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22 October 2017
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OpinionKremlin’s last hope in Ukraine

Watching Russian propaganda shows on TV and even more so, participating in them is unsafe for one’s health. But nevertheless, this flow of Ukraineophobia pushes us toward very curious conclusions. After all, on the one hand, agenda on Russian TV is too primitive and should be pushing the public toward the saddest anti-Ukrainian sentiment but on the other hand, it fully reflects Russian state policy at this particular moment in time.

Three years ago, talking heads in Russian TV screens were calling on thousands of "volunteers," those on "vacation," and other invasion-happy bastards to go to war with Ukraine, and they were doing it non-stop. Back in the day, rejoicing over the impunity following Crimea seizure, the Russian society for some reason believed in its rise from their knees. It suddenly craved for glorious victories and bloodshed, and adepts of Russia’s infamous “spiritual ties” massively lunged for Donbas to kill Ukrainians and, in order to get rid of the last bits of moral restraints, branded these Ukrainians “Banderites” and fascists.

Pro-Putin citizens are now anything but happy over the fact that, no matter how much they’ve been promised, the Ukrainian state never collapsed. It neither froze to death without Russian gas nor did it suffer a critical default.

Today - and it has long been the case - the priorities have totally been shifted. The war itself, occupied Ukrainian territories, and crimes committed by Russian authorities in Ukraine have been completely wiped out from media agenda. They even stopped bringing all those collaborators from Donbas to TV studios even though the latter continue to demand from Ukraine their long-sought "direct dialogue."

Ukraine has become a total disappointment to Russians. To all of them, actually.

Pro-Putin citizens are now anything but happy over the fact that, no matter how much they’ve been promised, the Ukrainian state never collapsed. It neither froze to death without Russian gas nor did it suffer a critical default. Moreover, the world community never "gave up" on Ukraine and even "Russian asset" Trump pursues Obama’s “vicious practice” on supporting the Ukrainian state. And even if Javelins have not yet arrived from overseas, military and technical cooperation continues along various lines, while Washington is taking steps to boost Ukrainian defenses.

The so-called Russian liberals are also upset. It turns out that they expected the post-Maidan Ukraine to become a kind of "Russia without Putin" and an example for Russia with Putin, a paradise where corruption has been exterminated and an ideal Western government model will start working, while successful Ukrainian reforms will be praised in future textbooks.

Moscow's only hope to break Ukraine is political strife within Ukraine itself, and this is not without reason, by the way.

Both mentioned groups take beyond the brackets Crimea and Donbas, while actively criticizing the Ukrainian government. They tend not to enjoy the fact that "Russophobic" conferences are held in Kyiv. Indeed, if you fail to notice the occupation of Ukrainian territories, you can find a lot of arguments on the issues of "we are all brothers" and "Down with the Junta!" Nobody is expecting anymore the return of the "pro-Russian" Yanukovych, as everyone understands that the stench of the "Russian world" crawling from Donbas has ruled out such an option.

And all this rhetoric suggests that Moscow's only hope to break Ukraine is political strife within Ukraine itself, and this is not without reason, by the way. With varying intensity, the Kremlin "hammered down" on all Ukrainian presidents, including Yanukovych, when he was still at the helm. The Kremlin continues this strategy today. Fairly speaking, the president’s office on Bankova Street very often jeopardizes the situation in some stupid ways and contributes to public frustration within the country.

And here is where a curious situation emerges - everyone who leads Ukraine toward anarchy plays into the hands of Russian propaganda. From time to time, Moscow calls for the third Maidan and the overthrow of the Ukrainian government, endless snap elections and political collapse, which would lead to military helplessness.

The Ukrainian elite needs to remember the events of 2013-2014, when greed, stupidity and narrow-mindedness blinds, while state leaders forget that our country is not a "Ukraine Island" but a territory surrounded by aggressive players. Those neighbors will always be playing a game at the expense of the interests of the weak. As Comrade Zhirinovsky says, "The more scuffle in Ukraine, the easier it is to bring it back under Kremlin control."

Roman Tsymbaliuk, Moscow

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