The special logic of Putin and his hordes in the Donbas


More, Opinion

Article by: Vitaliy Portnikov
Translated by: Anna Mostovych

Many Ukrainians believe that sooner or later the people in Moscow will reconsider. That they will understand what kind of Pandora’s box they opened when they began the war in the Donbas. That they will see the terrible slaughter that results. And that they will begin to question the meaning of what is happening — that Kremlin controlled thugs are holding on to a few regions of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. And then what?

This hope that the Kremlin will come to its senses increases each time some profoundly dramatic event occurs, when many innocent people die at once. Even though, upon consideration, are  the daily individual victims any different from those in a massacre? But human psychology is constituted in such a way that we are stunned by scale and we have already stopped understanding  that what is happening every day in the Donbas is an endless tragedy. Yet, when the Boeing went down, many thought that the war would end after that nightmare. And when people died in the bus in Volnovakha, they thought so as well.

However the aggressor operates on completely different logic. For him, the loss of human lives is simply one of the excesses of a war that the Vladimir Putin gang must win. The number of victims and the massacres are not issues of great concern to anyone in the Kremlin. Or, if they even think about it, they only serve as trump cards for propaganda. Russian propaganda continues to insist that the Malaysian Boeing was shot down by a Ukrainian fighter plane. It publishes photographs with “bullet holes” and expresses outrage at the “lying West,” thus converting the tragedy of dozens of people into another victory over common sense.

The same thing will happen with Volnovakha. The Russian side will maintain that Ukrainians themselves destroyed the bus in order to compromise the “valiant militias” that are protecting their land from the “Ukrainian aggressor.” The Russian TV viewer will believe yet another lie — at least  for as long as he still has time for news from Ukraine, which will no longer be the case soon. No one in the Kremlin will mourn the dead or think about ending the war. On the contrary, each similar situation will leave Putin and his hordes in the Donbas no other option than escalation.

As for the West, it has become accustomed to the Ukrainian war, as previously it became accustomed to the Yugoslav war. The war in Yugoslavia did not end after Srebrenica, and the Ukrainian war will not end after Volnovakha. Similar tragedies only convince Western politicians and diplomats that they must continue to seek a political solution to the conflict, but they never lead to a decisive breakthrough.

Translated by: Anna Mostovych
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