Managed chaos: Putin has two scenarios of meddling in Ukraine elections
The shelling of the 112-Ukraine channel HQ could be a provocation that is part of the strategy of Russia's meddling in Ukraine elections, says the chief editor of the Information Resistance website, Yuriy Karin.
At present, the Kremlin sees the main option of intervening to ultimately "resolve" the Ukraine issue in applying the so-called "Moldovan scenario," Karin told Apostrophe.
Its essence lies in imposing on Ukraine a plan of "federalization", which until 2014 had been actively promoted by the "Ukrainian Choice", the organization led by Putin's political operative in Ukraine, Viktor Medvedchuk. The plan includes flooding the political arena (especially the parliament) with politicians who support the idea of Donbas autonomy within Ukraine and its further federalization. The long-term plan, whose next stage will be the 2020 local elections, provides for deepening splits within the Ukrainian society through calls for autonomies in various parts of Ukraine, which is intended to ultimately lead to the loss of sovereignty or territories, for example, in the form of a "land corridor" Russia could create to Crimea.
The primary goals of the Russian Federation remain updating the Ukrainian political process to a format that would be beneficial for Moscow and integrating into Ukrainian politics their puppets with expanded powers.
Another task is to weaken the state of governance in Ukraine by leveling its foreign policy efforts and destroying its defense and security sector, which is set to lead to the rejection of Ukraine on the part of its strategic partners.
The "longer-range" goals include disintegration of Ukraine's conditional pro-European political bloc with a parallel weakening of the government authority in the eyes of its citizens to eventually start direct negotiations with the so-called "DPR-LPR" terrorists in Donbas. In general, the idea is to make the world believe Moscow's narrative of a "civil war in Ukraine", and that Russia has nothing to do with it.
This is a direct path to the lifting of sanctions that have been affecting Russian economy, Karin believes.
It so happened that two groups of influence – one represented by Viktor Medvedchuk and another – by Vladislav Surkov – have been working to implement this scenario, and the two are actual rivals on the issue. In the tough competition between them, Viktor Medvedchuk, who, among other things, enjoys a carte blanche and considerable financial support from the Kremlin, is now winning by a large margin, while mainly exploiting the tools of Surkov's camp.
Among such tools, the report notes, is ensuring that a pro-Russian political force enters the new parliament. In this case, it is "The Opposition Platform – For Life Party." To achieve the goal, a "peacemaker" image is being created for Medvedchuk, who does PR tricks like "negotiations" on Russian gas supplies, prisoner release, and even stars in a documentary of Putin's long-time friend Oliver Stone.
Secondly, it about buying up media assets with the goal of implementing the Russian concept o "total influence" over masses.
The essence of such actions is to feed people information in such volumes that prevent them from critically analyzing the situation. The flow of disturbing news is supposed to be constant, to keep raising the degree of tension, especially ahead of the election.
Thirdly, it is about creating in the Ukrainian society of the atmosphere of "anxiety" using all sorts of provocations, stirring up separatism, promoting issues of de-Communization, religion, or language. "The ultimate goal of this TV spins is "to bring at least a part of the population of Ukraine to a state of neurosis in which people can be easily manipulated by the Kremlin."
"The most unpleasant thing in this situation is the failure of the 'Moldovan scenario' which could lead to the Kremlin applying the strategy of 'sowing chaos' in Ukraine with the ultimate task of provoking major civil confrontation in Ukraine ('the war of all against all', which Russians managed to achieve in Syria and which is being implemented in Georgia today now). And this may be the pretext for the invasion of 'Russian peacekeepers' to prevent the bloodshed and the actual occupation of the country by the Russians," the expert concludes.
Systemic pressure on people's minds to plant anxiety is already underway, both in Ukraine and Georgia, the report says. A grenade hitting a wall of the 112 Ukraine TV channel, associated with Viktor Medvedchuk, brought minimal damage and caused no casualties. "It's always like that with staged hits or arson attacks by 'Ukrainian radicals' intended to create 'breaking news' for Russian media," the report notes.