May 23, 2015

“Hybrid Peace” for Ukraine: Options of Russia's Hidden Aggression

Yuriy Radkovets


Lately, the vast majority of both Western and Ukrainian politicians and experts, on the basis of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, have been trying to answer one question: what should Ukraine expect from Putin in the future, and how will the West react to it?

Today we can say with confidence that the requirements of the Minsk agreements (within the framework of “Minsk-2”, of February 12, 2015) the Russian side openly ignores, in every way delaying the process of their implementation — changes the composition of the negotiating parties, breaks meetings of the contact and working groups, suddenly declares new offensives.

The clear and consistent position of Ukraine, which closely follows the Minsk agreements, irritates Putin, forcing him to resort to bluff — that is to use, above all, constant “horror stories” about possible new offensives of his puppets in the Donbas, which should divert attention from Russia's not fulfilling the promised.

At this, permanently continued the Russian-Ukrainian separatist groups' shelling of the Ukrainian side along the contact line (and do not stop now). At this, they use all kinds of heavy weapons (tanks, “Grad”, heavy /including self-propelled/ artillery and large caliber mortars). At the same time, this group has been secretly strengthened with both, the personnel (in the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions today there are about 45-50 thousand people of the “United Russian-separatist forces” /URSF — the term recently introduced by American military experts/, including 10 to12 thousand Russian military servicemen) and modern weapons and military equipment (in particular up to 700 tanks, 1,200 armored vehicles, 600 artillery systems, 400 MRLS and 110 active Air Defense units). In addition, the Russian-separatist side, under any excuse, and often without it, shamelessly artificially postpones the release of illegally detained persons and the exchange of prisoners.

Leading experts and analysts rightly believe that in this case, with the possibility of applying a global (large-scale) military strike against Ukraine and a number of local (individual) strikes in Luhansk, Donetsk and Mariupol tactical directions (in this aspect today the probability is too high!) the accumulated over the year in the Donbas weapons and personnel of terrorist-separatist groups can serve a certain factor of forceful deterrence of Ukraine. Since it is a quite organized and really armed force — the so-called “Army” of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk” and “Luhansk People's Republics” (“DPR/LPR”), and in the long term, the joint army of “Novorossia” (in case of recovery of such a project).



The US has drew up three scenarios of the RF' offencive on Ukraine

To see the 2nd scenario — place the mouse cursor on the image, the 3rd — move away the mouse cursor from the image.
To return to the 1st scenario — refresh the page (F5)

At the same time, V. Putin prepares non-military operations too. They are versions of scenarios of hidden aggression (asymmetric /“hybrid”/ actions) against Ukraine. With the aim at any cost to “foothold” in the occupied Ukrainian territories (at this, to definitely preserve its influence! — both, in political and economic aspects).


In political terms.

Despite the purely criminal nature of the content and direction of “creation” of the so-called self-proclaimed “Donetsk” and “Luhansk” “People's Republics”, the illegitimate “rise to power” of their leaders, as well as further their illegal armed groups' aggressive military and subversive-terrorist activities (and all the above-mentioned with the direct, but hidden, force support /with personnel, weapons and military equipment from Russia), today the Kremlin cynically demands to legitimize these self-proclaimed formations both in bilateral relations with Ukraine, and in multilateral negotiations within the framework of the Minsk dialogue.

Moscow voiced its scenario on the 13th of May, 2015, using the controlled by it militias (so far the Tripartite Commission has not received an official proposal concerning the Constitution) in the form of so-called “Draft Amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine and Ukrainian Laws”, according to which hundreds of settlements in Donetsk and Luhansk regions should be called “districts with special status” that will remain an integral part of Ukraine. However, for these “special areas” Moscow demands as follows: to stop the anti-terrorist operation and economic blockage; amnesty for all militants; to form a “people's militia”, independent from the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine; to appoint prosecutors and judges only in coordination with local authorities; to create their own electoral authorities independent from the Central Election Commission of Ukraine; to allocate funds for the maintenance of “special areas” from the Ukrainian state budget; the preserve Ukraine's non-aligned status; not to let Ukrainian parties and blocs participate in local elections, only their nominees; to prohibit Ukrainian media to work in “special areas”.

This would allow Moscow to fully legalize gangs of mercenaries and terrorists, to create alternative to Ukrainian authorities, to falsify any elections in Donbas. But at this to receive funds for militants from the state budget of Ukraine, and to all that to influence Ukraine's foreign policy.

