December 15, 2014

“Trans-Dniester Scenario” in the East of Ukraine as a Strategy of Russia's Further Steps against Our State. Response Measures

Implementation of Russia's geopolitical plans regarding our country in recent years begins to slow down due to certain events in the world. This slowdown will adversely affect state affairs of the Russian Federation and, in particular, its President Vladimir Putin.

Thus, the summit of the “Big Twenty” in Australia in November confirmed Putin's complete international isolation. The world community does not believe that “Moscow is not involved in the events in Ukraine”. G20’s leaders do not believe the Russian President either, therefore they will be increasing the pressure on Russia until it leaves Ukraine alone.

By the way, although V. Putin argues that Russia is ready to confront the West and can afford to ignore the USA and EU's sanctions, the pressure of Western countries and international organizations shows otherwise. In particular, the Russian economy and, consequently, the current state regime are in critical condition.

This is already recognized by representatives of the Government of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin's inner circle and, in particular, Russia's Finance Minister A. Siluanov and Adviser to the Russian President S. Glazyev. They estimate that in 2014 Russia has lost at least 40 billion US dollars due to geopolitical sanctions, plus up to 100 billion US dollars due to the falling world oil prices. Besides, at the end of 2014, the outflow of capital from Russia will be at least 130 billion US dollars. At this, the economic turmoil has been observed not only at the macroeconomic level of the Russian Federation, but also in real life: businesses stop their work, inflation grows, payments of wages are delayed and social assistance is getting reduced.

This is the reason for the split in Putin's environment (into supporters and those who are against the military aggression in Ukraine); in some oligarchic groups is growing dissatisfaction with the policy of Russia's confrontation with the West; anti-war sentiment in the country is growing; opposition gets activated; in several regions of the Russian Federation grow warm separatist sentiments, which are accompanied by protests of citizens.

Against this background, the situation in the Ukrainian territories occupied by Russia is deteriorating. First of all, in the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics (DPR and LPR), where, in fact, the local industry does not work, communal and transport infrastructure is destroyed, wages and pensions are not being paid, there are mass riots, instigated by militants and mercenaries.

All this, as well as difficult winter conditions and lack of food, can cause a humanitarian disaster in the region. Already have been recorded protests and riots of the local population against the separatists, have increased negative perceptions by residents of Donbas (and by the whole Ukraine) of the so-called “Novorossia” and the Russian Federation, its ideas of building a “Russian world”.

The decision of the Ukrainian leadership to stop funding the occupied territories has put Russia, positioning itself as “defender of the Russian-speaking population of the East of Ukraine”, into a very awkward position. However, it cannot do anything because of the acute shortage of resources.

A separate serious problem is the increase in the number of casualties among Russian military servicemen and mercenaries taking part in the fighting in the east of Ukraine. After the announcement of the armistice that number not only does not decrease, but has a tendency to further growth. This tendency is due to the continuation of separatists' fighting, as well as strengthening of the confrontation between local “militia”, Russian militants and regular units of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation on the Ukrainian territory.

Ukraine, in its turn, despite all Russia's aspirations, has managed to prevent total chaos on its territory, to hold presidential and parliamentary elections, to revive its armed forces, as well as to clearly define its position in relation to European integration. Moreover, the new Ukrainian leadership has raised the question of cancelling the non-aligned course and of Ukraine's return to the course into NATO.

At this, assistance to Ukraine from its Western partners and international organizations opens up real prospects for the renewal and strengthening of its economic development, strengthens its capabilities in the confrontation with the Russian Federation.

Despite all the above-mentioned problems, very negatively affecting the state of affairs in the Russian Federation, V. Putin's regime is not going to stop the aggression against Ukraine. It only changes (depending on the situation) the forms and methods of its actions. Thus, today, the most important for Moscow is not to let Ukraine out of the sphere of Kremlin's influence (first of all, it tries to prevent Ukraine's European and Euro-Atlantic integration, to destroy the Ukrainian economy, to split the country as far as possible), while creating conditions for lifting Western sanctions against the RF and resumption of its international image.

The most appropriate method for the Kremlin is “freezing” according to the model “of the Trans-Dniester version” of the conflict in the East of UkraineThe most appropriate method for the Kremlin is “freezing” according to the model “of the Trans-Dniester version” of the conflict in the East of Ukraine which on the one hand, would give Russians powerful leverage in our state, and on the other — would allow them to play the role of “peacekeepers” in the “Ukrainian domestic” confrontation.

