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Deveselu missile shield – East and West; PR & Business




As a history irony, the former Deveselu Air Military Base – build at the URSS request as part of the defensive aerial system created to protect de states that were part of the Warsaw Pact – became NATO base, a part of the shield known as “the US – built missile shield in Europe”, therefore an integrated military system, with numerous components spread around the world and with an eminently defensive role, at least theoretical, but incontestable proactive, inhibitor.

I don’t know if the place has been accidentally chosen or as a result of. Even though few know this thing, in the Cold War period, this base has been a priority target for the CIA agents. There is a story that talks about the declaration as a “persona non-grata” and expulsion of a military diplomat of US to Bucharest, after he has been caught spying the military base by the vigilant “villagers” of the 3rd Counterintelligence Direction.

Let’s make business, not war!

Today, the times have changed, and that active young man and eager to assert his intelligence, if he still alive, can feeling avenged. More, he can visit Deveselu whenever he wants and would have been interesting if someone would have thought to invite him at one of the ceremonies that have been taken place in the last period.

110426-M-3545V-002.jpgI talk about because around in mid-May, the US Embassy in Bucharest organized, from obvious reasons of propaganda and PR, a ceremony to initiate the missile shield system Aegis Ashore from Romania. I said “PR”, because there was only a political – diplomatic protocol. In fact, the testing and functional certification of the capability from Deveselu took place since last fall, in October 2015. But, operational means that its elements must be integrated in the expanded NATO missile defense, i.e. connected with elements placed on the US destroyers hosted by the Rota harbor (Golf of Cadiz, Spain). There was a false pretext of ceremony, because once the system became operational, the control of the facility must be transferred – at least theoretically – to the command of the Alliance. Or the really transfer just happened to the NATO Summit in Warsaw.

Could things escalate above the rhetorical level to a new Cold War or even worse? In this regard, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched to the SPIEF works an unequivocal message to the EU: ”Come on, let all conflicts behind and to see about our business!”  Right ! Although the war has enriched some, a business-friendly climate never killed anyone. Consequently, let’s make business not war!

At the same time, the ceremony from Romania prefaced another event: the launch ceremony of the next phase of the project that will be hosted in Poland[1]. Benefiting from the highest level support – by the presence of the Romanian PM Dacian Ciolos and the NATO General Secretary, Jens Stoltenberg – the event has raised numerous statements in response, the most publicized being of course the one of the Russian President Vladimir Putin with clear reference to Romania and Poland[2]. Putin said, no more and no less, that the US military capabilities  have been or to be built in the two countries are directed against one target, and this target is Russia, the conversion from the defensive system in an offensive one being easy. redzikowo-base

In support of these allegations, Russian officials said the system Aegis Ashore, including Deveselu, using launches vertical type MK-41 equipment which supposedly could launch not only interceptor missiles, but also cruise missiles Tomahawk type banned by INF Treaty[3]. The reaction of NATO officials was either one flaccid, denial no arguments or just one bombastic.  So we witnessed to strengthening of the US military presence and the NATO multinationals brigades in the region. We saw many joint military exercises with the armed forces from the eastern flank, as an answer to “the aggressive behavior of the Russian authorities”. And suddenly, was delivered an explanation that is going to calm the spirits: “This will be a presence to deter Russia, not threaten Russia”. Epic !

In spite the apocalyptical titles from mass-media and the tensions accumulated between East and West – Deveselu is just one of the bone of contention – in essence, the two parts have done nothing more than to reiterate the same statements, motivations and arguments that were heard beforehand September 2011 when at Washington has been signed an agreement between Romania and US. Who profits from this verbal war? Who uses the antiballistic shield from Europe? Deveselu shield is ensuring protection or is threatening?[4] A cynical expert could say that to protect some, many, are sacrificing others few which are transformed in potential priority targets. I am saying that, maybe, this is the price that Romania must to pay following its option. History will decide if it was a good one or not.

