From repossession to reconstructionJuly 6, 2014
Late yesterday the following tweet was sent:
— Nikolai Holmov (@OdessaBlogger) July 4, 2014
At the time the provenance of the document was questionable. Today it seems to have been genuine, with Mr Strelkov and fighters having left Slavyansk, and the Ukrainian flag now flies there (and other neighbouring towns too).
On Demobilization of the Personnel of the DPR’s Militia
In connection with the decisive actions of the Ukrainian forces, their superiority in numbers of personnel, armaments and better material supplies, waging battle becomes all the more difficult. The people’s militia is suffering great losses. Unfortunately, Russia has refused to support our numerous requests for support and bringing in forces to the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic. These were only empty words and promises. Putin does not want to see us in his office. The border with Russia is closed, and the delivery of assistance is becoming more and more problematic. He is indifferent to our lives.
We have defended the Donetsk People’s Republic with honor, however I believe that further resistance will only lead to an increase in losses on our side and the further complete destruction of the militia.
With the purpose of preserving the lives of militia personnel, I order:
1. To demobilize militia personnel in the DPR.
2. Militia personnel to return to their places of residence.
3. For the purposes of security to make the move without arms in civilian clothing.
4. Oversight for fulfillment of this order is assigned to F.D. Berezin.
Above is a translation of the document into English.
The military job is not yet done of course. The entire region has yet to be retaken, though from the tone of the above document it appears Mr Strelkov seems to be heading out of Ukraine rather than moving to make a stand elsewhere.
Perhaps the People’s Republic of Luhansk was right to install a well known Russian talker as “Prime Minister” yesterday – somebody who can jaw jaw and not war war. On the other hand, with the Donetsk People’s Republic collapsing overnight, perhaps Marat Bashirov will not act as was intended. It seems doubtful that President Poroshenko will feel it necessary to negotiate now when the upper hand and momentum is clearly with him.
It would be realistic to suspect that whilst President Poroshenko continues to talk peace whilst making war on an ever diminishing force, the presidential plan without alternative will remain his singular offer. The Kremlin will not be sending Russian troops into Ukraine within a time frame to rescue those of the “People’s Republics” – as Mr Strelkov makes clear in his decree.
The document also raises issues of a previous post. What does The Kremlin do with those returning to Russia – particularly the high profile leaders? Those Mr Putin would not want to see in his office.
For Ukraine the immediate military question remains how long before it can state with sincerity and integrity that it not only has regained control over its borders – but that it actually does control – in every sense – those borders?
There is also the question of whether all fighters will leave or lay down their arms fairly quietly, or do so with some form of parting crescendo.
The immediate civil question, is how prepared and logistically organised is Ukraine when it comes to rebuilding the homes and infrastructure destroyed and damaged in the eastern regions? Displaced people and condemned property will require reparations as soon as is possible for humanitarian, political and broader social reasons.
Volodymyr Groysman, the current Minister for Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services of Ukraine, is to be blunt, a capable man. That he will have a plan there is little doubt. The question is how effectively that plan can be carried out in a region that has never had much in the way of law and order prior to the unrest – and has even less of it now.
How to effectively and swiftly make reparations, without those reparations becoming a financial source of regional corruption? Who locally can – or perhaps needs – to be seen to insure immediate results without excessive pilfering?
Kyiv can afford no delay in moving from repossessing its east to reconstructing it.
We will see how well it does over the next weeks, months and (inevitably) years.