To implement this scenario, Russia increases pressure on Ukraine, forcing it to enter into direct negotiations with terrorists as with the “official party to the conflict”, to recognize the DPR and LPR, as well as to renew their funding from the Ukrainian state budget. For this purpose, Moscow uses its entire arsenal of influence on Ukraine's political, economic, military, special and information spheres. Moscow is taking the following steps: armed provocations in the area of the anti-terrorist operation continue; are being activated measures for enlarge the scale of the military invasion of the Russian Federation onto the territory of our country; main attack forces of the Russian Armed Forces are staying near the Ukrainian border and the occupied Ukrainian territory; are getting stronger Russia's “trade” and “energy” wars against Ukraine (including the delay in resolving the question of gas supplies to Ukraine and the termination of supplies of energy coal in terms of the actual blocking by Russia of coal mining in the Donbas).

At the same time, Russia continues to strengthen the DPR and LPR, increases its military presence on their territory. For this purpose, “authorities” of the self-proclaimed republics and their “power structures” are being created, is being supported vital activity of the occupied districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions (including creation of parts of the banking system and the economy is partially being restored), in the DPR and the LPR is deployed multi-service grouping of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. According to Moscow, all this is supposed both, to contribute to consolidation of Russian positions on the occupied territories of Ukraine and to prevent the spread of anti-Russian sentiment among the local population.

The Russian Federation keeps trying to realize its project to create a so-called “Novorossia”, believing that for this it is necessary to destabilize the situation in eastern and southern regions of Ukraine. Thus, the Russian Federation supports all sorts of pro-Russian, anti-Ukrainian and other extremist organizations operating on already developed scenarios in the Crimea and in the Donbas. Attempts were also made to undermine the situation in the West of Ukraine by provoking a conflict in the Trans-Carpathian region. For this purpose, are used Hungarian and Ruthenian nationalist movements.

Trying to discredit Ukraine, Russians resort to aggressive media campaign. They are trying to show Ukraine as a “fascist” and “non-viable” state, from which “it is necessary to protect the Russian-speaking population”. At this, the Russians flatly refuse to recognize themselves as party to the conflict and, despite the obvious facts, deny the presence of Russia's troops on the Ukrainian territory.

Besides, Moscow is trying to split the USA and the EU, as well as to oppose the interests of individual EU member states in the issue of their attitude to the Russian Federation and adoption of sanctions against it. For this purpose, Moscow uses some European countries' economic dependence on the Russian Federation, and works through diplomatic channels and through the channels of the Russian special services.

Concentrating its Army units near the Ukrainian border, Russia is trying to demonstrate its readiness to expand military intervention in Ukraine http://www.vedomosti.md/Concentrating its Army units near the Ukrainian border, Russia is trying to demonstrate its readiness to expand military intervention in Ukraine. It may be different in size, ranging from expanding the boundaries of the DPR and LPR (including the seizure of some important facilities and districts or of the whole territory of Donetsk and Luhansk regions), to attempts to create a land corridor in the direction of the Crimea.

In general, such Russia's provocative and expansionist actions are extremely dangerous. They demand from Ukraine to concentrate its efforts and actively deter the Russian Federation, at both strategic and operational-tactical levels. If we talk about these constraints, they may include the following:

in the political sphere — deepening of the strategic partnership with the United States, NATO and the EU, in particular in terms of Ukraine gaining the status of a USA ally outside the Alliance, cancelling of the non-aligned status of Ukraine and the resumption of its moving into NATO, as well as the implementation of association agreements and establishment of the free area of Ukraine's trade with the European Union;

in the economic sphere — ensuring Ukraine's real economic and energy independence from Russia, including due to the reorientation of trade and economic ties to other countries (first of all, to the EU, USA and China), as well as obtaining alternative sources of energy (through the organization of reverse gas supplies from Europe and construction of a terminal for receiving liquefied natural gas);

in the military and security spheres — preventing further increasing of the scale of military invasion of Russia in Ukraine through creation of a powerful and layered defense system around the conflict zone in the east of our country, strengthening the protection of the Ukrainian-Russian border (including through its engineering equipment), raising combat capabilities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (including the increase in their numbers, relocation of the main groups from the western to the eastern direction, improvement of personnel's training and technical re-equipment of troops), as well as a strong barrier to Russia's subversion activity throughout Ukrainian territory.

Besides, under any conditions, Ukraine should in principle not to go into direct negotiations with terrorists, as well as it must not recognize the DPR and the LPR and the Crimea's “belonging to Russia”.

This will provide an opportunity to gain time to strengthen Ukraine and its Armed Forces, to make necessary reforms and to ensure the irreversibility of its European and Euro-Atlantic integration. The USA and EU's sanctions will also weaken Russia and reduce its ability to conduct aggression against Ukraine, and eventually will call into question the very existence of the Russian Federation. This was will appear preconditions to resolve the situation in the East of Ukraine, as well as to return the Crimea to Ukraine.

In a similar manner will be solved also other “frozen” conflicts on the post-Soviet territories, which, of course, will require close co-ordination of actions of Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Moldova, both directly between them (especially within the framework of the revived GUAM (Organization for Democracy and Economic Development), and at the international level. However, this is a theme for a separate research within the framework of publications that follow.