Andrey Piontkovsky, prominent Russian scientist, political writer and analyst
Article by: Antin Borkovskyi
Russian political analyst Andrei Piontkovsky, appearing on the Espreso TV program “Studio West with Antin Borkovskyi,” analyzed the most recent vote of the Verkhovna Rada on changes to Ukraine’s Constitution and discussed Kyiv’s prospects or overcoming the Kremlin.
As far as I can understand, Ukraine nevertheless has reached some kind of end result. I won’t assess it here since the opinion was very divided. In your view, what does the vote in Kyiv mean?
Well, I would rather call this a semifinal. It is obvious that the West and the US have been applying pressure with the goal of recognizing two conditions that Russia will never accept. First, the withdrawal of foreign troops. Russia is simply denying the presence of Russian troops in Ukraine. Second, the transfer of the control of the border to the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Russia will never do this either. There are two provisions that I expect Ukraine will never implement, despite all the pressure from the West. Moscow is pushing for Ukraine to support this entire lovely “Luhandoniya” economically. Second, it wants to insert it like a cancerous tumor into the political body of Ukraine. So that these same Bezlers — I don’t remember if they’ve already shot him — and Motorolas could sit in the Verkhovna Rada and determine foreign policy. So that under the pressure of the West Poroshenko would introduce certain editorial changes to the text of the Constitution, supposedly to match the wording of the Minsk agreements. I’ll say this gently: Obama has once again fallen for a cheap provocation by the Kremlin, supposedly because Putin helped him in Iran and will help him in Syria. Well, it was allegedly in exchange for this gesture that (Obama) agreed to apply certain pressure on Kyiv to move it closer to Moscow’s interpretation of the Minsk agreements. I think that President Poroshenko and the Verkhovna Rada made a wise diplomatic move by adopting general and vague wording to satisfy the US and the European allies. But I expect that in reality Ukraine will never give in and will not agree to Moscow’s two core murderous requirement: the incorporation of this entire Luhandonia into the political body of Ukraine with the obligation to support these territories economically.
And will it be possible to take back the signed Minsk-2 documents?
I think Kyiv is playing a more subtle game now. A direct refusal would disappoint Ukraine’s Western partners on which much depends and who are doing much that is positive for Ukraine. It is better this way — to accept the demands formally, stressing the fact that Moscow is still not fulfilling two key provisions of the Minsk agreements.
In short, the first point on a complete ceasefire is not being carried out, as well as the second point on withdrawing troops. Then there is the sixth point about releasing all the hostages. And then immediately there is Nadiya Savchenko. And so on.
You accurately listed the key terms of the Minsk agreement that Moscow flatly refuses to implement. If the Western friends want to discuss the Minsk agreements so much then Kyiv has topics that can and need to be discussed first (we’re talking about human lives) and not succumb to Putin’s pressure. Having failed to break Ukraine by military means, Putin is trying to destroy the Ukrainian state by forcing the insertion of the cancerous tumor of Luhandonia.
Here this is completely a question of time: who will die first. Perhaps the game of delaying will lead to a situation where Kremlin will be depleting its strategic resources in the confrontation with the West?
I agree that time is on the side of Ukraine. Because Putin has already suffered several major strategic, political, and psychological defeats. First, the concept of the “Russian World” that he proclaimed in his Crimean speech, which was an exact copy of Hitler’s speech before the Reichstag after the occupation of Sudetenland. This is the concept of the separated people, the gathering of ancestral lands, and the protection of compatriots. Well, this concept has failed. It was based on the assumption that the West would be intimidated but would not fight back. Then came Novorossiya. In April-May Putin really wanted to raise the bar and send commandos to 10-15 oblasts of Ukraine. This fell through as well. What remains is the Luhandonia concept. Moscow understands that, despite the demonstrative build-up of military forces, everyone understands that direct military escalation — advancing on Mariupol or creating a corridor to the Crimean isthmus — will provoke a very tough Western reaction. This has been clearly stated by the Europeans. Therefore, there is the remaining chance to politically and psychologically outmaneuver them over the interpretation of the Minsk agreements.
It seems that Putin really is frightened of the tribunal on the downed Boeing.
Well, you have to understand that Putin has cut off an easy exit for himself from this situation. Even a year ago, several days after the tragedy, the well-known Mr. Churkin himself made the following statement at the UN Security Council — that this was probably a tragic mistake on the part of the separatists, that there was no evil intent and so on. If there had been some retraction perceived in that comment, the West, in particular, would not have applied further pressure. But (the Russians) themselves rejected this option.
It is suspected that Girkin was not made a such a “big shot” for nothing. Perhaps Putin will exchange him, having “fattened him up” like a calf for slaughter. As they say, Girkin has been “ripened” for the tribunal.
Perhaps someone in the propaganda apparatus had this scenario in mind, but this possibility has been lost by Russian propaganda itself. In a few days, when everything is presented at the General Assembly, everything will become clear to everyone. After all, the ID number of the Buk (surface-to-air missile) is known, its entire route is known by the hour, when it left, when it fired, when the missile system, now lacking one missile, left Ukrainian territory, There are too many facts pointing to the Kremlin and especially to the commander-in-chief of the Russian Armed Forces.
Will Putin will be intensifying the escalation in the east soon?
This escalation is impossible from any rational point of view, but we cannot exclude a mad act. But if he is completely mad, if his inner circle cannot restrain him, then he may decide on escalation. This will speed up the solution and lead to the speediest collapse of the regime.