Illusion of dialogueRoman Tsymbaliuk
The Russian-Ukrainian war has been raging for over three years already. Throughout this time, the Kremlin's talking heads have been trying desperately to convince both themselves and the international community of the "internal Ukrainian" nature of the conflict. The Kremlin has partly succeeded in putting the Donbas hostilities beyond the brackets of negotiations with the West. At the highest level, the leaders are only publicly speaking about sanctions, which will be lifted after Russia implements Minsk agreements, that is, after the de-occupation of the Ukrainian Donbas. At the same time, the OSCE SMM continues to report the movement of military equipment of Russian militants, not daring to answer the main question: where does it all come from? This spiral of silence was only broken during the MH17 investigation, when it was proven step by step that the deadly Buk missile launcher belongs to the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation.
All this time, Russia has been setting out the main condition for the cessation of bloodshed in Donbas the beginning by Ukraine of a so-called "direct dialogue" with the Kremlin puppets in eastern Ukraine. Moscow has also tied to it the issue of prisoner exchange.
We can see clearly what stands behind this "direct dialogue" from the experience of the Transnistrian settlement. Moscow has enjoyed for a quarter of a century the status of a "guarantor" in this region, which enabled them to maintain their “peacekeeping” forces on the territory of Moldova. In fact, it’s an occupying military contingent alright. On the one hand, Moscow speaks of Transnistria as part of Moldova, and on the other, everything is being done to ensure that reunification never happens. And it has long become clear that there are no chances that the existing format will succeed.
It seems that the election of Igor Dodon President of Moldova could change the situation. He won the elections based on his pro-Russian rhetoric, although it was the "pro-European" Moldovan corrupt officials who helped him win. Dodon's public statements are a true delight for the Russian ear. He says that "all the evil comes from the EU," "the time has come for a multipolar world," and "we are different from the West," "an association agreement with the EU is a trap," and "we share with Russia a common centuries-old history…" And, finally, there is also a statement that the country is abandoning its "obviously anti-Russian policy", willing to observe neutrality, being ready for federalization, and going for a rapprochement with the Eurasian Economic Union.
Dodon bluntly says that without the Russian Federation, Moldova will fail to resolve its strategic issue - "unification and solution of the Transnistrian problem." Doesn’t it look familiar to you? This federalization, neutral status, recognition of Russia’s superior role and the need to coordinate with Moscow any foreign policy steps – this is all Russia has been demanding from Ukraine as well. By the way, the same rhetoric is being used in Ukraine by Viktor Yanukovych’s former Party of Regions, who promote their pro-Russian discourse under various brands. They are trying to create the illusion that, by giving in to the invaders, it is possible to achieve the end of hostilities and unification of the country. The main thing here is to take into account the "legitimate" interests of Moscow.
Recently, the representatives of the torn up Moldovan state from both banks of the Dniester river have gathered in the Russian State Duma. More precisely, Dodon’s Socialists and the representatives of the breakaway Tiraspol. The reason for their meeting was "unifying" in its nature: they intended to discuss Ukraine’s “machinations” but somehow everything turned into a showdown between the two forces.
Supporters of the Moldovan president spoke a lot about unification, the creation of a federation, the peace process, and steps toward rapprochement. After all, "we are one country," they appealed. However, this impulse provoked no response by the Transnistrians. The Tiraspol "elite" offered that Moldova for starters start allocating money from the national budget, then they started talking about Transnistria being part of the "Russian world," demanded membership in the Eurasian Economic Union, and in the end of the day they stated directly: "Who said we want to unite after all? Transnistria is part of Russia." The Russians were openly inciting Chisinau and Tiraspol against each other. They talked about the threat of Romanian expansion, Ukraine "as an enemy of the Moldovan statehood," and the terrible West, which wants to enslave Moldova. Of course, it is only Moscow, they said, who can protect each party.
This "political dialogue" has been ongoing for almost 25 years. No conflict in the former Soviet Union, where Russia positions itself as an "intermediary" and "guarantor" has been resolved. And it won’t be, either. The thing is that Moscow’s goal is completely different. The Kremlin wants to divide and rule, creating new hotbeds of instability and trying to take advantage of it.
This is something which Moscow is now trying to impose on Ukraine in relation to Donbas. It's useless to sit down at the table with conmen, except with a gun under that table. A boogeyman in the shape of "young republics" will always oppose every constructive idea and put forward more and more demands that will never end until Ukraine’s return under the Russian protectorate. The “DPR” and “LPR” have been invented in the Kremlin precisely to this end. And no matter how much Moscow talks about the "proclamation" of independence, this is just as absurd to the Ukrainian citizens as the appearance of the People's Republic of Dagestan or the People’s Republic Lipetsk for the Russians... Only idiots or traitors in Ukraine could agree to such a scenario.
Roman Tsymbaliuk, Moscow