I. Further actions of the junta: scenarios
Ii. Is federalization of Ukraine acceptable to us?
Iii. Do I need to try to "take" Ukraine entirely?
Iv. Who needs the independence of New Russia?
I. Scenarios of junta behavior
The fact that the junta will not regain control over the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, is not doubted by anybody. I can not imagine the scenario of the return of the insurgent region under the control of the current official Kiev, or simply the long-term retention of the current regime in a large Ukraine.
1. The most peaceful and painless course of action that the junta hypothetically could have taken to minimize losses was to compromise with the demands of Russia and the “separatists”: agree to a referendum in two areas or throughout the Southeast and federalization, while consolidating control over remaining territory. In principle, this option cannot be completely ruled out - he could have saved Ukraine without Donbass - but he is politically lethal to the junta. The fact is that, going to reconciliation, the Kiev authorities recognize the legitimacy of the requirements of federalization, state status for the Russian language, reduction of interregional transfers, will be forced to curtail anti-Russian hysteria and all the psychological intensity that keeps their regime in controlled areas. Most likely, either the junta in this scenario is overthrown by radical revolutionaries who brought it to power, or the disillusioned population of all new areas, already without the deterrent of anti-Russian hysteria, will follow the path of Donetsk and Luhansk until Ukraine itself diminishes to the size of Galicia.
Perhaps this is the most promising option for the junta in terms of the survival and safety of its members, but it is unlikely that its foreign owners will allow it. Very much they are not configured to continue to play with the "multi-vector" Ukraine, they want to quickly reap the benefits from the under-grown state they fully subordinate with the entire elite, incite it to Russia.
2. Kiev has another way, based on the rejection of action. It is possible that the “moderate” part of the junta and its patrons hoped that the conflict would “burn out” and radical rebels would be tired of bearing positions at checkpoints, expanding controlled territory, doing tedious work on preparing a referendum, convincing the “swamp” and the vacillating. In my opinion, these hopes are akin to the “cunning plan of Yanukovich” to calm Maidan through ignoring and small concessions. The insult inflicted by the junta on the Russian population, the repressions and armed attacks already undertaken will not be quickly forgotten, and an attempt to back down and soften the effect will be perceived as a manifestation of weakness. Moreover, the rebels themselves decided for themselves that there was no going back. Every day the existence of the unconquered republics delegitimizes the Ukrainian statehood, convinces more and more people that it is not obligatory to submit to Kiev, it humbles the citizens loyal to Ukraine with its transitory character. Therefore, most likely, the “separatists” in the two regions will not be less, and supporters of the “united Ukraine” will increasingly marginalize and go underground, including because of the banal fear of ostracism. Moreover, the sluggish positional confrontation will go against the background of the growing economic collapse caused by the ongoing civil war, and the rupture of relations with Russia, and the unplanned costs of military mobilization, and management incompetence. Mass indignations due to the decline in the actual standard of living and non-payment in conditions of financial bankruptcy of the junta and the collapse of the economy will only increase, seizing at least all new regions of the Southeast. Thus, this way is a dead end for the junta.
It is unlikely that a moderate “doing nothing” plan will prevail in the actual actions of Kiev, for the “vegetarian” faction in the junta does not set the tone. Maybe it torpedoes the beginning of a full-fledged war, but still the informational background in Kiev is formed by radicals, who even more anger Russian resistance and make it impossible for them to surrender their positions. And even if the "vegetarian" faction in the junta gains the upper hand, its opponents will disrupt a possible truce by bloody independent action. Therefore, the development of events according to the second variant also seems unlikely.
3. The third scenario, which is actually being implemented now, is a hybrid between active and non-violent. These are separate provocations from the nameless groups, like the Easter attack on the Slavyansk checkpoint, defensive force actions to prevent the republic from spreading, sporadic assault attempts to inflict damage on the insurgents, not brought to mind. But this path is just as vulnerable as the second option. He will only embitter resistance and the local population, expand the full support of the Donbass from the people of Russia. It seems that someone in the junta hopes that the sacral sacrifices of her supporters in the Southeast, which she wants to get for the television picture, can justify the subsequent use of military force. But who and in what in the South-East will convince this technique after repeated use and exposure of this technology on the Maidan, after the victims at the self-defense checkpoints?
