Original Opinion – written by Gleb Bazov
Caveat: the views expressed herein do not necessarily match those of Slavyangrad.ORG
It is impossible to prove or disprove the existence of the divine plan. Russia’s cunning plan in Ukraine belongs to the same category. In analyzing the statements made by Sergei Lavrov in his interview with Russia Beyond the Headlines on September 17, 2014, some commentators have added a third concept—that of diplomatic theatre—to this duality. While it is generally bad form to overanalyze religious beliefs, let us apply some simple mathematics to understand the play behind the curtains of diplomatic theatre.
The concept of diplomatic theatre is understood differently by commentators. Many of the definitions are clearly wrong. Diplomatic theatre is not magic, mysticism, or sleight of hand. The language of diplomacy is far more akin to mathematics than commonly understood. As in mathematics, every word has its place, and no phrase is spoken out of context or frivolously.
The product of a diplomatic equation is directly dependent on the placement of definitions in a string of calculated statements. Like legal language, diplomatic language can be deciphered, broken down into components, and analyzed with precision. To a keen observer, there is nothing mysterious in what diplomats say. Bad diplomacy, on the other hand, is the opposite of this approach. And Lavrov is an excellent diplomat. Accordingly, let us parse out the meaning of Lavrov’s interview without resorting to magic or belief in the guiding hand that can do no wrong.
Setting Out the Equation
Lavrov’s interview contains a wealth of statements with respect to the crisis in Ukraine. Many of them have been made before—Russia’s steadfast commitment to investigating the Odessa massacre, the crash of the Malaysian Airlines Boeing MH17, and the war crimes and crimes against humanity being committed by the Ukrainian troops in Donbass. All of these remarks are laudable, praiseworthy and notable in and of themselves.
However, the immediate, short and medium term future of Novorossiya no longer depends on what happened in Odessa, Mariupol and Slavyansk. Far more important to the existence of the Donetsk and the Lugansk People’s Republics (respectively, “DRP” and “LPR”) is the document executed following consultations in Minsk on September 5, 2014—the Protocol of the Trilateral Contact Group, more commonly known as the Minsk Protocol. Perhaps even more important to the continued existence of the DPR and the LPR is Russia’s commitment to the Minsk Protocol, which Russia signed along with the other participants, and the forms such commitment takes.
For our purposes, the key statements in Lavrov’s interview, which evidence Russia’s understanding of the role and substantive impact of the Minsk Protocol, are excerpted for your convenience below:
- Our position is absolutely clear: we want peace in Ukraine, which can only be attained through a wide-ranging national dialogue involving all of the country’s regions and political forces.
- Russia has been actively assisting the emergence of favourable conditions for a peaceful solution to the serious problems confronting Ukraine.
- … in Minsk on 26 August, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko stressed the need for an early end to the bloodshed and a transition to the political settlement of the entire set of problems in the country’s southeast.
- On 3 September, Vladimir Putin proposed a seven-point action plan for stabilizing the Ukrainian crisis.
- … in Minsk on 5 September, President Poroshenko’s representatives and the leaders of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) signed a Protocol with regard to further joint steps aimed at, among other things, implementing the Russian President’s initiative.
- This understanding is an important step in the process of peaceful crisis settlement in Ukraine and designed to serve as a fulcrum point in starting an internal Ukrainian political dialogue that would seek the way toward national accord.
- We proceed from the assumption that all provisions of this document should be meticulously met.
We all want peace in Ukraine. While many of us differ in our opinions of the best means to achieve peace, most of Novorossiya’s supporters universally agree that the Minsk Protocol, as it stands, is tantamount to a betrayal of the struggle currently unfolding in the Donbass region. This note is not meant to elaborate on the writer’s opinion in this regard. Suffice it to say, for now, that a more extensive analysis of the Minsk Protocol is in the works. Nor does it matter, for the purpose of this analysis, if you believe that the Minsk Protocol is the solution to the Ukrainian crisis. As you will glean from what follows, so does Russia.
Understanding the Variables
What can we understand from Lavrov’s statements about Russia’s approach to achieving peace in Ukraine? Lavrov states:
“[peace] can only be attained through a wide-ranging national dialogue involving all of the country’s regions and political forces.”
Recalling our discussion of the mathematics of the diplomatic language, this statement is significant because it speaks of only one country, Ukraine, and of the dialogue between all the regions of that country and the political forces within it. Judging by Lavrov’s statement here, Russia considers Novorossiya to be but a union between two constituent and integral regions of Ukraine—the DPR and the LPR—and does not conceive of these entities (or of Novorossiya, for that matter) as sovereign states. Moreover, Russia deems the groups that have been leading the struggle of the Donbass people against the Kiev authorities to be forces internal to Ukraine, rather than leaders of an independent country—Novorossiya.
The same conclusions are inevitable when one considers statements such as “serious problems confronting Ukraine,” or “political settlement of the entire set of problems in the country’s southeast,” or “process of peaceful crisis settlement in Ukraine,” or “fulcrum point in starting an internal Ukrainian political dialogue that would seek the way toward national accord.” All these phrases irrevocably point to the same basic concept underlying Lavrov’s explanation of the Russian policy with respect to Novorossiya—the crisis is not a matter of self-determination of the Donbass people, nor is it evidence of the emergence of a new subject of international relations.
On the contrary, all that has been happening is an internal Ukrainian matter. It is for Ukraine and no one else to deal with. Problems that confront Ukraine ought to be resolved in order to preserve Ukraine’s integrity. Moreover, these problems are not nationwide, but localized issues affecting the country’s southeast. In Russia’s opinion, a Ukrainian national dialogue ought to be pursued to ensure the preservation of the Ukrainian nation as a single entity. Russia believes that a national accord in Ukraine is still possible, and the meaning of Lavrov’s words is clear—Moscow intends to make all the necessary efforts to ensure that such reconciliation is reached.
What has Russia done to secure this goal? Lavrov state that “Russia has been actively assisting the emergence of favourable conditions for a peaceful solution.” He further makes reference to the following specific events:
- the meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko in Minsk on 26 August, 2014;
- the seven-point action plan proposed by President Vladimir Putin on September 3, 2014; and,
- the execution, on September 5, 2014, of the Minsk Protocol with regard to further joint steps aimed at, among other things, implementing the Russian President’s initiative
In other words, Russia has engaged in a consistent pattern of diplomacy aimed at securing the kind of agreement that was signed in Minsk on September 5, 2014, i.e. the Minsk Protocol. Every statement made by Lavrov in this regard indicates that the Minsk Protocol is the apex of Russia’s diplomatic efforts in resolving the Ukrainian crisis, maintaining the integrity of Ukraine and ensuring the survival of Ukraine as a single national unit.
With so much preparation, effort and work put into the Minsk Protocol, it would be surprising if Russia was negligent in crafting this agreement together with the other participants of the Trilateral Contact Group. And we have no reason to think that she was. On the contrary, the clear implication from everything that Lavrov has said on the subject (including in the interview herein discussed) is that Russia supports each and every provision of the document. But there is no need to convince you with arguments—Lavrov indicated this position very clearly when he stated:
We proceed from the assumption that all provisions of this document should be meticulously met.
There can be no argument on the face of the record. Russia’s position, as elaborated by Lavrov could not be any clearer. The Minsk Protocol must be implemented, in each and every respect. However, this is precisely the point where the proponents of diplomatic theatre as a simulacrum of magic make their strongest case.
The Arithmetics of the Cunning Plan
In the argument of those who see a cunning plan at work behind Lavrov’s words, this statement is a trap carefully laid out for the bumbling Ukrainian halfwits. In fact, the argument goes, Russia expects Ukraine to fail in implementing the Minsk Protocol and is giving Poroshenko as much rope as he desires to hang himself, all the while slyly winking at the DPR and the LPR in a reassuring manner.
An ironclad argument. If there is anything we have learned about the Ukrainian leadership in the course of this conflict (and, in fact, since the early days of the Euromaidan) is that it has a lot of difficulty keeping its word and performing its obligations. Fear not, brave defenders of Novorossiya, you know and we know, and everybody knows that Ukraine will fail, and that is precisely when we will strike, this time—with impunity.
Leaving aside, for the moment, the doubtful assertion of the lack of punitive response (if anything, the West has been eminently clear that it will always take the side of the Ukrainian fascists, whatever happens, and the very instances that Lavrov discusses elsewhere in the interview—the horror of Odessa, the false flag of MH17, and the Ukrainian crimes in the Donbass region—are perfect examples of the West’s resolve to defend Ukraine at all cost), let us examine the likelihood that Ukraine could falter in the implementation of the Minsk Protocol. Even more importantly, let us consider what Russia thinks of Ukraine’s performance to date.
The Traps of Mice and Men
The Minsk Protocol consists of twelve separate measures aimed at resolving the conflict in the Donbass region, which can be grouped as follows:
Political and Legal Measures
- Implement decentralization of power, including by means of enacting the Law of Ukraine “With respect to the temporary status of local self-government in certain areas of the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions” (Law on Special Status).
- Enact a law prohibiting the prosecution and punishment of persons in connection with the events that took place in certain areas of the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions of Ukraine.
- Ensure the holding of early local elections in accordance with the Law of Ukraine “With respect to the temporary status of local self-government in certain areas of the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions” (Law on Special Status).
- Provide personal security guarantees for the participants of the consultations.
Economic and Social Measures
- Conduct an inclusive national dialogue.
- Adopt measures aimed at improving the humanitarian situation in Donbass.
- Adopt a program for the economic revival of Donbass and the recovery of economic activity in the region.
Measures Aimed at the Cessation of Hostilities
- Ensure the immediate bilateral cessation of the use of weapons.
- Ensure monitoring and verification by the OSCE of the regime of non-use of weapons.
