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The realities of fake

November 4, 2014

Yesterday the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin made the following tweet:

Indeed, de jure, that may well be true – de facto, however, that is clearly not the case as far as realities on the ground are concerned. For the past few days, numerous video clips, media reports, as well as official statements have claimed a serious build up of overt Russian armour, munitions, air defence and personnel in “The People’s Republics”, where “elections” monitored by the newly created and previously unknown “ASCE observers” were present.  The most obvious connection between a major and overt Russian military buildup in the Luhansk and Donetsk region:

In short the new “legitimate authorities” freshly installed following the “elections” would then have the ability to “command its military”, and when recognised by Russia, “request Kremlin assistance” in their “defence” (or assistance in the expansion of desired territory).

That The Kremlin will recognise the elections is almost a foregone conclusion.  It de facto undermines Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity and is also a slap in the face with a wet fish for the EU and USA – the latter an opportunity that is far too tempting to turn down – and the act of recognition, in and of itself, is unlikely to have any additional cost to The Kremlin.

Thus a call for Kremlin assistance whilst clearly not legitimate, will naturally see attempts at justification by the Kremlin propaganda machine, via ill-considered public statements calling upon Ukraine to throw out the law providing special status for certain parts of The Donbas, together with the abandonment of the Minsk Agreements by populist personalities like this by Oleh Lyashko.  It may well be that Ukraine will conclude all bets are off, but it will do so privately and in consultation with allies, before making any such public proclamations – and to be blunt, such a decision seems unlikely.

Added within the mix, should be some rather unexpected Russian Central Bank action over the past few days relating to interest rate hikes and large scale Ruble intervention.  A preemptive move to cushion a negative market reaction to official Russian recognition and/or intervention at the request the “newly legitimate leadership” perhaps?

On 4th November is “National Unity Day” in Russia – and “Russia” these days seems to be interpreted by The Kremlin as not only Russia geographically, but “Russia” as a language, ethnic class, culture and any historically held territory through the eons no matter how briefly.   There is perhaps a romantic/psychological inclination to overtly come to the “aid” of the “Republics”  on this day for the benefit of the domestic Russian audience, as well as those who may genuinely hold a separatist or Russian annexation orientation in The Donbas.

Will any action be timed to coincide with major Russian Nationalist marches over the next few days?  If so, as a media diversion from some nationalist marches that will have anti-Putin undertones, or as an offering at the alter of other nationalist marches with pro-Putin undertones?

Not all Russian nationalists share the same definition of Russian nationalism as Mr Putin – ergo some are supportive of him and there are others that most certainly are not.  Lest we forget, Dmitry Rogozin – a well known Russian nationalist – was recalled from exile as the permanent Russian Ambassador to NATO in 2011, and placed back to the Russian government fold primarily in effort to corral and control the Russian nationalist movement after its involvement in the 2011 “Russia without Putin” demonstrations.

The Kremlin still remains without a supply route to Crimea other than ferries across the Kerch Strait that will run very infrequently (if at all) during the bad winter weather.  The choice for Moscow will be to allow Crimea to survive as best it can over the winter, negotiate with Ukraine a supply route over land, or forcibly impose such a route.  All three options present their own set of problems and dilemmas for The Kremlin.

From statements of  warlords in The Donbas, it seems inevitable that there will be another military push – if The Kremlin will support it.  The question is whether it occurs now, or in the Spring.  Whether Kremlin mood will cool toward further territorial advancement over the winter – or not – is a question that some warlords in command of the “republic’s” paramilitaries may prefer to avoid asking by pushing on now.  After all, Kremlin goals are not necessarily the same as the goals of the proxies they are supporting – indeed as the warlords do not agree amongst themselves as to the size and scope of any final territorial gains, Kremlin goals will certainly be different to some, or perhaps all, the sponsored proxies.

It may be necessary for The Kremlin to use the winter months to consolidate in order to reinforce its installed politically weak political structures who currently simply cannot control all the rival warlords.  Indeed it may be necessary for the Kremlin’s own forces to cleanse the warlord factions of those who will not adhere to any new political structures the Kremlin puts in place.

Are we about to see yet another military solution deployed by The Kremlin to achieve its immediate requirements, despite the western world declaring there is no military solution?  Thus far through the Kremlin lens, the military solutions in Ukraine have been rather successful when it comes to setting the de facto realities on the ground – regardless of the de jure nicities.

Thus, whether Mr Klimkin’s tweet regarding fake being unable to producing anything real is a matter of perception – or whether you view events through the de facto or the de jure lens.  – and a perception that the de jure may very well be tested rigorously by the de facto once more over the next few days may have some justification.

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