Yes, sometimes such ideas appear in social networks (for some - fears, for others - suggestions and hopes): the Ukrainian government sends irregular formations to the South-East, and after the local population is terrorized by bloody clashes with unidentified groups , it, they say, will gladly accept the Ukrainian army. I think such calculations are wrong, because the local population, instead of waiting for the Ukrainian army, will even more quickly become disillusioned with Ukraine and accept a reliable, with border guards, separation from a failed state.
4. The fourth scenario - total power repression with massive use of heavy weapons - unrealistic due to the intervention of Russia, which will follow a full-scale military campaign, due to sabotage, which such orders will face, as well as inconsistencies within the decaying Kiev regime. It cannot even be ruled out that an attempt at a real forceful suppression would become so unorganized and worthless that the Russian authorities would postpone direct intervention and give the militias of the Southeast, albeit with great losses, to repel the attacks themselves. In this scenario, the junta is also doomed.
5. Finally, the fifth option for the junta is the incitement of a full-scale civil war based on absolutely irreconcilable hatred between the two parts of Ukraine. Of course, Ukraine and Ukrainians in this war will face a total military defeat, no matter if Russia intervenes directly or indirectly, but this would allow its foreign patrons to create a new mythology around the “enslavement of Russia’s freedom-loving Ukraine by totalitarian Russia”, so that in a few decades the basis of new myths, to resume the program of dismemberment of the Russian people.
So far, this scenario is clearly inhibited due to the sabotage and unwillingness to fight by the legal Ukrainian security forces and even the Right Sector, which prefers to carry out punitive actions against defenseless, but not capable of regular combat operations. But it is beneficial to the sponsors of the junta. Existential hatred arousal technologies are worked out in other countries and can give the desired result in a few weeks, so this scenario cannot be completely ruled out.
Nevertheless, the obvious “disorder and vacillation” prevailing within the Kiev regime will inevitably lead to unfit execution or direct sabotage of any extreme option, with the result that the third is most likely intermediate. Under pressure from foreign owners, the junta may decide to follow any of the five paths, but in the end everything will slip to the third. Although, unlike the extreme ways, it is the least meaningful from the point of view of the Ukrainian statehood, it is he who spontaneously develops. And it is carried out not consistently and according to the plan, in the form of a verified passage along the razor's edge, but through throwing from one extreme to the other.
In general, only the method and speed of suicide depend on the Kiev regime and on Ukraine. The positions of the insurgent Donbass look quite solid, and it's time to think about longer-term goals, a strategy for the further liberation of Ukraine.
The main question of the further attack on the junta is whether it is necessary to focus on the “Crimean” scenario of a phased accession of mature regions of Ukraine to Russia or the scenario of the return of all Ukraine to cooperation with Russia and its further evolutionary rapprochement with the Russian Federation?
In line with the first option are the actions of the Donetsk and Lugansk insurgents, as well as the population supporting them, who no longer want to hear anything about the hated Ukrainian state, even if in words and allow the federation. In line with the second option are the proposals of the official authorities of the Russian Federation and the demands of protesters in other areas of the Southeast, still controlled by the junta.
To answer the main question, you need to deal with the following topics.
Ii. Will federalization solve the Ukrainian question?
The requirement of federalization is a favorable cover, which allows the Russian Foreign Ministry to put pressure on the Ukrainian authorities with an unacceptable requirement still under international law, and on activists of Zaporozhye, Odessa, and Kharkov — to reduce the likelihood of their arrest after the federalization slogan has been put forward compared to the slogan on transition to Russia . But the federalization of Ukraine will do nothing for the Russian Federation or the South-East.
From the point of view of Russia's interests, a federal Ukraine, in which one part will integrate with Russia, and the other with the West, is no better than the “multi-vector” Ukraine, which has reached the current state in 23. It will remain an anti-Russian project, at least in a federal, at least in a confederative form. The cultural installations of the “Ukraine is not Russia” series are too strong, ideological Ukrainization has gone too far, even in the South-East, so that it can be developed after weakening the dictate from Kiev, and not completely closing the entire project.