- Ensure permanent monitoring on the Ukrainian-Russian state border and verification by the OSCE, together with the creation of a security area in the border regions of Ukraine and the Russian Federation.
- Immediately release all hostages and unlawfully detained persons.
- Remove unlawful military formations, military hardware, as well as militants and mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine.
Let us consider each group in turn in order to understand where Ukraine could go wrong, prompting Russia’s righteous indignation, allowing the Minsk Protocol to be rejected as a yet another agreement botched by the Ukrainian leadership, and triggering the cunning plan behind Lavrov’s masterful diplomatic theatre.
Political and Legal Measures
Political and legal measures are all clauses that Ukraine is responsible for. Moreover, their specific implementation appears to be in Ukraine’s absolute discretion. These clauses contain nothing into which Lavrov could sink the claw of “meticulous performance.”
By error or by design, the political and legal clauses do not provide the specifics of the laws to be enacted by Ukraine pursuant to the Minsk Protocol. Moreover, such laws have already been drafted. Both the Law on Special Status and the amnesty legislation already exist as documents that can be examined and critiqued. Going back to the basic arithmetics of diplomatic language, the interview given by Lavrov was a perfect opportunity for Russia to indicate, clearly and unequivocally, whether Ukraine was complying with its obligations of implementing the political and legal measures called for by the Minsk Protocol.
Not only did Lavrov not demonstrate even a hint of disagreement or displeasure with Ukraine’s steps in this regards, but he failed to even raise these issues. There is nothing left for us but to conclude that Russia is satisfied with Ukraine’s performance of its Minsk Protocol obligations pursuant to clauses 3, 6, 9, and 12.
Economic and Social Measures
The economic and social measures contained in clauses 7, 8, and 11 of the Minsk Protocol are even more lax than the preceding group. Not only are they entirely non-specific, and rather platitudinous, but also there is no explicit or implicit timeframe with respect to their implementation. We do not even need to refer to Lavrov’s interview in evaluating the potential for Ukrainian failure here. Other than an explicit and outright refusal to take these steps, nothing Ukraine does pursuant to these clauses is assailable.
We have already witnessed the kind of “inclusive national dialogue” that Ukraine is fond of the last time there was a ceasefire—it was neither inclusive, nor national. Any improvement over this standard would be lauded as a success and clear evidence of Ukraine’s liberal and progressive stance. It is even simpler with “improving the humanitarian situation in Donbass” and “adopting a program for [its] economic recovery.” It is entirely arguable that the last time Ukraine delivered humanitarian cargo to Slavyansk, which amounted to something like 200 grams of cereals and 100 grams of sugar per resident, it was improving the humanitarian situation in the beleaguered city. Just the same, reviving economic activity in the Donbass region does not necessarily need to result in the reconstruction of even one destroyed factory for the provisions of clause 11 to be satisfied.
Measures Aimed at the Cessation of Hostilties
The real crux of the argument made by the proponents of magical diplomatic theatre lies, of course, in the doubtful performance by Ukraine of the measures aimed at the cessation of hostilities. This is where Ukraine must and will fail. Keen observers of the conflict already know that the ceasefire has been breached, on numerous occasions, by Ukraine, and that it has failed to comply with its obligation to release hostages and unlawfully detained persons. That is the trap! There is no need to even look at the rest of Lavrov statements! Or is there?
Well, of course there is, otherwise this note would not have been leading up to this very moment in a very inelegant fashion. Lavrov states the following:
We note that the ceasefire has been generally observed, although there are isolated incidents in which both sides are blaming the other. The important thing is to prevent them from escalating and leading to renewed hostilities. We are concerned about reports that the Ukrainian siloviki have been concentrating heavy weapons in an area. The Kiev authorities are assuring us that they have no plans to disrupt the ceasefire. We will follow the developments closely. We support the DPR’s and the LPR’s proposal on the urgent deployment of an OSCE observer mission in areas where the conflicting sides are in contact.
The order of priority and modality of measures contained in the Minsk Protocol will be additionally coordinated by the sides. We hope that the effort to implement the document’s provisions will be supported by our foreign partners.
So, a couple of points: according to Russia, the ceasefire has been observed, despite isolated incidents. Moreover, unlike before, Lavrov did not come out in support of Novorossiya by arguing that these isolated incidents have been the fault of the Ukrainian armed forces and its punitive battalions. On the contrary, he takes a neutral stance by stating that “both sides are blaming each other” for these isolated incidents. This statement is solely to the benefit of Ukraine, which is to blame, at the very least, for the majority of ceasefire breaches, and represents a marked departure from the usual Russian policy of wholeheartedly supporting the people of Donbass.
With respect to Ukraine’s steps to concentrate troops and heavy weapons for a renewed assault on Novorossiya, Lavrov again departs significantly from Russia’s previous rhetoric in this conflict. Instead of, as before, referring to Ukraine’s pattern of failing to keep its word, he seems to take Kiev’s assurances that “they have no plans to disrupt the ceasefire” with a cold, but tacit acceptance. Finally, he applauds the DPR’s and the LPR’s “proposal” to deploy OSCE observers (he terms it a proposal even though it is a measure required by the Minsk Protocol), but does not criticize the lack of Ukrainian participation therein.
As for the other provisions of the measures aimed at the cessation of violence, Lavrov does not even mention them, and we are left to conclude that Russia has no grievance with the manner in which Ukraine has been complying with its obligations in this regard. In fact, there is absolutely nothing in Lavrov’s interview indicating that Moscow considers Kiev to be anything other than an obstinate, but still a trustworthy partner in the long journey toward the implementation of the Minsk Protocol and the achievement of lasting national peace.
For most of us, Lavrov’s failure to condemn Ukraine for the many dozens of victims that died at the hands of Kiev’s forces since the ceasefire came into effect is not only telling, but also monstrous. But it is not monstrous per se, it is simply an expression of Russian policy with respect to Ukraine and the implementation of the Minsk Protocol—Russia wants it to succeed, as written and executed. Russia is willing to overlook Kiev’s breaches. There is no hidden agenda, and there is no impenetrable political theatre.
The intentions of the Russian leadership are clear—unless Ukraine attacks again, Moscow will do whatever it takes to compel Novorossiya to comply with the Minsk Protocol. One could add “in order to bring about lasting peace,” but it should be clear to most of us that no lasting peace can be secured through the implementation of this agreement and that no reconstruction or revival of Donbass will ever come to pass if the Minsk Protocol is fulfilled.
If you intend to lay out a trap, do not hide it in the bag. A diplomatic trap is a matter of making your claims known. If you do not stake out the basis for a future argument, no one will ever hear it or agree with it. Nowhere in his interview does Lavrov give any indication that Russia is anything other than carefully confident in the success of the Minsk Protocol. Moreover, despite all manner of breaches of the ceasefire by Ukraine, Lavrov does not acknowledge them or set out a basis for later claiming that Ukraine was the culprit that destroyed its own chances for lasting peace. On the contrary, Lavrov’s words whitewash the atrocities that Ukraine has engaged in since the ceasefire came into effect. There is no cunning plan or sabotage here—Russia’s intentions are clear: the Minsk Protocol shall be.
Postscriptum: There is one possibility that was not discussed in the analysis above—the possibility that Lavrov and Russia are simply being deceitful about their apparent acceptance of Ukraine’s conduct since the commencement of the ceasefire or about Russia’s acceptance of the Minsk Protocol in general. There is a reason why this possibility is discussed as a postscriptum. While diplomats are usually sly and misleading, such outright deception would do more damage to Russia’s international reputation than any fabricated evidence that the West has brought to the table to date. A diplomat who deceives is no diplomat at all. And, for that reason, I choose to believe that Russia is forthright in what it says.
Slovyansk | vgiannelakis
Thank you, Gleb Basov, for composing such an illuminating article. I look forward to more in the future.
What jumps out at me is that Novorossiya is still looking to Russia for help. Lavrov makes it clear this isn’t coming. The DPR/LPR have been dilly-dallying around for months, hoping and waiting for Russia’s support. It’s well past time to cut the apron strings. Self-determination means deciding for oneself. You don’t need anyone’s permission, by the very definition of the term. I grant, of course, this is easier said than done.
To illustrate my point, you say, “We have already witnessed the kind of ‘inclusive national dialogue’ that Ukraine is fond of — it was neither inclusive nor national.” I would go ten steps further. Even to demand an “inclusive national dialogue” is a ludricous slap in Novorossiya’s face. The Kiev parliament can’t even discuss its own issues without resorting to fisticuffs. The requirement is therefore nonsense, and Lavrov can’t believe what he says. He just pretending to believe it.
You also say, “Keen observers … already know that the ceasefire has been breached … by Ukraine.” But what does it matter if Ukraine violates Minsk, if everyone pretends it hasn’t. Even Lavrov won’t admit it has. And the European parliament goes even further and blames Russia. A quote from page 17 of their Text adopted Thursday:
C. whereas the ceasefire has been persistently violated by, mainly, regular Russian troops and separatists since Friday, 5 September 2014 in areas near Mariupol and Donetsk airport, with attempts to probe Ukraine’s defences in several other localities;
D. whereas in the previous weeks Russia increased its military presence on the territory of Ukraine and logistical support of the separatist militias through a steady flow of weapons, ammunition, armoured vehicles and equipment, mercenaries and soldiers in disguise, in spite of the EU’s calls to make every effort to de-escalate the situation; whereas since the beginning of the crisis the Russian Federation has amassed troops and military hardware on the border with Ukraine;
The link for this document is:
You conclude with, “Russia is forthright in what it says.” I say yes and no. Yes, it’s forthright, in that there exists no underlying trap nor cunning plot. No, it is not forthright, in that no sane informed person could possibly believe what Lavrov says, including Lavrov. He’s pretending, I imagine to appease the oligarchs. He’s in a dangerous business, after all.
