Voices from Russia

Sunday, 7 September 2014

The Tragic End of Pyotr Poroshenko

00 Vitaly Podvitsky. The Poroshenko Peace Plan. 2014

The Poroshenko Peace Plan

Vitaly Podvitsky



The people who deposed Yanukovich a year before his guaranteed exit, not waiting until he had time to build up Russian cash to beef up the Ukrainian economy and to ink an agreement on reducing gas prices, were clearly stupid. As one of them rightly noted, they couldn’t look into the future. Moreover, they didn’t well understand what happened right in front of their eyes.

However, even if we’re extremely sceptical about the intellectual capacity of the “February revolutionaries”, what can we say about the intellectual level of those who agreed to elect a new Ukrainian president in May? Then, it was glaringly obvious that the Ukrainian economy was in freefall and it was clear that the central government had broken down not only in Donetsk and Lugansk, but also in other areas, and that it only held notional control over the capital… they only held it as long as the neo-Nazi militants allowed them to sit in the corridors of power. Then, finally, it was clear that the aggression in Novorossiya was a failure, and that the West wasn’t going to help them with anything, except to give them a good word or two.

I think that Pyotr Alekseyevich really wanted to put in his résumé: “President of the Ukraine”. You could feel sorry for him, because his dream came true at a time when the Ukraine virtually ceased to exist, and its last legitimate head… Yanukovich… absconded to Russia, hated and despised by his former friends and associates more than by his enemies. Nevertheless, Poroshenko didn’t realise that he could keep power under such circumstances only if he showed the political and military genius of a Bonaparte (not only is Poroshenko not a Bonaparte, he isn’t even a Barras), so, he doesn’t deserve any pity from anyone.

What to Do, When Nothing Works

They hated Yanukovich, but he was he was able to prevent a massacre. Probably, his natural stupidity and greed, not just his own but that in the surrounding culture, made it impossible for him to resolve a rather simple situation. Poroshenko is worthy of much deeper hatred, as he undertook to solve a more difficult task… to restore a broken state, without having the training, talent, and team to do so. He gave us nothing better than the same old song; he’s not at the point of no return yet, but he brought the carnage to a new level… to the maximum level possible under Ukrainian conditions. Poroshenko decided to “kill them all” instead of finding a compromise… but he couldn’t even do that.

At the time of his rise to nominal power, Poroshenko was the weakest figure in Ukrainian politics. He didn’t have a private army, not only on Kolomoisky’s level, but also even on a level with Akhmetov. His native Vinnitsa Oblast, his powerbase, was weaker than Taruta’s Donetsk. The military and intelligence agencies report not to him, but to American military advisers. He didn’t have the charisma of Timoshenko and his political apparat was inferior to that even of Klichko or Yatsenyuk. To top it off, even the IMF loans weren’t formally given under Poroshenko’s authority… they were under Yatsenyuk’s. Overall, Pyotr Alekseyevich didn’t have any real leverage to carry out his powers as president.

He didn’t have room to manoeuvre, as there wasn’t a viable political opposition (by the way, Yushchenko repeatedly used the opposition as a bogeyman during clashes with colleagues), having effectually destroyed the KPU and the Party of Regions. In the race for the most radical position, Poroshenko couldn’t compete with any of his potential competitors (not only Yarosh or Tyagnibok, but also even the pathetic Lyashko). Meanwhile, the government didn’t keep pace with the radicalisation of society at a time of revolutionary upheaval (in fact, there’s a Nazi putsch in the Ukraine), so, it’s doomed to rapid collapse. In fact, Poroshenko is nothing but a dupe zits-chairman {from Ilf and Petrov’s The Golden Calf, an Ostap Bender novel; when an official formally takes office, but doesn’t have the power to make responsible decisions, a “frontman”: editor} who must take responsibility for all the horrors of the civil war, and that may not only spell finis to his political career, it could end his life.