The cultural aspect here is the most important. If the helpline of the Kharkiv SBU office is broken by the calls of the city intelligentsia, informing their acquaintances that they were present at pro-Russian meetings, then really in federal Ukraine these Smerdyakovs will no longer grow mankurts that hate their roots and dream of giving themselves away, even if it’s a scarecrow West? They are already setting the tone in the education system of the Southeast. Even if the hypothetical South-Eastern autonomy of Ukraine itself determines its cultural policy, it will also re-cram Russians into Ukrainians, as it did during the 70 years of the Ukrainian SSR. Ukrainian universities of non-technical profile have prepared a whole generation of graduates to occupy niches in a post-industrial society who do not know how to do anything productive, but they miraculously perform in their economic niches the function of Ukrainians, the originator of “Europeanism”, and the rejection of “Russian barbarism. The Russian intelligentsia, which could have resisted the Ukrainian trend, was driven out during the Civil War, broke down during the Ukrainization of the 20's and 30's, and finally finished off the 1941-44 during the occupation. Those who stayed and remained loyal to Russia simply do not have enough strength.
If you do not include Novorossia in the Russian Federation, with the approval of training programs in Moscow and the inter-regional rotation of personnel, the cultural distance from Russia will continue. And therefore, not only from the point of view of the Russian state, but also from the point of view of the rebels of Novorossia, those who disagree with the distance from Russia, the federalization of Ukraine is as unacceptable as the unitarity. And what kind of being part of Ukraine can be talked about after Kiev, under the hooting of all professional Ukrainians in the country, headed for brutally suppressing any resistance, sending Pravosek to kill dissenting Kharkiv and Donetsk people, to terrorize Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporozhan?
But this is only the cultural side of federalization, connected with education and upbringing. But if Ukraine is saved, the creation of the Ukrainian nation will continue in political terms. Separate from Russia, the elite will live by their parochial interests, and as a result, the government of Novorossia will be formed by a certain reincarnation of the Party of Regions, which is not interested in the prosperity of the native land, but in perpetuating its statehood, separate from Russia.
Supporters of the federalization of Ukraine, who tried to persuade the coup to compromise, put forward such arguments: everyone will live within their means, more money will remain in the producing regions, each part of Ukraine will honor their heroes. These arguments seem to be strained. After all, the money of the East will still go to "nationwide" needs: the maintenance of the Russophobic Ministry of Culture and Education, the actions of the anti-Russian Foreign Ministry, the Defense Ministry's programs on integration into NATO and preparing for war with Russia, to "celebrate" the Holodomor. What will it look like when, in one country, they officially glorify General Vatutin and Bandera who killed him? How will the country's economy function, half of which is trying to integrate into the EU, and the other into the Customs Union?
Adherents of federalization do not and will not have an answer to all these questions. At best, they will honestly say that they consider federalization as a gentle way of dividing. They say that there was a separate republic in the Crimea with a non-Ukrainian identity, and it was easily separated, and we will do the same. At the same time, it is overlooked that Crimea waited for a unique opportunity that happens once in a while. stories, and it is overlooked that the Donbass has already gone much further than the autonomous Crimea. Why would he, who had already overcome Ukrainianness and realized his Russianness, return under the occupation of a hated state and wait for a convenient excuse for an uprising?
So, although the slogan on federalization provides a formal cover for the not yet risen regions of the Southeast and for the Russian Foreign Ministry, we ourselves should not be misled by this appeal. Only the dismemberment of Ukraine and the exit from it of New Russia will allow breaking the back of the anti-Russian project and is a worthy goal. In calling for federalization, the Russian authorities and leaders of the resistance should twice as much explain to the Southeast through other channels that these calls are nothing more than a figure of speech. Roughly speaking, the Russia Today TV channel should broadcast Lavrov’s statements about the integrity of Ukraine, as usual, and other Russian TV channels should show how Sergey Viktorovich, with these words, turns his hands behind his back and turns his fingers into the muzzle. Otherwise, the demoralizing effect of imposing irrelevant compromise on resistance will be enormous. As soon as one or another region proceeds to the stage of an uprising, the slogan on federalization should be immediately replaced with a call for secession from Ukraine and the complete cessation of this state misunderstanding.
On this path are only two obstacles. The first is the inertia of the population of the Southeast, still hoping for a compromise within the framework of a united Ukraine and believing in authorities suggesting a false path of federalization. But it will be overcome by life itself. The second obstacle is the position of many sections of Russia, frankly fearing that Ukraine, which is left without Southeast, will turn into a new Baltic. This question should be considered separately.
Iii. Do I need to take Ukraine in whole or in part?
