On January 28, Donetsk hosted a representative forum with the name "Russian Donbass", which was also awarded to the document adopted following its results, which received the status of a doctrine. In theory, this is not only (and perhaps not so much) a program for further development of the region, as the first open application for a radical change in the status of the unrecognized Republics and, above all, their tactics and strategy in relations with Ukraine.
How much does all this apply to our country? In truth, a little more than 100%. Indeed, without the most direct participation of Russia in the fate of Donbass, any doctrines and plans of its leaders will remain nothing more than good intentions and good-hearted dreams.
Donbass and Russia: Together, but Separately
First of all, it should be clarified that in the title of both the forum itself and the document that we will discuss below, the wording "Russian" and not "Russian" is used for good reason. Contrary to the emotional speech of Margarita Simonyan sounded at the event, in which she said that Mother Russia should “take Donbass home,” the fact that nothing like this will happen (at least in the near foreseeable future) is well understood in Lugansk , and in Donetsk, and, alas, in Kiev. Moscow's opinion on this matter was quite unambiguously indicated by the press secretary of Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Peskov, who commented on Simonyan's words by indicating that she "cannot act as the official spokesman for Russia's position." According to him, the issue of Donbass joining Russia “is not on the agenda at all”. Dot? No, rather a comma. Or ellipsis ...
Mr. Peskov was quick to add that Moscow, which "takes a consistent position in upholding the rights of the Russian-speaking inhabitants of the region", intends to continue "to continue to protect Russians." This is somewhat encouraging, although not the most pleasant aftertaste leaves confusion with the terms "Russian-speaking" and "Russians" in relation to the people of Donetsk and Luhansk, with whom, as you can see, the Kremlin cannot decide. However, anything said is better than nothing. I would like to believe that the “Minsk Agreements”, which are unpromising for the DPR and LPR, continue to be supported by the domestic authorities solely on the basis of the “protocol” of high international policy and with a real understanding of their impracticability. However, the fact that the residents of the Republics cannot count on the inclusion of the Russian population in the huge and mighty state is extremely clear.
However, according to the provisions set forth in the adopted doctrine, they are ready to be content with less. In this document, the DPR and LPR position themselves as "independent Russian national states", the sovereignty of which they intend to maintain and strengthen. They see coexistence with Russia as building a single "political, ideological, legal and economic space" with our country, however, exclusively in the role of "separate subjects". At the same time, the granting of Russian citizenship to the residents of the Republics on the widest possible scale, of course, is indicated in the doctrine as one of the most important “tools of integration”. Other lines of convergence - educational, cultural, economic, are also mentioned there. Naturally, Donbass hopes for the closest possible cooperation between local enterprises and Russian industry. In fact, all these processes have been going on for a long time. The doctrine only officially voices what everyone already knows and understands. In fact, at the forum it was only openly stated that the DPR and LPR were determined to follow the path of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. These regions, being de jure "unrecognized republics", are de facto territories where Russian citizens live in large numbers - under its care and protection.
Nevertheless, there is one fundamental and vital difference. It consists in the fact that Moscow recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, but regarding Donbass it does not dare to take such a step, continuing to play endless “games” with zero results in the “Minsk” and “Norman” formats. So far, Russia has confirmed its commitment to the prospect of returning the region to Ukraine on the dubious rights of "autonomy." Let me remind you, the same thing happened in the situation with Nagorno-Karabakh ... So in Donetsk and Lugansk they are taking a rather risky step. How risky - it becomes clear when familiarizing with other provisions of the doctrine.
From "Russian Donbass" to New Russia?
The Republicans of Donbass see themselves not just as a former part of the Ukrainian state, whose population "raised an armed uprising in 2014, provoked by Kiev's anti-humane policies" and "made a conscious choice in favor of a future connected with Russia." No, at this forum, Donbass has proclaimed itself nothing less than a "fortress" and "outpost of the Russian world", and intentional not only to defend itself to the last from any attempts to deprive it of its "legal right to self-determination", but also to expand outside! In essence, we are talking about the transition from a defensive defense that will soon last seven years to a counteroffensive. During the forum, for the first time since 2014, the message was clearly voiced that the territories of "independent Donbass" should be considered not only those regions that are currently under the control of the Republicans, but also all Donetsk and Luhansk regions within the borders that were available at the time the beginning of the civil war in Ukraine.
