Novorossiya, Russian Politics, Ukraine Civil War

Putin at St. Petersburg: Supports Donbass Republics, But Still Soft on Kiev

by Kennedy Applebaum
June 20, 2015

Vladimir Putin (--Mikhail Metzel/TASS)

Vladimir Putin (–Mikhail Metzel/TASS)

In St. Petersburg Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin still sends mixed messages about the Ukraine conflict, underplaying the criminal behavior of the occupation regime in Kiev as well as the consequent right to independence of Novorossiya. The good news is, he defends the stance of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics more firmly than he has in the past, referring to them by name and without qualification. This is a significant step toward recognition of the two young nations. Putin correctly blames the Ukraine crisis on the illegal Western coup of February 2014, which ousted constitutionally elected President Viktor Yanukovich without proper impeachment proceedings. Putin rightly supports constitutional reform and the crucial provision of amnesty, as guaranteed by the Minsk 2.0 Agreements, and scolds the Ukraine parliament for delay and manipulation of the process. He elucidates Ukraine’s hypocrisy in claiming the territory of Donbass even as they deny benefits to the people who live there.

On the down side, Putin still speaks of “our friends in Kiev,” despite that these “friends” are illegally occupying the Ukrainian capital and have committed genocide against the very cultural and ancestral Russian groups Putin claims to defend. Perhaps this bit of saccharine dimplomacy trumpets a grab for the “high moral ground”. But it’s the high ground defined by immoral Western leaders and not by the enlightened community. Unfortunately, this pretense amplifies the image of duplicity for which the Russian president is so often blamed. Putin should be talking tough.

The tendency to appease the West is a weakness Putin has often shown since his proud display at the Sochi Olympics and his rightful adoption of Crimea, events which apparently distracted him from the evolving crisis in Kiev.

For better or worse, the Russian President is setting his sights on a longterm optimistic vision, the cultural and economic unification of Ukraine and Russia. But in light of the Kiev regime’s express hatred for Russians, this vision seems unrealistic. Still, despite his softness on Kiev, I am encouraged by Putin’s assessment of the root cause of the Ukraine war, and his growing recognition of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.

Brief aside: If the US has the right to a coup in Kiev, then Russia has the right to Crimea, and the DPR/LPR have the right to the territory of Donbass.

I present below an article from TASS describing Vladimir Putin’s position on the Minsk 2.0 Agreements and Kiev’s mishandling of the process, as stated at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday June 19, 2015.

West’s Support for State Coup in Ukraine Prime Cause
of Crisis in Ukraine — Putin

June 19, 2015

Vladimir Putin answered questions at a plenary session of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.

St PETERSBURG / The prime cause of the crisis in Ukraine was the West’s support for the anti-constitutional coup and not Russia, President Vladimir Putin said on Friday as he answered questions at a plenary session of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum. “We are not the root-cause of the showings of the crisis that are taking place in Ukraine,” he said. “They shouldn’t have supported the anti-state and anti-constitutional coup, the armed seizure of power that eventually ignited a tough confrontation and de facto a civil war in that country.”

The vanishing of the bipolar world and the disintegration of the USSR threw the U.S. and its Western partners into a state of euphoria of some kind – instead of building good-neighborly relations, they started exploring new territories. In part, NATO began its eastwards expansion. “Quite possibly, some of our partners might have gotten an illusion that a global center like the Soviet Union had existed in the postwar world order and now that it was gone, vacuum appeared and it was to be filled urgently,” he said. “I actually think that’s an erroneous approach to the solution of the problem,” Putin said.

Putin suggests way of settling crisis.

As for ways for settling the crisis, the Russian president said Kiev needs transition from manipulations to practical work. The Ukrainian parliament should have passed a resolution to implement the law on the special status of the Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics, the Russian president said. “Our friends in Kiev fulfilled this decision formally and along with a resolution adopted by the Verkhovna Rada on implementing this law, they made amendments to the law, as far as I know, to article 10, which fully disavowed this action,” Putin said. “This is manipulation and nothing else and it is necessary to switch from manipulations to practical work,” he said.

Putin said that in addition to the above mentioned steps Kiev should carry out a constitutional reform, decentralisation, should adopt a law on municipal elections and announce amnesty so that the Minsk agreements can be fulfilled. “A political dialogue is impossible with people [who] face a threat of criminal prosecution,” he said adding that all this should be implemented with the consent of Donetsk and Lugansk. “But unfortunately, we cannot watch any dialogue,” the Russian president said. “There are only hints that it is going to start, but too much time has passed since the Minsk agreements were signed.”

Putin has again pointed out that both sides are far from a direct dialogue on economic revival of these regions. “The thesis ‘we have no money’ does not work in this case,” he said in conclusion. “If the current Ukrainian authorities think that it is Ukraine’s territory and there live the Ukrainians who enjoy the right to be provided with disability benefits or pensions and who have earned them working in accordance with the Ukrainian law, then the Ukrainian authorities cannot deny payments of these benefits as they just have no right to behave so! They are violating their own constitution.”

Putin says Moscow wants trust-based dialogue with Ukraine.

Putin also added that Russia hopes for trust-based dialogue with Ukraine. In spite of all the current complexities, the Russians and Ukrainians make up a single nation, a single ethnos with a shared history and culture and they are destined to have a common future. he said. “We have a shared history, a shared culture with common spiritual roots,” Putin said. “Whatever may happen, Russia and Ukraine will be destined to a shared future in one way or another,” the president noted. He recalled that Russia had initiated the process of disintegration of the USSR and the granting of sovereignty to other former Soviet republics. “Nothing has changed in this sense since then, and today Russia and Ukraine are bound by very practical things in addition to all those ties that formed over centuries,” Putin said. “These are the common engineering, energy and transport infrastructure, common regulations, and so on and so forth.”

Editor’s note: We would like to thank Voice of Sevastopol for drawing our attention to this article.


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