Russian analysts often have about such an “arithmetic” argument: taking the Crimea from Ukraine, then the Donbass, then new territories, we reduce the percentage of the pro-Russian population in the remaining Ukraine and thereby reduce the chances of Ukraine’s evolution towards a friendly Russia and towards reunification. This idea probably comes from the Bolshevik accession of Novorossia to Ukraine in order to “dilute the petty-bourgeois peasantry with the proletariat” and the nationalist intelligentsia of the Ukraine. For some reason, the lesson did not go ahead: after all, even then it happened the other way around. Instead of a small Ukraine within the Ukraine, weak and unpretentious, it turned out a large Ukraine within the Ukrainian SSR, in which even the intelligentsia of Kharkov and Donetsk are quite anti-Russian. What's the matter?
But the fact is that the “hybrid” Ukraine in the current borders, oddly enough, is a structure that is more stable in its anti-Russian essence than would be a small Ukraine within the limits of Little Russia and western regions. Some feed, others “sleep pisni”; some work and finance, others teach to live, to hate Russia and integrate into Europe. The secret of the stability of Ukrainians is that even the arithmetic majority of Russians will not overpower the influence of nationalists. To a decent Russian person it will be shameful to participate in the Ukrainian system policy and apply for government positions - where do other defenders of the Southeast appear in the Verkhovna Rada, apart from the Party of Regions? Statehood itself, even in a project aimed at not being Russia, will grind any enthusiast of rapprochement with Russia - after all, it is the only way that it perpetuates its existence.
And as long as Ukraine remains whole, at best, the pro-Russian majority will choose Kuchma, Yanukovychs and other mankurts, who in practice will alienate Ukraine from Russia. This is the way to incite hatred of all big Ukraine to Russia and to the war between them.
At the same time, it is impossible to extrapolate the current results of the vote of Little Russia and Western Ukraine for the future, which will follow the departure of Novorossia. People are changing, changing their point of view and the people of Ukraine, left without Novorossia. First, the reduced Ukraine will have to feed those who teach to live and love Ukraine, and, therefore, begin to pick the Little Russian peasants and small entrepreneurs; the latter will be unhappy. Secondly, the shock itself of splitting Ukraine can trigger an insight process in someone. Those residents of the Ukraine, who vote for the nationalist parties, locked themselves in their little world, in which all the troubles come from Russia, who wants to devour Ukraine. This psychoemotional structure has become so resilient that neither defeat in the elections, nor the absence of military actions of Russia by themselves will not destroy the current picture. Only a series of deep shocks that destroy their inadequate inner world can trigger a cure. In the end, the Germans and the Japanese were cured in the middle of the 20th century after a total military rout! The point of view is wrong that by appeasing Ukrainian nationalism with cheap gas and indulging in respectful treatment of Ukrainians, we reduce its anti-Russian intensity. On the contrary: the more Russia indulged Ukraine and Ukrainians, the more Ukrainians burst with a sense of self-worth and pride in the fact that they are not Russians! Accordingly, a series of frustrations and frustrations creates at least some chances for the return of common sense.
In this regard, the arrogant appeals of some Russian inhabitants to the South-East of Ukraine, which has shown its strength and ability to resist the junta, to establish control over the entire republic and ensure its evolution towards a friendly Russia cause particular indignation. First, these appeals come from a false premise that the South-East of Ukraine is inhabited by Ukrainians who are closer to the population of Little Russia than the Russian population of the Russian Federation, and therefore must remain in a separate state from Russia, along with the Little Russians. Although in reality, it is necessary to reunite those branches of the Russian people who have realized their Russianness now, and then we'll see. By the way, then the idea of family reunification will work for Russia, because the residents of Little Russia will want to be in the same country as their relatives who stayed in Kharkov or Dnepropetrovsk. Secondly, these appeals are just guaranteed to destroy the chances for the reunification of all branches of the Russian people. Forcibly cute you will not; Now an attempt to invade Little Russia, and especially Galicia, and impose on them the “Donetsk” regime will be perceived as an invasion of their land and will cause the same strong popular resistance as we now see in the Donbass. In Kiev, now they will not be able to come to power and hold no forces, except those that did the winter revolution. Millions of people living in the central and western parts of Ukraine really went crazy, and it is best to let them burn out in their madness, think again. Fortunately, even the most radical of them are often not eager to go to conquer the South-East and are ready to let him go home. It means that it is best to separate, disperse, let your feelings cool and time to cure resentment.
