Kremlin adopts new Donbas strategy: autonomy within Ukraine



Russia has finally abandoned the idea of “independence” for the eastern regions of Ukraine and is now trying to “push them back” under Kyiv’s control, the Russian publication Novaya Gazeta  (NG) reports, November 8, citing sources in Putin’s administration, the Russian Cabinet, and among the militants.

According to one source close to the Novorossiya project, Russia wants to “push back the ‘republics’ into Ukraine under conditions of some kind of autonomy.” NG writes.

Putin’s close aide Vladislav Surkov is personally responsible for the “pushing back” strategy. Additionally, under his leadership, Igor Udovychenko, the new deputy head of the Putin administration responsible for cooperation with the CIS countries, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, is working on this project. The dismissal of Udovychenko’s predecessor, Boris Rapoport, is also tied to policy changes inside the Kremlin.

A source among the militants told the publication that “(Surkov) had decided that Rapoport was not performing, even though we generally worked quite well.”

According to NG, it was Surkov who insisted on the removal from leadership positions of the militant leaders who were “too independent” — Igor Girkin (Strelkov), Igor Bezler (Bes), and the chieftain of the “Don Cossacks” Nikolay Kozitsin

According to NG sources, General Sergei Surovikin, a member of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, oversaw the removal of the militant leaders.

As previously reported, Girkin has said that Vladislav Surkov is behind all the actions of the militants and Russian visitors to the Donbas.

Translated by: Anna Mostovych

Source: Pravda

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  1. Avatar TheBlogFodder says:

    They wanted independence; they got it.

  2. Avatar Michel Cloarec says:

    Putin is the most dangerous man for the all world !
    Surkov is the most dangerous man for Ukrainia !
    He has been from the beginning and he is still there !
    The others are away, more to go (thinking of the fuhrers in L and D )

  3. Avatar Murf says:

    Don’t take them back! Russia devastated the region now it’s their problem. If they don’t deal with it then the occupied areas are a stark reminder of what comes from trusting Putin. May be the Putin lovers in Odessa will think twice about which flag they fly.

    1. Avatar Rods says:

      The ‘autonomous regions’ will certainly be at the price that they have a veto over EU and NATO membership, so a 3 million population tail can wag the 43 million people dog. This is clearly unacceptable and certainly in West Ukraine, the general opinion in my wife’s village seems to be that the cities of Luhansk and Donetsk and their immediate areas, are considered different to the rest of Ukraine with their Eastern looking stance, which is at odds with the rest of the country, who are firmly looking West.

      As you say let them have independence so they remain Russia’s problem and subsidy as they certainly can’t survive as a viable independent country. The more this region and Crimea need subsidies, the quicker Putin’s reign will end due to economic collapse. As Ukraine gets richer from their reformed country and their exports to EU countries, with their human right and freedoms, along with visa free travel to EU countries, let the Donbas residence look over the fortified border at what they are missing in their unstable, destitute, oppressive, Russian frozen conflict region.


      Do a deal, continue to build up and modernise the Ukrainian armed forces and then do what Russia does with any agreement, break it and in 2020 or so, take an overall poll for all of the country on EU and NATO membership.

      1. Avatar Murf says:

        Thanks Rods it’s nice when some “on the scene” concurs with my opinion.
        My hope is that after some time in the “warm embrace of Mother Russia” the people of Donbas will realize the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence.
        I doubt it but I hope so.
        On way or the other they need to stay out of the political process until the reforms have been firmly entrenched.
        At least an other year.

    2. Avatar On the Balcony says:

      Murf, you appear to forget that there are many loyal Ukrainians who are waiting to be liberated as well as internal refuges who want to return home. You also forget that the area’s natural resources and heavy industry are integral parts of Ukraine’s economy.

      1. Avatar Murf says:

        No I have not forgotten them for an nano second.
        This is war, modern “Hybrid War” in which the battle is fought on ALL fronts. Military, Economic Political, Informational.
        Right now which ever side controls Donbas has a millstone around their necks.
        Putin wants to shed him self of it like a snake skin so the sanctions will be lifted.
        Ukraine taking control plays right in to hands. The only reason Ukraine has such a strong reforms faction in the Rada is Putin was stupid enough to exclude his base of influence in the electorate form the voting. You can et he is trying to fix that mistake.
        The majority of Donbas are chronic Russian supporters and regardless Putin will buy the pro Russian politicians the seats in the Rada.
        Ukrainians needs political unity not territory.
        That’s the cold calculus of war.
        You can bet Putin thinks that way. If Ukraine wants to win they better be thinking that way also.