All the more urgent that Novorossiya start making its own decisions.
It is my opinion that the Minsk Protocol is designed to buy time. Kiev cannot continue and will eventually implode upon itself. There are too many rivals, each opposing the other, from the influence of Svoboda to Right Sector to US interests. What is currently keeping them all together is US dollars being pumped into the economy. Without the EU and the USA handing out “free money” (remember there is no such thing as a free lunch) Kiev would have already collapsed. Still, sooner or later Kiev will have to stand on its own two feet, to manage its own finances, pay its own bills (gas used already would be a good start). For political and economic reasons Kiev and Western Ukraine as a whole is very unstable and as everyone knows it is just a matter of time. Add to this the harsh Ukrainian winter and lack of gas and heating and this may just tip the balance leading to civil disobediance and the collapse of the government in Kiev as it stands. It is obvious that the average person in Western Ukraine who understands what is really happening…very few at the moment but growing more by the day….does not want war with the east. The Minsk Protocol was a stop gap to buy time to let the social, the economic and the political factors take effect, thus effectively destroying the Kiev junta from within.
The problem with this argument is the continued devastation, suffering and misery, which are being permitted by the preservation of the status quo. To me, this war is not a geopolitical game of Risk, it is about regular people, my compatriots, places that I grew up in, which are suffering tremendously and being destroyed. I cannot countenance such a response.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Perhaps you can set down what goals you think Russia should have in this matter, and then go from there. This can be considered to be a war on Russia, so you can’t simply limit the discussion to Novorossiya. As an example:
1-A non-hostile regime in Kiev.
2-No NATO in what was the Ukraine.
3-Keeping the Crimea or at least the bases there.
4-Preventing the gas pipelines from being stopped or blown up.
5-Trying to get as much of the EU as possible to switch to neutrality, or, failing that, see the EU break up.
6-Change the view of Ukrainians so that the percentage of hostile people in the Kiev area goes down dramatically.
7-Limit the number of refugees from Novorossiya to no more than 2,000,000.
8-Find out which Russian oligarchs are willing to support a nationalist approach, and which are going to back the West.
This list did not include much about the suffering of your compatriots in the places you grew up in. What would be your list?
All these points (well, other than dealing with the EU) would be addressed by a Russian military intervention in Ukraine. None of these problems would be avoided by the implementation of the Minsk Protocol. Finally, and here many Russians like me would agree, we owe a debt of loyalty to our compatriots in Ukraine, allegiance that transcends merely national interests. I grew up in Russia and spent a lot of my childhood also in Mariupol. A bond between those who were split by the breakdown of the USSR may be difficult for outsiders to understand, but it is a bond that is largely timeless. As a final, note, I was simply responding to the comment above. The points of this article are self-contained. If you consider the Minsk Protocol to be responsive to Russian national interests, that is entirely your right – and the article says as much. All the points you raise in your response are a subject for a different article, and I do not intend to go into these issues here.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Well, just as you were responding to the comment about buying time, so, too, was I. I think buying time is a reasonable strategy for Russia. If the price is further destruction, well, what is the alternative? The Minsk Protocol may help to minimize that destruction as it gives Poroshenko the ability to pretend he is winning or at least a way to somewhat fend off radical attacks.
At the start of this crisis, Russia had a limited number of options. One was to invade, which might have made the population in large areas of the country anti-Russian for decades or centuries. Another was to try to watch the country collapse and hope that this would change the mentality of the now anti-Russian populace. Within the context of Russia choosing to stall and wait for Winter, the Minsk Protocol doesn’t seem that strange. If everybody needs weeks to try to figure out what it means, good. More delays.
What would really be useful for those of us in the Western world is an explanation of how Russia allowed this situation to get so lousy. Didn’t they notice the textbooks and NGOs and just about everything in the society were becoming quite anti-Russian?
LikeLiked by 1 person
Does Russia want a government collapse in Kiev? I don’t think so. The current government keeps the nazis at bay. Not very efficiently (read: hardly at all), but it exerts some sort of control over them. And these far right elements are likely to seize power when the current regime collapses. (Now I’ve managed to depress myself.)
Another way to look at this is that Russia prefers a Frozen Conflict. Since neither side can win on the battlefield that status is that of a frozen conflict. This type of conflict has many advantages to Russia. States do not get admitted to the EU or NATO if they have a frozen conflict which means their borders are not settled. None of these organizations want to invite a country to membership which is in a state of war (even if there is no actual hostilities going on) and may require the organization to provide some form of military defense. Frozen conflicts are the way Russia blocks countries from joining organization which are hostile to it. The frozen conflict in Georgia has blocked that nation from Nato and the EU. A frozen conflict in Ukraine will block Ukainian membership in organizations hostile to Russia. If they prefer the Frozen Conflict they will do as they have done in Transnistria – drag out negotiations over a settlement for years.
You talk of diplomatic language as the equivalent of a mathematical equation when perhaps theorem would be better as it would allow the possibility of lemmas, corollaries, and counterexamples (in the cases where not all the conditions of the theorem are met), but let us go through some of the Minister’s statements with care, asking ourselves what the delicate language of diplomacy might mean:
“The Kiev authorities are assuring us that they have no plans to disrupt the ceasefire.” – our intelligence suggests otherwise.
“We hope that the effort to implement the document’s provisions will be supported by our foreign partners.” – however experience leads us to expect that the provisions will be subverted by the “Ukraine” side.
So when we see
“In fact, there is absolutely nothing in Lavrov’s interview indicating that Moscow considers Kiev to be anything other than an obstinate, but still a trustworthy partner in the long journey toward the implementation of the Minsk Protocol and the achievement of lasting national peace.”
… we believe we are dealing with someone who really doesn’t understand diplomatic language and is also inclined to whinge and detract. Cannot the author see that the Russian Federation has a problem on its borders and that in the months since the coup about four (4) fighting divisions have materialised in Novorossiya out of nowhere and about the same number of Banderastani divisions have ceased to exist? This is diplomatic magic – not theatre!
Finally I note that the author also misrepresented the Minister at one point in his essay, but I leave others to pinpoint it.
Why don’t you pinpoint the misrepresentation for the public? Would be much obliged for your kind service. As for the rest of your statements, they evidence exactly the kind of approach that I warn against in this article. If Russia wants to state something, it should do so. The only way to lay a diplomatic trap is to create the basis for springing such a trap in the future.
When the United States has intelligence suggesting it is being lied to, it states so loud and clear. If Russia wants to rely on something in the future to set up a trap for the devious Kiev regime, it should make this something know. Otherwise, it will appear to the world and to the West, in particular, to be a post-facto fabrication – and justly so.
And finally, your statements with respect to the elimination of Ukrainian units in Novorossiya – all that is compliments of Strelkov and other military leaders of Novorossiya. Russian support has been invaluable, but it was not Russia that destroyed Ukrainian forces in Southern Cauldrons 1.0, 2.0, at Ilovaisk, at Shakhtersk, and elsewhere. Your comment about the “appearance of four divisions” in Novorossiya is entirely on your conscience. If you are suggesting that Russia sent its troops to Donbass, I invite you to provide evidence thereof.
In sum, while I appreciate your comment, it adds little substantive input to the discussion other than further glorification of the non-existent “cunning plan”.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Be more careful in future – you wrote it, you correct it. I am not here to do all your work for you.
In other words, you are simply engaging in defamation, and, upon being called out on it, can present no proof. It is really unfortunate that you choose to demean yourself in this manner. In any event, more substantively and on point, it is very difficult to misrepresent someone’s (in this case – Lavrov’s) words when the operation involved is simply cutting and pasting phrases from the original document.
LikeLiked by 1 person
WHOA to Jalalludin, who is “not here to do all Gleb Basov’s work for him!” I too would appreciate you telling us where he misprepresented Lavrov. It would take me an hour or so to compare the documents and find it, whereas you, Jalalludin, apparently already know. About “all” Gleb Basov’s work, the time it would take you to pinpoint his error is trivial compared to what it must have taken him to write the article in the first place.
You are beginning to annoy me; the proof is in the article; I am not here to do all your work for you.
However, since you accuse me of defamation, and I regard that as too strong a word to apply to someone who has mad a mistake due to emotional involvement in the unfolding tragedy I will provide chapter and verse:
“We note that the ceasefire has been generally observed, although there are isolated incidents in which both sides are blaming the other. The important thing is to prevent them from escalating and leading to renewed hostilities. We are concerned about reports that the Ukrainian siloviki have been concentrating heavy weapons in an area. The Kiev authorities are assuring us that they have no plans to disrupt the ceasefire. We will follow the developments closely. We support the DPR’s and the LPR’s proposal on the urgent deployment of an OSCE observer mission in areas where the conflicting sides are in contact.
The order of priority and modality of measures contained in the Minsk Protocol will be additionally coordinated by the sides. We hope that the effort to implement the document’s provisions will be supported by our foreign partners.”
“With respect to Ukraine’s steps to concentrate troops and heavy weapons for a renewed assault on Novorossiya, Lavrov again departs significantly from Russia’s previous rhetoric in this conflict. Instead of, as before, referring to Ukraine’s pattern of failing to keep its word, he seems to take Kiev’s assurances that “they have no plans to disrupt the ceasefire” with a cold, but tacit acceptance. Finally, he applauds the DPR’s and the LPR’s “proposal” to deploy OSCE observers (he terms it a proposal even though it is a measure required by the Minsk Protocol), but does not criticize the lack of Ukrainian participation therein.
“he seems to take Kiev’s assurances that “they have no plans to disrupt the ceasefire” with a cold, but tacit acceptance.”
It is here that you have plainly misrepresented him since
“The Kiev authorities are assuring us that they have no plans to disrupt the ceasefire.” probably means Sergey has a report from GRU Berlin on Leopard Tanks sent to Kyev and another on M1’s from Ramstein.
