On 8 February. Press review. Crimea and Donbass: Ukraine’s strategy and plans

Another round of talks of the Trilateral contact group on settling the situation in Donbass has not done without surprises. Half an hour before the end of the meeting, the negotiators of «DNR/LNR» has presented its own version of the Constitution of Ukraine is much more radical than that adopted by the Verkhovna Rada in the first reading amendments to the law in the part of decentralization. The Ukrainian side lawmaking separatists categorically rejected. Russia lips of its representative in the contact group Boris Gryzlov requirements expected of fighters supported.

Plan of Russia and the separatists:

— Provisions in the permanent Constitution of Ukraine «special status» of Donbass
Political autonomy «DNR» and «LNR», which implies the right to elect its own Parliament, government and President
— Economic autonomy, in order to build foreign trade relations with Russia
Cultural autonomy, the protection of the Russian language
— Provisions in the Constitution of their own quotas «Donbass autonomy» in the Verkhovna Rada, its rights to coordinate all adopted by the Ukrainian Parliament and a veto on all foreign policy decisions of Ukraine. If Kiev agreed with this item, the entry of Ukraine into the EU or NATO would be impossible — «autonomy» would have blocked such decisions
— The granting of «autonomy» the right to form without the consent of the Kiev law enforcement States that law-enforcement and judicial bodies
— The holding of elections in occupied Donbas without the participation of the Ukrainian party and Ukrainian media.

Proposed by the Kremlin and separatists option settlement of the situation in the Donbas means that Ukraine must be included in the Constitution to permanent «special status» of Donbass to the disarmament of militants and the transfer of Russia of the Russian-Ukrainian border in the East of the country under the control of the OSCE and Kiev. At the same time Ukraine is to resume financing of the occupied territories, but as such, control over them will not receive.

The Plan Of Ukraine:

— Not to allow the «special status» of Donbass in the Constitution before the ceasefire, the withdrawal of Russian troops, disarmament of armed groups, transfer of control of the border at least of the OSCE
— To hold the elections in Donbas in accordance with Ukrainian legislation with the participation of various Ukrainian political parties and the media

— To conduct an Amnesty for participants of hostilities in the Donbass individually on the basis of existing Ukrainian laws

To convince until the end of July 2016 the EU and US to extend sanctions against Russia, linking them cancellation with the return of both the Donbas and the Crimea.

Judging by the statements and comments of the representatives of Ukraine at the talks in Minsk, the official Kiev categorically rejected the Kremlin’s proposed version of the amendments to the Ukrainian Constitution.

Elect Petro Poroshenko and tactics To take into account several force majeure. First: Russia does not intend to lose political control over the Donbas. Second: any, even the most liberal changes to the Constitution regarding the status of Donbass is able to trigger a political crisis that could destabilize the situation in the country as a whole (third square), which also achieves the Kremlin. Third: put pressure on Ukraine’s Western partners, who want as quickly as possible to close the Ukrainian issue — they and without Ukraine is now facing problems.

In these circumstances, the official Kyiv has chosen the only possible tactic is to stall for time. The calculation can be the following: the situation in Russia is changing so rapidly that by the end of the year the Kremlin may no longer be to the Donbass — at least not until full-scale military operations. Perhaps before the summer Russia will manage to persuade the EU that the breakdown of the Minsk agreements to blame Ukraine (not adopted the amendments to the Constitution), then the Russian Federation will be partially lifted for European economic sanctions. The Minsk process is not delayed for months, but for years. The conflict in the East of the country will be frozen, will be a hybrid world, according to the article «no more Bets. How do you see peace in Donbas, the Ukrainian government and the Kremlin» in the publication «Focus».

The mission of the Council of Europe on human rights came almost on the second anniversary of the occupation of Crimea by Russia. Mission led by Swiss diplomat, Ambassador Gerard Stoudmann in the annexed area during the week from 25 to 31 January. This was the first group of European observers who had access to the Peninsula over the past two years.

In Crimea Russia has planned for observers demonstration program. However the Europeans to such «hospitality» were willing and able to change the format, which persistently imposed by the occupying power. The observers had important meetings with members of Parliament, representatives of several Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar public organizations, talked with activists and journalists.

Scientific Director of the Institute for Euro-Atlantic cooperation Oleksandr Sushko recalls that this is the first legitimate visit two years after annexation. «Undoubtedly, this is a politically significant fact. The delegation consisted of people who respect international law, particularly territorial integrity of Ukraine, — he said. — Previously all the information about the human rights violations concerned only the Donbass. About violations in Crimea, the Council of Europe and other international organizations recognize not directly. Now they have material, own observation, which will allow for an appropriate form of public and political opinion in Europe».

