Negotiations with terrorists have divided society. The majority say it is folly and betrayal. A minority say that this is a chance to stop the war. We decided to investigate who is really right.
The Ukrainian position is defended by just one man: Leonid Kuchma. Yesterday, there were many insinuations about Kuchma, but if we talk about his motives, they are straightforward. He is cleansing his soul. He had a thousand reasons to put off his mission to an intermediary; he could continue to live in Sardinia and enjoy life.
The main problem with Kuchma lies in the fact that neither Poroshenko nor the Foreign Ministry gave him a collection of concessions that he could offer to the Russians and terrorists. Currently, the Ukrainian government is playing everything by ear. On the other hand, the other side also has no real plan.
One other thing which was heavily discussed yesterday was the friendly relationship between Kuchma and Medvedchuk. Currently, this is a myth. Kuchma understands well who Medvedchuk is and which side he represents.
The emergence of Medvedchuk, who has allegedly been negotiating with terrorists for over a month, is entirely the doing of Boris Lozhkin, Head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine. Medvedchuk has long and unsuccessfully sought status as a negotiator, but Turchynov’s team did not give him this status. He longed to return to the great game with an official status, and neither Yanukovych not Turchynov would allow him to do so.
No one believes that Medvedchuk has any real clout with the terrorists or the Kremlin. He needs the Kremlin not to seek a peaceful resolution, but rather to show the two different positions in Ukraine: Kuchma’s and Medvedchuk’s. The other option is that Medvedchuk can prepare for Putin the “correct position” of Ukraine, so that in the eyes of the whole world the winner is Putin alone. However, the question is whether or not Poroshenko will approve these stipulations.
First of all, it should be noted that the Russians invited only their trusted Borodai [,Prime Minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic]. Local leaders were not ignored, rather, they stopped the negotiation process. Secondly, the lack of representatives from Luhansk only goes to show that the Russians have told them not to go for negotiations. The idea that Bolotov [self-proclaimed leader of the Luhansk People’s Republic], after an invitation by Zurabov [ambassador of Russia to Ukraine], could not make it is simply absurd. The Russians have absolute control over the Luhansk People’s Republic. They can propagate some new reason to restart hostilities. However, based on the logic that Russians only trust their own, it is possible that Bolotov has been removed from power and that Tsaryov is supposed to represent Luhansk for the time being.
In the EU one united desire prevails: for the Ukrainian problem to simply disappear. They are ready for any compromise, as long as they do not become our strong allies. The EU wants to freeze our problem as quickly as possible, and that is the major motivator in future EU actions.
As we have already mentioned, Putin does not know what to do next. He currently stands at a fork in the road; he needs to sacrifice something. He needs to sacrifice either his rating, and allow it to gradually erode to his traditional 50% approval, or to keep his rating by invading Ukraine. Both variations have the same ending: the end of Putin’s era, in roughly 2-3 years. If Putin chooses the gradual approval collapse, he may gradually return to a position among the world’s elite, but for the EU and USA, he will remain an unpredictable neo-Hitler who needs to be removed. The Russian elite will begin to realize this very soon and Putin’s system will crack at the seams. At the present, the EU has used all available methods to clarify that they would be willing to turn a blind eye to almost anything provided that he returns to some sort of a normal status-quo. But as Ukraine takes a step toward the EU, after a few days Putin will change his plans. That’s what happened after Geneva, that’s what happened after Normandy. Putin is afraid to go to war, and at the same time he is afraid not to go to war. If he invades Ukraine, and this scenario is as realistic today as ever, Russia will be in deep isolation as a result of all the consequences that result thereafter.
That’s why Putin is drawing out time. And he is apparently going to draw it out even further.
Poroshenko still has the illusion that the Donbas problem can be solved with a handful of phone calls. And he still does not have a plan for Donbas, or for the reformation of the country as a whole. Right now the Presidential Administration is seeking a new Minister of Defense. Moreover, they are looking for civilians who will make good, effective managers. In fact, there is a danger that some banker or businessman who is having great difficulty trading with the Russian Federation might end up leading the military department.
By and large, Poroshenko still has not become acquainted with our key military figures, and still does not understand what is really happening in the Donbas.
Translated by: Daniel Centore, edited by Alya Shandra