May 28, 2016

The Boomerang Launched by the Kremlin Will for Sure Return Back

Yuriy Radkovets

A lie always generates more lies, while hidden aggressive intentions and plans always turn against their authors.

Since early 2014, the main content of Putin's apologists' statements and comments regarding Ukraine have been the Kremlin's assertions about the “the Russian Federation's having nothing to do with the events in the Crimea, Donetsk and Lugansk regions” and “Moscow's supporting the process of peaceful settlement of the conflict in the Donbas.”

Such statements become especially numerous before and during significant events, particularly in the context of discussion of the “Ukrainian issue” in the UN Security Council, EU, OSCE and other international organizations; meetings of the “Normandy Four” and the Minsk (tripartite) contact group, as well as the USA and EU revision of the sanction policy against Russia.

At the same time, Putin's regime's real actions are completely different and confirm Russia's continuing its military aggression against Ukraine. The above-said is confirmed by Moscow's outright disregard of the Minsk Agreements, including: keeping and building up Russian troops and weapons in the Donbas, refusal to transfer to Ukraine the control of its eastern border, and the cynical continuation of various kinds of provocations in the conflict zone.

All this is accompanied by Russia's active anti-Ukrainian rhetoric, activities of trade and economic war against Ukraine and the Russian side's practical actions to support the so-called “DPR” and “LPR”. Besides, Moscow's demonstrative infringement of the Ukrainian border as part of sending to the occupied territories of supposedly “humanitarian convoys,” which in fact serve as military-technical and material support to militants, and promote “the Kremlin's constant attention to the socio-economic problems of the Russian-speaking population in the region.”

That is, the above-mentioned circumstances actually show the immutability of the Kremlin's strategic goals towards Ukraine, which are as follows: maximum weakening of the Ukrainian state through the war of attrition; preventing Ukraine's European and Euro-Atlantic integration; disintegration of the country and restoration of the Russian influence. This is the aim of the above-mentioned measures and of Moscow's attempts to force Ukraine to fulfill Russian conditions of “settlement of the conflict in the Donbas”, namely: Ukraine's recognition of the self-proclaimed republics and the legitimacy of their leadership; giving them a special status; announcement of amnesty for militants of the terrorist-separatist forces, and local elections in the “DPR” and “LPR” before the withdrawal of Russian troops, mercenaries and weapons from their territories and establishing Ukraine's control over the part of its eastern border.

Thus, real changes in the situation in the world, and around Russia and Ukraine make the Kremlin constantly adjust the strategy and tactics of its actions on the “Ukrainian direction”. At this, Putin's apologists traditionally take into consideration both, positive and negative for the Russian Federation factors.

Thus, according to the majority of Russian and some Western experts, the main positive factor for Moscow is a gradual decrease in the international community's interest (the so-called fatigue effect) to the “Ukrainian issue”, which actually loses its great character against the background of other high-profile events of international level, including the intensification of Islamic extremism in the Middle East and North Africa, excessive influx of refugees to Europe and growth of terrorist threats in it, as well as worsening of financial and economic problems in some EU countries (especially in Greece, Italy and Portugal).

At the same time, they also point out the decline in public activity and the wave of patriotic enthusiasm in Ukraine, which were caused by the Ukrainian society's negative reaction to V. Yanukovych's betrayal of the country's European choice and Moscow's aggressive annexation of the Crimea and occupation of the Donbas. At this, the rates of the current government of Ukraine keep falling due to further deterioration of the socio-economic situation in the country, tangible decline in living standards, permanently unresolved issues of fighting corruption, artificial inhibition of political and economic reforms and constant disagreements within the ruling coalition in the Ukrainian Parliament.

Other external factors that are positive for Russia: intensification of the activity and certain strengthening of the positions of pro-Russian forces and sentiments in the USA and some EU member states; strengthening of the domestic opposition in Germany, France and Poland, which countries are the main initiators and leaders of European policy and pressure on Moscow to support Ukraine, and the growing differences between the EU Member States on the “Russian” and “Ukrainian” issues.

Besides, according to some independent experts, in this context, the following external factors can play in Moscow's favour:

- Presidential elections in the USA this autumn (the 58th US presidential elections in 2016 are scheduled for November 8, 2016; a series of previous presidential primaries and caucus is being held in the country in the period from February 1 to June 14, 2016).