00 DNR. Donetsk. Boeing crash site. 06.09.14


On the Advice of Advisers

Certainly, the USA already knew that they couldn’t hold the Ukraine at the time of the Boeing airliner shootdown (the stubborn resistance of the Ukrainian authorities to the investigation is suggestive of their involvement in the affair). This was obvious even to untutored observers. This would be all the more apparent to a country with a large worldwide diplomatic corps and intelligence apparatus. In fact, almost all the actions of the American side in Ukrainian affairs in July aimed to influence the situation at the lowest cost, trying not only to trap their foes, but also to achieve some bonuses in an already-lost game.

The Russian “talking heads” could argue, “Putin’s involved” or “He’s not involved”, “All is lost” or “It’s not lost at all”, “Russia needs only the Crimea” or “It needs to take a stand on Donetsk to Lugansk”. Contrary to the jibes of popular stand-up comedian Zadornov, not everyone in the USA is an idiot. They know well how to assess the strategic interests of their opponents. All the American actions during the Ukrainian crisis suggest that the USA is well aware of and understands that Russia needs the Ukraine as a whole (perhaps, without the Western Ukraine, but certainly up to the line of the Zbruch {the boundary river between Russia and Austria-Hungary in 1914: editor}). Indeed, the USA based its game on the fact that Russia has to be involved in the Ukraine. Washington deliberately stymied any return to the status quo ante by creating a brutal repressive apparat in Kiev; it did everything that it could to entice Putin to invade the country.

However, by July, it became clear that the opolchenie wasn’t going to break. Only the Kiev “strategists” didn’t know that. In general, if a breakaway region can stand against central government forces at least two months, the chances of the government to suppress the rebellion tend to fall to nil. Meanwhile, in July, Novorossiya passed that significant milestone. True, there were retreats and the loss of significant areas after that, but in July, the balance of forces ceased to be insurmountable. The Ukrainian Air Force lost control of the skies and only retained only the ability to strike at urban areas at high altitude (it can’t support military operations with low-level ground attacks). In some places, the opolchenie has already started to counterattack using armoured forces, they’ve begun to initiate counter-battery fire, and they’ve formed the first offensive artillery groups.

In general, since July, a small (but well-trained and constantly growing) army is facing a hodgepodge of units of the former Ukrainian armed forces, neo-Nazi battalions, private oligarch armies, and simply bandit bands like the Right Sector. This army sent off most of its volunteers off for real military training {most of the long-service personnel of the former Ukrainian army rallied to the DNR/LNR, forming the hard-core of the new forces: editor}. These fresh forces arrived at the front in late August, but it’s ridiculous to think that the Americans didn’t know about them, especially if you know about their capabilities. That is, the USA was well aware that the Kiev government isn’t long for this world, but no Russian troops would enter the Ukraine (or they’d only enter if the Romanians entered Moldavia, or the Magyars entered Podkarpatskaya, or the Poles entered Galicia). The Ukrainian people will overthrow the junta in Kiev through the actions of the Novorossiyan opolchenie. Once again, Putin showed the Americans that he’s ready to play on their field by their rules… and win big.

If the Americans had wanted to save Poroshenko, they would’ve advised him to pull his troops back to defensive positions and start real negotiations, and they’d cover his back against local extremists. The Novorossiyan offensive developed rather slowly, so, Poroshenko should’ve ordered Ukrainian troops to withdraw. However, they didn’t receive such orders (and have still not), so, on the contrary, they engage in pointless suicide attacks. Poroshenko dissolved the Rada and called new elections at the onset of the Novorossiyan attack, and the Americans didn’t stop him from doing that. Obviously, Peter Alekseyevich ​​doesn’t suspect that dissolving the Rada dramatically increases the number of his personal enemies amongst hitherto-loyal segments of the Ukrainian political élite, further destabilises an already-volatile situation in the country, but more importantly, it leaves Poroshenko as the only source of formal authority, imposing on him a very concrete responsible for everything that happens in the country. However, the Americans knew it… and they didn’t intervene.


