Introduction by Kennedy Applebaum
October 6, 2015
Updated October 7, 2015
The DPR/LPR elections that had been scheduled for October 18 and November 1 have been officially postponed by the leaders of those two former nations, Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky. This unfortunate event has come to pass at the insistence of ill-informed and hostile foreign powers in Berlin, Paris, Moscow and Kiev, allegedly to force the two Republics into complying with the Minsk Agreements. in exchange, Kiev promised to meet amnesty and constitutional amendment requirements, conditions they were already obligated to fulfill under Minsk 2.0. So even were they to keep those promises, the DPR/LPR would have gained nothing new. Yet now, on October 7, 2015, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin has rescinded even those promises. (See Novorossia Today report presented at the end of this post). It is hardly surprising that the DPR/LPR were swindled, and have postponed their elections for nothing.
This momentous event may mark the end of the last hope for the self-determination of the former flegdling nations known as the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.
Some pro-Donbass observers have responded to the election delay with profound disappointment and even cynicism. Below is the opinion of prominent Novorossiya analyst Vladimir Suchan. Following that are videos and comments about the tragic disappearance of Valentina Kornienko, another manifestation of the loss of DPR sovereignty. Boris Rozhin’s (Colonel Cassad’s) pragmatic analysis of the Donbass election delay is presented after that, along with a report on Pavel Klimkin from Novorossia Today.
Don’t Worry, People! Nuland and Surkov (plus Boroday) are
Working Behind the Scenes to Make Everything Right!
Guest Article by Vladimir Suchan
October 6, 2015
Don’t worry! As Alexander Zhuchkovsky reports in his obliging best possible spin on today’s cancellation of the “elections” in the DPR and the LPR, the current phase of the pacification of Donbass is moving along the plan worked out by no one else but Victoria Nuland aided by a hand from Russia’s Foreign Ministry (the idea is to make the DPR and the LPR, but mainly the people of Donbass, accept and swallow accepting an idea and then a fact of conforming to the Kiev regime’s laws).
The second happy news is that Surkov and Boroday personally started selecting the most suitable people to replace from above all the undesirable and unreliable people of the Novorossiya revolution, who are not friends to Minsk, so that the whole nomenclature, all key positions are staffed only with filtered, hand-picked people in the same way in which Pushilin or Plotnitsky were handpicked from above. This is even more encouraging for everyone knows (c) how ethically and morally solid and principled are Surkov or Boroday, who did not wait that long to rush socialite Ksenia Sobchak to declare the death of Novorossiya (“a false start” in part thanks to him) and denounce Strelkov on Sobchak’s liberal “news program.” Surkov started off as Khodakovsky’s right man, then he became Friendman’s man in the Kremlin. He is a man who believes that if you make people sufficiently stupid, it will make you a God or Satan, whichever you prefer.
The Abduction of Valentina Kornienko
Quemado Institute Commentary
Further evidence that the former bright star we called the Donetsk People’s Republic is being destroyed from within by the Kremlin is embodied in the tragedy now unfolding in the form of the abduction of Valentina Kornienko. This young Donetsk woman, leader of a local humanitarian aid group that helped impoverished Donbass people, was seized in Donetsk on 22 September by unidentified soldiers dressed in camouflage. DPR leaders contacted by family and friends have been silent.
More details on this event may appear here later. Meanwhile, our analysis based on what few facts we have is as follows. Not speaking Russian, we cannot understand the videos made by Valentina’s mother and her younger sister Ekaterina. (See links below. Reader comments would be helpful.) However, that the abductors were dressed in camouflage suggests they were not Ukrainian saboteurs, who would have been careful to be less conspicuous. We also gather that Valentina Kornienko was not seized because she was sympathetic with Ukraine, as there are photos of her standing with the late Commander Bednov (Batman) and also arm in arm with Igor Strelkov. These facts taken together suggest that Valentina was seized by the DPR authorities for being overly pro-Novorossiya, much as Andrey Purgin was detained and ousted as Speaker of the DPR People’s Council by Denis Pushilin in a minor coup last month.
