Moscow analysts: Putin wants to destroy Ukraine’s independence, not seize the Donbas

Putin attends his annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow

Putin attends his annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow 

2015/01/25 • Analysis & Opinion

Those who hope for a resolution of what Moscow has managed to label “the Ukrainian crisis” need to recognize that Vladimir Putin has no interest in the Donbas or even some mythical “Novorossiya.” He wants to destroy the independence of Ukraine and is using both military and diplomatic means for the achievement of that goal.

That is the judgment of some of the best analysts in Moscow, two of whom, Igor Eidman and Pavel Felgenhauer, have offered parallel arguments and conclusions in their latest commentaries.

According to Eidman, Putin’s tactics in Ukraine remain the same: “the imitation of a step back” in order to allow “two steps forward along the path of expansion.” At present in fact, he points out, “Russia is introducing new military units in the Donbas and increasing attacks on Ukrainian forces.”

In a related move, “the Russian side is imitating a readiness for dialogue and for some concessions. As a result, the new Russian attack will not lead to a toughening of the position of the West and a strengthening of sanctions.” No one wants to irritate “’the Russian bear,’” and everyone seems to think that there can be “’a peace process.’”

But such people “do not understand that the Russian dictator needs all these talks in order to soften the reaction of the West to the expanding occupation of Ukraine.” He has no intention of stopping. “He doesn’t need the Donbas or even a mythical ‘Novorossiya.’ He wants to destroy the independence of Ukraine.”

Putin has never accepted the overthrow of Yanukovych, the Moscow commentator says, and he will continue to fight until he has “his own new puppet” in Kyiv, a kind of “Yanukovych-2.”

“The chief problem for the world,” he continues, is that “the Russian president is ill.” He views himself as a great historical figure blest by God and undefeatable — rather than a minor Chekist officer he in fact is who came to power thanks “to a tragic chain of accidental circumstances.”

Given his mania, Putin has “decided neither more nor less to subordinate Ukraine to himself.” Such an idea is ultimately condemned to failure, but he cannot admit that to himself or others and is counting on others to help him achieve his goal.

Felgenhauer, perhaps Russia’s most distinguished independent military analyst, says that those dealing with Moscow on Ukraine “need to understand what Russia’s strategic goals are.” These are “now completely understandable” and involve in the first instance “regime change in Kyiv.”

Putin doesn’t like the current cast of leaders in Ukraine, but that is far from the central issue, Felgenhauer continues. “Moscow is interested in a constitutional reform in Ukraine which will guarantee what Russia needs” – keeping Ukraine out of Western organizations and maintaining its neutrality.

Moscow wants a Ukraine in which “pro-Russian forces there will have a veto.” It doesn’t care about Ukrainian territory “as such.” It is interested “not so much in the Donbas as in Kyiv and in having definite control over all of Ukraine which in general must be a country with limited sovereignty.”

In pursuit of that goal, Felgenhauer says, Moscow is applying “various kinds of pressure on Ukraine: military, political and economic with the goal of destabilizing the situation and changing the regime.”

Russia doesn’t yet have a candidate to take over in Kyiv. It even, the Moscow military analyst says, “still hopes that Petro Poroshenko ‘will think it over’” and be prepared to agree to what Moscow wants. It is even “not against” the notion that the extreme right might seize power given that this would isolate Kyiv from the West by appearing to confirm Russia’s line.

“Obozrevatel,” the Ukrainian outlet to which Felgenhauer gave his interview, summed up his remarks in the following way: Given Putin’s goals of subordinating all of Ukraine rather than seizing the Donbas, “negotiations will not help; it is necessary either to win in war or lose sovereignty.”

Edited by: A. N.

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  • Brent

    Putin already has a candidate for “Yannu-puppet 2.0”. The Ukraine “Quisling” will be Viktor Medvedchuk. He’s already shown he will sell his native Ukraine to his daughter’s “Godfather”, Vladimir Putin. He was already involved in the peace negotiations as the appointed representative of the DPR and LPR until Borodai booted him out of the process.

    I also think Putin will not be finished with just disemboweling Ukraine. The Baltics are next and if NATO and Obama show they are only interested in continuing to make grand speeches and not following up on their commitments,then who knows how far an emboldened Putin takes this. Maybe the idea of a “Lisbon to Vladivostok Eurasian Union” with a weakened Europe unwilling to stand up to him may be within his grasp.