In December 2015, Russian President V. Putin called the US billionaire and candidate from the Republican Party, Donald Trump — a “bright and talented person”, “absolute leader” of US presidential elections (in his “most sincere” hopes to resume the equal dialogue with the United States during his presidency). At the same time, May 18, 2016 in an interview with Reuters, D. Trump said he did not approve of the policy of Russian President V. Putin in the East of Ukraine, and the Russian leader's laudatory statements in his (D. Trump's) support would not help him (V. Putin) in negotiations with the United States: “... these good things he has said about me, this does not mean that they would help him in negotiations. This won't help at all.”


- the approaching parliamentary and presidential elections in France in 2017 (presidential — in two rounds: April 23 and May 7, 2017, parliamentary — to the Lower House of the Parliament /National Assembly; for 5 years/ — in the period from 11 to 18 June 2017, and parliamentary elections to the Higher House /the Senate- for 9 years/ — September 24, 2017).

V. Putin's hopes for his “friend” N. Sarkozy's winning the 11th presidential elections in France in 2017 will most likely not come true. Former Prime Minister of France (1995-1997), Mayor of Bordeaux Alain Juppe is a confident leader in the struggle for the right to be a candidate in the presidential elections in 2017 from the “Republicans” center-right-wing party. The ex-President of the Republic (2007-2012) N. Sarkozy is second with a significant lag.

As for the upcoming parliamentary elections in France, the results of regional elections in December 2015 were a heavy disappointment for odious V. Putin's “friend” — Marine Le Pen and her “National Front” radical party, even if she does not lose hopes for her success in the elections in 2017;


- the approach of parliamentary elections in Germany in autumn 2017 (in August or September 2017).

Certainly, A. Merkel's position on the issue of the migration crisis (in which the Federal Chancellor of Germany stays determined despite the fact that some leaders of EU member countries and many party colleagues and even ordinary voters do not support her) may affect her political career. But there is a year till the parliamentary elections in Germany, and during this time a lot can change in Europe and the world, which will demand from both the leadership of the member states, and from the political elite of Germany to take decisive steps to address the most problematic issues that affect their national interests, including on the situation around Ukraine;



- this summer's referendum in the UK on its exit from the European Union.

June 23, 2016, there will be a referendum in Great Britain on its possible exit from the EU. Despite the so-called Brexit from the UK does not directly relate to Ukraine, its consequences will be felt throughout Europe, including our country. But all this “is still up in the air.” As the results of recent surveys of the country's population show, 47 % of the British speak for continued membership in the EU, 38 % — favor Brexit. 15 % of respondents could not answer this question.


A striking example of how the Kremlin's focus on the pro-Russian candidate in the last presidential election in Austria — the leader of the Austrian right-wing populist Freedom Party (FPÖ) Norbert Gofer — did not work, was the result of the second round of the elections, by the results of which on May 23, 2016, Alexander van der Bellen, former leader of the Green Party, was elected President of the Republic of Austria.

However, because of the above-mentioned external factors, experts do not exclude the possibility of the USA, Germany and France's forced concessions in favor of the Russian Federation.

Thus, some European politicians are now moving to the positions of actual concessions to Russia and are putting forward draft plans of settlement of the conflict in the Donbas, which suit Russia's, not Ukraine's interests. This applies in particular to the initiatives to hold elections in the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions without meeting all the conditions determined by the Minsk Agreements.



А striking example of this (quite unexpected!) approach is the so-called “Morel's plan” (“Elements for a temporary law on local elections in some regions of Donetsk and Luhansk regions”) — proposed to the working group (for political issues) of the Minsk (tripartite) contact group — by the coordinator of the political subgroups, French diplomat Pierre Morel.

According to independent experts, “Morel's plan” provides for adoption by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of a special law on local elections in the occupied territories, which will de facto beyond the Ukrainian side's control. According to Deutsche Welle, this “plan” was developed by the US Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and State Secretary of the RF Foreign Ministry Grigoriy Karasin.


Experts also point out a number of internal factors that contribute to the implementation of V. Putin's policy. In particular, they stress the fact that Russia's political and economic systems have preserved a significant factor of safety, allowing Moscow to stick to its course, despite external pressure and Western sanctions. This is confirmed by the growing ratings of Putin and the ruling party “United Russia” even in the face of worsening of the socio-economic situation and significant deterioration in living standards of the majority of the Russian population. Moreover, some speak about “consolidation of the Russian society around the ruling regime of the country motivated by the ideas of rebirth of “the Russian World" (including through the inclusion of Ukraine into it) and Russia's confrontation against the West.

At the same time, Russian experts and top officials of Russia (at last!) have to accept the extremely negative consequences of Western sanctions against Russia, posing a real threat to the stability in the country and undermining power positions of Putin's regime. According to Russian governmental experts, if the sanctions are maintained — the country's available resources may be exhausted already within a very short period of time (one to two years), which will create inevitable preconditions for the emergence of a large-scale financial crisis in the Russian Federation.

