July 20, 2015
Translated from Russian by J.Hawk
Readers have been asking me to discuss the recent events at the front. Because there’s more shelling. What’s the connection, what are we to expect. I’ll try to lay out a few markers, and make a full assessment a bit later.
Shelling of Donetsk and Makeyevka. In actuality both sides are twisting the truth. One side says the militia is shelling itself, while the other side claims they are as pure as driven snow.
The shelling has become a tradition over the last few weeks.
Initially artillery attacked opposing artillery. Judging by the reports from Ukrainian repair facilities, DPR/LPR artillery fired accurately. Junta’s forces suffered especially heavily after July 10. Using the Mukachevo distraction, militia artillery hit enemy positions with force. Incidentally, that’s when Ukrainian Colonel Tsisaruk, the chief of reconnaissance of the Rocket Forces and Artillery Command of the Operational Command “West”, was killed. It would seem that, having lost the duel, junta’s artillery decided to hit back.
The second marker are the purges of the “irreconcilables.” Which led to arrests of several officials and a purge within the army. DPR Prosecutor General Office and the Ministry of State Security were urged a month earlier, which included 8 or 9 employees who also SBU associates and who were still “legally” receiving their Ukrainian salaries. Apparently the purge was facilitated by a leak of information from the SBU.
The third marker (three weeks ago it was only a guess and a hope that DPR leaders understand their strengths). DPR, in the person of its top leaders, is increasingly portraying itself as part of Ukraine which rose up against the unlawful Kiev government, rather than as an independent state. At least officially. I am very glad to see that. The next step will be…well, let’s wait a bit. May this become an unpleasant surprise for the Junta (although they probably already know about it since their intelligence works well, but it’s too soon to make noise). It will also become an unpleasant surprise for “hurra-patriots”, therefore we’ll see another round of “Putin betrayed”. Of even greater intensity than right now.
The Donbass industry can be divided into two parts. The first is the export-oriented metallurgy and associated branches. The second is the production for the domestic market. The first part was successfully reintegrated into Ukrainian manufacturing through various grey schemes which made everyone happy, both the Ukrainian “hurra-patriots” who saw the bottom and the inhabitants of LPR and DPR who have seen salaries. It’s not the result of Minsk but rather intra-oligarchy agreements. DPR leaders did not interfere with those deals because they reduce social tensions in DPR.
The second part of the industry is operating on Russian raw materials. Their surplus will end up on the Russian market. It’s also a logical decision. Ukraine has no need for Donbass light industry therefore one can’t rely on grey schemes. Also, transporting underwear, socks, uniforms, and other necessities from Ukraine or Russia simply makes no sense (due to blockade and expense), so it was only a matter of time before before DPR leaders addressed the issue. It would seem they’ve succeeded. My information indicates 20-30 enterprises have been restarted in the first phase.
So far that’s all.
J.Hawk’s Comment: Yurasumy’s description of the artillery duels rings true. It may be simply a case of neither side wanting to show weakness by not responding, which creates a cycle that’s not easily broken.
Of course, the centerpiece of the post is the as-yet unknown initiative being readied by DPR/LPR leaders that will disappoint the hard-liners on both sides of the border. A Ukrainian “government in exile”, or a “shadow government” based in Donetsk???