    • marko j zala

      A Greater Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok with China as a strategic partner – would in the end mean the control of the entire Eurasian Continent with an isolated USA behind the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean.
      China has not critzised Russia during this war, in fact China has announced that it is supporting Russia as its strategic partner in this “crisis”.

      • Brent

        That’s all part of the “Duginite” philosophy that Putin is following. But it goes further. They don’t just want to isolate America, they want to destroy it. That’s why it is ludicrous for the U.S. to sit on the sidelines and think this is outside of their interests.

        China is an opportunist. If Russia falters, the Bear will need to fear the Dragon from the East.

  • Dr. Stanley Wesolowsky Ph.D.

    The stakes for Ukraine are at an all-time high:
    “it is necessary either to win in war or lose sovereignty”.

  • Kruton

    Crazy Russians go home!

  • Jason Gardner

    You forgot to finish with “Heil Putler!” Anders.

  • disqus_aJpixObjG7

    “russian” oppressive genocidal history repeats itself over and over like a broken record

    here is another example

    November Insurrection, (1830–31),
    Polish rebellion that unsuccessfully tried to overthrow Russian rule in the Congress Kingdom of Poland as well as in the Polish provinces of western
    Russia and parts of Lithuania, Belorussia, (now Belarus), and Ukraine.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/November_Uprising

    http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/421161/November-Insurrection

  • Dirk Smith

    Actually, the thieves were kicked out. Slava Ukrainia!!

    • anders svensson

      Fair, enough…stop begging for money from our taxpayers, we have own bills to pay.

  • disqus_aJpixObjG7

    HAVE YOU ALSO HAD ENOUGH OF HEARING THAT “russia” defeated Germany?
    here is another answer to that egregious “russian” lie

    cut and pate this to anyone who says “russia” defeated the nazis

    1st UKRAINIAN front
    2nd UKRAINIAN front,
    3rd UKRAINIAN front
    4th UKRAINIAN front, and
    5th UKRAINIAN front

    comprising 7.4 million UKRAINIAN TROOPS

    that’s seven point four million UKRAINIAN TROOPS

    Got it?

    that’s SEVEN POINT FOUR MILLION UKRAINIAN not “russian” TROOPS

    DEFEATED GERMANY and were helped by Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, kirgystan, Kazkhstan etc etc etc and … “russia”

    CHURCHILL HIMSELF WROTE: Gemany was defeated in UKRAINE not in some…”russia”

    Don’t give us anymore of your “russia” BS. the world has long had enough of a nation that speaks exclusively only LIES and lives by LIES

    • LorCanada

      I believe Russia even tries to establish their own versions of Google and Wikipedia such as showing nova russia as existing when in reality it’s a relic of the past and has no place on modern maps.

  • disqus_aJpixObjG7

    BY THE WAY:
    a russian troll recently posted that “russia” was the protagonist in developments in conquering outer space… so here is the answer to THAT russian LIE

    UKRAINE AND UKRAINIANS not “russians” WERE THE
    PROTAGONISTS OF THE SPACE PROGRAM. it was in Ukraine by UKRAINIANS that all soviet and most of the world’s pioneering developments of the SPACE RACE occured.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_space_program

    UKRAINE WAS ALWAYS THE CENTER OF ALL RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE USSR

    • LorCanada

      Nice to know about this, thanks.

  • disqus_aJpixObjG7

    putin needs UKRAINE because “russia” has never functioned without UKRAINE for over 3 centuries. UKRAINE always FED “russia” and fought ALL ITS WARS FOR 300 YEARS up to 1991. UKRAINE comprised 55% of the entire Soviet economy and was the centre of its R&D…etc got it anders?

    • LorCanada

      Quite right, disqus. Months ago Ukraine bandied the idea of restarting their nuclear warheads program, to build up their own nukes again. Needless to say, Pootie was not amused, but it would be a nice retaliatory gesture to bully Russia if Ukraine did revive that industry.

      • disqus_aJpixObjG7

        An egregrious strategic historic CRIMINAL act was the disarming of UKRAINE.

        Already back in 1993 i argued that the only interest the West had in UKRAINE was to de-claw it & de-fang it. No one agreed.

