The political developments before the Paris meeting. A view from the Donbass

Политические перипетии перед парижской встречей. Взгляд с Донбасса

Illustration: nahnews.org
9 December in the capital of France will host a summit “channel four”, which the leaders of Russia, France, Ukraine and Germany to discuss ways of reconciliation Ukraine with the Donbas and, possibly, gas problem of Kyiv and Moscow. Some experts have the fact that the meeting is called positive, because of the Quartet talks in this format were not in 2016. Probably, talking is always better than to abandon the dialogue. In the end, the history knows examples when diplomatic efforts, “unleashes” the most complex global nodes.

A vivid example is the missile crisis of 1961. However, there are other examples where diplomatic negotiations and the desire to find a reasonable compromise with those who are not a priori ready to search for consensus, pushed the world into the abyss. Example — the Munich meeting of 1938. But, of course, a historical example, associated with events in Cuba, and the “Munich agreement” is an extreme point of both positive and negative diplomatic efforts. Often in international Affairs, everything is solved very slowly, and the “fiddling” of any complex situation can take years, even decades. For example, the same meeting in the “Norman format”, which was in the preceding years, yielded one major result: in 2015 was signed on the Second Minsk agreement. But they were not feasible. Although technical issues — such as the troops a kilometer from the front line, exchange of prisoners — all considered signs of a breakthrough.
You should pay attention to the political and information background that precedes the meeting in Paris. First, the summit planned for the summer, then for autumn, but Ukraine all the time delayed disengagement in the Golden and Petrovsky. 15 November, Bloomberg has reported from anonymous sources that the meeting will be held on December 9. Almost immediately Paris, Kiev and Berlin confirmed this information. But Moscow remained silent. Moreover, on 17 November, the Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov said

“I think this year it will be a chance to hold (the summit “channel four”). I can’t say specific dates because they were still in negotiations, but obviously this year”.After this statement there was a sense that the December 9 meeting, most likely, will not take place. But on 18 November in the Kremlin confirmed that the summit will be exactly 9 numbers. What does this mean? That between the parties until the last moment they were bidding. Apparently, first of all regarding the outcome document, a short version of which, judging by the statements of the parties managed to agree on. However, a number of nuances are still not settled. So, Russian political analyst Alexei Chesnakov, who is a close person of the Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov, wrote that it is still unknown whether the final document released to the public or remain closed to the press. It looks a bit strange. It is clear that not all will speak at a meeting designed for public distribution, but to publicize the outcome document would be a logical move, given the public attention to the problem of war in the Donbass. But it at first glance. I think against the tradition of publicity of the final document is the Ukrainian side. Why her?

Chesnokov wrote that the final document fully suit Russia. France and Germany won’t insist on the “classify” of the outcome document, as it is not exactly like the European press, moreover, hardly it contains something that will cause serious repercussions in the EU. But Zelensky is to be feared the discontented reaction of the Ukrainian radicals, they, even now, two weeks before the summit, accusing him zrade (betrayal) of Ukraine and, of course, they always find something to complain about. True, wonder why the team Zelensky believes that if the document is made public, it is best for them. On the contrary, the logic of the radicals is the following: once the final communiqué is not published in the press, so it contains something that they want to hide from the public. And this is another reason to accuse Zelensky betrayal. Due to the lack of document of their imagination will not be limited. So don’t surrender to the document of the public can be no less reason for a new independence, rather than some aspects of the content of the text.
Alexei Chesnakov also wrote that Moscow demanded that this be done in advance (agreed outcome document), to the summit. So it is possible to prevent the attempts of Ukraine to enter in negotiations beyond the Minsk agreements. But in Ukraine, apparently, does not leave hopes to change the final communiqué. The Minister of foreign Affairs Vadym Prystayko in an interview with Ukrainian media said:

“If in the course of the conversation leaders will reach some kind of breakthrough, it will quickly prepared a new document”.And the President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky, according to his last message, hoping to change the Minsk agreement. On November 20, he said that he was going to raise in Paris four questions. If the first two questions — the exchange of prisoners and the complete cessation of fire fully correspond to the Minsk agreement, here for the third and fourth things are not so simple. Pan Zelensky said he would raise the issue of the transfer of Ukraine control of the border of Donbass with Russia and the question about the possibility of holding local elections in “ORDO”. Vladimir Zelensky their thoughts expressed generally messy and inarticulate. However, there is reason to believe that the President wants to change not only the order of the actions provided for in the agreements, but also the very logic of the Minsk process. He wants to get control of the border without the implementation of the political part of the document, to eliminate structure LDNR, and only then hold elections. In fact, this is the path to the exit from the Minsk agreements, both the first and the second.

On 20 November the President of Russia Vladimir Putin said:

“We see that there (in Ukraine) always raises questions from the point of view of settlement in the Donbass is unacceptable and counterproductive. Now sound increasingly the thesis that the Minsk agreement should be revised”.That is, Putin has made it clear Zelensky, he did not intend to give consent to the change of the Minsk agreements. Moreover, he said that if the new law which are going to take in Kiev, do not agree with LDNR, it will lead to a deadlock. But Kiev has repeatedly said that they will not engage in dialogue with Donetsk and Lugansk. So if accepted in Ukraine a new law on the Special status, it will significantly worsen the situation of residents of Donbass even in comparison with the current law, which is also far from reality. It is also likely that the new law, as now existing, will never enter into force. And as said Vladimir Putin, will lead to a deadlock.In light of this different vision of Moscow and Kiev aspects of conflict resolution, it seems that nothing of the breakthrough in political terms, the Paris meeting will not. No, some result will certainly, it is very likely that they will agree on the exchange of prisoners, maybe even by the formula “all for all”. Extremely high probability that will determine the next areas for breeding troops if the Ukrainian side, of course, does not capture the new “grey zone”. As the experience of past years, from Kiev it is quite possible to expect. In addition, it is likely that the summit will find some kind of compromise regarding the transportation of Russian gas through Ukraine. For the leaders of Germany and France Emmanuel Makron and Angela Merkel is, firstly, guarantees uninterrupted gas supplies to Europe, has not yet begun to function “Nord stream-2”. Secondly, it will allow them to save face and appease its liberal community, showing that Paris and Berlin do not leave Kyiv.

