From Fort Russ
June 6, 2016 –
Sergey Stepanov, PolitNavigator –
Translated by J. Arnoldski
The Ukrainian oligarchs have realized that Donbass cannot be taken by military force, so they’ve changed their strategy to sending in their agents. The Donetsk People’s Republic has decided to hold primaries in order to exclude a victory of Kiev’s henchmen in upcoming elections. This and more was discussed by the speaker of the People’s Council of the DPR, Denis Pushilin in an interview with PolitNavigator.
PolitNavigator: Alexander Zakharchenko has stated that primaries will be held in Donbass. What does this mean for the DPR?
Denis Pushilin: Preliminary voting will offer us the opportunity to identify the best and brightest candidates who will represent the republic in potential elections. They should take place insofar as the Minsk Agreements are fulfilled.
[On the other hand], we perfectly understand that in order to win on the battlefield, soldiers need to train.
PN: And who is going to be defeated?
DP: There are various threats in the political arena. The elections will be held on a majority system and candidates can be self-nominated. It is impossible to foresee everything, but we need to get ourselves in order so that representatives of the oligarchy or veiled represents of the parties on the other side of the contact line do not get in.
We know that, as is happening now, a fifth column has infiltrated us.
PN: Are representatives of the Ukrainian oligarchs trying to infiltrate the DPR?
DP: Insofar as it is becoming clear that Donetsk and Lugansk cannot be taken by force, and that all that is necessary is the fulfillment of the Minsk Agreements, the oligarchs are attempting to penetrate the existing organs of power in the republic.
This has been recorded, detected, and now the Ministry of State Security is at work.
PN: And what happens to such people?
DP: As a minimum, they are dismissed if nothing else is decided. You have to understand that they don’t have to do anything now. Perhaps this is a “long-term” game in which the priorities of the republic will be distorted and the realization of national projects will be sabotaged.
We need to fight corruption now. We have already managed to handle this to a certain extent, but it will return depending on whether the old elite will worm its way into the new government.
PN: Literally just the other day the Verkhovna Rada amended the Constitution and held a “judicial reform.” Why were voices in favor of this able to be found in the Ukrainian parliament while Poroshenko can’t even find the needed number of deputies to support the realization of the Minsk Agreements?
DP: Ukraine has not been a subject of decision-making for a long time already. We perfectly understand that if the West wanted to, then it would find levers of influence in order to make Kiev vote. If it was so demanded, then Kiev would vote for everything needed in the Verkhovna Rada, even in violation of the rules and ignoring the views and interests of the citizens of former Ukraine.
PN: Is there hope that in 2016 Ukraine will take all the necessary decisions in regards to elections in Donbass?
DP: The chances are virtually close to zero. I don’t see any intentions on the part of Kiev to reconcile positions with Donbass. In the framework of the subgroup on political issues, we are largely on the same levels of agreement as we were a year ago.
PN: So the Minsk Agreements could be extended again?
DP: This is quite likely.
PN: Have there been any changes to the positions of the Ukrainian side at the negotiations in Minsk?
DP: There have been no changes either for better or for worse. We are in a period of stagnation. The Ukrainian side has chosen a strategy of delay. And the frequent replacement of Kiev’s representatives at negotiations is connected with this.
PN: Alexander Zakharchenko is currently holding a whole series of conferences with the regions of the South-East. Does this yield positive effects?
DP: There is a huge demand for this. We see that with each new conference the number of questions increases. We are learning to model certain situations. For example, the SBU is raising noise that we are actually unknowingly helping to spread information about the upcoming “hot line.”
Dialogue is important. People are interested in what’s happening in the republics because the picture which is painted by Ukrainian media differs strongly from reality.
PN: It has already been announced that the next conference with Alexander Zakharchenko will be held with Zaporozhye. Why is this city important?
DP: All cities are important, but, in first place of course are those of Greater Novorossiya. But other regions are also important. I think that Alexander Vladimirovich Zakharchenko will hold “hot lines” with all of them.