Vitaly Portnikov

Putin has a simple goal, upon which it, probably, will work in the near future.

The opening in the Rostov region of the first center, which will issue the Russian passports to inhabitants of the occupied districts of Donetsk and Lugansk regions is good evidence that, in its confrontation with the new Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky , the Kremlin is going to go into real action. Putin will not just joking. And it should be understood by everyone who thinks about the situation in Ukraine after the change of government.

In 2014, after the Maidan, it was still possible to live in the illusion that Putin is not ready to active actions against Ukraine, that he may be limited to political statements, well, at the very least – to raise the price of gas. I remember that even before the meeting of the Russian Parliament, which adopted a final decision on the annexation of Crimea, many politicians in Ukraine and in the West was still in the belief that the Russian President will not be decided on such a blatant seizure of foreign territory that he’s just going to control Crimea for further concessions from Kiev. Well he can not really take and attach the territory of another country? Can’t decide on annexation – such a loud, outright annexation?

We know it can. It seems that Putin and the Kremlin as a whole, generally may decide on any actions that have recently in the civilized world seemed unacceptable – from the Crimea to intervene in American elections, from the Donbas to Salisbury. That is why it is impossible to beat with simple propaganda, optimistic commercials on the Internet and confident statements. Statements have no special meaning when they meet the tanks.

I’ve had to write, that no one in the Kremlin do not set ourselves the task to bring to power in Ukraine, Vladimir Zelensky. No, the problem seems to have been other to contribute to the defeat of Petro Poroshenko. Due to the fact that the current Ukrainian President has not gone on agreement with Moscow, the Kremlin scenario, and just because the Russian special services, the prevailing view was that the President Zelenskaya Ukraine will be much easier to destabilize and… to integrate.

I’m not going to now evaluate how defensible is such a position. But the fact that the implementation of the tasks already started – fact. And with Zelensky begin the struggle for the electorate of Eastern and South-Eastern regions of the country – that is, those areas where the positions of the new President the most durable. Naturally, Poroshenko made no sense to fight for this electorate who did not support him initially, which on the whole didn’t even go to the 2014 elections, because I do not see among the favorites of their candidate.

The Kremlin will need to prove that Zelensky deceived the Ukrainian East. He will not and can not agree with Putin that the war will continue – of course, the fault of the “non-constructive” of Kiev, which rates will not fall, but wages will not rise. But the Kremlin, by contrast, will do for “one nation” in the East everything you can – start with issuing passports to residents of the occupied territories, then will probably go for mass certification of all Ukrainian citizens. And it is clear that for the inhabitants of border regions it will be much more important than for those who live on the border with European countries.

Putin has a simple goal, upon which it, probably, will work in the near future. Voter of Vladimir Zelensky must become his own voters, the voters of Vladimir Putin. And when the Russian President speaks about the common citizenship of the two countries, one people – he’s not kidding, not even mocking future colleague. He simply presents a program of “peaceful annexation” of the Ukrainian East, an exact determination of the Minister of foreign Affairs of Latvia of Edgars Rinkēvičs.

The question is, what, besides words, can oppose this “quiet annexation” Vladimir Zelensky, whether he understands that he was elected President of the country, which, apparently, just want to turn to the region of the neighboring state?

Vitaly Portnikov, “The Crimea.Realities”