Further, I am not here to be willfully misinterpreted – “materialised” in no sense suggests Russian Federation divisions, on the contrary it is diplomatic language for divisions of men who have seen their relations and friends killed and injured, lost their homes or seen their neighbours lose them, shelled or subject to warming showers of katyushas, who don’t want to see their country poofterized and part of the fraying edges of the EU.
Your interpretation of
“We proceed from the assumption that all provisions of this document should be meticulously met.”
is also way off the mark. It actually means
Listen carefully you filthy so-and-so’s, if you don’t stick to the agreement (and you aren’t and won’t) we won’t either.
Quoting you further:
“Not only did Lavrov not demonstrate even a hint of disagreement or displeasure with Ukraine’s steps in this regards, but he failed to even raise these issues. There is nothing left for us but to conclude that Russia is satisfied with Ukraine’s performance of its Minsk Protocol obligations pursuant to clauses 3, 6, 9, and 12.”
That Lavrov shows no disagreement or displeasure cannot be construed as satisfaction with Ukraine’s performance of its Minsk Protocol obligations pursuant to clauses 3, 6, 9, and 12.
When dealing with psychotics, and most assuredly those in power in Kyev, Brussels and Washington are, it is best to talk softly, while preparing for the next “frank exchange of views”, that way there is less likelihood that they will know what hit them.
Why don’t you go get out of the office and go and find out what Igor Strelkin is up to, or write something heart-warming about the various factions in Kyev playing “happy families”, and how the triumphantly troops returning from the cauldrons are getting on?
In other words, you still were unable to provide any evidence of misrepresentation on my part. Difference of interpretation is not misrepresentation, it is analysis. And inventing reports that either do not exist in reality or the existence of which you have no means of confirming counts as outright fabrication. Now it also appears that you have resorted to veiled and explicit insults for no apparent reason – from the very start. That behaviour is not tolerated here (and we try to police the comments as much as we can with our limited resources). The resume: the proof is in the pudding, and you keep missing the target.
i would like to present a different sort of view that might give an explanation to your (from my pov correct) analysis of lawrovs diplomatic performance.
i accually think that it is the us/eu that always wanted ukraine to split. their goal was to restart the cold war, and to do that they had to create a position that would enable them to 1) demonize russia as the pure evil, and 2) – which is accually much more important- create economic conditions for russia to fall behind eu growth instead of catching up economically and technologically. some ddr/brd scenario would have been perfect for that.
the first thing is easily achieved given todays media, accual events are only optional, but the second is not that easy. they would have to show that the “civilizational choice” of ukraine was accually in their favour – and the only relevant measurement of that would be economic developement. but i hardly see how that could be done given the EUs current economic situation. so for them, it would be best to get only part of ukraine, and “give” the other part to russia to support- combined with sanctions and destabilization to make it as costly as possible. the goal has always been to destabilize russia, and the only way to do so is to create a severe economic crisis.
one important indicator of my thesis was that suddenly in february, the usual nato-commentators had maps prepared showing possible scenarios of a splitting country. i also think that yanukowitch accually had this scenario prepared as a backup (meeting in charkow), probably with the russians first reassuring him (which the us/eu most likely knew about) – and later stabing him in the back for the exact reasons i mentioned above.
the plan on ukraine always included to draw the russian military into the conflict and force a partition. plan A was to stage provocations in crimea, but that was very skillfuly prevented. so their plan B was to get full genocidal in the donbass. they really did the best they could to fuel the seperatist movement, nothing was left out. the rebellion only got steam through the actions of kiew. they could have prevented that easily by just doing nothing for a while. they could have made some promises and some actions of goodwill to buy them time. it would have cost them nothing, and it would most likely had stopped the rebellion. but they did none of that. that was not stupidity, that was deliberate. they also begged russia to intervene. sanctions and the propaganda should, in my opinion, create a condition to encourage russia to do so, by implementing measures that they accualy said they will only implement if russia occupys more than crimea, to probably make the russians think that they won’t lose more if they accually do what they are accused of doing anyways.
but that would have been desastrous in the long run. russia was on a way to catch up with the eu economically and technologically, and what is even more important, they also started to accumulate what sociologists would call (independet) cultural capital. they started to formulate a (very pragmatic) ideology and a model of international relations that has a strong appeal to many. their geostrategic play is in my opinion also remarkable, and their influence also in western audiences was growing. their stance against the us hegemony was getting traction and international support also in euriope. all of that would suffer a severe setback if russia slumps into a severe economic crisis.
so much in my thesis about the russian “long game”.
but what does that mean for novorussia and the short-term perspective?
well, i think that lavrow accually wants what he said. that he wants a (formally) united ukraine, whos economic developement is in the hands and mercy of the EU. he wants the rebells to settle with some sort of special status – which in my opinion has to include their own “police” (read: armed forces) and local parliaments and elections, which could also be used as a way to accualy declare independence according to international law given the examples of kosovo and crimea later on.
but first of all he realy wants to stop the genozidal ambitions of kiew, and their attempts to draw the russian military into the conflict. he can’t let kiew crush the rebellion, but he also does not want them to succeed in getting full independence- which would be contrary to the long term goal (which is in my opinion still to get a friendly regime in kiew). that might take 10 years or 20, but like similar regimes in south america, they will fall sooner or later.
in the meantime, russia might do what the us has been doing during the cold war: build up a friendly ukrainian diaspora – just like the americans built up a political ukrainian diaspora almost exclusively from evacuated veterans of the ss-galizia and their descendants.
the crucial thing here is: will kiew and the us stick to their pland and try to get russia to invade proper?
if so, the agreement is meaningless. the war will start anew, and russia has to descide on how much it will support the rebellion. my prediction is that they will ensure another defeat to kiew, and force another round of negotiations. it will cost many lives, thats for sure. but so will every other option.
if the us abandons its plan to split ukraine, the rebellion will most likely get local autonomy and their own “police” (its even cheaper for kiew)- but that will also be the beginning of the downfall of the regime. zakharenko already said that cooperation with kiew is possible “only on economic matters”. full independence is just a formality. i think thats very much what russia thinks of that too.
i accually have no idea what the us and the eu will do in that case. in my opinion, their plan would be foiled in the long run. i can only think of restarting the war some time later. because peace would be the end of the regime in kiew. a repetition of “operation storm” would probalby be much harder against russia as a neighbour than serbia.
what is see from current reports is that the rebells are more or less on the offensive now. they try to get into positions to make a preemptive strike of the newly assembled assault-groups. i don’t know if they really do it or if they are just thretening, but it well be a test for kiew. from this perspective, lawrovs statement was also the denial of significant rebell advances- maybe a better diplomatic move than accusing kiew right now.
LikeLiked by 1 person
With his analysis, Mr. Bazov has hit close to the mark. I saw brief reports this morning (Sept. 19) that Russian was being urged to ‘reintegrate’ into the G20 and that France now is going to deliver the French-built helicopter carrier. It appears to me that some sort of Grand Bargain is in the works among the major players. NR may be sacrificed as part of this bargain, and the rest of Russian Ukraine left to its fate.
LikeLiked by 1 person
The delivery of the Mistral is not guaranteed yet. Hollande has stated that its delivery depends on the progress in the ceasefire in Ukraine. The delivery date has been pushed out to November 1. It is on sea trials now with its Russian crew. Nato and the US are exerting a lot of pressure on Hollande not to deliver. But he has a lot of domestic pressure to deliver. He is at 13% in the polls and can’t afford the penalty and repayment to Russia if he breaks the contract. The contract also calls for a 2nd Mistral to be build next year. This means jobs at the Ste. Nazarre Shipyards which were going to be closed if the contract had not come in. I don’t think Hollande needs a riot on his hands right now. I am surprised how few of you understand the importance of the Mistral in all of this.
The invitation by the EU for RF to rejoin the G20 after so little time and the complete reversal of France’s position (originally coerced by the USA) regarding the Mistrals is evidence of the defeat of the USA. Old Europe is leaving the US orchestrated coalition to balkanize Russia; American can be satisfied with Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Romania as allies. The invitation and Mistral reversal are furthermore evidence of Novorossiyan victory and the soundness of Russian strategic planning.
This is total BS. Russia was never removed from the G20 only thee G8. Any links to these so called reports on RF being asked to rejoin the G8 and that France will deliver the Mistrals. Also notice, that Putin is left to whine about sanctions being against WTO rules.
Those that think Putin is some kind of strong leader/strategic player should be disgusted by his craven and spineless whining about sanctions imposed by his western ‘partners’. The fact that he cannot even retaliate against US/EU sanctions despite threating to indicates some sort of deal making/capitulation by the spineless Russian President. The author is probably right. Novorussia has been sold out by Putin.
Russia is being urged to ‘reintegrate’ into the G20 because the West&Co have lost so much credibility and influence that, as it stands, the G20 without Russia looks and sounds like a rally of ostriches. Added to this, there are sufficient concerns within the EU and NATO to point at more and more members of both wanting out rather than staying put. As of the French deal, you may as well know that the cancellation of the delivery of French-built helicopter carrier entitles Russia to compensations which, added to the catastrophic effect of losing a court battle and the weight of an impending colossal penalty, could possibly amount to 10 billion Euros. Let’s be straight here. EU’s likelihood of collapsing is beyond real; NATO’s survival is wearing thin because its construct has gone from nuisance to global threat, and as soon as the peoples of Europe wake up, European republics have little choice left but to kick NATO away in order to free themselves from the toxic US influence.
