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Political structures – Why would the DNR & LNR want to stop fighting?

February 8, 2015

Following on from the last entry, something of a reality check prior to the Moscow meeting between Chancellor Merkel, President Hollande and President Putin – and the subsequent Munich Security meeting – within that prose, this paragraph is to be found:

“Another issue for those fighting for, and especially leading the “people’s republics” is that they have little to offer the populations they control if and when the fighting stops. A Transnistrian future is hardly a welcoming prospect with a Kremlin suffering from economic woes that are not going to go away any time soon, even if the Kremlin decides that the “republics” are no longer a suitable anchor within Ukraine and were to facilitate separation via recognition, or even more unlikely, annexation.”

It is perhaps necessary to expand on this a little, as despite its unimportance in the grand scheme of things, or even relative importance within the small print of any proposed ceasefire, this does actually matter in the immediate, and perhaps, medium term.

What incentive is there for those fighting against Ukraine to stop immediately – with or without Kremlin support?

There are no political structures worthy of the name within either of the “People’s Republics”.  The leadership these territories have are entirely incapable of local governance too.  All they have to offer is fighting and victories – or defeats.  These leaders would be obstacles to any form of political structures that could deliver public services or goods.  Whether they are genuine ideologues, puppets chosen to head the fighting, criminals intent on securing some turf for a nefarious empire etc, is really not important – what is important is that they are not suitable for, or experienced in, or able to deliver local government.

As such, if the fighting ends, their term at the top of the territorial podium becomes extrremely precarious – almost with immediate effect.  If the Kremlin continues to run the region de facto, it will install competent people able to deliver political leadership and goods.  If in the extremely unlikely event it simply washed its hands of the regions entirely and left them to decay internally, the people within these regions, even those disposed to favour the fight against Kyiv, would soon demand their replacement.

Either way, the current leadership of the “republics” require to rule by gun point – or continue to fight.  Their own, individual survival as top dogs, almost certainly depends upon it.

And therein is an issue that is given far too little consideration when it comes to any new agreement (regardless of any absent trust in the Kremlin – and there is no trust in the Kremlin).  The leaders of the “republics” will not remain leaders for long, once the fighting stops.  At the very least, they have a vested interest in keeping the front line “warm” to “hot” simply to retain their positions – lest they be replaced (or sidelined to the point of ineffectiveness and invisibility) for effective political structures that support the population, or suffer from any prolonged ceasefire that will result in internal turf/criminal wars, that may see them assassinated by rivals.

There is no knowing just how many arms and munitions are within the occupied territories in eastern Ukraine – thus there is no knowing just how long fighting and the associated misery within these territories will continue even without Kremlin support.  The disarming of these groups is little more than a fanciful idea.  Certainly they could continue for months without Kremlin support, perhaps even a year, whilst Kyiv meticulously stuck to its side of any agreement, wanting to be seen to be doing so – and in the meantime, serious and organised Russian criminality will arrive and try to seize and/or control the new fiefdoms.

All rather grim and grubby.

In the meantime:

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