Translated by Ollie Richardson
The Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Arsen Avakov said that he considers the reintegration of the entire territory of Donbass at once to be impossible. He stated this in an interview to “Ukrainian Pravda”.
“I have a plan. It is called ‘tactics of small steps that everyone applauds’. I don’t believe that it is possible to reintegrate at once the entire territory of the occupied Donbass. There aren’t that many ‘blue helmets’ for all the territory. That’s why I suggest to take, figuratively speaking, at first Gorlovka or the Novoazovsky district separately. The plan is such: peacekeepers come and stand on the border of the conditional city of Gorlovka or the rural Novoazovsky area. The border with the occupied territory is immediately taken under the control of ‘blue helmets’ and by Ukrainian border guards,” he noted.
After this, according to the plan of Avakov, bodies of Ukrainian justice come and hold elections under Ukrainian law on the returned territory.
“It is all the same who will win these elections … The most important thing is to create a transitional administration: on the basis of these new, chosen under Ukrainian law, bodies and representatives of the government of Ukraine. The central power together with the Ukrainian police forces must go there,” said the minister.
Then it will be necessary to somehow restore the occupied territories, said Avakov. Concerning this the Interior Minister counts on international funds, since he absolutely rejects Russian help.
According to Avavkov, after the territorial question is solved it will be necessary to adopt a law on amnesty and on collaborators.
What conclusions can be drawn from Avakov’s plan?
- This plan, taking into account the present condition of relations between Russia and Ukraine and Russian and the West, can hardly be called realistic, because, firstly, it assumes the actual capitulation of Russia. And secondly, even more importantly, it doesn’t at all guarantee the removal of sanctions (or even their mitigation), since they are now in effect for a large number of things that aren’t connected at all to Ukraine (Syria, Skripal, and so on).
- The voicing of these initiatives by Avakov (the question of a peaceful settlement in Donbass doesn’t belong in his sphere of competence) is rather a part of his game of politics that aim to show the importance and independence of the Interior Minister, who has his own view on each issue important for Ukraine, different from the presidential one. It’s not a coincidence that these initiatives were sounded on the eve of Avakov’s visit to the US.
- Perhaps the key political point of this plan is the loss of civil rights for the inhabitants in the uncontrolled territories. First of all – the right to elect central authorities. In addition, the total verification of collaborationism is provided for them. This, on the one hand, shows how prominent representatives of the Ukrainian government see the place of inhabitants from the uncontrolled part of Donbass in Ukrainian life. On the other hand – it gives an excellent opportunity to Russia to once again say that Kiev wants to make Donetsk residents and Lugansk residents “second class citizens”.
- Taking into account the fact that the Ukrainian authorities still haven’t shown any progress in the restoration of the controlled territories, the “pryanik“ described by Avakov in the form of money from the State budget and international donors ear-marked for the restoration of Donbass doesn’t look very convincing. And even on territories far away from the frontline, despite obtaining large sums from donors. With the current attitude towards governance, suspicion arises that the lion’s share of these means will be plundered by the authorities and withdrawn abroad.
- Despite everything described above, it is possible that “Avakov’s plan” will interest the US as a possible “peace proposal” for Russia. It, with high probability, will be rejected by Moscow, having allowed the West to once again declare the Kremlin’s unwillingness to engage in dialogue on Ukraine. This, naturally, will complicate the search for a compromise on the peace process on Donbass even more. And this, in turn, completely suits the so-called “party of war” in the West, Russia, and Ukraine. It should be remembered that Avakov is a member of this “party”.
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