Can Novorossiya Outlast Kiev?
Introduction by Kennedy Applebaum
January 6, 2016
Will there be a regional breakup of Ukraine in 2016? Pro-Novorossiya observers consider this the optimum solution for Donbass. The Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics have survived almost two years of political and military conflict, and have established themselves as legitimate states, despite the challenges to their sovereignty imposed by the Minsk ceasefire agreements.
If their strategy in the Minsk stand-off is to outlast the Kiev regime, it’s a strategy not without risk, as Ukrainian nationalist battalions persist in low-intensity attacks on their borders. But it’s a strategy that would save civilian lives.
The two articles below, with a Twitter expert discussion, analyze the prospects for a Ukraine breakup.
German press: Ukrainian Government Will Not Survive 2016
Edited autotranslation from Russian by Quemado Institute
January 6, 2016
The newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has analyzed two years of post-Maidan in Ukraine and come to the conclusion that since the expulsion of Victor Yanukovich, the situation in the country is deteriorating day by day.
The Ukrainian crisis of the last couple of years has only increased the oligarchs’ use of armed groups to achieve their goals. Every politician in power pulls the blanket over himself, and the expulsion of Victor Yanukovych did not contribute to the well-being of the country. The worst is yet to come for Ukraine in the near future. This is the conclusion from one of the leading German newspapers, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
According to the FAZ journalist, the Government of Ukraine is bursting at the seams, drowning in internal squabbles, while the country is run by oligarchs. And since improvement is not expected, many do not believe that the Kiev authorities will be able to last more than a few months.
Two years after “Euromaidan”, business in Ukraine has not improved. Former President Viktor Yanukovych, who was blamed for all the trouble, was banished, but it does not appear that the country is close to an exit from the crisis, reads a translation of the article from RIA Novosti.
“Ukrainian oligarchs continue to gain strength, they finance private armies, and if they do not like a law, send armed groups to occupy factories,” says FAZ. “At the same time Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is regularly accused of colluding with criminal structures and speculators.”
In the confusion unleashed, everyone pulls the blanket over himself, the author notes. Thus, the principle of peaceful settlement of disputes lasted only a year before the party of Yulia Tymoshenko demanded new elections. The former president of Georgia, “Daredevil” Saakashvili is likely to try to use his own “anti-corruption” campaign in order to stand at the head of the government.
“Many citizens who were protesting at Independence [Square] on the reform of the country fear that all may end up in the same way as after the ‘Orange Revolution’ of 2004, and the country will be mired in the swamp of the rotten old system,” says the author of the article.
Everything boils down to the fact that the West will be forced to increase their pressure on Kiev if they want their money to cease draining away to nowhere: the economy of Ukraine, which is completely dependent on the billions of dollars of inflows from the IMF, declined last year by 10%, with the worst poverty in Ukraine yet to come, and political instability is the last thing the country can afford in the current situation.”
Twitter Expert Discussion
Possible Breakup of Ukraine
January 6, 2016, 14:00-16:00 UTC
Enrico Ivanov begins by tweeting: “German media: #Ukraine’s current government won’t see the end of 2016!” and posts a link to the above article. Abraxas Doe quips in return: “Are they planning to change it by some kind of ‘moderate’ nazis’? Maybe that way, mass media zombis will believe that everything is getting ‘better’.”
Enrico Ivanov answers: “3 options for #Ukraine: replacing the regime with nazis; unity govt; dividing the country, failed Soviet experiment.” Steve H tweets back: “If replacing with nazis, wouldn’t last long before full civil war. Unity government—not a chance! Regions will opt out.” DissidentView adds: “The best solution is break-up of the artificially created Ukraine into 3 parts: Novorossia, Kiev/central, Galicia.” To which Steve H remarks: “I think most people understand this. Even in US/NATO, but they just want to make maximum trouble for Russia.” DissidentView notes: “Ukraine is already divided de facto along sectarian lines: Unitary Catholics, Ukrainian Orthodox & Russian Orthodox.”
Afterpappie replies: “First, you forgot, give the part stolen from #Poland back!!!!!” DissidentView answers: “Galacia could join Poland. It should never join #Russia.” Afterpappie agrees: “Yep that is what i say!!! #Lviv.” Suzi Su tweets: “I think if Russia stepped in it would be ok to protect the donbass people and the militia from #UA.” To which Steve H says: “Russia will take action when needed, but not before. Careful contingency planning in Kremlin.”
DissidentView observes: “Ukraine is imploding before our eyes because of mismanagement from Putsch/USA. #Russia just wait.” Steve H agrees: “Exactly so. Give them enough rope, they’ll hang themselves with it.” Suzi Su asks: “Do you think it would hold ?” Steve H answers: “For the parts controlled or influenced by Russia, yes. For Galicia, who knows? (Who cares?)”, concluding: “OK, time to make it reality! #Ukraine is dead. Long live #Novorossiya!”