        1. Avatar Rods says:

          I agree, Putin is looking for an off-ramp on his terms, which is precisely why it shouldn’t be agreed, without Ukraine having a clear path to out maneuvering him and making their own strategic gains. We know Putin is trying to build a 5th column in the Rada to stop any meaningful political reforms and to stop the stamping out of corruption, as this goes against his aim of making Ukraine a failed state.

          I accept Russian speakers in the DNR-LNR were in the minority when this started,. Now that 500,000+ of the population have left, the pro-Ukrainians to other parts of Ukraine and the pro-Russian to Russia. What will be left is many pro-Ukrainian pensioners especially in villages, with all they own is tied up in their houses and small holdings and they will be trying to stave-off starvation, if the war has disrupted their harvest. They are trying hold on to all they have, where they no longer work and therefore they don’t have the option of starting again and they do have my sincere sympathies for being in this terrible situation.

          But why would anybody else, that doesn’t either support, are indifferent to the fate of the Donbas or are local gangsters on the take, want to stay for daily life of deprivation, danger and possible death? Somebody that is fit and able to work can always relocate and rebuild their lives as we have seen with the article on here, with the family who have moved to Lviv. Hard as this maybe, it is an infinitely superior option to being injured, maimed or killed, while going about your daily business

        2. Avatar On the Balcony says:

          The Separatists are claiming sovereignty over the entire Oblasts of Donetz and Lughansk. Putin’s goal is the annexation of “Novarussia” which
          encompasses Ukraine’s entire Black Sea coastline all the way to and
          including most of Moldova. Why would you think that the separatists or Putin will agree to anything
          which does not serve their stated immediate and long range objectives? Renouncing claims of sovereignty over the occupied territories would only invite Putin to pursue further military adventurism. Ultimately, Putin will have to decide between war and letting go. Ukraine must prepare for war.

          1. Avatar Murf says:

            Oh I NEVER believed the war is over by a long shot.
            This past year has just been round one, Round two will start in the spring, March if Putin chooses to makes his move. late May if Ukraine has it’s choice.
            My waiting one year is a bare minimum. the occupied areas should not be a part of the political process until ALL the Rebel elements have been purged.

          2. Avatar Michel Cloarec says:

            While people have to try to survive the winter coming, they will build up a resistance, with help from Ua Army ! It will gave time to reinforce the positions . Military tactic, lets the terrorists feel they are winning, be comfortable, deal with whatever their dreams are, like new banks,new money,new moral (?).
            And then stub them when they are less expecting. France did that in WW2. The nazis became lazy and thought that the french had accepted them ! They became sittings ducks !

        3. Avatar Vid Beldavs says:

          How can you tell that the majority of Donbas are chronic Russian supporters? The 2012 election had about 2% of the vote for pro-Russia parties. The recent election in the Donbas involved bribing the voters with cabbage and ration cards to vote for THE candidate who happens to be the same guy that seized power by force. Now it is possible that in their calculation the vote legitimizes the ruler, but what if there were candidates that offered competing messages, with actual programs to benefit the people? How would the majority have voted then?

          1. Avatar Murf says:

            Based on:
            90% voted for Ynauko.
            Lack of opposition to the separatists take over in April-May. Including government officials, law enforcement and military units from the region.
            The thousands of civilians who volunteered to acted as human shields when the UA army did arrive.(Remember the surrender of the platoon from the 25th paras?)
            The results of the 1st referendum/ unscientific opinion poll. While not in any way, shape and /or form legal or valid it show a lot of Separatist support in the region.
            The crowed that turned out to welcome Strelkov’s men after the fall of Slovyansk.
            Finally the disgusting way the crowds humiliated the Ukrainian POWs in Donetsk on Independence Day in July.
            So IMHO Donebas is getting what it deserves. I just want the lesion driven home hard so that the memory of how little Russia truly cares for them is not forgotten.
            I am well aware that many in the region were not separatist. Most of the have been ethnically cleansed. Those that remain I feel sympathy for but this is a war in all but name. Ukraine is in a weaker position and MUST play the game smarter than it has so far.
            Russia destroyed Donbas with the local populations collusion.
            Let them fix it.

          2. Avatar Vid Beldavs says:

            I think reality is more complex. People are very disturbed by violence and instability. Particularly the large number of pensioners that may have witnessed war. As events unfolded what happened in Kiev seen through the Russian media had to be frightening while the seizure of Crimea was amazingly peaceful. This was the message – Kiev means instability, chaos and hatred of Russia while the opposite seemed to be true of the Russian action in Crimea. Early on the pro-Russia forces had superior intelligence, they knew the orders to the Ukraine forces before they received the orders. So many ambushes took place reinforcing the message that the Ukrainian military was incompetent. Given competent performance by Ukraine and access to information and a genuine election I suspect the majority of the people would vote for success rather than more suffering. That is what Poroshenko has to offer to the Donbas.