As of Ukraine and NR, it would be perhaps time to wonder about a few things. Who will pay up the bills for the regions under Kiev’s control, provided the junta survive until after the winter? And what happens if Ukraine goes all bankrupt? Perhaps, the G20 wants talk to the Russians, home and dry. NR has loads of sympathy worldwide and in western Europe in particular, because of the cruel rhetoric that Kiev and Washington used indiscriminately against Russia and NR, in a bid to declare war to Russia, under the guise of sanctions. That is now backfiring. Bear in mind the tsunami in waiting should the MH17 flight inquiry result in what the whole world does already know! US and EU could simply end up having to compensate Russia over hundreds billion dollar, tolling the bell for the kiss of death. This won’t be the fate of NR.
Perhaps all Protocols, Pacts, Memorandums and Treaties are worth the paper they are written on, until they are broken I guess. Similarly, the best interpretations one can make are the ones conducted in hindsight? 🙂
But as guests in this forum, a little courtesy to our host and fellow participants?
The language chosen, was er, undiplomatic.
LikeLiked by 1 person
As to NovoRossiya, it’s a bit like with the Palestinians. Too many factions and infighting, and much as outside forces might want to help, there has to be change there too?
At this point, I trust Putin to do what’s right for Russia first, but don’t doubt the extent of his support for NR, whose needs are closely aligned in with that of Russia.
By reading former articles on this net, specially Strelkov’s speech, I have understood the following.
Novorossia was in real bad shape. Russia did not want Novorossia to be crushed and Poroshenko was having a problem with its right wing. Russia decided to help Novorossia but under some strigent conditions. Strelkov had to resigned and peoples trusted by Russia were put in place. Russia conducted the offensive that crushed the Kiew’army. Then Novorossia had to sign the Minsk’s protocol which amounts to Novorossia’s capitulation. That was a deal between Putin and Poroshenko.
I do not think that this deal honours Putin. The ukrainian peoples (East and West) are going to suffer. The oligarchs are not only thieves, they are also slaves drivers and Putin is helping them. I do not trust anymore this man.
While it is quite interesting to dissect the language of diplomacy (my major at university), we must not overlook the overriding strategy being implemented by this EXTENSION of Us foreign policy at this moment in time. All of the minute details must be considered in terms of the wider objective. I think it is useful to observe the 20-year strategy of NATO/US/EU and analyze why this precipitous, confrontational departure from prior years, which can be argued as working quite well from the Western viewpoint.
I can only conclude that the immediate success of the Kiev coup was as much of a shock to US as to everyone else. I believe they expected a much more gradual transition. Then enters their question, “What now?” US actions since, indicate an unpreparedness, yet a willingness to press the advantage, without relying on their previous game plan. The EU megalomaniacs are sated with their delusions of acquiring ever more sovereignty from the individual nation states, and view Ukraine as glutton views a new dessert.
US policy followed for decades the Brzezinski strategy of careful and gradual assimilation of Russia and avoidance of just such rash challenges. The amateur (yet fanatic) neo-con hegemonists in the current administration blindly see this as a leap-frog opportunity. The military realists see it as welcome, if there are no consequences to the entrenched strategy. They know that direct military intervention is impossible, but they will press the issue unrelentingly on the propaganda and economic sides.
The precipitousness of the “victory” was a setback in long term strategy, because of Crimea. The primary strategic value of Ukraine is the Black Sea Coastline, including Sevastopol. As part of Ukraine, this was too good to be true. Now, as part of Russia, and reinforced, it is a goal farther removed than ever, perhaps impossible . The superpower hegemony of the future is not based in nuclear standoff, but in access to petro-energy required to maintain development. RF has that internally for the rest of the century. Strategically, RF controls the spigot to EU development, and that must be rectified. The Caspian basin is the Saudi Arabia of the 21st century. Hence, NATO interest in Georgia, Azerbaijan and Black Sea control. Without Crimea, Sochi is hardly an adequate base to defend RF interests, or prevent full NATO control over future energy from that region.
Ethnically, Donbass is NEVER going to fall within the Western zone of influence. Hence the strategy is civilian ethnic cleansing and disruption of industrial capacity. The fact that this is against Ukrainian national economic interests, in favor of US strategic interests, seems to be lost on UKR junta, who are rally more intent on selling out their geo-economic fiefdoms to IMF, and retiring to London. Control of the Coastline ought to be RF’s main strategic concern, which is why the cease fire before controlling Mariupol AND Melitopol still leaves Crimea somewhat vulnerable.
This winter, the willingness of EU and US to bankroll a stagnant or deteriorating economic situation in Kiev (down another -10% in GDP this year) will have its own effect, and so remains fluid, awaiting more regional “maidans”, based on gas, inflation and oligarchic fascist martial aw.
A final thought. Western propaganda has been almost universally “misdirectional” in everything it announces (newspeak). RATHER than their STATED aspirations for a “united Ukraine” it is equally possible that the real US intent is now recreating a Yugoslav scenario, having made an uncharacteristic forward thrust, realizing it can’t get it all, then trying to keep what they can, by breaking up the country into smaller, more malleable states. In itself, this would coincide with the growing counter-EU undercurrents of Scotland, Catalonia, etc. (Also Middle East). Perhaps many artificial boundaries of WW1 and WW2 have exceeded their useful life expectancy , as have the hasty post-Soviet reconfigurations. How the world deals with this emerging trend may determine whether the 21st century repeats the mistakes and wars of the last century, or negotiates its way to true peaceful “self-determination”.
LikeLiked by 1 person
The US engineered the Kiev coup. It used its traditional model for Regime Change. Played the same hand in the Balkans. It goes like this. You find people in the country, dissatisfied with the government that are EU oriented. You set up “training camps” and invite these hand-picked people to it and teach them how to basically create a propganda movement for the EU. You print up flyers for them – you get them to demonstrate, you pay to bus in other people to enlarge the demostration. This is the same model used in Serbia to take down Milosevich.
The US, however, did not expect the uprising in the East, or the seizure of Crimea. I think the West and US want a unified Ukaine – lookt how hard they are trying in Iraq to keep it as one state. That Yugoslavia mess was a product of the EU getting in their first and mismanaging the whole thing which is when the US came in.
The US has NO desire to finance Kiev. It is leaving that to the EU and the IMF. Remember they only gave Poroshenko a miserly $53 million and we are spending over $7.5 million a day in Iraq and that war will cost over $2.7 billion a year. They will not finance Ukraine
I believe you have much of this backward Ms. Weller. The US contrary to what you state wants the disintegration of Iraq into three separate entities. That is the plan. If you believe the US and their Israeli string pullers want Iraq to be one state you are being misinformed or mislead. The same goes for the Ukraine and if they get their wish Russia itself. Disintegration of nations into several smaller entities is their intent. Easier to exploit and control.
All true but not new (here). The pivotal setback in implementing ZBigs long term strategy was indeed Crimea. Since Crimea is out of reach now, Ukraine lost its value for both. I consider the resource assets of Ukraine as overrated and the transit status will diminish with South Stream even more. Ukraine is now seen having agricultural land, a good and cheap workforce, and an uncompetitive industry. Russia coldly drafts regulation on import duties for Ukraine ending a more favorable tariff regime to “most favored nations” as any EU country. To be handed over to the EU by both, as the EU elite loves to pay for enlargement fantasies. Still worth to be plundered by IMF, international corporations but thats a side issue.
Reblogged this on keesened's Blog.
Thank you to Gleb Bazov for providing and occasioning this discussion – a very important one – and for all the great work GB has done this year, on this conflict with thousands of innocents so brutally dead and maimed.
To me, it seems we yet do not know who Vladimir Putin really is or what he will do, given how the thoughts in the above article can be contrasted with the radical 3 Sep. presentation of Putin’s Duma ally Evgeny Fedorov, on ‘The Coming Purge’ in Moscow (interview with English subtitles on YouTube).
What Fedorov partly implies and partly states, is that Putin has been playing a long devious game for 15 years, in constant danger from Western-tied 5th column traitors … the apparent lack of full support for Novorossiya since May, was made necessary by Putin needing to himself survive, until the purge of the Moscow traitors can occur … and it is precisely the Novorossiya tragedy – threatening Russia mortally – which is enabling the upcoming purge to take place, as various Russian parties see what they must do to survive at all themselves.
Fedorov’s view seems to be that we will, very soon, see an extra-Constitutional purge of Moscow traitors that will shake the world, and Russian tanks will roll toward Kiev, and we will at last know Putin did not betray.
At this moment it can still be said, Fedorov might be right … tho the doubts of Gleb Bazov and so many others are more than understandable.
The situation in Syria with Assad has vital importance for Russia as well. If Putin lets Assad be overwhelmed, and the Russian naval base at Tartus endangered, this also is core betrayal of Russia.
With US-Obama now about to begin bombing Syria, and the post-Minsk downward spiral of events … Putin’s true colours must indeed be revealed conclusively – as hero or traitor himself – a very short time from now.
LikeLiked by 1 person
War is merely an extension of diplomacy by other means. If you do not get what you want at the bargaining table, you resort to war, provided you think you can win. Those at the negotiating table all have different primary aims.
First let’s look at the situation on the ground. It was a stalemate. In short a frozen conflict like many others in the region. Neither Kiev nor the forces of the DPR/LPR could win decisively. The DPR/LPR were unable to take Mariupol or the Donetsk Airport – both would have given them a much stronger hand at the negotiating table. Kiev was running out of money, men and material, and Russia wanted a ceasefire, at least until the Mistral was delivered.
People are forgetting the Mistral. France has stated that the delivery of the Mistral is conditioned on the ceasefire and negotiations at Minsk. The Mistral is at sea trials now with a Russian crew. Delivery is set for end of October, November 1. Russia does not want more fighting which may draw them in, until after the delivery of the Mistral. Putin is very keen on getting the Mistral – it is extremely high on his list, so he will have instructed Lavrov accordingly to make sure the ceasefire and talks continue until the delivery of the Mistral. He will not aid the DPR/LPR in an obvious way until he gets that ship.
