The crisis in Ukraine, in which the world community turned out to be multifariously involved, became, perhaps, the number one event in terms of its influence on the development of interstate relations in today's world.
How was it?
The political crisis in Kiev began in November 2013. The reason for the mass action was the announcement of the Ukrainian government to postpone the signing of a document proclaiming the association of Ukraine with the European Union.
Meanwhile, demonstrations and rallies in Kiev’s Maidan departed from both their initial cause and the peaceful nature of the protest.
The situation on Independence straddlers pro-fascist, nationalist and anti-Russian sense. Bloody clashes began.
Molotov cocktails, stones, and metal pipes hit the police and the Berkut detachments. Used and firearms weapon. The forces of law and order used tear gas, water cannons. There were casualties on both sides.
At first, some of the protesters tried to dissociate themselves from the actions of extremists, even calling the Right Sector activists provocateurs.
Indeed, in addition to the "rabid" protests, many of those who advocated democracy were taking part in the anti-corruption regime. February 21 authorities and opposition leaders even signed an agreement that included a return to the 2004 constitution of the year that curtailed presidential rights, the formation of a national unity government, and the holding of presidential elections. The authorities and the opposition pledged to refrain from the use of force.
22 February, that is, the day after the signing of an agreement with the opposition, there was a violent seizure of power. The head of the "Right Sector" Yarosh rejected the agreement, calling it "the next eye wash." On the night of February 22, radical maydanovtsy captured the buildings of the Verkhovna Rada, the presidential administration, the government, the Interior Ministry. At 10 in the morning the meeting of the Verkhovna Rada began. On the frames of the live broadcast it was clear that it was passing under the physical pressure of the Maidan fighters and their supporters. The president, the leadership of the parliament, the Ministry of Internal Affairs were removed from their posts.
The essence of those who seized power became apparent from the numerous speeches in defense of Bandera, other nationalists who had served the Fascist invaders during the Patriotic War, and anti-Russian rhetoric. Facts like the adoption of the law by the Rada (its non-signing by the acting president does not diminish the importance of the fact that the law was adopted by the Ukrainian parliament), aimed at expelling the Russian language from Ukraine, also spoke a lot.
Attention was drawn to the statement of Avakov, newly appointed by the Minister of Internal Affairs, that the leadership of his department would now include representatives of the Right Sector and Maidan’s self-defense.
I do not want to downplay the blame for everything that happened and Yanukovych. Leading the country, he tried to milk the two queens - both Russia and the European Union, tossing between them. It could not but influence the Ukrainian society and the widespread corruption under its regime, with which it practically did not fight. It is characteristic that immediately after the start of demonstrations on Independence, the world did not hear the voice of the East and South of Ukraine.
Yanukovych has publicly explained this by the fact that in the Donbass and Dnepropetrovsk they work in three shifts, they live from paycheck to paycheck, and they say they don’t care about politics. A ridiculous explanation.
The point, obviously, is that the population of these regions was set up not only against the motley protesters on Independence, but also Yanukovych and his entourage. When bloody clashes began and a coup d'état took place, sentiment in the East and South of Ukraine changed - from silent observation to active rejection of what is happening in Kiev, to developing measures to ensure their own security and their own future.
But such a change, apparently, did not change the attitude towards Yanukovych. Isn’t this the real reason why, in the midst of events, he left Ukraine, and did not stay among law enforcement, fighters against the fascist thugs?
In Donetsk, Kharkov, and Lugansk, supporters of the federalization of Ukraine began to gather for rallies. In response, the Kiev authorities announced a special operation against the "separatists." In the south-east of Ukraine, it was growing, not only accumulated discontent with what was happening in Kiev, but also fear for their own destiny.