Another thing is if the West succeeds in unleashing a real civil war of extermination in Ukraine. In this scenario, even if Russia manages to protect the South-East from aggression, such ineradicable hatred of Russia will be grown in Little Russia and in Western Ukraine, which the years of peaceful separate coexistence will not cure. It will be necessary to end urgently with an anti-Russian breeding ground, which means that in the event of a full-scale war, it will be necessary to reach Bug and Tisza, arranging a total forcible denazification of all Ukraine.
But we, nevertheless, will hope that the West will not succeed in stirring up a civil war for annihilation, Russia will not need massive military intervention and Ukraine will release Novorossia more or less peacefully. What to do then?
Iv. Does Novorossia need independence?
Finally, one should understand another series of dubious appeals: after the separation of Ukraine, not to expand the Russian Federation, but to leave Novorossia for a long time as an independent union state like Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It must be said that in this case even sane arguments are not advanced, except for the ridiculous idea that, in this case, Russia's international condemnation will be less. Apparently, the only real motive here is the banal reluctance of Russians to temporarily sacrifice their current income in order to “pull up” Novorossia to the level of the Russian Federation. On the part of the elite of the Russian Federation, simply fear of taking on new responsibility and being ready for the influx of “fresh blood” from new regions.
And if in the case of the ideas of federalization and Ukraine that were dismantled above, one can hope that they are not realized due to radicalism and mutual hatred of the opposing sides, then the likelihood of Russia creating an independent New Russia is already much higher, because Russia does not see a consensus opposed to this option. Moreover, the West, seeing the impossibility of preserving Ukraine, will most likely try to bribe Russia with some kind of short-term gingerbread, so that it does not fully join Novorossia. Against so far, only radical leaders of the rebels in the Donbas, who feel so Russian, that they don’t need this independence for nothing.
It seems to me that the idea of an independent Novorossia for an indefinite period is as harmful as the previous two (about the federalization of Ukraine or about taking it all at once). From the point of view of the unity of the Russian people, there is no meaning in several Russian states. As we have already seen with the example of Ukraine, separate statehood launches national genesis. And why should people spend money on two states, on separate foreign ministries, the army, and economic regulators, if one is enough? For Novorossia, their own full-fledged state will become a heavy burden, devouring resources that could be directed to the early alignment of the level of development with the rest of the Russian Federation. The matter is not only in financial resources: the worse thing is that the twenty millionth territory that did not have its own statehood does not have cultural readiness for the optimal solution of all the issues that will be on this path. For example, the economic policy of a separate Novorossia will surely become an incompetent attempt to reproduce the Belarusian experience, but it will only be possible to learn from bad things, including getting into debt and trying to support lower prices, or overvalued local currency. The education system will remain in the hands of the “Svidomo” intelligentsia, and the repainted cynics from the Party of Regions will fill the power, who by habit will “milk” Russia, serving the interests of the West in parallel.
Of course, the accession of Novorossia to the Russian Federation will require a transitional period to adapt legislation, bring technical standards closer, harmonize educational programs, recognize documents of an independent Ukraine, establish a banking system, but all these issues can be solved in working order. In Russia, a sensible and patriotically minded state apparatus, which even without a special interstate agreement will allow the meat processing plant to produce sausage according to the Ukrainian TU for a couple of years, necessary for the adaptation and modernization of production. To delay because of such trifles a formal reunion into one state does not make any sense. You can think about the entry of Novorossia not by eight or nine regions, but by one or two large territories, which will be easier to adapt their economies to the all-Russian, managing, for example, a single complex of mining and metallurgical industries within the region before establishing a new cooperation within the Russian market, but All of these are issues of administrative-territorial organization of lands annexed to Russia and transitional management, which do not require separate statehood.
At the same time, it is the fairly complete reintegration of Novorossia in the Russian Federation that will allow them to quickly overcome the negative effects caused by the economic gap with the rest of Ukraine. Of course, a number of mistakes can be made on the path of the accession of Novorossia, which will increase the economic price and moral costs of the process, but to make Novorussia a second Belarus, firstly, it will not work anyway, and secondly, such an attempt will be even more expensive. However, the optimal ways of political and economic accession should somehow be discussed another time.
In general, we will keep our principles in setting strategic goals - and everything will be fine.