Could things escalate above the rhetorical level to a new Cold War or even worse? In this regard, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched to the SPIEF works an unequivocal message to the EU: ”Come on, let all conflicts behind and to see about our business!”  Right ! Although the war has enriched some, a business-friendly climate never killed anyone. Consequently, let’s make business not war!

In the meantime, some questions and assumptions response are especially necessary.

Qui prodest? – following the money and not only…

The Pentagon’s arguments regarding the placement of the anti-missiles shield elements in Europe has been modified constantly by the economic and diplomatic interests, by the foreign policy of the White House, by the partnerships from the North Atlantic Alliance, by strategies and resources.

Pre-summit press conference by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg ahead of the NATO Summit in Warsaw on 8 and 9 July 2016

Pre-summit press conference by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg ahead of the NATO Summit in Warsaw on 8 and 9 July 2016

Of course, for Bucharest is slightly difficult to waltz every time with the exchangers motivations delivered by Washington, especially after signing the agreement with Iran on the nuclear issue, which has “suspended” at least temporarily “reasons” of anti-missile shield in Europe, confirming involuntarily the signals given previous by Moscow, the ones that we’ve been talking about earlier. In this context, the conflict between Ukraine and the intervention from Crimea of the Russia offered to the American policy a false but apparently credible enough argument in front of the NATO partners to continue the project. It is like a “Dear Putin, you are right, but you still got no red boots” (or do you?). I don’t know how to say it so it won’t be untranslatable. In short, if a decisive pretext would disappear, immediately another one could be found.

But let’s back and talk about money. During his recent European tour, in Berlin Barak Obama reminded to all NATO members that US would like to recover at least part of the money invested in the missile defence from Europe. As well reiterated how important a budget increase in defence is. All this suggest that, beyond strategies and security threats, here is all about business. As we all know, US is the first on top of arms exports, and the main rival is Russia.[5] If we take a close look to the competition between Raytheon and Lockheed Martin on the European market for anti-aircrafts and anti-missile systems[6] or if remark the irritation caused by the Turkey’s decision to spend a fortune building a similar system, like the Chinese one, but non-compatible with NATO technology, it becomes clear where is the US’ interest, and why they clang (literally and figuratively) their weapons along Russia’s borders.

The only way to prove the viability of the North-Atlantic Alliance is to provide a perpetually credible enemy. So, for this role US need a powerful state, alive, aggressively pursues its legitimate interests, fully equipped military, influential and credible. If this state holds nuclear triad, is better. The perfect profile to be labelled by the West propaganda as ”global danger”. And Russia is the perfect match.

To add a touch of colour to the previous paragraph, Raytheon already proved their quality products comparing with Lockheed Martin in 1991 during the Gulf War, when the Patriot missiles enjoyed huge global exposure. We remember those missiles flying randomly, in all directions, although later was proved that Saddam had no ballistic charge to launch!  It was the start of the Raytheon’s transit from fridge-freezers, air conditioner machine and transistors – to build aircrafts. Today, they became the greatest provider of radar equipment and air defence. Because, as snippets of Anglo-Saxon wisdom teach us, “ought not to put our trust in money, but put money in a place we can trust.”

But isn’t just about money! By far the most important for US was (and still is) legitimisation of its actions through NATO. US want to claim legally approved, recognised and sustained military interventions via NATO, similar to those approved and sustained by or under the UN’s flag. The only way to prove the viability of the North-Atlantic Alliance, divided by the huge discrepancy (income and resources) between the older member and the newcomers (especially the eastern wing, formed by the states of the ex-Warsaw Treaty), is to provide a perpetually credible enemy. So, for this role US need a powerful state, alive, aggressively pursues its legitimate interests, fully equipped military, influential and credible. If this state holds nuclear triad, is better. The perfect profile to be labelled by the West propaganda-machine as ”global danger”. And Russia is the perfect match.