00 Donetsk. DNR soldiers. 06.09.14


From Mariupol to Kiev

As a result, on 29-30 August, a violent mob (including armed fighters from unknown forces) stormed the Minoborony Ukrainy building in Kiev and demanded not only the resignation of the Defence Minister, but Poroshenko’s impeachment as well. Legally, impeachment involves the Rada, but the President had already proposed the dissolution of the Rada. Nevertheless, the protest grew. At that time, the major defeats of the Ukrainian forces hadn’t taken place yet. The Novorossiyan forces surrounded them, but they hadn’t destroyed them, Mariupol wasn’t yet under siege, and the Novorossiyan army wasn’t yet ready to assault Zaporozhe. A week or two hence… there’d be a stream of coffins from the liquidated pockets, as well as fleeing survivors, who’d leave their equipment and weapons, the frightened “heroes of the ATO”. That is, those who managed to escape. In an extremely-radicalised Kiev, there’s no question of who’d get the blame for the defeat. There’s no doubt that the Nazis would pronounce Poroshenko guilty and reproach him for a lack of ruthlessness towards the Novorossiyan “rebels” and impute in him a slack attitude towards the fight against the junta’s opponents in Kiev and other junta-controlled areas (especially, if a successful anti-junta uprising happens in one of the megacities of Novorossiya).

At the same time, Kolomoisky’s gang in Dnepropetrovsk is watching this unsettled activity, seeing if it’s possible to be spoilers, to pay off any liabilities by deposing their former ally. So, the question arises, which side should Moscow bet on winning? I’d suggest that Korban and Filatov would think about Kolomoisky winning, but I’m sure they’d bet on Poroshenko. About Yuliya Timoshenko, who never forgives anyone, who thinks that she’s the only one able to negotiate with Putin, who thinks that she’s the only one who can get money out of Merkel, and who thinks that she can get Obama’s army to defend the Ukraine… well, we shouldn’t even mention her. She’d best not fall into the hands of Pyotr Alekseyevich. In general, guessing who the stars of the next coup will be fascinates everybody.

So, you ask, what’s the American interest? It’s simple, truly. As we already mentioned above, it’s necessary to spin things out in the Ukraine until there’s finally nothing left. To throw Poroshenko out would be indecent… after all, he swore to stand shoulder to shoulder in the fight against “Russian aggression”. However, if stone-cold Nazis overthrew Poroshenko in violent coup, then, the USA would suddenly see the light and say, “Yes, democracy failed. Of course, it’s Russia’s fault that the Nazis overthrew the great democrat Poroshenko, but we Americans can’t continue to support the Kiev government, as it’s completely illegitimate and stuffed with out-and-out scumbags”. True, no one told Pyotr Alekseyevich that when he promised the Americans, like they advised him, “to bomb the Donbass back to the Stone Age”, or when he prepared the destruction of the Boeing airliner that they’d have to eliminate him. However, hardly anyone will be surprised if after junta troops suffer a series of defeats, accompanied by enormous losses, a crowd in Kiev would burst directly into Poroshenko’s home.

There’s another plus to a Nazi takeover. Poland, Romania, and Hungary would be able to attend the fate of their minorities in the Western Ukraine. Well, their troops would only be able to go in when Russia allowed them to, and in only those territories that Russia allowed them to enter. Otherwise, the Novorossiyan forces could march all the way to Warsaw. The main thing that the occupation of former Ukrainian territories by Eastern European “democracies” opens a window of opportunity for a formal international legal settlement of the Ukrainian crisis… in the interests of Russia.

All that’s necessary for all of this to happen is that Poroshenko disappears. The Americans have already squeezed from him everything that they could. Only a real Nazi régime can continue to carry on the war, to provide the right amount of deaths, refugees, and destruction. Therefore, Poroshenko’s a goner… everybody has an interest in his fall, and almost everyone wouldn’t mind seeing him dead. He should’ve looked at the example of Tyagnibok, who’s a rather clever sort… it would’ve turned out just dandy. Tyagnibok doesn’t get hot n’ bothered, he never picks fights, he just keeps strengthening his position in Galicia. Before you know it, just you see, he’d raise a volunteer auxiliary police for any future Polish occupation régime. Canadian Ukrainians will learn the history of the short-lived Ukrainian state of the late 20th and early 21st century from Tyagnibok’s memoirs… not from Poroshenko’s.

2 September 2014

Rostislav Ishchenko

Rossiya Segodnya


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