According to Sushko, today is a working group under the auspices of Countbase of Ukraine, which elaborates the main directions of policy of Ukraine regarding the return of annexed Crimea. «One of the important elements of such a policy, obviously, will be to attract international organizations that can have, first of all, the right to vote, and secondly, the actual physical access to the Crimea. They can send people that represent the political majority in the world that does not recognize the annexation of Crimea and supports Ukraine seeks to restore its territorial integrity. Today it is necessary to use those opportunities, and create new opportunities», — the expert believes.

According to him, the strategy is that the priority for the Council of Europe is protection of human rights, regardless of where and under what authority it resides. This humanitarian aspect of the annexation of the Crimea is very important in order for Western European social thought to emphasize the illegality and incompatibility with the human demands of this annexation. «The Russian side and drawing a line on what is supposedly the annexation of the Crimea in the interests of the residents of the Crimea. A familiarity with the facts of mass human rights violations, direct communication with the victims of the occupation helps to dispel the clichés of Russian propaganda,» — said Sushko.

Advisor to the Minister on the information policy of the Crimea Emine Jeppar reports that in the circle of experts had several theories as to why made your visit the mission of PACE. The first version — the desire to find out the real state of life in annexed Crimea, in particular in terms of human rights violations and continued political pressure on the Russian Federation. The second is the desire to find a reason for the easing of sanctions against Russia, because the European business also incurs losses. And the third is a one-time action to neutralize public pressure on the alleged inaction of the authority.

«Summary of the political implications of the mission can be summed up only after the announcement of the results of the monitoring, says Jeppar. In that case, if this is the first version, will continue to seek additional tools or follow-up visits of international organizations, missions, groups in one form or another. Moreover, the Crimean activists, in particular the Crimean Tatars, on appeal to the international community to ensure the presence of international monitoring on an ongoing basis.»

According to Jeppar, change the situation, the mission is not able, because when it comes to Crimea, we must clearly recognize that the international laws and the right in the annexed Crimea do not apply. «In the Crimea every day, systematically, deliberately kill freedom. Even if the mission will announce firm conclusions about the human rights violations in Crimea and fully criticize the occupying power, searches, arrests, political persecution and disappearances will stop, — the expert emphasizes. — However, this mission — it points West. So its outcome will affect Western countries».

Jeppar believes that the withdrawal of the PACE mission led by Gerard Stoudmann could be a step toward implementing the tasks to achieve the constant presence of observers in Crimea. «We understand that without the consent of the Russian Federation, this mission wouldn’t even be able to come to the Peninsula. Similarly, the permanent presence of international monitoring in the Crimea, which is under the de facto jurisdiction of the Russian Federation, is impossible without Russian approval. Although it is a legal absurdity. Another question, why Russia agreed to the mission’s work or is it a symptom of certain concessions or agreements which are unknown to us? This will become more clear after the announcement of the expert conclusions of the mission». This writes Dmitry female plakhta skirt in the article «About «spectacles of the West» in the Crimea» in the newspaper «Day».

Over the past year, Russian propaganda has changed its anti-liberal, anti-Ukrainian and anti-democratic character. According to a survey conducted by the Levada center last month, the attitude of Russians to the events of «Maidan» has not significantly changed: the majority of respondents (80%) still believe that it is about «the violent attempt of coup», and to protest people came under «Western influence» (46%).

The structure of stereotypes, attitudes and degree of aggressiveness remained the same, but the overall intensity and frequency of submission of such promotional materials declined, attention turned to events in Syria and the conflict with Turkey. Accordingly, the interest in what is happening in Ukraine, fell several: continue to keep 33% of respondents and 64% are following very closely or not the interest in the Ukrainian events is absent in principle.

This does not mean changing the nature of the anti-Ukrainian policy of the Kremlin, rather, it speaks of the emergence of new factors and images of enemies, which the government is trying to retain the overall militarist engagement and excitement in society.

69% of respondents say they do not understand what is happening in Ukraine. However, this does not change their negative attitude to the Ukrainian events of recent years. The structure of the interpretations given by propaganda, very stable. From my own experience, I don’t think in the near future the situation could change, says Russian expert Lev Gudkov in the edition «New time».

It is worth noting that support for the annexation of the Crimea decreased slightly to 47%, compared with 55-56% in March-may 2015. In Russia deployed a very deep crisis, people are becoming more and more immersed in their own problems and starting to realize that the Crimea has to pay. There remains a bravado «we are ready to suffer», but not all, therefore, support the annexation of the Peninsula is reduced, there are doubts about the correctness of this policy. But you need to understand that the indignation is fixed at a level slightly above the statistical error, writes Lev Gudkov in the article «a Year later. Now what the Russians think about Ukraine and Crimea» in the edition «New time».

On 8 February. Press review. Crimea and Donbass: Ukraine’s strategy and plans 08.02.2016

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