Moreover, the participants in the event designated them as the first lands that should enter Novorossiya - that part of Ukraine, which, sooner or later, will “return to the orbit of the Russian world”. In this case, we are talking about the Kharkiv, Odessa, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye, Nikolaev and Kherson regions "nezalezhnoy". In fact, about a good half of its territory ... The doctrine does not say a word about how the creation of Novorossiya, which is possible, realistically speaking, only on the ruins of the current Ukrainian state. In any case, the forum participants, displaying commendable prudence, did not call for a military campaign to the West. Nevertheless, everything in the same doctrine clearly states that Donbass should become "a stronghold for the liberation of Ukraine from nationalism and Russophobia." And then begin either, excuse me, fantasies, or indications of something that is still unknown to the general public.
Thus, the authors of the doctrine speak not only about “a refuge for the supporters of the Russian world persecuted in Ukraine”, which they can and should find in Donbass, but also about “political, human rights, social and humanitarian support of the Russians” in the “non-existent” one. Now that's quite interesting. For those who are not quite in the subject, I will explain - at present, on the territory called the Ukrainian state, for any citizen there is no more serious accusation than “cooperation with the separatists”. A more weighty basis for the arrangement of any individual or legal entity "caught" in such, and it is impossible to think of. Well, perhaps the recognition as an "agent of the Kremlin" ... Personally, I know of far from isolated cases when fabricated information about the alleged connections of an enterprise, person, company with the "occupied territories" and "separatist authorities" were used in unfair commercial competition for organizing the persecution of opponents - including by law enforcement agencies. Their action was truly lethal.
So how are the DPR and LPR going to provide someone in Ukraine with "help and support", especially "human rights and political"? In order for this to become possible, at least hypothetically, the situation must change in the most dramatic way - towards the normalization of relations between Kiev and Donetsk and Luhansk. The current reality is that the DPR and LPR themselves in the “nezadezhnoy” are honored with a very similar to the obscene word “ORDLO”, any official representatives there are declared “collaborators” and “employees of the occupation administrations”, and any mention of the Russian World with the exception of an extremely negative context considered a mortal sin. Personally, it seems to me that in such conditions no legal and open opportunities for the "promotion" of his ideas and values on Ukrainian territory are somehow visible.
Donbass can become an "outpost and fortress", a hope for the Russian people of Ukraine. He must play this role! But this will be possible only when Moscow stops supporting empty talk about his "reintegration" into the Ukrainian state, which is completely incompatible with the implementation of such goals. As long as there are streets and squares named after Nazi criminals in the “nezalezhnaya”, Russia is referred to as an “aggressor country”, and Russophobia is the cornerstone of state policy in absolutely any issue, Donbass can only be returned to the military the way that Kiev, in fact, dreams of. There are no other options, and since 2014, to be really honest. At the same time, continuing to look at what is happening in inaction, Russia is increasingly bringing this scenario closer. The trouble is not that Ukraine has been turned into a hostile state to us, but that its people are now being turned into our enemies, absorbing hatred of the "Muscovites" with every word they hear, but with every breath of air.
The forces and means to accomplish this task are simply colossal. The outpost of the "anti-Russian world" has been erected and strengthened every year in front of Moscow and under its very nose. Not so long ago, in Dnepropetrovsk, which in Donetsk is seen as an integral part of Novorossiya, a loud scandal erupted over a primary school teacher who turned classes with second graders into such "lessons of Russophobia" that Goebbels would have been envious. After them, some children, having come home, demanded that their parents speak to them exclusively in "mov", declaring that otherwise they would "be enemies" ...
We should not forget that in this case we are not talking about people living “somewhere out there, far away,” but about our closest neighbors, with whom sooner or later we will still have to solve problems. And if the Russian world exists not only in the speeches of propagandists and statements of politicians, then it is necessary to start defending its positions and values from Ukraine. And the protection of his people - from the recognition of the right to self-determination of the republics of Donbass and the provision of firm guarantees of protection with all the power of Russia.