Ukraine Not Out of the Woods
Guest Article by Markus Wehner
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Edited autotranslation from German by Quemado Institute
January 6, 2016
The Kiev government will change, and many do not believe it will survive the next few months. Two years after the flight of Viktor Yanukovich, the power of the oligarchs continues unabated, the conflict with Russia is ongoing, and national bankruptcy threatens.
The longterm plays a small role in Ukraine. Things there are too volatile. Especially in governance. Recently the Minister of the Interior has a filled water glass thrown at him during a meeting of the National Council on reforms with the governor of Odessa. Both have yelled at and insulted each other. Mikheil Saakashvili, the governor, called Minister Arsen Avakov a “thief”. He characterized his opponent as “scum” and a “fucking circus performer”.
The Minister published the insults in a video. There you can also see how President Poroshenko hides his face in his hands in despair. A few days earlier, a deputy of the Poroshenko Party handed Prime Minister Yatsenyuk a bouquet of roses in parliament, then overpowered him at the same moment and dragged away from the lectern. It started a brawl in which dozens of MPs brandished their fists.
Ie almost two years after the flight of Viktor Yanukovych, things are not going well in Ukraine. The corrupt President is gone, but the dirty system is not. The power of oligarchs continues unabated. They finance private armies, or let operations by armed men occupy [sites] if they do not adhere to the law. The unpopular Prime Minister Yatsenyuk is believed to involve himself with criminal profiteers under cover.
The government is changing, and many do not believe that it will survive the next few months. After a year of obligations to peace, the party of the reckless Tymoshenko drums for new elections. And hothead Saakashvili, onetime President of Georgia, will probably use his anti-corruption campaign for himself becoming head of the government as the new darling of the masses. Many citizens who were protesting on the Maidan for a better system, fear everything could end up like after the Orange Revolution in 2004, with the same old rotten conditions.
Economic pinpricks from Moscow
No, Ukraine is not out of the woods. Political instability is something they cannot really afford. It depends on the influx of the International Monetary Fund, the billions that flow into the country. The economy has shrunk by ten percent in 2015. Although there are police and bank reforms, the appointment of an anti-corruption prosecutor could only be achieved by pressure from Brussels and Washington. The West must increase this pressure, if Ukraine is to really move ahead.
All this is happening while the conflict with Russia continues. Kiev has a loan of three billion dollars, which was not executed in December, [and is still owed to] Russia. The matter will now be settled in court, and Ukraine threatens national bankruptcy. Since January 1, at the same time, a free trade agreement is being discussed with the European Union. Brussels and Moscow have been involved for over 18 months in negotiations about it, but the Kremlin was not seeking an agreement. Putin had canceled his own Russian FTA with Kiev before the last round of negotiations.
Moscow will continue its policy of economic pinpricks against Kiev. Meanwhile, the Kremlin is waiting to see if Ukraine [will destroy] itself. [Moscow] will continue to support the separatist regions in the east to just such an extent that they are not [annexed by] Russia. Putin wants nothing more on that front. He hopes he is making progress with the West in Syria, and that next summer the EU will abolish sanctions. Finally, the West has so much to handle, with the refugee crisis, the EU’s disintegration and the anti-terrorist operations, that he would be happy to have a bit of peace at least with Russia.
The conflict could be frozen
But such a deal could go wrong for Europe. Putin has maintained the potential to revive the war in eastern Ukraine. There Russia supports the continued functioning of the military structures. The West is doing well at deterring President Poroshenko from military adventures. They could end up with a defeat in Kiev.
In one and a half months will come the anniversary of the agreements negotiated by Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande, called Minsk II. Putin will not let the Ukrainian-Russian border fall under the control of Ukraine, as is specified [in the agreements]. Instead, he will point out that Kiev has not complied with its obligations, and has not allowed decentralization or federalization for eastern Ukraine.
Putin uttered only a single word about Ukraine in his recent address to the nation, while previously, a year ago, the “junta” and “fascists” in Kiev were a hot topic. But that does not mean the conflict in Ukraine is over. Putin will have a foot in the door. With the Minsk agreements, Ukraine is at least able to end the war instigated [sic] by Russia, which has claimed tens of thousands of victims. The conflict could be frozen. Unfortunately, this is the best that can be expected at present.
Quemado Institute Comments:
The author, writing in a Western venue, of course blames the Ukraine conflict on Russia, rather than on the injustice and upheaval that emerged after the far-right instigated Western-backed false flag operation of the Maidan coup. The omission is to be expected. Nevertheless, Markus Wehner has presented a number of important insights that give cause for optimism about the future of Novorossiya.