Monday, December 2, 2019

Kremlin Wants to Provoke a New Maidan to Justify Broader Russian Intervention in Ukraine, Piontkovsky Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 30 -- From the time of the Crimean Anschluss to the election of Vladimir Zelensky, the Ukrainian government successfully parried Russian demands regarding the Donbass and received significant diplomatic and other support from Western governments. But with Zelensky’s victory, everything changed and the Kremlin seemed headed for a victory. 

            The new Ukrainian president, under pressure from his pro-Moscow advisors and anxious to continue to present himself as the leader of “the peace party” in Ukraine against “the war party” of his predecessor, seemed prepared to agree to all of Moscow’s conditions, Andrey Piontkovsky says (

            At the meeting in Paris next week, Zelensky seemed ready to kiss Putin “if not on the ass then in any case on the hand.”  And that made Moscow’s sudden hardening of its position difficult to understand unless one recognizes that the Kremlin wants to destroy Ukraine not make peace with it.

            Two days ago, without waiting for “the solemn act of capitulation of December 9” at the Paris summit of the Normandy Four, officials in Donetsk and Luhansk went ahead with specifying how the elections would take place on their territories.” But as arrogant as that was, even more came out of Moscow, the Russian commentator says.

            The flamboyant Vladimir Zhirinovsky, head of the LDPR and a member of the Russian State Council “openly called for the total genocide of the Ukrainian people by carpet bombing of Ukrainian cities and/or mass shootings of the population on the territories seized” by Moscow so far.

            Echoing what Khrushchev said was the only reason Stalin didn’t deport the Ukrainians, Zhirinovsky opined that “we do not have a sufficient number of railcars for carrying them all to Siberia.” Despite the obviously criminal nature of such statements, no one in the Putin regime condemned them.

            Why is Moscow acting like this only a few days before the summit at which it has arranged a victory for itself?  Why would they risk blowing up the meeting by prompting the Ukrainian president to reject what some in his government and he himself have so obviously accepted?

            “I think,” Piontkovsky says, that people in Moscow are “certain that the troika of watchers (Yermak, Bogdan, and Kolomoysky) completely control the client. Zelensky will come and sign the document already agreed to by Yermark. Pushin and Zhirinovsky are working today on orders from the Kremlin not for December 9 but for December 10.”

            “It is important to Putin that December 9 be viewed in Ukraine not simply as a shae but as an unthinkable shame so that Zelensky after his one-on-one meeting with Putin, which the Ukrainian leader has so passionately wanted, will look exactly like [US President] Trump did on July 16, 2018.” 

            What the Kremlin needs to happen on December 10, Piontkovsky argues, is “a mass protest in Kyiv with a demand for the ouster of Zelensky.” That will lead to a situation in which with Putin’s blessing “for ‘the restoration of the constitutional order in Ukraine,’” as defined by Macron and Merkel “on the even of their participation in the Munich Paris deal.”

            Then Putin will have a free hand to intervene in Ukraine, Piontkovsky says. He already has “other gauleiters ready.”  There is only one man who can bloc this Kremlin scenario, and it is Vladimir Zelensky. “This is almost an impossibility,” Piontkovsky says, but “there is an artistic precedent” in Rosselini’s 1959 film Il generale della Rovere.

            In that film, a bungling criminal, brilliantly portrayed by Vittorio De Sica suddenly finds in himself the courage to do the right thing. One very much hopes, Piontkovsky concludes, that Zelensky’s press secretary Yuliya Mendel wil find a copy in the archives and show it to her boss. “This could change the course of world history.”

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