  4. Avatar Dirk Smith says:

    LOL. The words ‘responsibility’ and ‘independence’ are not words able to translate in the russian language. What a joke……

  5. Avatar Jsunn says:

    Remember what happened to the last Autonomous region of Ukraine? Buying time, that is all.

  6. Avatar Fred Hoffman says:

    Russia has redefined hypocrisy in international relations. It is simply outrageous that Russia should even think about dictating to a sovereign nation how to handle its internal political matters. (Did Russia grant autonomy to Chechnya?)

    Sure, now that Russia and the Kremlin’s proxies have devastated (and partially looted) the area’s infrastructure and economy, they want to flip the resultant mess over to Ukraine for Kyiv to clean up and cope with — effectively creating an abcess within the body of Ukraine that Russia fervently hopes will cause political and economic instability and difficulty for years and years to come.

    The criminal thug “leaders” of the DNR-LNR do not appear in the least bit capable of, or interested in, governing the area. Putin and his criminal thugs in eastern Ukraine have demonstrated that their word means absolutely nothing. Any deal made with them would be

    Having a politically-hostile autonomous region inside Ukraine will serve no purpose other than to perpetuate and institutionalize tensions and discord.

  7. Avatar LorCanada says:

    I confess to being ignorant of all the fine points but my impression is Ukraine doesn’t want to be seen as in a state of war since that will delay or even nullify their hopes of joining EU and/or NATO in future. That is how I see the three-year period of greater self autonomy for east Ukraine that President Poroshenko has planned since it will be done within the framework of a united sovereign Ukraine, not a divided one.
    Any patchwork agreement on a divided east Ukraine calls into question the status of Crimea.
    If Poroshenko chooses to negotiate with an independent bunch of thugs in east Ukraine who think they have rights to a separate area of Ukraine’s territory, it gives them a place of importance – but what about Crimea? Is it to be ignored, overlooked as unimportant? I would think any step taken by Kyiv should also consider Crimea’s circumstance.
    Hope this is as clear as mud?

    1. Avatar Michel Cloarec says:

      Like you I hope that it is the way it will go !

  8. Avatar Michel Cloarec says:

    In France , there is a system of regions (oblast) with great autonomy !
    A central Gvnt, with central justice and laws, central police. Even double languages in Bretagne for example. I think that is what PP wants. The fuhrers in L and D do not want this ! They have been fooled to believe that Russia was their dreams . They did not managed to conquer Donbas ! So maybe they will understand it is time to give up !
    They don´t have that much support whatever they think ! That Ukrainia will have to deal with autonomous Donbas will make life difficult for everyone. Before putin,girkin,surkov started to make a mess, the ethnic russians have been living in Donbas. They can again , but they must leave their guns and start to work !
    Putin & co only plans was to get their hands on Ua industries, coal, and of course Crimea, so they could have territorial water for offfshore oil. Now it is easy to write, but to make those puppets to change ideas will not be easy !
    HOPE is the last human loses !

  9. Avatar John Sarlat says:

    Since oil & Rouble induced 40% budget evaporation it’s obvious Kremlin cannot afford the costs of region it devastated. The average Russian worker’s per capita salary has gone from about $14,000 USD annual equivalent to around $10,000 Putin and Kremlin don’t want to push the limits of the masses thresh hold for economic pain.

  10. Avatar Murf says:

    Every thing that has happened in Donbas rings of “Be careful what you wish for.”
    The whyes and the wherefores of the rebellion are a mute point. The situation is what it is. I maintain that reintegrating Donbas into Ukraine would be a long term disaster both politically and economically.
    4500 dead bodies later, someone got what they wanted if not as much as they wanted. Now it’s their turn to deal with it.
    As for elections, I suspect you are right but as long as the Militia’s control the region there will be no free and fare elections. Even if there were Putin will always buy the candidate he wants.

    1. Avatar Vid Beldavs says:

      President Petroshenko’s peace plan anticipated a three year special status period. Given that the people in the region have open access to media and abide by Ukrainian national law it seems reintegration could work. But, so many have died. Col. Strelkov claims responsibility for starting the war. However, in his interview he did not claim responsibility for the 4,500 deaths. Perhaps the interview was allowed so that the Russian authorities could blame someone. But, now, the interview has been removed from the internet.

  11. Avatar Murf says:

    If you want to see Streklov or one of his cronies occupying a seat in the Rada just just bring them back in.