Rolling into Kiev is the easy part, but what then?
There are some people that accuse Putin of abandoning a unique chance in 2014 to stop the “Banderovites” that took over Kiev…
I heard similar stuff from Russian nationalists recently at Sputnik & Pogrom podcast with Aleksandr Zhuchkovsky, a militia man in Donbass, and then I saw this Sovok post. Unlike Russian nationalists, some out there even believe that Russia should have helped Yanukovych back to Bankova.
Criticism of Putin’s handling of the Ukrainian crisis finds a home both on the right and on the left of Russia’s political spectrum, among opponents of Putin. One can definitely find flaws in the handling of the Donbass crisis. Russia’s current position is that the republics are “self-declared”, this is what the Russian media refer to them as, that they are part of Ukraine, and that they should be reintegrated into Ukraine in some form of a federative arrangement. The kremlins’ view recognition of the Donbass republics as a step in the extreme, perhaps after Ukraine attempts to take the republics over by force.
On the other side in Kiev, Donbass republics are viewed as a part of Ukraine, forcibly torn away by Russian aggression. According to Ukrainian constitution, Ukraine is a unitary state, and without a change to the constitution, federalism is impossible. The Ukrainian parliament eagerly changed the constitution recently to include aims to join NATO and the EU. However, I do not see the same enthusiasm about federalism. This disparity in views between Kiev and Moscow, the resultant lack of recognition for the Donbass republics, high levels of criminality, and poor handling of the republics by Russian curators as Anatoly Karlin notes, don’t add to Russia’s good image.
But was reinstating Yanukovych, or creating Novorossiya ever a good idea? I have recently read a compelling case against this that mentions reasons other than just the threat of sanctions. Sergey Belov on Alternativa imagines in five points what would happen if the Kremlin did not limit itself to Crimea:
First of his arguments is that Russia would be forced to support the odious persona of Viktor Yanukovych as the legitimate president.