We can't help remembering the Russian formula for maintaining good mood, voiced the other day by the RF Prime Minister Dmitriy Medvedev before pensioners in the Crimea, “There's just no money, but you have to hold on here! Good luck and good mood to you!”

Signs of impending trends are observed at present in terms of the RF leadership's being unable to stop the fall of the GDP for the past more than two years. At this, additional factors that stimulate the stagnation of Russia's economy are considered as follows: maintaining oil prices low; the EU member countries' steps to avoid dependence on Russia's natural gas and growing competition in the European energy market and the failure of Moscow's expectations to compensate for the USA and EU's sanctions by reorientation of Russia's economic relations to the countries of Asia and Latin America, especially China, India, Brazil and Argentina.

In general, the above-mentioned problems are explained by Russian experts by preserving the unity of the USA, EU and NATO in pressure on it, despite Moscow's attempts to improve relations with the West based on the “joint struggle against Islamic terrorism in Syria”. This is confirmed by the categorical refusal of Western countries and international organizations to link “Ukrainian” and “Syria” issues and to lift the sanctions imposed against Russia until the complete implementation of the Minsk Agreements.

Besides, experts recognize Moscow's actual failure at the current stage to implement the scenario of the “Third Maidan” in Ukraine, in particular — to change the Ukrainian government by provoking mass riots in the country. This conclusion was made by experts, based on understanding the absence of critical mass of protest moods in Ukrainian society, the weakness of the left-wing and pro-Russian opposition and the fact that all previous “Maidans” in Ukraine were caused by political (pro-European), not by economic problems.

As a significant negative factor that creates obstacles in implementing Moscow's policy on “the Ukrainian direction” is mentioned Ukraine's leadership's steadfastness of positions in its confrontation against Russia. This first of all refers to Ukraine's blocking the Kremlin's attempts to resolve the conflict in the Donbas in its favor and Kyiv's sticking firmly to the course of Ukraine's European integration.

In its turn, Moscow's inability to shift off onto Ukraine the responsibility for the socio-economic situation in the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions makes the Russian Federation spend its own money to maintain life in the breakaway republics at least at a minimum. The above-mentioned creates an additional burden on the state budget of Russia, which increases financial and economic problems in the country in terms of the extension of Western sanctions.

The above-mentioned factors on the one hand, somewhat increase Russia's capabilities in achieving its goals in relation to Ukraine, on the other — complicate their practical implementation.

So, today Russia retains sufficient capacity for expansion of its military intervention in Ukraine (including to implement plans for the occupation of eastern and southern regions), as well as for enhancing and strengthening measures to destabilize the Ukrainian economy and to provoke tension in the country. At this, Moscow could take advantage of almost the whole complex of problems remaining and developing in Ukraine.

At the same time, such Moscow's actions will have a number of significant negative consequences for the Russian Federation itself, including: combat and non-combat losses of the Russian military; the need for a significant increase in the military, financial and economic costs; the emergence of large-scale instability zone near Russia's south-western border and resuming of the active attention of the international community to the “Ukrainian” issue. At this, the USA, the EU and their allies and partners (including within the G7 and G20) will even inevitably maintain and significantly strengthen sanctions against the Kremlin indefinitely. All this will be a catalyst for speeding up the crisis processes in the Russian economy, as well as aggravation of the internal political and socio-economic situation in the country that can get out of the control of RF leadership.

Taking into consideration the above-said, V. Putin's regime is once again shifting the emphasis of its “hybrid policy” on “the Ukrainian direction” — from the use of almost undisguised threats of force and economic pressure on Ukraine, and in fact outright provoking tensions within Ukraine, to more “flexible” actions to achieve its goals. These actually “asymmetric” actions involve the use of a wide range of Russia's capabilities first of all, for practical delaying the time of implementation of the Minsk Agreements till the emergence of a favorable foreign (international) situation that will allow Moscow to resolve the conflict in the East of Ukraine exclusively on the Kremlin's terms.

It is in this context that Moscow's certain expectations could rely on the possibility of a positive solution for its above-mentioned external factors within the framework of possible changes of the political elite of Western countries in 2016-2017. According to the leadership of the Russian Federation, the above-mentioned, in turn, can create conditions for change in the policy of the USA and leading EU countries in terms of lifting international sanctions and strengthening pressure on Ukraine to make it accept Russian demands regarding the settlement of the conflict in the Donbas. This development of events can open the way for implementation of the option of a “New reset” of relations between Russia and the West as it actually happened after Moscow's military aggression against Georgia in 2008.

