Staunton, October 7 – President Vladimir Zelensky’s acceptance of the Steinmeier formula for dealing with the Donbass is a mistake that is “equivalent to the introduction into the not very healthy body” of his country “of a cancerous tumor,” Sabirzhan Badretdinov says, and will have one of two consequences, both bad but the one slightly worse than the other.
In a Kasparov portal commentary, the journalist says the first possible scenario will include “the conduct of imitations of elections in the region under the sound of automatic weapons fire from Russian forces and local separatists under the complete control of the occupation administration” (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5D9AE1433494E).
Even if these “’elections’” are carried out formally in conformity to Ukrainian law and with OSCE observers, they will result in the election of “only pro-Russian candidates” and “will not change the fact that these regions will really remain under the control of pro-Russian forces.” And this will also mean these regions will send pro-Russian people to the Ukrainian parliament.
The second scenario, perhaps slightly better, will be the following, the journalist continues. Ukrainian officials will supervise the elections and will try to cleanse the Donbass from the armed formations of pro-Russian forces. “But they will hardly be successful since local separatists and even Russian soldiers will easily hide among the peaceful residents.”
“By day,” he continues, such anti-Ukrainian people, “will play the role of law-abiding citizens but at night they will kill pro-Ukrainian citizens who in any case now remain relatively few there.” That will reduce the numbers of the latter still further, as “a large part of the population doesn’t burn with particular love for Ukraine.” They too will sent pro-Russian deputies to the Verkhovna Rada.
As a result, Badretdinov says, “’the Steinmeier formula’ will inevitably lead to the federalization of the country if not formally than in fact. And this will sharply increase the influence of pro-Russian forces on that country’s domestic and foreign policy and lead to the lead of the territorial split of Ukraine.”
Those who view the signing of this agreement as progress toward peace will then see that it was in fact anything but that. Tragically, however, by then it may be too late to reverse what should never have been done in the first place. Moscow will have won, and Ukraine and the international order such as it remains will have lost.