That Valentina has not been heard from since her capture should not surprise us, as Purgin, during his 4-day detainment in DPR captivity, was also not heard from, having been denied by DPR authorities the opportunity to use a telephone. Of course, Valentina’s abduction could have been a case of kidnap by rogue militia elements. But if that were true, why have DPR leaders Zakharchenko and Pushilin not responded to the family’s request for help and information?
Friends of Valentina have been posting notices on Twitter, apparently believing publication of the event will help their cause. To readers who know Russian and can understand the videos below, or have more information about Valentina’s abduction, please comment.
Video (Russian): Valentina Kornienko’s sister Ekaterina appeals to Zakharchenko about Valentina’s abduction. Click here.
Video: Graham Phillips on abduction of Valentina, October 1, 2015. Click here.
Video (Russian): Mother of abducted Donetsk charity worker Valentina Kornienko appeals to Zakharchenko. Click here.
Well-known pro-DPR Twitter source Novorossiya News tweeted these messages to @DenisPushilin on October 6: “Valentina Kornienko, abducted 22 Sep by soldiers. Donetsk. DPR leaders, contacted by family & myself are SILENT. / No individual has done more to help relieve the suffering of Donbass families than Ekaterina & Valentina Kornienko. / Will someone please tell me WTF is going on in DPR. Why are you & Zakharchenko doing NOTHING to help the Kornienko family?”
Novorossiya News tweeted again on October 7: “What exactly are the DPR leaders actually DOING about the Kornienko abduction? Why are you ignoring the distressed family? / I got a sort of response from one Donetsk district leader, otherwise a wall of complete SILENCE about the Valentina Kornienko abduction. / DPR leaders are deliberately IGNORING the family of abducted charity worker Valentina Kornienko – WHY?”
October 7 Update: Donbass Elections Postponed
What is the Meaning?
The following article from Novorossia Today reports that Kiev yet again intends to break its promises and ignore the mandates of the Minsk Agreements, rendering the DPR/LPR election delay a pointless sacrifice:
Kiev Not Considering Amnesty, Special Status
for Donbass — Foreign Minister
October 7, 2015
Kiev authorities are not considering the issues of a special status to Donbass or amnesty, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin told the country’s parliament on Wednesday. “They tried to impose on us an ‘amnesty list’ or a special status. There will be no such things,” Klimkin stressed. The minister said the French initiative on immunity is discussed in the format of post-conflict settlement. “Amnesty is a judicial process rather than a political one, it may take place only when Ukrainian prosecutors and the court will be locally,” Klimkin said. “The Balkan states have the experience of such an amnesty.” Speaking about another stand-off over the special status, Klimkin said “no special status actually exists.” “We have the law on peculiarities of local self-government regime, and the references to this law are included in the constitution. It is the only [law] that solves the situation with the special local self-rule in these regions,” he said. The Donbass special status and amnesty are required under the Minsk agreements signed on February 12 in the Belarusian capital, which also envisage the ceasefire, weaponry withdrawal, prisoner exchange, local election in Donbas and constitutional reform in Ukraine.
The next commentary by analyst Boris Rozhin, with note by translator Greg Butterfield, offers additional perspective:
Colonel Cassad on postponement of Donbass elections
Elections in the DNR postponed to 2016
By Colonel Cassad
Translated by Greg Butterfield
Red Star Over Donbass
October 6, 2015
Elections in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DNR and LC) will be postponed to 2016 as part of the “Normandy Quartet” plan for implementation of the Minsk agreement. So, as mentioned earlier, the terms of the Minsk agreement will not be met in 2015 and the issue of the border is no longer relevant in 2015 (according to Minsk, it should be considered after the elections in Donbass).