Threat versus opportunity 

On the one side, Russia had lots of objections about the missile defence from Europe since the plan for it was just on Pentagon’s papers. But, the Russia reactions went light, fragmented between the objections against the US and NATO, because US theoretically had passed all decision on this issue to NATO. Russian Ambassador to NATO at that time, Dmitry Rogozin, currently vice premier, was put in an impossible situation: to ”negotiate” with all 28 member states. Concomitant, US spread some information about the possibility that

Russian Ministry of Defence, General Army Sergey Shoigu

Russian Ministry of Defence, General Army Sergey Shoigu

Russia could join NATO. Obviously, was just a plan to deceive the vigilance of Kremlin. Was a move which the Moscow understood later, and attempted to reverse by rethinking its medium and long term military and diplomatic strategies. Perhaps, a ”cold shower” for Kremlin was, as well, on 21st February 2008 at 3.26 am, when the Lake Erie warship has launched a single RIM – 161 – SM – 3 missiles (similar to those from Deveselu), slightly modified for extra-atmospheric flight. It hit and destroyed US 193 satellite on 247 km above Pacific Ocean. Just like Stars War! Today, without satellites you’re as good as dead! Probably, Russian officials got scared thinking about their own satellites floating about in space, although they remained (apparently) indifferent to the event.

Perhaps such a ”reason” worried the global press, not just the pro-Atlantic one, which too easy slipped over the conditional undertone in President Putin’s statement that Russia will aim Romania ”only if” Russian army and Russian secret services will observe that ”the defensive purpose of the facility from Deveselu will be changed into an offensive one”.

On the other side, Russia used an ambivalent speech, which did not help international community to understand it intentions. In fact, one day political representatives from Russia affirm that missile defence from Deveselu is an obvious threat on Russia security. The next day, military officials infirm and explain there is no threat to Iskander, Topol–N or Bulava missiles. All these looks like pure propaganda! Although, there is some true. About some missiles even Vladimir Putin or US officials speak quietly. Looks like those missiles might penetrate the shield defence?! There is about SSN – 30 A, released recently , on the Caspic Sea, against some targets from Syria. Some military blogs said it may hit anywhere in Europe, and can be equipped with both conventional and nuclear warheads.  Remind that in 2013 US spoke about the violation of INF Treaty and said that the new technology is derived from Russian cruise missile SSC – X – 8. Perhaps such ”reason” worried the global press, not just the pro-Atlantic one, which too easy slipped over the conditional undertone in President Putin’s statement that Russia will aim Romania ”only if” Russian army and Russian secret services will observe that ”the defensive purpose of the facility from Deveselu will be changed into an offensive one”.

Moreover, the opinion of the Russian Minister of Defence expressed by spokesperson, Gen. Major Igor Konashenkov, that „NATO’s accusations that Russia is breaching the military transparency mechanisms in Europe are an attempt to encourage anti-Russian feelings, in order to increase the Alliance’s military expenses. It is obvious that the true purpose of this declaration…is to deliberately stimulate panic and maintain the chymera of a common enemy” is quite rightly. But I personally noticed that, by allowing this permanent verbal conflict to brew, Russia is making itself a disfavour, and fuels the growing of Russophobia in Europe.

In the same times, I think that feelings against Russians can be capitalised by Russia to increase its own military capabilities, and to intiate, develop and strengthen a military alliances of BRICS, even if many times Vladimir Putin said that there are no plans for a military or political alliance. In these terms, the Deveselu shield seems more like a generator of opportunities, rather than a threat to the Russian Federation. In the same way as the military Russian doctrine according to which „The Federation reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in retaliation to the use of nuclear weapons or any other type of weapons of mass destruction against it, and/or of its allies, and also in the case of assault by conventional weaponry against the Russian Federation if this threatens the very existence of the State” seems more like a big generator of opportunities for the US than a threat against eastern flank of NATO.

Placebo pill for the eastern wing of NATO

               Least, but not last, for Romania and the Romanian leaders in Bucharest, the missile shield represents the mainly project in the fields of military and security cooperation with the US, itself a strategic partner and leader of NATO. It is a major investment in Romania security and, according the “NATO guide”, it is not aimed against Russia, but has a preventive purpose, to discourage and to provide warning in the event of a hypothetical ballistic missile attack. Sure, a similar motivation is also provided for the components of the shield which will be assembled in Poland[7]. Romania and Poland understand and accept the risk of being primary targets in the event of an armed conflict between Russia and NATO. In other words, both countries are trying to prove that are safe, loyal, predictable and consistent partners in the achievement of their duty.