In order to understand the reasons for the depth of such concerns, I would like to quote the estimates and forecasts of Alexander Isaevich Solzhenitsyn, who presented with amazing accuracy what he now had to face in Ukraine. In 1990, Solzhenitsyn wrote: “I myself am almost half Ukrainian, and in the early years I grew up with the sounds of Ukrainian. And in mournful Belarus, I spent most of my front years ... I turn to those and others not from outside, but all together expired from the precious Kiev, "from where the Russian land began to eat," according to the chronicles of Nestor, from which Christianity came to us. The same princes ruled us: Yaroslav the Wise divided Kiev, Novgorod and all the stretch from Chernigov between sons to Ryazan, Murom and Beloozer; Vladimir Monomakh was simultaneously and the prince of Kiev, and Rostov-Suzdal; and the same unity in the ministry of the metropolitans. "
On the eve of the collapse of the USSR, Solzhenitsyn argued: “Separating Ukraine means cutting across millions of families and people: what a mixture of people; whole areas with a Russian margin; how many people who find it difficult to choose from two nationalities; how many people of mixed origin; how many mixed marriages — no one I haven’t yet considered “mixed.” There is not a hint of intolerance between Ukrainians and Russians in the thickness of the main population. ” At the same time, Solzhenitsyn called it a “fatal mistake” that “will certainly and harmfully affect both the inorganic connection of the western regions with the eastern regions, and the doubling (now triple) of religious branches, and the elastic force of the repressed Russian language, which until now was considered native 63% of the population. How many inefficient, useless efforts need to be spent to overcome these cracks. " These words belong to Solzhenitsyn: “Of course, if the Ukrainian people really wished to secede, no one would dare to keep it by force. But this vastness is diverse, and only the local population can decide the fate of their area, of their area, and every new minority in this locality must meet the same non-violence towards oneself. "
The forecasts of Alexander Isaevich largely come true. The disagreement of Eastern Ukraine with the new Kiev authorities was undoubtedly influenced by the fact that they took a frank course against the federalization of the country. This meant nothing more than a refusal to recognize the special position of the regions of Ukraine with the predominance of the Russian-speaking population. The situation was aggravated because attempts were made to hush those who opposed such a course with harsh force.
In such conditions, in April 2014, the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) were proclaimed. The referendum participants spoke in favor of their creation, which, I must say, were held in parts of the regions of the eastern regions. But pro-Russian sentiments were all-encompassing, which was manifested in the hanging of Russian flags literally everywhere, and in endless appearances in favor of rapprochement with Russia.
However, in the period preceding the proclamation of the DPR and LPR, and even after that, in the south-east of Ukraine, the demands for federalization of the country predominantly sounded. The formation of independent states, which meant leaving Ukraine, became a slogan after the Kiev authorities launched an army punitive operation against Donetsk and Lugansk using heavy military equipment and aviation. In the hostilities, detachments of militants took an active part, manifesting their radical nationalist and anti-Russian essence on the Maidan.
Not apart from what is happening in the south-east of Ukraine, but according to its own scenario, events developed in the Crimea, which, as we know, became a part of Ukraine without the will of the population.
This could not but affect the mood of the Crimean people, who have long been a cause for Russia. In addition, the Russian Black Sea Fleet was based in Sevastopol, which reinforced the pro-Russian mentality of the inhabitants of this city and other areas of the Crimea.
The Crimean-Tatar community stood out from the general flow, but it was not completely homogeneous, although the local parliament of the Mejlis enjoyed power and sufficiently wide prestige, and its leader with his close circle was closely associated with Ukrainian politicians before and after Kiev Maidan.
1 December 2013 was the highest authority on the peninsula - I want to emphasize that it was then part of the general Ukrainian power structure - the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea stated: "Opposition speeches in Kiev threaten political and economic stability in Ukraine." In December and January, 2014, the Crimean parliament repeatedly appealed to the authorities to “not allow an unconstitutional revenge on bankrupt political forces professing extreme nationalism”.
In the Crimea and Sevastopol, the formation of self-defense units began. February 23, the day after the coup in Kiev and on the same day when the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted a law that deprived Russian of even half regional status, the 200-thousandth "rally of the national will against fascism" took place in Sevastopol. The sequence of the following events is indicative.