On the other hand, the Russian Federation had to pay a price by putting the brakes on implementing the “Transnistria scenario,” since if the elections had gone ahead now, they would have buried the Minsk agreement in 2015 and finally torn the Donbass from Ukraine. However, plans for certification and various changes in the republics are very likely to be postponed pending the elections (although creeping changes are not excluded). Now the republics will remain in limbo for several months, and will remain, as before, at the mercy of Russian negotiations with the United States and the European Union.
Judging by the terms, the benchmarks are those of the OSCE compromise plan authored by Morel, where Russia makes concessions on the timing of elections, but the junta and its masters have to accept that the deadline for the Minsk Agreement will not come in 2015. The republics demand that the junta make the desired changes to the Constitution of Ukraine, while the junta says no changes are required and, moreover, already demands the cancellation of the 2014 election results. This is actually the main problem of agreements with the junta; it systematically fails to comply with its obligations.
In general, the situation in Donbass will remain at a crawl for the rest of 2015, and the clarity desired by many will not occur until next year.
Note by Greg Butterfield: Cassad’s brief commentary hones in on the main issue with the Donbass elections from the Russian government’s viewpoint: “The terms of the Minsk agreement will not be met in 2015 and the issue of the border is no longer relevant in 2015 (according to Minsk, it should be considered after the elections in Donbass).”
For the Russian capitalist class, with its military forces currently engaged in Syria, this makes perfect sense (while rubbing everyone’s faces in the fact that the Donbass resistance is viewed as a pawn rather than an ally).
At the same time, it shows why this rotten compromise with the imperialists and Kiev junta at the expense of the DNR and LC is not an apocalyptic conclusion, either. A lot depends on how the imperialists respond to Russia’s intervention against ISIL and various CIA assests in Syria.
Undoubtedly there are strategists in both Moscow and Donbass hoping that a Russian triumph over ISIL will provide them more wiggle room on the world scene for dealing with Kiev.
We must not lose sight of the fact that the real hope for the future doesn’t rest on Moscow or Kiev or negotiations in Minsk. It rests with initiatives like the Ghost Brigade’s newly announced INTERUNIT.
by Karl Pomeroy
Quemado Institute has decided it can no longer support the governments of the regions called the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. The beginning of the end was the unilateral Novorossiya Armed Forces withdrawal from Shirokino in early July. The middle of the end was the arrest and dismissal of DPR People’s Council Speaker Andrey Purgin. The end of the end is the cancellation of the DPR/LPR elections that were scheduled for October 18 and November 1. (For our earlier predictions on the likely future impacts of the first two events, see Shirokino Retreat: Gambit, Blunder or Outright Betrayal? and Silence and Lies on Purgin Dismissal – Quemado Institute Opinion and Recommendations.)
We continue to support the residents of Donbass, the militias, and the founders of Novorossiya. But these good people are no longer in power. We supported Alexander Zakharchenko, but since the NAF withdrew from Shirokino, he has faded in and out of the status of figurehead. Now he is no longer running the country. Why? He declared unambiguously that the DPR elections would be held on October 18 regardless of outside opinion, and that the Minsk Agreements would not be extended beyond 2015. Yet the DPR government has acted in opposition to both declarations.
We also withdraw support from Vladimir Putin for his betrayal of Donbass and Novorossiya.
We worry about Graham Phillips returning to Donetsk, fearing he might be abducted by DPR authorities, so great has our distrust become of that government run by Pushilin and other agents of the Kremlin. What more can be said?
Novorossiya was destroyed by foreign powers: Moscow first and foremost, due to Putin’s obsession with appeasing the West. And of course Berlin, Paris and Washington. All of these governments have dealt with the conflict in a cruel and inhumane manner.
Petro Poroshenko has established a terrible precedent in European history that Milosevic could not get away with: that of killing civilians until the resistance backs down. It worked. To stop Kiev’s slaughter of Donbass civilians, Russia and Europe stepped in and destroyed, not Kiev the aggressor, but Novorossiya the victim.
The end of the end has come. Will there be an aftermath? We consider this a personal loss, a loss of hope for the future of the world, and a tragedy for all the people of Donbass.