January 27, 2015

About Moods in Moscow and Capitals of the West. Part 2.

Late last year, we carefully analyzed moods in Moscow and Western capitals caused by the situation in Ukraine, and concluded that limited (including as a result of the sanctions of the West) RF's abilities are forcing Putin, without fundamental revising approaches to the “Ukrainian issue,” to postpone the option of direct military actions against our country and to focus on the latent destabilization of the situation in Ukraine and on information attacks. This will give him the opportunity to “save face” in the eyes of his country, to improve his image at the international level, to accumulate the necessary resources and to continue the practical implementation of the project “Novorossia”.

January 2015' events show that all the democratic world community will not give up its attempts to force the Kremlin to peace. However, Putin's policy, despite the billions of dollars in losses of the Russian economy and the loss of the military (in the Donbas), remains irrational from the point of view of common sense. Along with the regular transfer of military equipment, special and army units from all over Russia, in particular, from national republics of the North-West, Urals, Western Siberia, the Far East and Trans-Baikal for “participation in trainings in Rostov region”, as well as with the organization in these regions of mass recruitment from the reserve of former Special Forces military servicemen, paratroopers, armor crewmen and artillerists, and “re-registration” of reservists in the Crimea, Russia does not stop massive information-psychological pumping of its everyman with fictions about “crimes of Kнiv chasteners in Donbas”, a “worldwide conspiracy against Russia and the Russian Orthodox civilization” etc…

At the diplomatic “front” the Russian Foreign Ministry is trying to manipulate the international law to justify the annexation of the Crimea and the Russian Federation's participation in the military conflict in the East of Ukraine, and even makes nonsensical proposals before the UN General Assembly on “universal norms of the African Union and Latin America on the inadmissibility of coups, as a method of regime change and non-recognition of governments that got legitimized this way”.

At the “home front” Putin actively presses on Russian officials and his business elite, convincing them that, if Kyiv succeeds in the accession to the EU, there will be a threat to the RF's existing political regime and economic model, because it will provoke centrifugal processes in Russia on the basis of the population's being unhappy with the system of distribution of national wealth and corruption of the state, and that if he gets out of power, the rest of the government “will be gone with him”. Among the Kremlin leader's “arguments” during meetings with the business environment is increasingly voiced information about the readiness to forced freezing of international projects such as the construction of a gas pipeline through Turkey and across the Kerch Strait, requiring burdensome for Russian oligarchs multibillion-dollar “non-core” expenses, as well as about US special services' critical “getting closer” to foreign “Russian accounts”, which is why there is an urgent need to open a new “front” companies and related bank accounts in Switzerland and Germany.

In such circumstances, recognizing the negative impact of sanctions, as well as the approach of the predicted by Kremlin experts the next phase of the global economic crisis in late 2016 — early 2017, Putin agrees to the possibility of solving domestic economic problems of the Russian Federation at the expense of foreign exchange reserves of the Central Bank and the Stabilization Fund, agreeing to the purchase in the I quarter of 2015 of a large quantity of gold. However, in case of additional sanctions and worsening of the socio-economic situation in Russia, the Russian Federation's President reminds of the “duty” of the business elite to take on additional financial burden and withdraw some capital from foreign offshore companies to inject into the Russian economy.

At the “information front”, in parallel with Russian secret services and the media in the Russian Federation's daily anti-Ukrainian operations, in Ukraine and in the world media space does not calm down the already mentioned activity of the Russian Orthodox Church, trying to justify Russian citizens-“volunteers” shooting civilians in the territory of the neighboring “Nazi-Bandera” state, and mobilization of resources for “the needs of the country” (the initiative of introduction of orthodox banking, support of church-separatist groups in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate). It is useless to hope that at this year's meeting of the Council of Bishops in Moscow, the “patriotic” church leadership of the ROC will call on Ukrainian metropolitans and bishops (Agafangel, Arseny, Augustine, Sergei, Longinus, Mark, Theodore, and others) and leaders of Orthodox organizations (such as the “Union of Orthodox Citizens of Novorossia”, “Union of Orthodox Brotherhoods of Ukraine” and the movement “Orthodox choice”) to peacekeeping activities among parishioners of “Novorossia”, “Carpathian Ruthenia” or “Malorossia”. Probably, they will talk about organization of “protection” of Orthodox monasteries and parishes from “Nazi armies, organizations and penal battalions”, as well as the assistance to “Orthodox Spring’s” coming to the East and South of Ukraine.