On the night of February 23, against the background of threats to deal with the "separatists" and the opening by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) criminal proceedings in connection with the decisions and statements of the Crimean parliament, the newly appointed head of the SBU Nalyvaychenko and Minister of the Interior Avakov make a blitz trip to the Crimea. Immediately two and immediately after the coup - in the Crimea.
February 26 in Simferopol came to the demonstration of the Crimean Tatars - supporters of the Mejlis in order to block the meeting of the Supreme Council of Crimea, which was expected to make decisions in defense of the Russian language and independence of the region. There were clashes between the participants of this demonstration and another, organized by those who opposed the policies of the Kiev authorities. 30 people were injured, two died. The meeting of the Supreme Council was disrupted.
In the afternoon of February 27, the Supreme Council of Crimea was able to resume work. The leader of the Russian Unity faction, Sergei Aksenov, was appointed prime minister of autonomy. The parliament decided to hold an all-Crimean referendum on 25 with the issue being put in the following wording: “The Autonomous Republic of Crimea has state independence and is part of Ukraine on the basis of treaties and agreements (pro or contra).”
February 28, without coordination with the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Kiev was appointed the new head of the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Crimea. On the night of March 1, the appointee made an attempt to repel the building of the Ministry of Internal Affairs from the forces of self-defense, but received a rebuff. On the morning of March 1, Prime Minister S.V. Aksenov reassigned all the power structures of the autonomy and appealed to the President of the Russian Federation V.V. Putin with a request for assistance in ensuring peace and tranquility in the Crimea. Such an appeal could be explained not only by events in the Crimea itself, but also by the desire of the new Kiev authorities to suppress resistance in the south-east of Ukraine by force. On the same day, President Putin submitted to the Council of Federation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation an appeal on the use of the Russian Armed Forces on the territory of Ukraine. The unanimous consent of the deputies of the Federation Council was received.
March 6 The Supreme Council of the Crimea decided to hold a referendum throughout the Crimea, including Sevastopol, on March 16. A new wording of the question in the referendum was also adopted, suggesting the choice of one of two answers: "Are you for the reunification of the Crimea with Russia as a subject of the Russian Federation?" or "Are you for the restoration of the Constitution of the Republic of Crimea 1992 of the year and for the status of Crimea as part of Ukraine?" On the same day, the decision to hold a referendum was issued by the city council of Sevastopol. Explaining the reason for replacing the originally adopted wording of the referendum, the deputy chairman of the Supreme Council of Crimea said that this was caused by the reaction of the Ukrainian authorities to the decision to hold a referendum, which at that time was not intended to raise the issue of autonomy from Ukraine.
March 9 in Simferopol, Sevastopol, Yevpatoria and Kerch held rallies in support of the accession of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea to Russia.
March 16 held a referendum, in which voters from Crimea and Sevastopol took part. An absolute majority voted for the reunification of the Crimea with Russia.
17 in March, President Putin signed a decree recognizing the Republic of Crimea as a sovereign and independent state, in which Sevastopol has a special status, and already 18 in March in the St. George Hall of the Kremlin was signed by the leaders of Russia, the Crimea and Sevastopol on the entry of the Republic of Crimea into the Russian Federation.
From the very beginning of the crisis in Ukraine, the United States openly supported the Kiev Maidan. The facts of personal and telephone contacts with Ukrainian opposition diplomats from the US Embassy in Kiev and American politicians who are in the Ukrainian capital are well known. Not only they, but also senior US officials expressed unconditional support to the Ukrainian opposition. There is reason to believe that many American representatives were pushing Ukrainian interlocutors to build up anti-constitutional actions. In any case, the Americans engaged in the Ukrainian events were not guided by conciliatory motives.
Russia did not dictate what should be the status of Ukraine. It’s up to the country’s own business to decide what its state structure
The US policy deliberately gained momentum against Russia, which was making efforts to get out of the Ukrainian crisis through the negotiations of the parties involved in it. The culmination was the introduction of anti-Russian sanctions initiated by the United States. Washington has persistently attracted European countries, Australia, Japan, Canada to join these sanctions and, I must say, achieved success.