In any case, the rules and Merkel has even the most minimal outcome of the summit would call a serious step forward. In fact, this summit is necessary in order to demonstrate that the Minsk agreement is still alive. The situation where the process becomes more important than the result, especially when there is no understanding of how to achieve this same result.

It would seem, in RESPONSE to the prospect of holding a new summit was supposed to trigger a positive response. Negotiations as in theory — is the path to peace. But if you talk to the residents of Donetsk and to read what they write in the Donbas segment of social networks, the conclusion will be quite different. Rather, the reaction can be described as very cautious. Why? You have to understand, people in the Donbass constantly live in the irrational fear that Russia could “merge” the region of Ukraine. And so the Paris summit was cause for concern. Fear is irrational because if Moscow wanted to “merge” the Donbass in the conditions of the West, it would have done it in 2014-2015.

Donbass now the question became for Russia not only external political and internal. Submission of Donbass will cause a negative reaction from the Patriotic society of Russia, today in the overwhelming majority of its loyal to the government. In recent years, despite sanctions and international pressure, Russia reunited with the Crimea, has significantly strengthened its credibility in the world. In addition, if the Donbass will begin mass political purges, after Kiev will take power in LDNR, this will hit the credibility of the Russian authorities. And this is just what you need today, those forces in the West who want to arrange Maidan in Moscow and to put the country under the control of the West. If you remember the story, decline in the authority of Slobodan Milosevic in Yugoslavia began after the death of Serbian Krajina under the boots of the Croatian soldiers, and Serbs there were subjected to mass persecution.
The people in Donbass do not believe that Zelenski can be something to negotiate, this can be seen if you view social network just to talk to people in the region. If at first the East was still hope that Vladimir Zelensky young, witty, not tainted with the blood of the residents of Donbass and Maidan, will really become the President of the world, now in RESPONSE to those hopes evaporated. After shelling by the APU being such as have not been already at “late” Poroshenko. Rhetoric Zelensky and his team is built to please the radicals, or at least not to anger them. So people are really afraid of the return of the Ukrainian authorities. Why? Yes all is very simple. They don’t believe will be safe, if the government of Kiev again spread to Lugansk and Donetsk land. No Special status or Amnesty will not help here. People do not believe that the Kiev authorities will act according to the law against the residents of Donbass.

Now in Ukraine you can often hear appeals to the fact that people living in the LDNR, the return of the region under the Ukrainian government need to restrict rights, to pass through the filtration camps, and the like. And talking about it, not just outright marginal. So, the former representative of Ukraine in the political subgroup in Minsk Roman Bezsmertny has offered to turn the Donbass in the wild field. And recently in the Internet appeared the document, allegedly by the security Council of Ukraine, where it is proposed after regaining control of Kiev over the territories LDNR part of the inhabitants to plant, and part to be deported. Of course, it’s hard to say, fake the document or not. The fact that the current Ukrainian government is able to create such a plan, no doubt. Why? But rather to draw attention to one seemingly private episode, but very revealing. Kharkiv court of appeal upheld a 12-year sentence for the 85-year-old political prisoner scientist of Mekhti Logunov. In fact, an old man condemned to death in prison on very dubious charges. And punished him for not adopted the Maidan regime. And even in Ukraine, many had hoped that with Zelensky man, who was put under Poroshenko will finally be released. But this did not happen. It turns out, the mode Zelensky no less cannibalistic than the regime Poroshenko, and both are generated by the Maidan. So, the document of the Ukrainian security Council may well be true and residents of the Donbass waiting for the terror, arrests, politically motivated trials, deportation to the West of Ukraine. And if someone thinks that Europe will stand up for the people of Donbass, he is mistaken. It should not count. The EU and the US can be blind and deaf when it suits them. Does anyone in the West stood up for the poor old man Logunov? No. But when sitting , Yulia Tymoshenko, for it tore his throat all “democratic” policies.
Another important indicator. It is now most sincerely congratulate each other, the inhabitants of Donbass? Happy birthday? No. To obtain a Russian passport. Objectively people want to Russia. This is evidenced by even a survey conducted on the territory of LDNR sociologists on the order of “hawk” the Ukrainian edition “Mirror of week”. So, even according to him, 65% of residents would like to see LDNR part of Russia. In reality, I think, wanting to see the region part of Russia much more. And the words of the leaders of Donbass that LDNR want to integrate into Russia, not an empty phrase, but real aspirations of millions of people who feel themselves an integral part of the Russian world.

In fact, over the 5 years between Donbass and Ukraine, there is an almost insurmountable gap. Today Zelensky, flirting with the nationalists, only increases the gap. All this makes the meeting in the Normandy format is not very promising. They may be able to achieve a ceasefire and swap prisoners. This, in fact, already there will be many in the current political reality.

Sergei Mirkin, Donetsk

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