April 15, 2017 - Fort Russ -
RIA Novosti - translated by J. Arnoldski -
The head of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Alexander Zakharchenko, believes that 2017 might be a decisive year for the conflict in Donbass.
During a recent live feed with Ukrainians, Zakharchenko said: “Given the dynamics of change in our foreign and inter-Ukrainian context, I have reason to believe that this year, 2017, will be decisive. But context parameters are subject to change. As follows, adjustments to forecasts must be made.” According to the DPR leader, however, there are certain signs that allow us to expect a “quick end to this madhouse.” Zakharchenko remarked that the “Maidan project has not taken root in the international environment.”
Explaining further, The DPR head said: “The West has set itself goals in relations with Russia in which Ukraine is to be used like a tool. Today it is becoming obvious that these tasks which the West set before itself in relations with Russia have not been fulfilled and, moreover, been impractical. Thus, the tool itself will be reconsidered. The West will not pay money for nothing.”
Zakharchenko also expressed the view that there is still chance to establish dialogue with Kiev, but only after a change in regime in Ukraine.
The leading scholar of the Institute of the Russian Abroad, Eduard Popov, agrees with the view expressed by the leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic. Popov explained live on Radio Sputnik: “Last year, Zakharchenko repeatedly said that 2017 will be the last year of Poroshenko’s presidency and that this year there will most likely be another Ukrainian blitzkrieg against Donbass. We’ll see just how founded this point of view is already in the coming months. In the very least, I agree with Zakharchenko.”
Popov also commented on the question of the possible federalization of Ukraine. In his opinion, Kiev will never agree to federalization. “In regards to the question of whether Kiev will agree to some kind of federalization - the answer is categorically 'no'. The authorities in Kiev are more likely to tacitly let Donbass drift away freely than opt for federalization. Back during Viktor Yushchenko’s presidency, federalization was equated to separatism in Ukraine. The Ukrainian government has maneuvered itself into a dead end and can’t go against its own tune. Kiev will try to keep its hand in glove for as long as possible and not yield even the slightest steps towards federalization,” Popov believes.
Popov drew attention to the fact that one of the regions advocating federalization is Transcarpathia. Previously, deputies of the Transcarpathian Regional Council voted for the autonomous establishment of economic ties with other regions, in particular the Poltava and Ivano-Frankivsk regions, and called on Kiev to not allow the situation in the region to “reach a Donetsk and Lugansk scenario.” In addition, Hungary has repeatedly stated that it will not tolerate any infringement on the linguistic rights of Ukraine’s Hungarian minority in Transcarpathia.
However, Popov posits, in this case Kiev is unlikely to take any actions against the region: “The Kiev authorities, despite the very bold, radical statements of Hungarian deputies and the politicians and deputies of the Transcarpathian Regional Council, have openly passed on disturbing the region and its Hungarians in particular, because if they mess with the Hungarians, then they’ll be messing with the Poles, who stand in solidarity with the Hungarians, and this means they’ll be messing with the EU, and so on. Therefore, the government in Kiev is pretending like nothing is happening. But in fact, of course, they are biting their nails.”
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