In pursuing its course, Washington, of course, was aware that the militants who were fighting on Maidan for the violent seizure of power raised the banners of Ukrainian nationalist organizations, which were actively used by Hitler’s Germany in World War II, over their heads. With their hands, the Nazis, in particular, put to death thousands of Jews inhabiting the occupied territories, and Ukrainian fighters against fascism.
What are the hidden springs that pushed Washington to exactly this position due to the crisis in Ukraine?
The main directions in the policy of the United States with the aim of introducing a unipolar world pattern can undoubtedly include the desire to oust Russia from world politics and stifle the centrifugal tendencies that moved the United States from the United States after the end of the Cold War. At the same time, the victory of pro-American forces in Kiev promised the establishment of US military control over the Black Sea, which touched Russia's vital interests. This could also be used to make Turkey more flexible in relations with the United States.
Judging by the position of Washington, the bet was placed on the involvement of the Russian Armed Forces in the south-east of Ukraine. In this case, Europe, taking into account the mood of its public for many decades, would remain in the orbit of US policy. I think that is why there was no positive reaction from Washington to Putin’s decision to withdraw, after the reunification of the Crimea with Russia, the previously received consent of the Federation Council to use Russian troops in Ukraine. The continuing accusations of Russia in military intervention in the east of Ukraine could not negate the effect of such a Putin decision.
Moreover, the well-thought-out decision of the President of Russia was taken, despite the tone of the overwhelming majority of the Russian media, which clearly did not correspond to the restraint shown by V.V. Putin Of course, the tone (mainly of television) was caused by the actions of the Ukrainian security forces - participants of the punitive operation in the east of Ukraine, who were shooting at not only the positions of the militias. In order to break their morale, they beat artillery, volley fire systems in residential areas of Slavyansk, Lugansk, Donetsk. The number of civilian casualties has increased. But I am sure that the propaganda preparation of Russia for military intervention in Ukraine was not in the plans of the Kremlin.
Meanwhile, the United States stubbornly pursued a line to support punitive actions of the Kiev authorities. When the change in hostilities in favor of the Ukrainian security officials, repeatedly promised by Kiev, did not take place, and the attention of the West to the Ukrainian events began to crowd out the war in Gaza between Israel and Palestinian Hamas, as well as the victorious offensive of the Islamic State in Iraq - it was clearly noticeably in the Western media, a Malaysian civilian plane carrying passengers was shot down over Ukraine. Who shot at him was never found out. But it seems that even he has been shot down in order to bring events in Ukraine to the center of attention of the United States and its European allies. By the way, this could have happened without direct instructions from the top leadership in Kiev, where many groups that claimed power were deployed.
The position of the West, dictated by the United States, undoubtedly influenced Russia and its decisions. But it would be wrong to consider such an influence as the main one - Russia did not consider its approach to the crisis in Ukraine through the prism of global confrontation with anyone. If elements of such confrontation appeared, then the United States and their partners initiated it.
The first one. The reunification of Crimea with Russia occurred during and as a result of the crisis that arose in Ukraine - there were no preliminary Russian “preparations” on this score. It never occurred to anyone, even outright opponents, to accuse Moscow of causing the Ukrainian crisis. The idea of reunification was expressed by the almost unanimous vote of the Crimean people, among other things, alarmed by the fact that the anti-Russian actions of the Kiev authorities would be forcibly brought to the Crimea. However, the accusations against Russia focused on its military presence during the vote. Such a presence did take place, but not in violation of the Russian-Ukrainian agreements on the Black Sea the fleet dated May 28, 1997. According to these documents, Russia had the right to deploy in the Crimea up to 25 thousand of its troops. The Russian military really stood behind the Crimean self-defense units. The number of Russian troops was even less than that allowed by agreements with Ukraine, not denounced after the change of power in Kiev. The purpose of the Russian military was to prevent violent provocations against voters at polling stations, to maintain a peaceful situation in Crimea. And most importantly - they did not fire a single shot.
