Analyst: Moscow can’t afford having Ukraine war become a frozen conflict

Pavel Felgenhauer

Pavel Felgenhauer, Russian military analyst 

2015/04/11 • Analysis & Opinion, Military analysis

Moscow can’t afford having its war in Donbas become a frozen conflict with an unrecognized state like Transdniestria or Nagorno-Karabakh: its economy cannot exist independently and its population is far beyond the capacity of the Russian state to subsidize for very long, according to Pavel Felgenhauer.

The implications of the Moscow military analyst’s argument are that Moscow must seize more territory, force Kyiv or someone else to subsidize a population that the Russian government might try to keep under its control, or withdraw.

But Felgenhauer himself explicitly says that because Moscow cannot afford to finance a frozen conflict in the Donbas, no one should count on that happening or on Moscow’s fulfillment of the Minsk accords. Instead, he says, it is “almost inevitable” that Moscow will “restart military operations.”

“If you believe Forbes, not long ago, it was proposed to Putin that he take the Donbas, but the Russian president said that he didn’t need it,” the analyst says, adding that he “believes that Putin really doesn’t need the Donbas in any form.”

“Half of the Donbas would not be able to exist independently,” Felgenhauer continues. Its economy is in ruins, its agricultural base is too small, its infrastructure is incapable of allowing that to happen, and its population, more than ten times that of Karabakh or Transdniestria, is too large for Moscow to finance.

  • Arial view of the destroyed Donetsk Airport , photo taken on Jan. 15 2015
    Arial view of the destroyed Donetsk Airport , photo taken on Jan. 15 2015
  • Devastation from the Russian invasion in Donbas, Ukraine
    Devastation from the Russian invasion in Donbas, Ukraine
  • Devastation from the Russian invasion in Donbas, Ukraine (village of Troitske)
    Devastation from the Russian invasion in Donbas, Ukraine (village of Troitske)
  • Devastation from the Russian invasion in Donbas, Ukraine (village of Troitske)
    Devastation from the Russian invasion in Donbas, Ukraine (village of Troitske)
  • War in Donbas (Photo: uapress.info)
    War in Donbas, tanks
  • Fighters with the separatist self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic army sit on top of a moving armoured personnel carrier at a check point on the road from the town of Vuhlehirsk to Debaltseve
    Fighters with the separatist self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic army sit on top of a moving armoured personnel carrier at a check point on the road from the town of Vuhlehirsk to Debaltseve
  • War in Donbas
    War in Donbas, tank fire
  • War in Donbas
    War in Donbas, cannon
  • t6
    t6
  • War in Donbas
    War in Donbas
  • War in Donbas
    War in Donbas
  • War in Donbas
    War in Donbas
  • War in Donbas
    War in Donbas
  • War in Donbas
    War in Donbas
  • War in Donbas
    War in Donbas
  • War in Donbas
    War in Donbas
  • A destroyed tank in the Donbas, Ukraine
    A destroyed tank in the Donbas, Ukraine

Edited by: A. N.

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  • puttypants

    So what has all this been about. The people in Donbas should be furious. He wrecks their lives, kills people, devastates cities and they hate the Ukrainian government. Tell me what’s wrong with this picture?

    • LorCanada

      Putin’s so-called caring about his Russian speakers in east Ukraine is just a sham. He lost no time in sending his “aid” white trucks to loot the commercial high tech assets in east Ukraine, even carting off the COAL to Mother Russia! In other words, Putin’s main purpose is to weaken, to destabilize and destroy Ukraine’s economy, and he is quite ruthless in his determination to do so.
      The puppet separatist leaders in east Ukraine have no money, they steal from the locals, and threaten those who want to remain part of Ukraine. The rebels are in no position to rebuild what they’ve destroyed and Putin isn’t interested in rebuilding either. It’s about time the locals kick out the terrorists and Putin’s ‘vacationing’ mercenaries and get on with the task of rebuilding Ukraine after the Russian invasion.