Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
The journalist Andrey Babitsky on whether to perceive the announcement of Zakharchenko about the creation of Malorossiya as the trolling of the Kiev authorities as a project of the Kremlin or a conscious rejection of the implementation of the Minsk Agreements.
Now it is rather difficult to talk about the consequences of the step taken on July 18th by the head of the DPR Aleksandr Zakharchenko, because it is not completely clear what specifically is behind the declaration of the new State Malorossiya with its capital in Donetsk, whether it is a local initiative, mega-trolling designed to provoke and demoralize Kiev, or is a project of the Kremlin, which is based on bullish bets in the “Minsk process”, or it is nevertheless about the real refusal to implement the Minsk Agreements, the unification of the People’s Republics and a real attempt to gradually intercept the power of the current Ukrainian leadership. To understand which of the three options is the base is rather difficult, proceeding from the available information.
Let’s briefly look at what we are dealing with. At the meeting of representatives of the regions of Ukraine in Donetsk Zakharchenko read out a political declaration, from which it follows that the only legitimate successors of the former authorities of former Ukraine today are the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics, which acted in 2014 against the coup in Kiev and preserved in this way the legal basis for forming legitimate authorities.
The constitutional act, announced by the acting Chairman of the government of the DPR Aleksandr Timofeev, announces the establishment of the State of Malorossiya, and liquidate Ukraine as a State up to the abolition of its name, which has been discredited. The capital of the new State formation becomes Donetsk, and Kiev retains the status of a cultural and historic centre.
Deoligarchization, denazification, administrative and criminal liability for the glorification and heroisation of Nazi criminals and their accomplices, for the revision of the outcome of World War II, the resumption of its membership in the CIS, entering the Union state, the refusal of raising the retirement age, preservation of utility rates and their subsequent decrease, a ban on the sale of agricultural land, etc. Listing all the wonderful items announced by the document would take up too much space, let’s dwell for a while one of them — the nature of the ideas that form the base of the Constitution act are completely understandable from the following list of items.
Once the Bolsheviks, having armed themselves with the revolutionary slogan “Land to the peasants!”, managed to seize power in Russia, because one short and clear action they were able to win the sympathy of the vast majority of the population of a giant agrarian Empire. The problems, the solution to which are referred to in the constitutional act, are not just relevant, but are extremely painful and vitally important for the population of Ukraine. The proposed solutions to these problems will obviously find among Ukrainian citizens a lot of ardent supporters.
It is possible to argue about how successful or acceptable the name of the new State is, to pay attention to the doubtful aspects of the constitutional act, to point out the inconsistency of the initiatives with Lugansk, but one thing is difficult to deny: the sudden and shocking move sets a new trend in Ukraine.
Regardless of if this particular project will take root in the political space, the general perspective outlined in the Constitution act will not change its shape. A course was proclaimed for the Republics to cement their status of territories that preserve the legitimate right to govern Ukraine (or the former Ukraine). During three years a transition of authority from Kiev into the hands of Donbass at the will of the Ukrainian regions should take place. At the end of this period, the new State will function within the borders of the precedent one, with a new name.
It is clear that it is unlikely that the course of events will be consistent with this great scenario, but a given paradigm may well lead to a definitive solution; it is not clear yet in what form: individual regions or its parts from Ukraine and the “glueing” of new rebellious territories either to the union of the DPR and LPR, if such a thing will develop, or to one of these Republics. In fact, talk about such things has been going on during all three years of war, but until now it didn’t enter into anybody’s head to take responsibility — even declaratively— for the fate of the country, submerging in tyranny and Nazism.
Aleksandr Zakharchenko has repeatedly said that in any case it is impossible to give up on the fate of the people remaining in the territories controlled by Kiev. The President of Russia Vladimir Putin also expressed himself in the same vein. It seems that the time came to demonstrate to Ukrainians that they are not forgotten, that Donetsk — I am convinced that it is with the full approval of the Moscow— lays claim to the normalization of their future.
The results that will obligatorily follow will depend on two things — specific actions for the implementation of the project and the reaction of the population of Ukraine. The convening of a constitutional assembly, which will be attended by representatives of all Ukrainian regions, was already announced. This means that a parallel structure of local government there will be created, something like shadow regional governments in exile. The effectiveness of such bodies depends solely on local support, which now does not seem to be unconditional.
Well, as for the name… it suggests not only historical connotations and allusions, its very sound and sense lying on the surface speaks about the self-establishment of the second Russia. Next to the first one. So that, as has already happened, they can again somewhere co-exist within the borders of one State.
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