At the same time, V. Putin's counts on further deterioration of the socio-economic situation in Ukraine and, accordingly, critical fall of ratings and authority of the current government, sharpening of disagreements in the ruling coalition, as well as on the growing influence of the pro-Russian opposition. According to the Russian side, all this will help change power in Ukraine in the course of early parliamentary and presidential elections and without the need of a “third Maidan”.

Besides, the Kremlin is not just looking forward to any favorable conditions for the achievement of its strategic goals, but it also actively influences the development of the geopolitical situation around Ukraine in order to change it according to its own interests.

Among other things, these Russia's actions include conducting purposeful work with the pro-Russian lobby in political and economic circles in the West, as well as supporting the radical left-wing and right-wing, Eurosceptic, nationalist and anti-Ukrainian forces in the EU.

To date, the main such forces are as follows: “Alternative for Germany” in the FRG; “National Front” in France; “Democratic Left Alliance” (SLD), “Kressy” (anti-Ukrainian) organizations and pro-Russian party “Zmiana” in Poland; “Austrian Freedom Party”; “The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia”; SMER in Slovakia; “Fidez” and “Jobbik” in Hungary; “Harmony” and “Union of Russians” in Lithuania; “Estonian Reform Party”; “Bulgarian Socialist Party” and the nationalist movement “Attack” in Bulgaria.

Besides, Russia is using secret bribery and attracting to its side individual representatives of political and economic (oligarchic) ​​circles of Ukraine. According to the number of foreign experts, the result of these Moscow's actions is permanent disagreements in Ukraine's ruling coalition, undermining political stability in the country and reducing its ability to implement European and Euro-Atlantic course, and counteracting the Russian Federation's aggression.

At the same time, against the background of declarative statements about Russia's commitment to a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Donbas, Moscow actually blocks the work of the “Normandy Four” and Minsk (tripartite) Contact Group trying to impose on Ukraine and its Western partners more acceptable for the Kremlin conditions and demands. The ineffectiveness of these formats of negotiations in fact is already recognized by the USA and the EU, which call them nothing more than “clubs”.

A logical question arises: what in such circumstances is appropriate and necessary for Ukraine to do?

The matter is that the current situation is very similar to the one that developed in late November — early December 2015. Then, during his visit to Ukraine (December 7-9, 2015), Vice President of the USA Joseph Biden appealed to Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine with a call, in which he called on Ukraine, despite Moscow's provocative doing nothing, to put maximum efforts for the implementation of the Minsk Agreements. Please note that this was done at the time when the EU had to decide on the next extension of sanctions against Russia. At this, Washington keeps “persuading” some European countries of the need for a positive decision in this regard. That is why it is very important for the USA to have proper arguments like a series of Kyiv's steps in the implementation of the Minsk Agreements by Ukraine.

In the same context quite revealing is the article by Stephen Pifer (on the eve of Deputy Secretary of State of the USA for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland's visit /25-26 April/ to Ukraine) in which the former US Ambassador to Ukraine (1998-2000), the person who cannot be accused of commitment to Russia, wrote that Ukraine would have to show some progress in implementing the Minsk Agreements if it wanted to see the extension in July 2016 of the EU sanctions against Russia. At this, S. Pifer hinted that to adopt a law on local elections in some regions of Donetsk and Luhansk regions (ORDLO) and to execute it — are (as they say in Odesa!), two big differences. According to him, Ukraine could write in the law the following demands: Ukrainian parties, internally displaced persons and the media's participation in the elections as a must; establishing Ukraine's control of the eastern border, which automatically would make the elections unacceptable to terrorist organizations “DPR” and “LPR” backed by Moscow's criminal regime. However, in this scenario, the entire blame for the failure of the Minsk peace process would fall to the Kremlin and its puppets. At the same time, the USA and Ukraine would receive appropriate clear arguments to convince Europeans.

Today, almost all the leading experts and analysts warn that after Nadia Savchenko's returning to Ukraine, Russia will even more actively conduct its “hybrid propaganda” in the USA and Europe in regard to lifting or at least easing of international sanctions against it. And some may succumb to it, forgetting that Russia's two-year war against Ukraine is not over, that by this time in Ukraine 10,000 people have been killed, nearly 23,000 — injured and there are about 2 million refugees, that the Crimea and a part of the Donbas remain illegally occupied, and in Ukraine there have been destroyed (including stolen and exported to Russia!) 20 % of its economic and industrial potential and resources, and Russia has never been fulfilling and has no desire to fulfill the Minsk Agreements.

