Russian passports for the occupied Donbas? Nothing new here. Russia is simply legalizing what's been stolen. And it's not the first time Russia is doing it, either. The case was similar with Crimea five years ago. However, the Donbas case also involves 13,000 victims of the war launched by "unifiers". Kremlin couldn't care less about Ukrainian citizens living in the occupation - the seized parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions have long been turned into a ghetto. Russian dictatorship has been established there, automatically depriving people of their voting right. For dissenters, there will always be a spot reserved in a "cellar" (that's what dungeons are colloquially called there). This is not a free Ukraine, where people can tell authorities: "I don't like this."
Moscow is taking another step to justify the operation to “coerce Ukraine to peace” if necessary. After all, now it will be not only about insurgent "miners and tractor drivers", but "Russian citizens"
In this case, another problem is being solved: is taking another step to justify the operation to “coerce Ukraine to peace” if necessary. After all, now it will be not only about insurgent "miners and tractor drivers", but "Russian citizens." Further developments will go by the South Ossetian scenario where the "we-are-not-there" guys will be transformed into invaders with official Russian army insignia on uniforms. Russia never intended to withdraw from Donbas, and it isn’t going to.
Naturally, Moscow will explain the legalization of the occupation by humanitarian considerations and protection of "Russian speakers". Some will explain this as Putin’s revenge for the closing of polling stations in the occupied Donbas and diplomatic missions of Ukraine in Russia. There is no doubt that the "gods of PR" will explain everything correctly. They will claim that "Kyiv authorities" have deprived 6 million citizens of Ukraine of their right to vote. This has already been voiced by Putin’s political operative in Ukraine Viktor Medvedchuk.
The decision on Russian passports for Donbas residents had long been in the making. It had been discussed in the Russian media and commented on by the Kremlin, but it remained unclear when it would be officially announced. At first, it was assumed that the Kremlin would respond with "passports" to the election win of the “absolute evil,” Petro Poroshenko. Also, it was assumed that in the case of Volodymyr Zelensky's triumph, the issue will be put on pause so that the new head of state could manifest himself. Who knows, perhaps he's not a “Russophobe” after all?
For the Kremlin, the president-elect of Ukraine has gone rotten before even taking office
However, even though Volodymyr Zelensky hasn't taken office yet, he has already convinced Putin that he, is unlikely to become a president to make easy deals with, and Poroshenko wasn't, either. How arrogant was it for Zelensky to dare say he stands against any special status for the occupied areas of Donets and Luhansk regions and amnesty for militants, and also intends to wage an “information war” to win back the minds of Ukrainians living in the occupied territories. For the Kremlin, the president-elect of Ukraine has gone rotten before even taking office.
At the same time, Russian officials will keep repeating the mantra about the lack of alternatives to the Minsk agreements and "internal Ukrainian conflict." There is only one objective here: first, to create information noise on the subject, and in the meantime, to find the answer to the main question of how to remove Ukraine from the world's political map.
And the name of Ukraine's president doesn't matter, really.