Putin May Make Concessions on Donbass to Get West to Accept His New Status as State Council Head, Radzikhovsky Says
February 15 – Changes in the Russian Constitution could have an impact on the
Kremlin’s policy toward Ukraine, Leoonid Radzikhovsky says, if Vladimir Putin decides
he must make some concessions on the Donbass to get Western leaders to accept
him as an equal as he assumes his new role as head of the Russian State
analyst says that for Putin, “the transition period toward the establishment of
the State Council is important,” as are relations with the West, given that
Putin very much wants to continue to be accepted by world leaders as their
equal after he takes on that as-yet undefined role (obozrevatel.com/russia/putin-pojdet-na-ustupki-po-donbassu.htm).
Kremlin leader can’t be sure how Western leaders will view him if someone else
becomes Russian president, and so making concessions, even small and cosmetic
ones on the Donbass and the Ukraine more generally, is a useful way for him to
cement his status with them, Radzikhovsky suggests.
up the Donbass, something that by itself he doesn’t need, would infuriate many
Russians even as it would be welcomed by many Western leaders. If he isn’t
president and doesn’t face the voters, the views of the former become less
significant to him while the attitudes of the latter become vastly more
What the Kremlin
leader needs and want is quiet in the Donbass like the quiet in Abkhazia and
Transdniestria, places that still constitute problems for Georgia and Moldova
but attract ever less attention from the West. If Putin can orchestrate
something similar in the Donbass by making concessions, he would have a
personal victory, Radzikhovsky continues.
reflections don’t mean, of course, that Putin will decide to obey international
law, return Crimea or stop meddling in Ukraine; but it does mean that the
coming weeks and months could see a fresh face on Russian actions regarding
Ukraine, especially in the wake of the firing of Vladislav Surkov.
Surkov’s ouster may be the first step in the game that Radzikhovsky suggests
may be about to begin.