Written by The Saker; Originally appeared at his blog
Something interesting is happening in Russia. The recent murder of Givi is attracting A LOT of attention from the main media outlets, much more than any of the other murders of Novorussian commanders. Furthermore, a majority of the key people invited to express their opinion generally seem to agree on a number of conclusions:
- Poroshenko is pretty much gone and finished.
- The Ukronazis have all but officially declared Minsk-2 dead.
- The Urkonazis have all but officially declared that they are at war with Russia
- The Urkonazis don’t want any negotiated solution
- The Urkonazis have now decided that an military attack on Novorussia is the only solution
Interestingly, the actual amount of Ukronazi artillery shelling has actually gone down, very significantly, during the last 48 hours, and yet by all reports the Novorussians remain in a state of pre-war. If the purpose of the murder of “Givi” was to demoralize the Novorussians then it achieved the exact opposite effect: the Novorussians are seething with anger.
[Sidebar: this time around those who criticized me for writing that the murder of “Motorola” is the symptom of a major Novorussian problem and that such a murder could not have happened without local accomplices are keeping a low profile this time around. This is not due so much to some sense of guilt for being so blind, but to the fact that in Russia and Novorussia the issue of local accomplices is now openly mentioned. Good – better late than never. If a recognition that the Novorussian security and counter-intelligence services are in acute need of FSB help can save even a single live, say the one of Zakharchenio (who is now openly threatened by the Ukronazis as being the “next one”), then such a painful admission is well worth making]
Interestingly, the Novorussians also seem supremely confident. This is rather surprising considering that the Ukronazi forces vastly outnumber them (from 2:1 up to 4:1 depending on how you count). In interviews Novorussian commanders and frontline combatants all say that while the Ukronazis did use the past months to reequip and retrain, this will not be enough to make a difference.
Members of the Russian Duma have publicly declared that they are fed up with Kiev and that if the Ukronazis attack the Voentorg and Northern Wind spigot will be fully opened. At least one source reported that a large number of Cossacks had already crossed the border and were deployed inside the DNR/LNR.
Finally, one more theory being regularly mentioned is that the reason why Trump is not telling the Ukronazis to cool it and step back (assuming that this is why Trump tells them, which remains to be proven) is that he wants to them attack and fail and then blame them for rejecting the Minsk-2 Agreement. This is an interesting theory. For one, I am not so sure that the Americans did not tell the Ukies to cool it – after all the shelling has dramatically decreased. This might also be a case of projecting the logic of the Kiev junta on the Americans. It is well known that Poroshenko loves to send the Nazis death squads (known as the “Dobrobat” or volunteer battalions) to the front lines to have the Russians kill them instead of having to do it himself. According to this theory, this is a win-win strategy for Poroshenko: he sends the “Dobrobats” to the frontline – either then win and the credit goes to him or they lose (so far, that is what they have been doing) and he gets his most dangerous political foes killed by the Novorussians. That makes them into martyrs of the “heavenly hundred”, Glory to the Ukraine, Glory to the heroes, etc. etc. and Poroshenko can mobilize around that. Maybe. Seems a plausible theory to me.
What is sure is that the opposition to Poroshenko (Liashko, Tymoshenko, Semenchenko, etc.) has gone completely mental and that they are pushing for an escalation be it by declaring a state of war in the Ukraine or by backing further Ukronazi attacks against Novorussians. As for the murder of Givi, it was welcomed by the entire Ukrainian political scene which rejoiced at the murder and even organized opinion polls to see whom the people wanted murdered next. The only exception to this was, believe it or not, Nadezhda Savchenko (yes, yes, the “Ukrainian Joan of Arc” and “hope of the Ukrainian nation”) who accused Poroshenko of trying to unleash a massacre in the Donbass. The Urkonazis are outraged and the Russians are dumbfounded by Savchenko’s political 180. As for the Novorussians, they position is hyper-pragmatic: “she is a murder and we despise her, but we will work with her if she wants to work towards peace or even towards exchanges of prisoners”.
Yesterday I was listening to a Ukronazi politicians saying that the Russian media is preparing the Russian people for a Russian intervention in the Donbass. Well, I would not quite formulate it as he has, but I generally agree with his feeling. While it is not “the Kremlin” who is directing anybody, the general mood in Russia seems to be one of profound disgust, irritation and frustration with the junta in Kiev. And while I categorically exclude any large scale overt military intervention in the Donbass, I also see that the theory of a Russian peace-enforcement operation is openly floated in Moscow and often discussed. This, however, would require one of two things to happen first:
- a Ukrainian attack on Russian, as opposed to Novorussian, forces somewhere
- a UNSC Resolution authorizing such a peace enforcement operation
With Trump in the White House, there is at least a theoretical possibility that the UNSC might authorize such an operation, especially is that then places upon Russia the burden of re-building Novorussia. That, in fact, is something which neither Putin, nor most Russian, want. They are afraid of being tricked into taking Ukrainian territory under Russian control only to find out, as international law clearly mandates, that any occupying force is responsible for the administration of the territory under its control. The Russians feel that they are not the ones who created this bloody mess and that they therefore ought not to be the ones paying to fix it. They also know that the comparatively small Russian economy simply cannot shoulder such a financial burden.
There is a distinct possibility that 2017 will see a fundamental and crucial transformation of the war in the Ukraine. For one thing, whether the final Ukronazi attack every materializes or not, if it does it will be the last “hurray” of a decaying and dying Ukraine. Whether with or without direct Russian assistance, I predict that the Ukronazis will be comprehensively defeated. Once the military component is removed, by one way or another, the central question will become “how pays for the mess”, with both the USA and Russia pointing their fingers are Europe in general and at Germany especially. If the final Urkonazis attack never materializes, then the regime will most probably implode internally at which point all key players will have so step in and agree on plan to rebuilt at least the very basic part of the Ukrainian society. Europe will have no choice but to accept yet another huge wave of refugees.
As for the Russians, it appears that their position is now as follows: the only option the regime in Kiev is to abide by the Minsk-2 Agreement. That, of course, would mean a “soft suicide” for the Urkonazi regime. If not, then a “hard suicide”, including a possible limited Russian intervention or the recognition of the independence of the DNR/LNR by Moscow becomes a distinct possibility. Either way, the Russian/Novorussian patience appears to have reached its limit.