Author: Vladislav Inozemtsev

(By Vladislav Inozemtsev, director of the Center for Postindustrial Studies. The New Times, Nov. 28, 2016, p. 20. Condensed text:). .. The Minsk-2 agreements were signed in the Belarussian capital by representatives of the [Trilateral] Contact Group (Ukraine, Russia, and the unrecognized Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, aka the DPR and LPR) in the presence of German, French and Russian leaders on Feb. 12, 2015 [see Current Digest, Vol. 67, No. 7, pp. 3 - 7]. After that, many politicians started to say it was possible to achieve peace and return the Donetsk Basin to a "federalized" but nevertheless united Ukraine. Today, these hopes - if they are even still alive - remain only within the so-called "Normandy Four" [France, Germany, Ukraine, Russia] that continues to meet through inertia rather than with any serious hope for success.

Meanwhile, since Minsk-2 [was signed], two radical changes have taken place. First, the DPR and LPR leadership (as well as the population of these quasi-states) realized that despite all the difficulties, it is still entirely possible to live separately from Ukraine. At the same time, a lot of proponents of preserving the status quo have appeared both in Moscow and in Kiev - their numbers will only grow. Second, it has become obvious that the West is gradually losing interest in Ukraine and is unlikely to rush to its aid if Russia continues its expansion. Meanwhile, Kiev still has no chance of stopping broad military aggression from the east if such were to occur.

Ukraine has fallen into a trap: Its leaders cannot abandon the Donetsk Basin without risking the wrath of their fellow citizens, so they have to follow [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s agenda - i.e., to conduct endless talks with the separatist leaders about conditions for transforming them into respectable Kiev politicians. Simply put, the Minsk process has reached an impasse. A new plan of action ...

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