That is, Ukraine must consistently do what will clearly indicate its desire and readiness to fulfill the Minsk Agreements to the full, at this creating for the USA, European Union and Russia a picture of full commitment to the peace process of settlement of the situation in the Donbas and Crimea.

At the same time, Ukraine must quickly continue the work on building and arming with the latest weapons and military equipment all power components in the country: the Armed Forces, National Guard, Border Troops and Special Task Forces (intelligence and counterintelligence) and Law Enforcement Agencies of Ukraine up to the standards and requirements of NATO.

The matter is that the war with Russia is not over, it just started two years and probably will not be over soon. And another extremely important question: how will it end — in the defeat of pro-European forces in Ukraine or their victory?

In this regard, for example, Croatia's liberation war against the Serbs and their mercenaries' (the so-called “Velykoserbsky (Great Serbian) forces” of Serbia and Montenegro) aggression was called — Patriotic War for Independence and Territorial Integrity of the Republic of Croatia 1991-1995. The war, and not some (not clear to all Ukrainians and Europeans!) anti-terrorist operation. Besides, from 1995 to 1998 the Republic of Croatia for another three years had been restraining the aggressive provocations of the same “velykoserbsky forces” along the administrative border of the Republic.

Ukraine has officially recognized that, in violation of all international and bilateral agreements, as a result of Russia's military aggression, the Ukrainian Crimea was suddenly cynically occupied and annexed, and later some areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions were occupied.

According to all the principles and provisions of the theory of military art (strategy and operational art), the operation does not continue for two or more years. This is nonsense! But for some reason, to Ukraine — it is fine, almost regularity. Perhaps someone in the country still profits from calling Russia's war against Ukraine an “anti-terrorist operation”. Who's profiteering from the blood of Ukraine's defenders and from artificial refugees of the 21st century?

The answer lies on the surface — all Russian and many Ukrainian oligarchs, and the business elite in general do. Why? Because if a martial law at least in the occupied territories of Ukraine is introduced, then local governance, local economy and objects of industrial infrastructure (including private companies, private banks, private industrial and transport infrastructure, etc.) in the area immediately will be under control of military administrations (“put on a war footing”), and the oligarchs' enormous profits will be out of the question! That's the whole answer!



Martial law is a special legal regime, introduced in the country or in certain areas, in case of armed aggression or threat of aggression, danger to the state independence, its territorial integrity.

Martial law provides for giving relevant public authorities, military command and individual local authorities the powers necessary to address the threat and to ensure national security, as well as temporary, due to the threat, limitation of constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens and the rights and legitimate interests of legal persons with indicating the validity of these restrictions.


So, among other things, Ukraine has a vital task — to practically strengthen its Armed Forces and other security forces to the point where they are ready and able to fight off any, at any time, from any direction aggression of the insidious enemy — Putin's Russia that has not changed today its geostrategy regarding the statehood, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine.



The sad experience of the two years of war against Russia's aggression and the negotiation peace process show that Moscow is just fraudulently masking its current provocative measures and actions, while in reality it is insidiously developing and bearing the plans for destruction of Ukraine as a European state, forgetting that all this would return to it.

That is, a lie always generates more lies and hidden aggressive intentions and plans always turn against their authors.

In the context of Putin's regime's urgent interests, very soon there will take place one of the most significant events for the Kremlin — the next review by the European Union in June-July, 2016 of its sanction policy towards Russia. The discussion of this issue and the relevant decision will show the real situation in the EU, the attitude of each of the member countries to Russia and Ukraine, as well as the USA's influence in Europe.

Taking into consideration the fundamental importance of these issues for the Kremlin, in the nearest future, we should expect activation of a wide range of Moscow's new provocative activities and actions against Ukraine, the USA and the EU. At this, among European countries, the Kremlin's main efforts will be directed to Germany, France, Italy and Poland, which play the most active role in the development and implementation of the “Russian” and “Ukrainian” components of the European Union's policy.

In these circumstances, in order to maintain international sanctions against Russia, Ukraine should consistently do what clearly indicates its desire and readiness to fulfill the Minsk Agreements in full, at this, creating for the USA, European Union and Russia a picture of full commitment to the peace process of settlement of the situation in the Donbas and Crimea.

At the same time, Ukraine should practically strengthen its Armed Forces and other security forces to the point where they are ready and able to fight off any, at any time, from any direction aggression of the insidious enemy — Putin's Russia that has not changed today its geo-strategy regarding the statehood, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine.


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

“Geostrategic Pulse” №216 from June 20, 2016