The State of Malorossiya is What the Ukrainians Believe
By Karl Pomeroy
July 19, 2017
Donetsk People’s Republic President Alexander Zakharchenko declared on July 18, 2017 the creation of a new state, to be called Malorossiya, or “Little Russia”. This new state comprises all of the Oblasts (regions) of the former Ukraine, with Donetsk, rather than Kiev, its capital. Representatives of every Ukrainian Oblast, from Lvov in the far west, to Sumy in the north, to Lugansk in the east, signed the document endorsing the creation of Malorossiya at Tuesday’s ministerial summit in Donetsk.
With the declaration of Malorossiya, the State of Ukraine ceases to exist. Malorossiya takes its place. However, a declaration is only as valid as the recognition it gets. So far, the Declaration of Malorossiya has been noted by key foreign players, including Moscow, Washington, Berlin and Paris. These enemy capitals (I call Moscow an enemy because of frequent betrayals) have naturally denounced the creation of Malorossiya, mouthing typical unrealistic platitudes about the Minsk 2.0 Accords being the only solution to the Donbass conflict.
This is patent nonsense. The unconstitutionally established post-coup regime in Kiev, presided over by Petro Poroshenko, has stalled these agreements for almost two and a half years, delaying reform of the Ukraine constitution subject to approval of the Donbass representatives, and daily shelling civilian targets in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR/LPR).
Kiev refuses to implement Minsk 2.0 because the agreements were in fact a trick. Poroshenko signed the endorsement document in Minsk, Belarus on February 12, 2015, after 19 straight hours of high-pressure negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and French President Francois Hollande (the Normandy Four). Other participants in these negotiations were the Tripartite Contact Group and DPR/LPR representatives Presidents Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky. All participants were sleep deprived by the time the process was done.
Whether Poroshenko knew it or not, he had just signed an agreement granting his bitterest enemies, Plotnitksy and Zakharchenko, full veto power over Ukrainian constitutional reform. This veto power is guaranteed by a literal reading of Minsk Package of Measures document. What this means is, theoretically, the DPR/LPR leaders had de facto control over the political structure of post-Minsk Ukraine. But they only had control if they took it. The wording of the Package of Measures, upon superficial reading, obscures this veto guarantee, and it was therefore overlooked by many observers.
But the guarantee is there, and Zakharchenko rightly called it a victory, expressing his intent to seize full political control of Ukraine. In an interview with Euromaidan Press on February 14, 2015, Zakharchenko said, “We regard the Minsk agreement a victory, paradoxically, in that we will be able to change Ukraine itself. Ukraine’s constitution and political processes are controlled by us. The Minsk agreement is vague and open to interpretation…. We will regard any attempts of Ukraine troops to break out of the [Debaltsevo] pocket or deblockade it as a violation of the Minsk ceasefire…. We will follow our own election law, already adopted by the People’s Council. Local elections will be governed by this law…. This allowed us to understand the Minsk agreement in this way. We understand it as de facto independence…. This is the way we signed it and the way we understand it…. Minsk allows for providing us with special powers. If our demands of de facto independence are not met, we will keep insisting the territory held by the Ukrainian army is illegally occupied and the borders of the Donetsk People’s Republic are the borders of the Donetsk Oblast.” [Emphasis added. See Minsk 2.0 Chess Match: Has Zakharchenko Outplayed Kiev? (February 18, 2015).]
What Zakharchenko may not have foreseen was Kiev’s ability to stall on these measures indefinitely. But Poroshenko was only able to stall by virtue of the feigned blindness of Minsk guarantors Putin, Merkel and Hollande, and the political and military support given the Kiev regime by the United States and NATO. In all fairness, Putin was the more ethical in his defence of the agreement than his counterparts Merkel and Hollande. At least the Russian President has accused Kiev of violating of the ceasefire, while, Merkel, Hollande, the U.S. and NATO continue, without evidence, to blame these violations on Donbass—or in the worst cases of Western bias, to blame the violations on Putin himself, whom they falsely accuse of invading Ukraine with Russian troops.
But now, with the Declaration of Malorossiya, Zakharchenko has reasserted the control over Ukraine that Minsk 2.0 guaranteed. It does not matter whether Malorossiya is allowed by the Minsk document. Malorossiya transcends Minsk. And the existence of this new state is only as real as perceived.
By denouncing Malorossiya, Washington, Berlin, France and Moscow have admitted, perhaps inadvertently, that they take seriously this newly formed nation-state. Were it nothing but a trivial political ploy, why would they bother denouncing it?
And why do they take it seriously? Because Alexander Zakharchenko, a great world leader on a par with Putin and President Trump, has proven time and again, through military and political victories, that his word has immutable power.
Perception is the key. Ukraine is a failed state. Its citizens are suffering under a corrupt government heavily influenced by historic Nazi factions. People all over Kiev-controlled Ukraine silently favor the Donbass Republics. Secret support for the DPR/LPR has emerged through Zakharchenko’s nation-wide Question and Answer sessions, in which callers from all over Ukraine, and indeed all over the world, have anonymously discussed their concerns with the DPR leader. These Question and Answer sessions were a brilliant innovation on Zakharchenko’s part, laying the groundwork for the Malorossiya Declaration.
And here is where perception comes in. It is irrelevant what the Kremlin, the U.S. State Department, NATO, France or Germany think about Malorossiya. The only relevant factor is what Ukrainians think. Suppose then, whether granted official permission or not, people all over Ukraine start spontaneously recognizing Malorossiya, and begin answering to Donetsk rather than Kiev.
No shots need be fired. In fact, Petro Poroshenko and his Ukrainian Security Service would be helpless to hold back the tide. The criminal Kiev government does not have the material means to kill or imprison the whole population.
So has Petro “Porky” Poroshenko been demoted to the status of a naked emperor?
He has if the people say so.