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Kiev’s last chance

Zelensky will decide the fate of the rebellious Donbass

The similarity of the sound of words – English «peace» and Ukrainian «spis» («spear») bring confusion in the current policy of Kiev in relation to Donetsk and Lugansk. The peculiarities of the translation of the expression «Pis-Spis» can be interpreted in two ways, here either the peace or the spear (war), but it does not bring any particular certainty into Ukraine’s future relations with the Donbas. Judging by the news reports about the first steps of the new Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky (the inauguration should take place no later than June 3, while the date is May 28), its activity boils down to diving with Russian politicians on the Internet on various occasions and scenarios of relations with Donbass, which – still called “temporarily occupied territories”.

We must pay tribute to President Zelensky – he pushes the power option to the background and, unlike his predecessor Poroshenko, does not threaten with new attacks on the Donbass and the destruction of the “separatists”. His current speechwriters, who are called “representatives of the Zelensky team” (before taking office, he is not entitled to make official statements), are now voicing the main theses of his boss and their rhetoric with seeming aggressiveness is peaceful enough. So, the current national security adviser Ivan Aparshin suggests that Kiev will be able to return the Donbass in 5 years, while claiming that the return of territories by military means is impossible.

In his opinion, it must be assumed that it was coordinated with Zelensky, such an operation could entail huge loss of life, and the partners would turn away from Ukraine. Actually, Zelensky himself spoke about the need for an information company, which should change the consciousness of people in the Donbass and influence their choice in their affiliation to Ukraine.

  • It is no coincidence that Ukraine has now made a choice in favor of Vladimir Zelensky, – said political scientist, media consultant Alexander Zimovsky.

– Figuratively speaking, all the other characters are pretty fed up, faded into their unfulfilled promises and did not cause any reverence. And here Zelensky turned out to be a winning face, which fell inwardly both east and west of Ukraine. He did not even really have time to promise anything, but his promises to the electorate were perceived very positively. In addition to solving the economic problems that have stumped Ukraine over the past five years, he introduced a fresh impetus to a possible solution to the situation in Donbass. For Ukrainians, this is a sick callus, with which it seems you can walk, but rubs very much. These are financial expenses, new victims, and a certain status of uncertainty in territorial integrity.

Let us recall, for example, the recent situation in Chechnya. War, blood, devastation – complete hopelessness. It could not be understood how long, no one has yet managed to break the terrorist movement and even more to eradicate it. They gave Chechnya status, money, presented a compromise for all parties, the leader represented by Ramzan Kadyrov, who was, by the way, a militant, but now he is a “true Putinist”. Chechnya has become a full-fledged member of the federation, its residents have Russian citizenship and enjoy all the publicly available benefits, salaries and pensions, the Chechens feel very comfortable in all Russian cities. Yesterday’s seemingly enemy has become an ally. If Ukraine could accept the Donbass in the same capacity, then all the problems would be solved by themselves. And the “Donetsk”, which have always been traditionally opposed to both Kiev and Lviv, could again enter Ukraine with full-fledged citizens.

Zelensky, who already, unlike Poroshenko, does not want to «kill Donbass in the toilet», you need to make a number of concessions, to some extent compromises. Including for their fellow citizens, who need to show that in the south-east of the country there are no enemies. Demonstrate the peace-loving nature of intentions to Donetsk and Lugansk and, at least, stop the shelling and open a buffer zone of demarcation for free movement. Well, as without Russia?

Here we need to build the format of relations of good-neighborliness and an understanding of both common interests and building our own independent policy, to which Moscow has no special complaints. Summarizing, we can say that Zelensky should first of all be “settled” with the Donbass. And this is what is expected of him in Ukraine itself.

Why Ukraine builds so remote plans in five years in the Donbass ? The higher bar is for the term of Zelensky’s presidency, which, in the event of failure, will not receive further carte blanche for the leadership of the country. But no one intends to wait that long either in Ukraine or in the West, and even more so in Russia. And Zelensky is well aware of this – he has no special time. Solve the problem with the Donbass – and solve many problems in Ukraine itself.

Suspiciously strange silent in the US and Europe in response to a change of power in Ukraine. Zelensky was congratulated both by Trump, and Macron, and Merkel, who promised to help, expressed confidence in maintaining the previous course towards European integration. But these are just words, nothing more. Russian President Vladimir Putin, too, does not particularly extend to his new Ukrainian counterpart, glancing expectantly and without expressing particular emotions. Trumps in his hands. As an experienced player, Putin looks at the possible moves of Zelensky with caution – which cards he will reveal. The main picking, of course, will be in the Donbas.

  • Zelensky, who has not received the best inheritance, will now try to take some significant step to designate his status quo in Ukraine, – Alexander Zimovsky continues his thought.

– He needs to show something real and concrete. Tales about joining NATO are also less of a concern now for residents of the Ukraine, especially since membership in the alliance will have to pay a certain amount, which simply does not exist. Ukraine needs a certain surge of positive, awareness of its importance and, of course, improvement of welfare. There are practically no internal reserves left; tranches from the West are also useless, and no one promises them much. Oddly enough, all hope are for the Donbass. Not on its coal, but precisely as an opportunity to establish contacts with Russia. It is no coincidence that Zelensky said that after the words “goodbye”, “hello” should sound – he will look for an opportunity to pronounce them. If so, it will gain more than it will lose.

Russia is now waiting for reconciliation steps by the new Ukrainian government. In recent years, we have not had any alienation to Ukraine as a good-neighborly country, and the actions of the Ukrainian authorities have caused a lot of confusion. In this connection, it is no coincidence that the interest in political transformations in Ukraine and the change of power in Kiev, and if you present at least a theoretical vote of the Russians for the president of Ukraine, Zelensky would receive no less than a percentage of votes from the “aggressor’s country”. The main thing – do not make mistakes in expectations. And yet – the peace for Donbass, not a spear.

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