The renewal of the agreement de facto shifts all the terms specified in it indefinitely.
The key question is about the election.
The closest deadline for the Minsk Agreement is February, when a new electoral law agreed with the republics and a constitutional reform should be adopted in Kiev. Compliance with the timing of these actions is a big question, not to mention the question - are they possible at all? In Europe and Russia, they even refuse to consider the option of abandoning Minsk-2: too much force was applied to agree on the final document. On the other hand, the failure of the Ukrainian side to comply with the deadlines will put Europe at a dead end. As Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says, “Western partners are trying to hide the complete inability to discipline their wards in Kiev for shameful procedures related to the extension of sanctions against Russia.” Fortunately for Brussels, the impasse will be only rhetorical. Now the EU can even recognize the wrongness of Ukraine. Following this recognition, he will not have to immediately move on to politically unprofitable practical steps: anti-Russian sanctions have already been extended for half a year, and the question of their cancellation will be considered only after several months.
On the other hand, something needs to be tackled with local elections in the DPR and LPR scheduled for February and March. If by this time the election law agreed with the militias is not adopted, they will pass according to local, republican norms. And while this election also has not been canceled, despite the apparent resistance of Petro Poroshenko. The conditions of the elections he put forward without an agreed law are such that they will clearly not suit the republic. It would be rather strange, for example, to participate in the elections in the LC and the DNI of those Ukrainian parties that are rightly considered extremist in the east of Ukraine, and not only by their rhetoric. That is, the parties whose militants are fighting against those authorities where they would have to be elected.
Europe has so far taken an apparently neutral position - it continues to insist that the elections in the republics be held on time. But this is clearly a way to put pressure on the Ukrainian president, so that he feels the need to come out nevertheless on the version agreed with the LC and the DPR. Then, more to the point, the position of Brussels may change.
In general, the transfer of the implementation of the Minsk agreements to the 2016 year gives the parties a respite in time. As the Kremlin’s press service said, the Foreign Ministers of the Normandy Four were tasked with conducting a “thorough inventory of the implementation of the Minsk agreements” at the beginning of 2016. Inventory, not monitoring. This means that the extension of the agreement not only shifts the deadline for their termination, but also assumes that as a result, all the other terms laid down in them will also “float”.
At the same time, information on the outcome of the Quartet talks is now mainly coming from Moscow. This suggests that Russia has achieved quite satisfactory arrangements.
The main thing is not to shoot
For the DPR with the LPR, extending the agreement is even beneficial: “For us, this means extending the truce, and therefore the opportunity to engage in state-building and restoring the DPR economy,” said Alexander Zakharchenko, head of the Donetsk People's Republic. In addition, the truce allows the leaders of the self-proclaimed republics to gain political points among external forces by demonstrating their peacefulness and readiness to implement the Minsk agreements. “We confirm our readiness to discuss modalities of holding elections in the DPR with the Kiev side. We are interested in these elections taking place, as this will increase the controllability of our territory and, consequently, will contribute to the improvement of the living standards of our citizens, ”says Zakharchenko. Yes, the Russian guard patriots call this ostentatious peacefulness as evidence of the upcoming “surrender of Novorossia”, but in fact this is a win-win strategy. The leaders of the DPR and the LPR propose Kiev to sit down at the negotiating table, while well aware that Ukraine will refuse them.
According to Sergei Lavrov, the Ukrainian president refuses to implement the Minsk agreements, based on domestic political motives. “Poroshenko had every opportunity to push through the radicals, through extremists who tried to accuse him of national treason, decisions that would embody this important document,” the Russian minister said. - Even the terms that were chosen, said that he wanted to bully and thus, probably, to gain some internal political points. How it turned out, I do not know. Ratings suggest otherwise. ” And, given these falling ratings, one can hardly hope that in the near future, Petro Poroshenko will change his position and begin the implementation of the Minsk agreements. We should not expect adequate behavior from the Verkhovna Rada - its current composition is too radical, and there will not be a new one, since neither Petro Poroshenko’s Block (with a rather low rating) nor Arseny Yatsenyuk’s supporters (with a practically zero rating) will allow new election.
On the other hand, Poroshenko has no room for maneuver in terms of interpretations of Minsk - the agreements clearly spell out the steps that Ukraine should take. “It says there should be decentralization on a permanent basis in the constitution. This means the right to use the Russian language in the territory of Donbass, to special economic ties with Russia, the right to participate in the appointment of prosecutors, judges, have their own law enforcement agencies, including the people's police, and a number of things that were personally written by German Chancellor Angela Merkel French President Francois Hollande ", - said Sergey Lavrov.
At the same time, the very fact of these agreements, as well as the Russian-European consensus on the issue of refusal from escalation, restrain Kiev from various adventures. Yes, by default he is still allowed by external sponsors to engage in petty provocations and shelling. In Donetsk and Lugansk, they understand this and are not going to relax. “Unfortunately, I cannot say that the extension of the Minsk agreements will protect us from the death of militias and civilians, since during the truce, the Kiev security forces continue to send sabotage groups and bombard our peaceful cities,” Zakharchenko explained. At the same time, one of the leaders of the DPR, in a conversation with the Expert Online correspondent, made it clear that the republic was extremely serious about the concentration of the Ukrainian army near the contact line, and even preparing for a full-fledged attack.
And the figure of the speaker
But it is just unlikely, since Poroshenko is well aware that in the case of transition to active hostilities, neither the EU nor even the United States will seriously support him. Moreover, Europe in this case, as at the beginning of 2015 of the year, may turn a blind eye to the subsequent counter-offensive of the militias with the release of new territories from Kiev. Therefore, the Ukrainian leader has no way out - he has to sit, sadly watching the EU and the US lose interest in him, and hope that Putin will make a mistake and prove to Europe that it needs a Ukrainian outpost to fight the aggressive and unpredictable Russia. But there should be no mistakes - on the contrary, the Kremlin headed for the status quo. This, in particular, explains the connection to the Contact Group on the settlement of the crisis around Ukraine, the former State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov, who can be described as a master of compromise. If the Kremlin needed breakthroughs, or turning the Minsk or Normandy format into a place for serious and heated discussions, other people would be appointed.