The analysis of the proposed within the framework of this scenario, demonstrates that Ukraine is actually imposed, as an option, the scenario of the “second Chechnya”, the leaders of which we would have to pay for a doubtful peace in the east of Ukraine, while they would do whatever they want. In fact, something similar is observed today in Chechnya. This does not suit Ukraine.

But it seems that Moscow also understands that this option has no future. At the same time, to offer different versions of the absurd (that rules Russia!) — does not mean that they will be positively perceived by the second party. The main thing is to show the West and the international community the Russian side's activity in the negotiations, and this way to bring the negotiations to a standstill. Therefore, it should be noted that all Russia's proposals, are given for the sake of the upcoming auction: the more you want, the more often you may refuse. Because then, in the course of trade, you could be “offended” from the standpoint of the “tired with negotiations”: “... We have repeatedly offered you this, and that, and another, but there were no proposals from your side at all”. According to some sources, only in recent weeks, Moscow has repeatedly complained to representatives of the UN, the European Union and the United States that Ukraine does not want to care about the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

In economic terms.

In the context of the Russian Federation's being critically short of money for the subsidized regions (including the Crimea), the financial and economic burden of the so-called “DPR”/“LPR” (especially under the pressure of international sanctions) will cause a real risk for the federal budget of the Russian Federation. And so the RF won't dare to take such a step as funding these quasi-breakaway self-formations, let alone to include them into the Federation on the rights of subjects of the Russian Federation. Especially because their role of the distracting attack from the annexation of the Crimea, the militants in the Donbas seem to have already played.

In such circumstances, Putin will try by all means (including cunningly using the authority of the Federal Republic of Germany and France to put pressure on Ukraine within the framework of the “Minsk-2”) to hang up the financial and economic burden of the so-called “DPR/LPR” together with all the responsibility for the restoration of the destroyed infrastructure of the occupied territories, onto Ukraine alone, and thus to solve at its expense (read-at Europe's expense) the problem of funding the self-proclaimed “DPR/LPR”.

There is another option — a plan to create in the occupied territories “DPR/LPR” several subsidized industrial enclaves that could give certain profit (due to sales of coal, rock salt, fertilizers, etc.). It will be used by the Russian side to demonstrate, first of all, to Germany and France (i.e., to the West) the “economic independence and self-sufficiency” of these two enclaves (self-proclaimed “DPR/LPR”).

In terms of “hybrid peace”.

In the course of implementation of options of the covert non-military (asymmetric) Russian aggression against Ukraine, the Kremlin's main efforts will continue to focus on targeted undermining of the stability of the political and socio-economic situation in Ukraine, but already within the framework of the so-called “hybrid peace”. In other words, Russia's asymmetric /“hybrid”/ actions against Ukraine will be carried out on the principle of “neither war, nor peace” in order to prevent the stabilization of the situation on the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions and in other regions of Ukraine (primarily in Kharkiv, Odesa, Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizhzhya regions).

For this end there is a whole specter of cynical and openly provocative actions, namely: constant subversive actions at the objects of critical infrastructure; resonant terrorist acts (including political terrorism); all sorts of provocations (similar to “miners' or tariff-communal riots”); targeted brainwash of the population of Ukraine; activation of the activity of the “fifth column” of the Ukrainian political and business circles. Some experts claim that such tasks were set by Vladimir Putin to the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation during his latest meeting with the leadership of the FSS March 26, 2015.

The matter is Putin does not perceive neither the strong pro-European Ukrainian authorities nor the strong European Ukrainian state. That is why he will do (with “terrorist-separatist hands” and with hands of his henchmen from special services of Russia (including the “sleepers” in Ukraine) everything possible to discredit the current Ukrainian authorities and to prevent creation of a European Ukraine.

The main aim of all these measures is an artificial creation of extraordinary (explosive) internal political and socio-economic preconditions for the final discredit and subsequent overthrow of the current pro-European government in Ukraine with the hands of Ukrainians, including within the framework of a possible so-called “third Maidan”.

The indirect goal is creation of “evidence” for the leadership of the European Union and the Western leaders of the current Ukrainian authorities' being unable to stabilize the situation in the country and carry out political and economic reforms.

That is Putin need an unstable Ukraine. He seeks to “prove” to the West, that the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine cannot be successful, it is doomed to failure (defeat).

"Smoldering" conflicts

For such a scenario, the Kremlin would not need a global military operation against Ukraine. It would be enough to transform the sudden aggression in Donbas into a “frozen”, but always “smoldering” conflict like the one in Trans-Dniester (in Moldova), South Ossetia and Abkhazia (in Georgia), Nagornyi-Karabakh (in Azerbaijan) with the Russian military contingent's mandatory official presence there in various forms (limited peacekeeping or stabilization contingents, joint “Russian-Novorossian” formations, all sorts of military observers or consultants /advisers, trainers/ etc.) — to preserve Russia's guaranteed influence on the policy of security and military situation in those enclaves.

