Staunton, July 31 – Sometimes a term or acronym for one thing is extended to others. That is now happening with ORDLO, the Russian acronym for “the several districts of Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts” in Ukraine’s Donbass that Moscow has occupied in order to put pressure on Kyiv to accept Finlandization.
The Ukrainian authorities are not prepared to accept that, Andrey Piontkovsky says; but there is a sense that ORDLO has become not a geographic location but a way of thinking that informs the Kremlin’s larger agenda of dealing with the West and undermining Western influence around Russia (echo.msk.ru/blog/piontkovsky_a/2880156-echo/).
The US-based Russian analyst and commentator suggests this becomes obvious if one considers nine fundamentals of the situation in Ukraine, Russia and Europe that are today “more or less obvious.”
1. “Ukraine has no resources to restore its territorial integrity by force” and doesn’t intend to try.
2. “The complete political subordination of all UIkraine remains a sacred, quasi-religious goal of the Russian state” under its current rulers.
3. “In the case of direct military invasion by Russia deeper into Ukraine, US forces will not be sent for military action on the side of Ukraine.”
4. “The US however will fulfill its declared obligations and warnings” and introduce more severe economic sanctions on Russia and provide more military equipment to Ukraine.
5. “The Ukrainian army is capable of offering serious resistance to the aggressor: and inflicting “tens if not hundreds of thousands” of casualties on any Russian invasion force, something even Russians won’t sit still for.
6. For those reasons, “the Kremlin intends to realize its overriding task by the method of forcing Ukraine to ‘Finlandization,’” by legalizing the Russian ORDLO in the east.
7. Putin achieved a great deal in his march in that direction at Geneva when US President Joe Biden said he wanted all parties including Ukraine to accept the Minsk accords which would lead to the institutionalization of ORDLO.
8. Many in the American elite are opposed to that and thus will ensure that the US does not participate in any further moves to “Finlandize” Ukraine.
9. But Putin expects Biden to continue to promote the Minsk accords which will lead to that outcome in his conversations with Ukrainian leaders.
The Kremlin leader wants to keep Ukraine on “the hook” of the Minsk agreements, Piontkovsky says. But having created that ORDLO by occupation, Moscow “does not know what to do with it – recognize it, annex it, or annihilate it.” That is because the Kremlin “never needed the ORDLO [unlike Crimea] as such.
Putin viewed the ORDLO “exclusively as an instrument to subjugate and destroy all of Ukraine under the fraudulent pretext or restoring that country’s territorial integrity.” But despite how it is discussed, “ORDLO is not a territory; it is a way of thinking” and even “a hieroglyph” with echoes of other things like horde or special purpose camp.
And as such, it resembles something from the horror film, “The Thing,” in which a monster tries to devore “all living things around it,” including in the end those who thought they could use it without harm to themselves, the commentator says.