Most parties at the negotiating table like Kuchma and Zurabov have plenipotentiary powers. The OSCE is just an observer. I think the LPR is coming with plenipotentiary powers, but the DPR group does not have the same authority for its side as Zakharchenko foolishly refused to attend thereby weakening the DPR’s hand at the table. Parugin can be easily overruled when he returns.
Most of the Mink Protocol, like all Protocols is ambiguous and requires future meetings to define and refine all the parts of the protocol. The Minsk Protocol is not set in stone and can be changed and modified through negotiations. Each side should arrive at Minsk with instructions about their agenda for the meeting. I am sure Kuchma and Zurabov have an agenda. I have not heard that either the DPR/LPR state what they want to discuss. Diplomatic meetings require all sides to have agreed upon the agenda for the meeting.
I get the feeling that the DPR/LPR come without an agenda, and therefore can be easily cowed into discussing whatever Kiev and Russia want. Again this is due to lack of experience, and probably a hesitancy to speak as forcefully as they should, but rather to sit and listen and wait until they are spoken to. That means they are losing at the table. To get any benefit participants must be polite but aggressive in what they want and not accept someone’s position because you lack the words and courage to challenge them.
To say you want all provisions of the protocol to be met is ludicrous. Protocols seldom execute all the provisions and actually are often modified and points eliminated at the negotiating table. Protocols are very flexible documents since they are neither a treaty nor an armistice they have little or no enforcement in international law.
Let me look at one provision as an example of something which could easily require months of discussion before agreements can be reached.
“Remove unlawful military formations, military hardware, as well as militants and mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine. “
Every single word in that sentence is subject to negotiations as to what it is means, what is included, who is included etc. Who are militants? Who gets to define the term? Who are mercenaries? What is the territory of Ukraine? What is included in Military Hardware? What is an unlawful military formation? What is a lawful one? Once you get down to discussion there can be hours of talk over just one word. But you need skill to pull it off and keep the talk going on.
We all know what Kiev’s interpretation is, but the DPR/LPR must argue forcefully for their interpretation and not allow themselves to be shouted down by Kiev. Remember you can always get up and walk out which often serves to put pressure on the other side to meet your views more than half way.
Now is the time for DPR/LPR to protest the Kiev law on the Status of Donetsk and Lugansk. Also Kiev has stated that it will define the borders and cities to be covered by the special status before Poroshenko signs it. Delegate should start protesting that before the law gets passed. Kuchma will take it back to Kiev. I know you want independence, but that comes in stages and the Status law is an important stage that must be negotiated.
There is so much to be accomplished at the meeting if you have people present who know how to take advantage of it.
Dr. Judith A. Weller, PhD.
I am sure that Putin is very clever, yet I know by experience having worked for IBM for many years, that you cannot trust people because they are clever. The clever people, usualy, are cynical and skeptic, they have no faith and no loyalty. People like that will never be able to generate a soul and as such cannot be trusted. Today I have more confidence in Assad than in Putin.
The war was begun against Putin’s wishes. Everything after that is skewed and all you can be certain of is Ukraine will be a hollowed whole, in the sphere of influence of Russia, and without a nazi junta or EU junta or NATO base anywhere on Ukraine.
The rest is a delicious or painful exercise in divining, like looking for water with a forked branch.
Russia will take Ukraine after it remakes Ukraine.
Because it must to survive.
Putin would lie and deceive his mother to save Russia. So, to analyze the machinations of Minsk or Moscow is fruitless.
Putin is a closer. He’ll finish this when and how he needs to. It’s not cunning. It’s an existential imperative.
Starkly said, and essentially the truth of things.
Russia doesn’t want Ukraine. WHo wants a failed state which is bankrupt to boot and is loaded with social problem. The most Putin would want is a land bridge to Crimea. He is going to leave it to the EU, US and IMF to spend the billions it will take to bail Kiev out.
The US would be more than happy to have the Ukraine as a failed state. The more refugees, destruction, and pain to Russia, the better. And the land bridge to the Crimea will regularly be blown up, just as occurs in, say, Libya or Iraq. It is the American Way.
If the gas pipelines can be blown up, even better. One of the few possible reasons for the US to want to spend money in the Ukraine is to build enough of an army to attack Crimea. So, can Russia live with a black hole as a neighbor as long as the US can?
Brilliant analysis, Mr. Bazov. I had a brief discussion with a Russian official on that Minsk protocol and Donetsk’s and Lugansk’s view of it. My impression was Russia cut a temporary -Little- Bargain with the US and both players wait for new cards to be decked out. Questioning the reservation of NR toward the protocol, I understood the answer between the line as: we made NR comply, they owe us, lets see if the US can keep Ukraine in line.Time must be kept on our side and will eventually contribute to a solution better than this mess.
If that is so, is another matter. Russia facilitates more possible scenarios by buying time. NR may not be sacrificed lightly, but Russia does neither want NR nor the rest of Ukraine pn its back as long both are somewhat (but not too) stable and the EU picks up the bills. Sergei Lavrov is currently the most senior diplomat – working for Russia but certainly with good intentions. Maybe its a diplomatic trap, but to me that would be far to subtle.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Interesting, though it begs the question about how the situation could stabilize in a way favorable to Russia and why the EU would pick up the bills before the country collapses 80-90% instead of the current 20%. After Winter, assets in the Ukraine might fall another 50% or more. Wouldn’t the EU be able to endure a failed state longer than Russia? It also begs the question about what the US thought it got out of the Minsk Protocol. Time to figure out how to get rid of Poroshenko?
As an aside, it somehow seems that Russia has been tactically clever over the years in dealing with the Ukraine, but hasn’t had a coherent strategy, at least if you see the US as an opponent that had contrary aims. Minsk just looks like more tactics.
You ask the right questions. Minsk was a deal for Russia getting from zero options in a somewhat better position. But also US plays in Kiev both sides – Poroshenko cannot have US full trust. He is the sort of oligarch, Putin balanced successfully in Russia ever since he came to power.
Why the EU would pick up the bills, you ask? Same as in Greece, because they are told to do so.Would the EU be able to endure – certainly yes, by plundering their citizens, but if the EU implodes – fine to him also.
What does the US get out of it? In their eyes Poroshenko must have screwed up, both militarily and in the info war. Just think how MH17 was silently buried. The Middle East implodes and Kerry can’t even handle one crisis, let alone two. And certainly US expects a return game after regrouping military and political forces.
Minsk was tactical retreat giving a pawn for tempo from both sides. In regards of strategy, have you ever considered the current popes remark, “we might be already world war III by piecemeal”?
daß Putin der Opfer auf Seiten Neurusslands gedacht hat, war garantiert kein Zufall. Er hat einen Weg u.a. zur Vernunft längst gefunden (z.B. mittlerweile dritter offizieller Hilfskonvoi unterwegs). Und es spricht nichts dagegen, Betrüger und andere Kriminelle zu betrügen oder in anderer Art und Weise zur Rechenschaft zu ziehen (auch seine angeblichen Freunde unter den Oligarchen). Nichts Anderes passiert gerade. Russland verwendet gegen seine angeblichen Partner/Freunde die gleiche (nicht nur Medien-)Strategie (wenngleich ausgesprochen durchdachter), die diese gegen Russland einsetzten (wenngleich unzureichend vorbereitet bzw. durchdacht).
Du möchtest in erster Linie Mariupol befreit sehen?! Dann wollen wir mal hoffen, daß uns dieser Wunsch möglichst bald erfüllt wird. Ich lese von Dir lieber die optimistischeren (pro-Novorossia-)Einschätzungen durch. Weniger gerne lese ich mir Deine pessimistischeren Einschätzungen zu irgendwelchen Befürchtungen Deinerseits durch.
Ich sehe das insgesamt so:
Novorossia wird in jedem Fall den Unabhängigskeitskrieg gewinnen, aber auf Seiten von Novorossia und seiner Verbündeten (nicht nur Russland) ist man offensichtlich bestrebt, die Zahl der Opfer insgesamt möglichst gering zu halten (dies zu erreichen, dazu sollte jedes Mittel recht sein).
Da gibts irgendwo einen (russischen) Artikel zur Rückkehr von Lavrovs Tochter Katja aus den USA zurück nach Russland. Leider finde ich den nicht mehr. Evtl. findest Du mal etwas dazu, daß zunehmend Verwandte u.a. von russischen Politikern aus dem Ausland zurückkehren in ihre Heimat mit etwaigen Hintergrundinformationen, was sie dazu bewegt (hat).
Abschließend möchte ich Dir und Deinen Mitstreitern meinen größten Respekt für Eure bisherigen Leistungen und Aktivitäten zur Unterstützung von Neurussland ausdrücken. Manchmal verstehe ich Lord Helmchen nicht. Evtl. versteht Ihr Euch besser:
Darth Vader @lDarthVader · 4 Std.
Батя приехал..пойду шашлык жарить и усугублять, ввиду выходных… ох уж эти выходные…
LikeLiked by 1 person
I want to thank all of you for the fascinating discussion that this article has prompted. I am much obliged to you all for the commentary, which allows me further to finesse my own analysis of the issues at play. Please carry on and I will listen. Thank you, dear friends.
There is a scenario being left out. What if Russia’s government expects a drastic change in the political landscape of Ukraine to occur soon? What if they expect the Ukrainian people to get fed up with political parties promoting war and racism? They may be waiting for Ukrainians to clean up their own mess. Russia doesn’t want to abandon the Dombass people but they don’t want any kind of military solution. They will help the DPR and LPR when in trouble but they won’t help them win. They want the Ukraine to macerate in its own problems until the ultra nationalists and the nazis are thoroughly discredited.
If that happens the Minsk protocol will lead to a very different result than when nazis and Yatseniuk are in power. That may be the result Russia wants. If this scenario is correct, Lavrov is not deceitful. He just expects Ukraine to change from within before all this ends.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Good thinking. Letting externals change may be how the square peg fits into the round hole.
