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.