The second. Characteristic is Russia's position in relation to the Crimean Tatars. In an address to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation 18 in March, President Putin declared: "The Crimean Tatars returned to their land. I believe that all the necessary political legislative decisions must be taken that will complete the process of rehabilitating the Crimean Tatar people, decisions that will restore their rights, good name in full. " It is known that such decisions, including the proclamation of the state of the Crimean Tatar language, along with the Russian and Ukrainian, were taken. Everything was done to ensure that the entry of the Crimea into Russia created the best conditions for the Crimean Tatars. A major role was played by the visits to the Crimea by the leaders of the Republic of Tatarstan.
Third. The Kremlin’s position on the orientation of Ukraine towards joining the European Union was repeatedly voiced: the choice of foreign economic orientation belongs to Ukraine itself; Russia will take protective economic measures on the manifestations of Ukraine's entry into the EU system, which will damage our country.
Fourth. From the very beginning of the current crisis in Ukraine, Moscow has advocated negotiations, a peaceful solution. The agreement was reached 21 February constitutional power with the opposition, which contained an agreement to a number of opposition demands. The OSCE’s pragmatic settlement plan was supported. Immediately after being elected president of Petro Poroshenko, it was stated that it was ready to negotiate with him. During meetings with him, V.V. Putin insisted on the need for a ceasefire and negotiations of the Kiev authorities with representatives of the south-east of Ukraine. The Kremlin - it was later - suggested that the militias, who surrounded the units of the Ukrainian security forces, open humanitarian corridors in order to release those who want to take advantage of the resulting "boilers". The militia agreed to this initiative of the President of Russia and allowed everyone who laid down their arms to leave through such corridors. Should this not be regarded as Russia's desire to create conditions conducive to internal Ukrainian negotiations.
The leadership of the United States and a number of European countries, while not denying the need for political methods, determined the intra-Ukrainian negotiation process by Russia's unilateral refusal to support the militia. It was clear that Moscow would not and did not go for it, providing the greatest possible, under the prevailing conditions, multilateral assistance to those who in the east of Ukraine are fighting for their rights. Volunteers from Russia also took part in this fight. At the same time, acting in the political field, Moscow achieved direct negotiations between Kiev and representatives of Donbas and Lugansk. Whatever the outcome, this is a breakthrough moment that will sooner or later affect the settlement of the crisis in Ukraine.
The fifth. Seeking to end the bloodshed in eastern Ukraine, Russia played an active role in constant contact, including confidential, with the president of Russia, as well as the minister of foreign affairs with Western leaders. Russia actively participated in organizing multilateral meetings of representatives of Ukraine, Russia, and the European Union — the United States was represented at a number of such meetings, and put forward the idea of forming a contact group to create a road map for resolving the Ukrainian crisis. Personal meetings and telephone conversations V.V. Putin and P.A. Poroshenko had a special meaning for finding ways out of a difficult situation.
The sixth. Russia neither publicly nor "behind the scenes" supported the idea of a southeast exit from Ukraine. This conclusion reinforces the fact that President Putin’s appeal to postpone the referendum, which provided for the possibility of creating an independent state in the south-east of Ukraine. This appeal came at a time when the leaders of Donetsk and Lugansk insisted on the immediate holding of a referendum. Unfortunately, Putin’s call was not heard. The president summed up the position of Russia: “it’s time to start substantive negotiations not on technical issues, but in essence to understand what rights the people of Donbass, Lugansk, the entire south-east of Ukraine will have.” From these words, and on other grounds, it is obvious that Russia did not dictate what the status of Ukraine should be as a result of internal Ukrainian negotiations.
I would like to believe that all these efforts of Russia will bring good luck. In any case, an important step has been taken - the cease-fire protocol signed by the parties has entered into force. It takes into account the balanced, compromise measures of Putin’s plan. Will the next steps, will show the future.