The results of the analysis of the above-mentioned variants of URSF' military measures (in security aspect) and Russia's plans for covert aggression (asymmetric actions included) against Ukraine show that in political and economic aspects as well as within the framework of the implementation of “hybrid peace” for Ukraine, they are distinguished by cynical orientation, uniquely indicating a large-scale legitimization of the self-proclaimed. “Donetsk” and “Luhansk” “people's republics” through the creation and functioning of all branches of local “people's government bodies”, their power and fiscal structures, and achievement of “economic independence and self-sufficiency” of these two puppet enclaves (“DPR” and “LPR”).

In fact, today in these occupied enclaves there have been created the preconditions for inclusion of them into Ukraine as its parts, following the example of the Srpska Republic within Bosnia and Herzegovina confederation. Here you have another, this time the “Bosnian” scenario of possible development of the situation around Ukraine, which Russia wants to impose on us, at this, again speaking from the position of a “peacemaker”.

Well, you did not agree to the federalization of the country with inclusion of autonomies “DPR” and “LPR”, did you? Now get a confederation with the entry into it of the same, but more independent, “DPR” and “LPR”!

At this, the Kremlin will get everything it wanted: puppet enclaves “DPR” and “LPR” with all their problems within Ukraine on its full budgetary provision; Ukraine has to deal with the restoration of all the destroyed infrastructure in the Donbas at the expense of its own budget, and Russia is able to influence everything (including foreign policy, foreign trade, security issues, information, and so on) aspects of Ukraine's activity.

What European, let alone Euro-Atlantic integration are we talking about then? In fact, Ukraine will be thrown away from European values for another 30-50 years...

Besides, according to some Western political scientists, the Kremlin has not abandoned the idea of the so-called “second Yalta” and “second-Potsdam.” That is, it has several unusual moves up its sleeve, which Putin is ready to offer to the same USA and Europe in the nearest future and to actually start the process of a new division of spheres of influence in the world. So far the West does not agree, but in the minds of Russian politicians and experts, the terms “second Yalta” and “second Potsdam” have been firmly entrenched. They live with them, and hope for their reanimation.

That is, Russia's possible plans, measures and actions against Ukraine are not few. And, probably, they would remain at the level of “possible” if it were not for a number of signs (indirect ones though), which in a certain sense, can testify to the reliability of implementation of some of these plans.

The main symptom is the “fatigue effect" of the subjects of the negotiation process within the framework of the Minsk agreements. The fact that Europe (primarily Germany and France), Russia and the United States “are tired of negotiations” has not been mentioned only by the lazy.

Well, Russia, of course, extremely needs lifting or at least weakening of international sanctions against it. As for the European Union, a number of Member States based on their own national interests, do not mind lifting the sanctions in exchange for ending the war in Ukraine, even without returning to it of the Crimea. Some European countries have “forgotten” that the first international political and economic sanctions against Russia were introduced exactly after the annexation of the Crimea. The President of the United States, despite the Congress' support of the Ukrainian issue, today is more interested in issues of Syria, Iraq (ISIL — the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), Iran, as well as maintaining in the relations with Europe and Russia of both, the reputation of the US Democratic Party and his own reputation on the eve of the upcoming presidential elections in the country.

In this regard, the measures of “shuttle diplomacy” of representatives of the leaderships of the United Nations, Germany, France, and the United States can't help drawing attention, because the results of some of them cause certain concern (all sorts of offers, and calls, like for example, that the Russian-Ukrainian “...crisis can be resolved through effective dialogues and compromises with all the parties' fulfilling their commitments for its peaceful settlement.”

As for real dialogues and fulfillments of obligations for peaceful settlement of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, there is, as they say, no question. But as for compromises-what compromises? Who should compromise? and nearly making Ukraine a subject of bargaining between Europe /USA and Russia? That is, there will be no compromise plans and projects of the type of “second Yalta” or “second-Potsdam”, “second Chechnya”, “Bosnian scenario,” but the already familiar/traditional to Russia and Europe ones, — Trans-Dniester (in Moldova), South Ossetia and Abkhazia (in Georgia), Nagornyi-Karabakh (in Azerbaijan).

Let's wait and see. The main thing is it should not be too late.


The article was published in the edition of the Romanian Center “INGEPO Consulting Company” —

“Geostrategic Pulse” № 193 from June 20, 2015