Staunton, Oct. 30 – According to Moscow historians Boris Yakemenko, “a significant part of the Russian elite is very much opposed to the integration of the Donbass” just as it was against the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea in 2014. But Vladimir Putin ignored their objections then and may do so again.
This opposition has “a single cause,” he says. Members of the elite were aware in 2014 and are aware now that annexation parts of a foreign state will isolate Russia and make it more difficult for them to visit their palaces and children in Western countries (realtribune.ru/znachitelnaya-chast-rossijskoj-elity-zhestko-protivostoit-integracii-donbassa).
In 2014, Yakemenko reports, people have told him that at a meeting in the Kremlin concerning the possible annexation of Crimea when Putin was absent, there was widespread opposition. But the leader then returned and ordered the Anschluss. It is likely that a similar dynamic is at work now, the historian suggests.
Nonetheless, he continues, it is important to remember and design policies to encourage the opposition of so much of the Russian elite, including its members who are near the Kremlin, to any possible annexation of the Donbass.