        THE EGREGIOUS TRAITOR CRIMINALS against their own nation, Kravchuk and Kuchma GAVE AWAY THE WORLD’S THIRD LARGEST NUCLEAR ARSENAL (of course Kravchuk & Kuchma got hundreds of millions each).

        THE WORLD’S 3RD LARGEST NUCLEAR ARSENAL WAS GIVEN BY UKRAINE to…wait for it…russia!

        Kravchuk & Kuchma could have got say 500? 800? $900? billion for the Ukrainian people in return for dismantling their own nuclear arsenal from… the WEST. (to temporarily deactivate the arsenal & keep it on Ukrainian territory.

        INSTEAD KRAVCHUK GAVE THIS AWAY FOR…wait for it… wait for it… several pounds of paper with ink on it worth perhaps ten dollars at a stationary store:

        THIS IS THE BUDAPEST MEMORANDUM- sheets of toilet paper with signatures on them.

        BY THIS CRIMINAL ACT, THE FATE OF UKRAINE WAS SEALED. THE HENHOUSE SIGNED AN AGREEMENT WITH THREE FOXES.

        THE FOXES WOULD ASSURE THE SECURITY OF THE HENHOUSE AND THE HENS.

        These CRIMINAL FOXES ARE BETRAYING UKRAINE RIGHT NOW. THEY SWORE TO DEFEND BY MILITARY MEANS THE TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY OF UKRAINE- UK, USA, RUSSIA with assurances from FRANCE & CHINA where are these 5 foxes now?

        KRAVCHUK SAID HE WOULD NEVER… EVER…ever! GIVE AWAY UKRAINE’S TACTICAL NUKES…

        BUT KUCHMA DID…KUCHMA GAVE THEM TO RUSSIA for a bribe AND THEY ARE POINTING AT UKRAINE RIGHT NOW.

        No one has ever been called to order for this unspeakable crime against a nation state – UKRAINE.

        In the early 90’s UKRAINE EVEN LET ITS TANKS BE DEMOLISHED FOR… the “reward” of a mere $9000 each.

        THERE WOULD BE NO RUSSIAN INVASION OF UKRAINE TODAY IF UKRAINE HAD HER CLAWS AND TEETH- HER NUKES.

        Chamberlain came away with a piece of toilet paper with a signature on it BUT HE GAVE NOTHING FOR IT.

        UKRAINE GAVE AWAY…GAVE AWAY!

        CAN WE COMPREHEND it?……FOR A POUND OF PAPER AND 20 CUBIC METERS OF HOT AIR… what! the world’s THIRD NUCLEAR ARSENAL.
        Their launch systems were part-controlled from Russia? so what! you can change the lock on a car engine, you can change the control systems on nukes.

        Unless teh regime in KYIV are totally insane, they are INDEED scurrying to rebuild a nuclear strike capacity by UKRAINE-in secret. THERE IS NO QUESTION THAT THIS MUST OCCUR ASAP.

        ALL THE ENGINEERS WHO BUILT THE SOVIET UNION’S NUCLEAR ARSENAL AND ICBMS WERE IN UKRAINE…so hopefully this know how is being put to work

  • Brent

    Anders Svensson! You very first comment, and yet you chose this forum about Ukraine politics….now isn’t that interesting. Typical troll move. Take a European name and get assigned to a site about a country you have no previous interest in….

    The thieves you spoke of have all fled to Russia and the EU and are hiding there. Why do they protect them? Why don’t they send them and the billions they stole back to Ukraine?

    You’re worried about your tax dollars going to help a country maintain it’s sovereign territory and try to stop its neighbor from murdering its citizens? If the Allied Nations had been concerned about their ‘tax dollars’, you might be goose stepping through the main plaza now. Instead of worrying about being able to purchase an extra latte, maybe you can help save some lives of innocents by telling Russia to end its war on Ukraine…

    • anders svensson

      Well not much of a troll. I think EU is a pile of shit and Sweden (where I live) should leave as soon as possible.

  • Paul

    @Brent: spot on – on all counts. Medvedchuk has been groomed for many years to be the heir to Yanuk. All that time he’s spent in Moscow, the imprisonment of Yulia, the beheading of Gongadze, Firtash’s rise – it’s all about Medvedchuk.