For what it us worth, a survey is available here:
It shows that support for war in Ukraine is falling, and the trend is that parties openly supporting war are loosing favour from voters.
I am not an expert on Russia, but I gather it may see itself as a protector of Ukraine. This is a fratricide war. Why would Russia want a military victory against brothers? It may prefer to avoid doing anything threatening and be a trusted friend ready to help when Ukrainians regain their senses. Such an attitude may explain why Putin let things play out as they do.
I understand that some may doubt that Ukrainians will ever regain their senses. However, whether or not Russia counts on that is a different issue than whether or not this is the right decision.
Putin is walking a tiny line between the interest of the Oligarchs to not confront the west whatever happen to Novorossiya and an important percent of the Russia population who want to support the Novorossiya peoples struggle.
For simplification and the sake of discussion and predictions let’s assume two hypotheses about the most possible of the Putin intentions and required strategy to achieve this goals before the Minsk protocol was signed. One in favor of Novorossiya struggle for independence and regime change in Kiev and other against this outcome and the final recognition of Poroshenko presidency and Western rule in Ukraine with minor gains for his oligarch’s friends.
1. It’s true that the Novorossiya Army Forces (NAF) encircle Mariupol and the Ukraine army forces (UAF) were in disintegration in the Donbas front surrounded in several pockets, but were the NAF ready to go straight to Kiev? If that was true, what could be the outcome of such rush?
Let’s avoid the never ending military discussion about NAF and UAF strength and capacities at this time to get focused in the political issues of such strategy.
There is a political infighting inside the Novorossiya leadership not yet resolved, there are not clear political goals to be achieved after the liberation of Lugansk and Donets Peoples Republics (LPR and DPR) yet. What Lugansk and Donets Peoples Republics (LPR and DPR) want? Novorossiya (Odessa, Jarkov….) liberation? Only the liberation of LPR and DPR? All above plus regime change in Kiev? Do they want a system without oligarchs (socialism) or a capitalism system similar to Russia.
This problem by itself shows an important reality, if Novorossiya cannot rule by itself yet, the basic state organs and authorities has not been created, under such situation how can rule a bigger territory under political turmoil with a potential hostile population in Western Ukraine? The result will be just anarchy and bloodbath.
If Putin want a free Novorossiya from Western rule and regime change in Kiev, he doesn’t need that the NAF rush to Kiev, quite the opposite, he need the political collaboration and sympathies of a big percent of the Western Ukraine population itself. To achieve such goal the worst that can happen is a blitzkrieg of the NAF to Kiev entering the capital as conquers and not as allies in a join struggle with Ukraine population against the actual regime, and to achieve such result, this will take time.
The western Ukraine population has been brainwashed against Russian culture, history and politics for many years, therefore the best that Putin can do right now is to support the LPR and DPR struggle in their actual territory meanwhile the rebellion in Novorossiya start to speed up in the form of guerrillas, rallies and strikes meanwhile the Western Ukraine population start to see the true about EU and USA promises of economic help. The winter will be very hard and long for Ukraine peoples and not amount of propaganda can hide the truth about what EU and USA friendship means.
Working together the military pressure of the NAF, the open rebellion of the Novorossiya population and the hardships of the winter with friendly Russian propaganda can make the miracle of a Ukrainian spring against EU and USA rule one year after the overthrow of Yanukovych.
2. If Putin decides to throw the LPR and DPR under the bus of the Realpolitik, Russia and the oligarchs around Putin will achieve a breath for the economic and financial sanctions in the short run, but in my humble opinion its clear what EU and USA intentions are, and whatever they signed now could be broken tomorrow to divide and destroy Russia and Putin in the long run.
LikeLiked by 1 person
You people are focusing too much on the conflict in Ukraine. The rest of the world has moved on and is more focused on Iraq and ISIS. Ukraine is a little side show for the US, UK, France etc. This is why Ukraine will not get much aid, esp. military from other countries. You need to look at the power position of the world’s military – the US is Number 1, Russia is Number 2 and China is number 3. The other NATO countries have militaries that would be lucky to be able to police a large demonstrations – in short as a military they are worthless and anything they give Ukraine will be pretty worthless too. The US, from which Kiev really wanted military hardware, said NO – and gave them blankets, MRE and tents. So you need to see what else is happening in the world to evaluate what Kiev will get – and Kiev will not get much — but a lot of nice words. In the West only France and UK have meaningful military power and France is currently bombing ISIS along with the US.
There is plenty that can go wrong in Kiev courtesy of Yats and the Gas Princess. They are trying hard to make changes or to wreck entirely the special status law. I expect there will be laws passed in the Rada aimed at changing the special status law so as to render it impotent. We will then see how powerful and influential Poroshenko is in his own Parliament.
The best advice now is “don’t do stupid stuff” and “don’t say stupid stuff” – I write this as I saw an example of someone from the DPR of saying “stupid stuff”:
“I would not rule out the possibility that the British authorities falsified the results of this referendum, since the difference between those who voted for independence and those who voted against it is not very significant. Several percentage points could have been manipulated to preserve the union of Great Britain,” Miroslav Rudenko, a deputy of the self-proclaimed republic’s supreme council, was cited as saying by Interfax.
These sort of statements make Rudenko look totally ridiculous and stupid. And it reminds me of an interesting article which appeared about the DPR leadership about the time when the whole structure was massively changed at the end of July/first part of August. It really summed up how people in the US and elsewhere viewed the leadership — as a bunch of loose cannons and whack jobs. It is entitled ” Dunces on the Don: A Russian farce”
The current leadership must refrain from making the fools of themselves and their cause that the leaderhip profiled in thie article did.
DR. JUDITH WELLER, PH.D,
You are right, it is important to keep the whole picture of what is happening in the world, for example:
1. Al-Qaida, said that will open a franchise in India, in plain English that means that Washington will put more pressure over Indian leadership to make they follow Washington rule without complains.
2. India will join the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) soon (maybe Iran will follow).
3. Russia and China are working together to create an alternative to the SWIFT system.
4. China will start in December the construction of the new interoceanic (Pacific-Atlantic) canal in Nicaragua, this is really big news.
Some comment about a few things that you said,
1. “This is why Ukraine will not get much aid, esp. military from other countries.”
Not yet, in anyway, Ukraine will know soon what EU and USA friendship means, plunder in exchange for almost nothing, besides Ukraine is Key for EU/USa strategy against Russia.
2. “it reminds me of an interesting article which appeared about the DPR leadership about the time when the whole structure was massively changed at the end of July/first part of August. It really summed up how people in the US and elsewhere viewed the leadership — as a bunch of loose cannons and whack jobs. It is entitled”
I cannot take seriously this article and your comment, the true is that Western media has not respect for any leadership besides USA-EU, and always is mocking others countries presidents, politicians and people in general especially if they are against imperial goals abroad.
3. Don’t be too focused in ISIS, they are just Washington puppets.
4. Novorossiya struggle it is very, very important, because right now is the only National Liberation struggle that includes a fight against oligarchs, and that is a game changer for once.
Actually since the departure of the “old crowd” profiled in Dunces on the Don – the press has not really ridiculed the current leadership. On the whole the Press is more willing to listen to what they have to say than the old crowd. The old crowd were really “dunces on don” – I mean some of the things they got up to was really laughable. While the press does disparage the independence movement they don’t disparage the leaders they way they did with the previous ones. I expect Russia had a great deal to do with the sudden departure of the previous lot. Making a fool of yourself when in the international spotlight can damage even the most highly placed politician let alone those struggling to create a de jure state. Think of Hollande and the scandal over his mistress – He really damaged himself internationally and within France. I always thought Borodai was a complete fool – too incompetent to even be a janitor
This whole movement in the two oblasts is very much a Russian project. – yes there were people who did not like Kiev, and Russia doubtlessly encouraged them subtly. But it was not about to provide military aid until they cleaned house and replaced the leadership. But Russia did not want Kiev to get out from under its control. A frozen conflict accomplishes that purpose.
With winter coming attention should be focused on repair, and getting gas and oil. Serious fighting can restart in the spring unless Kiev gets out of control. Above all they need to get Gas, as I suspect most of Ukraine will NOT get gas unless some miracle occurs at the forthcoming talks on Gas.
Dr. Judith Weller, Ph.D said
> Ukraine is a little side show for the US, UK, France etc.
Maybe this is rue for UK, France and the rest of the EU. This is not true for US.
Russia is busy building Eurasia in partnership with the SCO members. They move very fast. For a US geostrategic planner applying the Wolfowitz doctrine this is the very kind of threat that may overthrow the US hegemony. How can they stop that? Regime change in Russia is the only way short of a nuclear war. This must be their top priority. otherwise they effectively abandon the Wolfowitz doctrine. Economic sanctions is how they plan to do that. Without the Ukraine crisis how are they going the get sanctions? They can’t. Hence Ukraine cannot be a sideshow for US.
You forget what is happening in the US. We have no time for Ukraine. Congress is out and there are congressional elections in November. The US is bombing in Iraq and has its military focused on Iraq and some stupid effort to train and vet the Free Syrian Army. There will be Lame Duck Session of Congress ( a person who has failed to win re-election, but yet will sit in the Congress for a special Sessions which is called a Lame Duck Session since it contains members who have lost their re-electon bid). The new Congress does not come in until the New Year. There are funding bills on the calendar for the Lame Duck and they may discuss a new AUMF (authorization for the use of Military Force) to bomb Syria. That will be a contentious fight — all of these fights with Congress leave no time for Ukraine.
