June 6, 2015
Translated from Russian by J.Hawk
“Naturally, the first step should be a constitutional reform that would ensure the autonomous rights to the corresponding territories of the non-recognized republics. The Kiev authorities don’t want to call it autonomy–they prefer other terms, such as decentralization. As to our European partners–and it is they who introduced that language into the Minsk Agreements–they already have deciphered what decentralization ought to mean: it’s the right to own language, cultural identity, border trade. Nothing special, nothing that goes against civilized norms of what is the natural due of national minorities in a European country. One must adopt a law on carrying out municipal elections on these territories, and likewise a law on amnesty. All of that should be done, that’s what the Minsk Agreements say, in coordination with the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic, with those territories.”
In a big interview with the Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera, Vladimir Putin probably issued the first public and clear description of the ultimate objective of the Minsk Agreements–autonomous rights of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (and with those designations!) as part of Ukraine. And something tells me that Poroshenko had a similar understanding with France and Germany, namely that Russia is fine with preserving the appearance of Ukraine’s unity but with the broadest possible autonomy of DPR/LPR and a de-facto recognition of its current leadership by Kiev and the West. That was the intended solution to the problem of cooling down the conflict in a way that would preserve Donbass’ interests and that would constitutionally “reformat” Ukraine, which can exist as a russophobic entity only if it is a unitary state.
So far it didn’t work out that way. But this is a major development. Which ought to put to rest any discussion of Putin “flushing” Novorossia down the tubes.
J.Hawk’s Comment: As I wrote earlier, it is also consistent with the notion of Poroshenko fighting a two-front war against both Russia and the West, with only a weak, tentative, and sporadic (and, after Sochi, possibly non-existent) US support. Poroshenko’s failure to implement the political provisions of Minsk-2 is not only an act of defiance aimed at Russia, but the West as well.