As reported by observers, in Moscow's war plans for January 2015 was planned carrying out by “the armies of the DPR/LPR” with the involvement of GRU special units, tactical airborne compounds, mechanized infantry, armored and artillery units of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation of a large-scale operation to expand the separatist-controlled territory beyond the Minsk Agreement at the expense of key settlements and infrastructure (suburbs of Donetsk and Mariupol, Donetsk-Mariupol highway, Debaltseve railway station, etc.), which may be the subject of bargaining in further international negotiations. At this, the main military aim was to cause serious harm to the defense system of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and to make the Ukrainian military force retreat to 30-40 km before the next round of international negotiations, and the political task was to provoke the Ukrainian society's dissatisfaction with unsuccessful actions of the country's leadership.

Taking into consideration the failure of these plans and the hard line and solidarity of the international community, during the last meeting in the Kremlin, in particular, January 19, among other questions was discussed the acceptability/unacceptability for the Russian Federation of the scenario to resolve the conflict in the east of Ukraine in the “format of co-existence of Israel and the Gaza Strip” with “DPR/LP's” formal remaining part of Ukraine (for the buck passing of financing of budget spending and restoration of the economy, infrastructure and social services in the region) and providing them with the best possible autonomous status, which would be an important tool of Moscow's influence on the situation in Ukraine.

They also touched upon the fact that folding (under the pressure from international organizations and leading states) its military presence in the conflict, the Kremlin will not give up the captured positions in the Donbas and after withdrawal of its troops will go all out to support the breakaway territories.

In Western capitals, despite minor successes at the meeting of Foreign Ministers in the “Norman format” (Berlin, January 21), they believe that there are currently no prerequisites for changes in the European policy towards the Russian Federation, which does not show any desire to change the situation in Ukraine, and is interested in “freezing of the conflict” in the Donbas. It is important that EU policy for the phased introduction of sanctions against Russia in connection with the annexation of the Crimea and its operations in the east of Ukraine will be continued. Its softening is possible only in case of progress in resolving the situation in Ukraine.

True, some supporters of the Russian Federation from among the EU member states argue that the EU should abandon the policy of response by developing a strategy of long-term stabilization of relations with Russia instead. Besides there are talks about the beginning of the discussions at the technical level with the Eurasian Economic Union, which is “strategically interesting ” for the EU, as well as about uselessness of increase of financial assistance to Ukraine because of alleged insecurity in achieving the desired results from Kyiv's reforms due to lack of guarantees for return of funds received by our state.

Despite the “diplomatic peacemaking fog”, which the Kremlin's speakers keep generating after the Russian military have intensified their activity on the borders and directly on the territory of Ukraine, and after the recent terrorist attacks and sabotage in Volnovakha, Mariupol, Donetsk and Kharkov, the international community no longer has illusions about “Putin's peace plan”, which at the meeting of the UN Security Council was aptly called the plan for the Russian occupation of Ukraine and Moscow's getting free from Minsk obligations. So, there are no signs of V. Putin's sobering, he keeps consistently preparing Russia to continuation of the war and increasing of international isolation, and colleagues-to the option “we all will go to prison!” In such circumstances, our Western allies should reconsider their position on the issue of the speedy granting Ukraine defensive weapons capable of really help stop the Russian Federation's aggression and liberate the occupied territories.