They have already sanctioned Russia heavily but I suspect if the talks go on and things settle down for the winter, the EU will drop some of its sanctions as the Russin counter-sanctions are hurting the EU. US sanctions without EU sanctions are useless. As the fighting slows down in Ukraine and the war in Iraq heats up sanctions will fall by the wayside especially in the EU. Neither the EU or the US is particularly concerned about Crimea and I suspect Ukraine will be forced in time to accept the loss. Every country knows that trying to get Crimea from Russia would precipitate WW3
The fight against ISIS will be all consuming for the US and the EU – especially as ISIS fighters have EU and US and UK Passports. I expect there will be terrorist acts in the US and UK and EU from ISIS.
Economic sanctions will not force regime change on a country – we have had sanctions on IRAN for over 20 year, and Cuba for almost 50 and that has not forced regime change. Sanctions are a poor tool to effect regime change — especially as there are always other countries who will trade with the scanctioned country. We tried sanctions in Iraq against Saddam Hussein and they didn’t work. We only deposed him when we invaded and use the military.
I totally agree. Obi Juan
Dr. Judith Weller, Ph.D said:
> You forget what is happening in the US. We have no time for Ukraine. …
This is not convincing. US will not give up on the Wolfowitz doctrine because of “lack of time”. That would be mismanaging their top geostrategic imperative. If they need time they will do what it takes to find time, all the issues you mention notwithstanding.
> Economic sanctions will not force regime change on a country …
Agreed, sanctions won’t do that by themselves. But the US hopes that sanctions will stir up enough discontent to enable a color revolution in Russia per the usual pattern. Sanctions are only a step in a broader plan. Without the sanctions there will be no unrest in Russia and the color revolution won’t work.
I like the analysis of A.B. at 12:08 who postulates that it was always the West’s idea to get Russia to invade Ukraine. It definitely explains the over the top ferocity with which civilians in Eastern Ukraine were attacked.
However by refusing to do what was so clearly wanted RF has put a soke in the West’s wheels. By not taking over any more than Crimea RF has avoided economic responsibility for the rest of Ukraine, leaving the USA and EU to provide whatever funding is needed.
More importantly, to add to the tripling of RF per capita income since Putin took control, RF now has gained “free of charge” several million Crimeans and East Ukranians, fully educated, Russian speakers and every reason to see Russia favourably. Reverse filtration if you will compared to the Ukranian government approach to East Ukraine Russian speakers.
So for a country that was struggling to achieve population growth and losing many of its smartest people to the West seeking a supposedly better future, RF has now transformed itself into a growth economy.
The West is providing real assistance in the form of sanctions and selling the rouble. All this achieves is to make Russian people more inclined to shop at home, hence developing local industry. Imagine the construction boom from accomodating all the Ukranian refugees.
Add the requirment for USA and EU to support Ukraine its not hard to see the comparative position of RF vs EU improving further. After all you don’t necessarily have to run faster to get ahead – just ask your competitor to carry a heavier load.
Very interesting analysis. However, it is mostly based on LOGIC rather than Mathematics or Probability Calculus or Boolean Algebra or Set Theory or even Fuzzy Logic. The last one used when statements can be True, False or something in between and conditional probabilities (Bayes Theorem).
Poroshenko’s visit to Canada this week translates in a SECURED LOAN OF $200 MILLION and in the USA he got $53 million, no special status in NATO and no lethal arms. Thus officially this may be “a kiss of death”. However, prior to Pyotr visit to Was., Semyon Semyonchenko, leader of the fascist Donbass volunteer battalion, was also in Was. DC lobbying for “material and technical support” . After the meeting with Obama, Poroshenko declared that “Ukraine received more than what he asked for “Is this sarcasm? Is this true? Is this a lie? Time will tell unless the information leaks to the media.
Cheers and congratulation for the amazing site!
The agreement signed at Minsk were just published in the NY TIMES.
Negotiators in Ukrainian peace talks agreed early Saturday to create a buffer zone to separate government troops and pro-Russian militants and withdraw heavy weapons and foreign ….Under the terms of the accord, reached here in the Belarussian capital, each party must pull its artillery at least nine miles back, setting up a buffer zone that would be 19 miles wide. The longer-range artillery systems are to be pulled even farther back to make sure the parties cannot reach each other. The deal also specifically bans combat aircraft over the area of conflict and the laying of new minefields.”
The one about foreign fighters, militants etc is a joke – they can just claim they are citizens and that ends the discussion. These agreements are so easy to get around. The Buffer zone – gee how many buffer zones in conflict areas get created and are soon violated and have to be redrawn.
This seems to mean that Kiev will keep its hold on the Donetsk airport – how big and area do they control – that will be important in the forthcoming argument over who owns the airport.
Ok both sides are more or less going to stop fighting. The great imperative for both sides is MONEY. They need money more than they need arms. Kiev, for a price, will get money from the EU and IMF – with strings attaches. They have made it clear that they will not spend any money on anything in LPR/DPR.
LPR/DPR now need money to pay pensions, pay salaries, aid to the jobless, repair houses, supply gas – in other words all the civic responsibilities which the war has allowed them to ignore. They should try and get seveal million rubles from Moscow to pay for this as Kiev will not give them a counterfeit penny.
Sad that not one word was uttered by Lavrov in regards to the gross atrocities committed by Kiev’s army (and their fascist mercenaries) to the civilian population of the Donbass. In this respect, Russia has abandoned the people of Novorussia.
The fools in Poland and the Baltic States would like to forget that winter is coming and Russia controls the gas. Do they think they can burn dollar bills to keep warm? Perhaps it is Putin’s strategy to expect the prospects of freezing in a fortnight might serve to concentrate their minds? Tanks are not necessarily needed when General Winter is putting his boots on.
In my post of SEPTEMBER 20, 2014, 4:11 AM, I said “I totally agree” I meant that I totally agree with THE OTHER PAUL post, not with DR. JUDITH WELLER, PH.D.
PERIMETR if you expect that Putin will cut gas supply, I think you are wrong Russia needs the money from Gas and Oil exports and Putin have done everything to deescalate the conflict and keep businesses as usual with EU and USA.
Putin will keep gas supplies normal for Europe, but not for Ukraine. You forget Ukraine has not paid its gas bill and owes Russia several billion. Kiev is on a ont pay in advance policy. I suspect that Donetsk and Luhansk might get gas free or at a very low cost. But Ukraine has no contract, and owes money. There is some meetings scheduled over the Ukrainian Gas issue.
Yes, bags full of cash from Washington keeps the EU leaders in line, and fear of losing their money drives the oligarchs, too. Everyone and everything is purchased, and those who resist are to be eliminated, that is the fascist business model whose centers are in Washington and London.
But Russia is not owned by the Federal Reserve, and it does not have to make arrangements from bankers to create its own currency. (Neither is China, to whom the stupid corporate CEOs have provided with an industrial base courtesy of offshoring from the once mighty US.) Russia can create its own rubles at home, while creating demand for them abroad by simply requiring payment for its gas and oil in rubles, rather than increasingly worthless and rejected US dollars or Euros. This should be the first step in the use of gas as a diplomatic tool used as a response to the EU and US sanctions.
Non-payment is of course grounds for cessation of supply. When the citizens of Poland, Ukraine, and the Baltic States are freezing in the dark, the US stooge governments may have some political problems of their own.
You said “But Russia is not owned by the Federal Reserve, and it does not have to make arrangements from bankers to create its own currency.”
I regret to tell you that you are wrong, Russia already is integrated in the international system ruled by USA (liked or not) on a financial, political, economic and cultural levels. Russia already belongs to the IMF, World Bank, Bank of International Settlements (BIS), SWIFT, Russian oil is for sale in the London and New York market’s in U$ dollars and not in Moscow in Rubles, Internet and so on ……….
Please somebody correct me if I am not wrong, but Russia already has an agreement with the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) for which can print money (rubles) in function of the U$ dollars that has as reserves in Russian Central Bank.
Why do you believe that the sanctions hurt Russia economy so much and Putin try to avoid them? This vision of actual Russia as a country totally independent of the financial system, wealthy and self sufficient is just a fantasy against all the facts.
Russia in 2014 with oligarchs is not the Soviet Union that used to have a huge degree of independence of the monetary system. You are inside or your are outside, there is not middle of the road, you can ask the Iranians about that.
Reading the original interview, there one more thing Lavrov says that bears on the arithmetic.
Sergey Lavrov: Ukraine is facing a choice between peace and a constructive dialogue in society, on the one hand, and authoritarianism and a national radical dictatorship on the other. It is up to Kiev and Ukrainian society to decide.
I think he really means it. Russia does not want to make that choice for Ukraine. They want to see which choice Ukraine will make. Hence, they do not want a military solution to happen before Ukraine has made this choice.
This speaks to the motivation behind Lavrov’s support of the Minsk protocols. This is a bet that Ukraine will make the right choice. I suppose there should be a plan B in case things turn the other way, but it is too early for Russia to talk about it.
I can understand if Russia need time to apply their own strategy, but I don’t see any Ukraine oligarch or fascist making any “choice”.
The Ukraine oligarchs own everything in Ukraine and the fascist have power for first time in many years, why they will give up what they already have?
That is against the historical facts, oligarchs and fascist don’t make any choice for peace, they have to be overthrow by the people of Ukraine.
Lavrov said “It is up to Kiev and Ukrainian society to decide.” Ukrainian society is more than fascist and oligarch. If the choice is up to fascist and oligarch it is clear that Ukraine will go the wrong way. My understanding is that Lavrov wants to see whether the Ukrainian people will rise and prevail against fascists and oligarch. He will keep supporting the Minsk protocols until he knows the answer.
The problem is the same as it always was. Russia can’t live with a crazy and hostile Ukraine that functions as a club for the West to pummel Russia over the head every week or so with new insanity. The West sees only one position for Russia – forever beaten down and on its knees. In that situation all diplomacy is useless and any diplomatic gains very temporary.