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Ukraine’s Donbas law and Russia’s outrage

A Ukrainian soldier-musician at the Donbas front. Photo:
Article by: Vitaly Portnikov
Translated by: Anna Mostovych

Russian President Vladimir Putin convened a special meeting of the permanent members of the Russian Security Council to discuss the passage of the  Donbas reintegration law by the Ukrainian parliament. Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov stated that this law annuls the Minsk agreements. Deputies from the Opposition Bloc (formerly the Party of Regions — Ed.) in the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) proposed that the results of the parliamentary vote be abolished. Now the law cannot be signed before a resolution is passed abolishing the proposal by Viktor Yanukovych’s former associates.

One wonders why Russia is so worried about a law that cannot change the actual situation in the Donbas. The adoption of the law does not free the territory from the invaders, it does not restore Ukrainian control over the border, and it cannot have any impact on the leadership of the DNR and LNR groups and their Moscow curators. And, by the way, this new law does not abolish the Minsk agreements either — even though during all this time Russia has not taken a single step to implement them. Why would you need a special meeting of the Security Council of the Russian Federation? Why would the deputies from the Opposition Bloc use all available formal options to delay the signing of the law?

Remains of a Russian soldier found near the village of Krymskyi in the Luhansk Oblast, June 2016. Photo: Radio Svoboda

A Russian soldier ressembles a thief in a foreign land

In the hybrid war that Russia launched against Ukraine in 2014, it is very important not to call things by their proper names. This is part of the strategy. This is why the invaders in Crimea called themselves polite little green men. This is why the invader constantly claims he is not there. The Russian soldier is like a thief in a foreign land — he moves without any insignia. And in this quest to hide the name, country, flag and honor, he is fully supported by the supreme commander of the Russian Army and by most of Russia’s inhabitants. This is why, even after the death of Russian soldiers in battles in Ukraine, they are buried secretly and why those who try to get to the truth are intimidated or beaten, as was the journalist and politician Lev Shlosberg.

What Russia most dislikes in the Ukrainian law is the fact that the aggressor is called the aggressor. It is true that in this law not everything is named by its proper name.  But its most significant term is nonetheless present. It is present not only in Ukraine’s legal space but in numerous media commentaries around the world. Thanks to the passage of the new Ukrainian law, many politicians and observers have mentioned this nearly frozen conflict and the fact that soldiers are still dying at the line of contact, that civilians are suffering, and that millions of people cannot lead normal lives because of Kremlin’s adventurism. And they also mentioned the name of the aggressor.

As we can see, this seriously bothers both Vladimir Putin and his immediate circle. It appears these people fear the truth much more than sanctions and military action. After all, when the sanctions were implemented they did not hold special meetings and did not pose for cameras with expressions of concern. On the contrary, they radiated complete confidence that they would prevail over the West. Because sanctions mean money, goods, and visas. And the truth is the truth.

Translated by: Anna Mostovych
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