are obviously directed, approved and funded by the Kremlin.

Lastly, in November this year, the acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of the so-called “LPR” V. Deynego made a statement on the necessity of the self-proclaimed republic's returning to Ukraine — as the world community demands it, and Luhansk cannot counter it. Besides, he suggested the abandonment of the name “LPR”. According to him, “Luhansk People's Republic” can be called ORDLO (separate districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions), as demanded by Ukraine. Proceeding from the specifics of the authorities of the occupied territories of the Donbas (which is completely controlled by Moscow), such statements could not have been made in any way without agreement with Moscow.

As the intelligence saying goes, one fact can be a “case”, two facts — “coincidence of circumstances”, but three are already a tendency that needs a separate analysis. At first glance, the content of such a trend may be the Putin regime’s actions in exchange for easing the USA and EU's sanctions. However, this seems so only at first glance.

The true goal of these Moscow's steps is to create preconditions for solving the situation around Ukraine solely in the Kremlin's favor in a rather simple way, namely: legitimization of the Crimea's being part of Russia by holding a second, allegedly “free” referendum with quite predictable results, as well as the return of the occupied territories of the Donbas to Ukraine in the form similar to the Autonomous Republic of the Crimea.

According to the Kremlin's plans, this first of all concerns the creation of conditions for the “DPR” and “LPR”'s getting special status in Ukraine (which actually had the Crimea, being an autonomous republic with its constitution, government and parliament) while maintaining Russia's military presence on their territory (similar to the Black Sea Fleet in the Crimea). This is the aim of the Russian conditions for the possibility of deploying a peacekeeping mission in the Donbas exclusively on the line of collision of the parties and with participation of Russian peacekeepers as a must.

Resolving this issue will allow Russia to achieve two of its fundamental goals, namely — to create an impression of “restoring security” in the Donbas, which would make Ukraine move to the implementation of the political part of the Minsk Agreements (which, in turn, provides for the special status of the “DPR” and “LPR”), as well as to legitimize the presence of Russian troops in self-proclaimed republics under the guise of “peacekeepers.” At this, Ukraine would not get real control over the occupied districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions or over the Ukrainian-Russian border.

By doing so, Russia would have powerful levers of influence on Ukraine and its foreign and domestic policies for a long-term perspective, as Moscow has already done in relation to Moldova and Georgia. At the same time, V. Putin will remain with “clean hands”, and the responsibility for the armed conflict in the Donbas (including human victims) would be transferred to minor figures, in particular to V. Surkov.

What to say? Really “ingenious” plan, but it is unlikely to be accepted by the West. This is evidenced by the US President's refusal to have an official meeting with V. Putin on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Vietnam on November 10–11, despite the “Moscow Tsar”'s overwhelming attempts to gain a hearing of the leader of the greatest power of the world, which determines Russia's further fate. Absolutely humiliating for Russia was V. Putin's statement on “the need to punish the guilty of the obstruction of his meeting with D. Trump”. Indeed, if God wants to punish a person, He deprives him of reason.