_60312125_us_missile_def_slide03_624_2Besides the rhetoric threatening, the shield benefit is difficult to prove, because we are dealing with hypotheses – possible, but unlikely. Anyway, for the countries of the eastern wing of NATO the shield seems just an expensive pill, with placebo effect, against Russian fears. Most likely, it is just so: they create the problem, then they come up with an apparent saving solution, obviously expensive.

But of course, there is an elementary question: What they receive in return?  Can Romania be sure that NATO will defend it, if necessary? More: Is the missile shield protective just for countries from the West of Europe because it slightly diverts attention from some of them? Besides the rhetoric threatening, the shield benefit is difficult to prove, because we are dealing with hypotheses – possible, but unlikely. Anyway, for the countries of the eastern wing of NATO the shield seems just an expensive pill, with placebo effect, against Russian fears.

Most likely, it is just so: they create the problem, then they come up with an apparent saving solution, obviously expensive. This may work as well for the Russians, but contrary.

Follows the Stoltenberg’s statements at the summit in Warsaw regarding the resumption of work on the NATO – Russia Council, the conclusion can be only one: beyond headline propaganda and political interests, spheres of influence and ideological confrontations, nobody can push things over the red point where there’s no turning back. Not even NATO.

  And what if the defensive purpose of the Deveselu shield might be replaced with offensive ones (the possibility to replace interceptor missiles with offensive ones, even American officials not try to deny anymore)? It means an already clear decision for military conflict between NATO and Russia (which seems unlikely – nobody truly wants a war with Russia, particularly a nuclear war). In case of conflict, with or without missile shield, Romania is in the very first line. Because Romania means NATO, even if its commitments are obviously, but not the rights and interests as an ally, especially as border ally, as well.

And finally, a question for Russia : if – hypothetical – the countries of the former Warsaw Pact would not have opted for integration into NATO and the EU, the most probably would have had all the chances to experience a greater infusion of democracy type ”Arab Spring” or “Euromaidan”. What would have Russia been able to do for them? Probably nothing concrete – not out of spite or ill faith – while the cores of violence would spread everywhere around and multiplied exponentially. More so, would Russia have felt less vulnerable with multiple sources of instability like Ukraine around it? The answer is considerably more predictable that the security risk generated by the Deveselu missile shield. Follows the Stoltenberg’s statements at the summit in Warsaw regarding the resumption of work on the NATO – Russia Council, the conclusion can be only one: beyond headline propaganda and political interests, spheres of influence and ideological confrontations, nobody can push things over the red point where there’s no turning back. Not even NATO.

So, ladies and gentlemen, let’s return to the usual (and peaceful) business!


Gabriela Ionita is Romanian journalist, editor în chief of Power&Politics World journal, analyst in the field of International Relations and Security Studies (mainly connected with the Russian Federation and Community of Independent States). She took her university degree in Communication and Public Relation at the National School of Political Science and Public Administration – Bucharest. Also she attended intensive courses Diplomacy and National Security organized by the Centre for Strategic Applications – Bucharest. She has Master degree in the field of Foreign languages and civilizations (Slavonic studies) at the Faculty of Philology from ”Al.I. Cuza” University – Iassy.

[1] Ground Base Redzikowo (Poland) will be part of the American system of missile defense developed in Europe, the Phase III development of the European side of the US missile defense (European Phased adaptive Approach / EPAA), the term for completion in 2018. http://www.globalsecurity.org/space/facility/redzikowo.htm

[2] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3614027/Vladimir-Putin-warns-Poland-Romania-caught-crosshairs-Russian-rockets-hosting-defence-shield-considers-threat-national-security.html

[3] Intermediate-Range and Shorter Range Missiles Treaty was signed in 1987 by the US and the USSR. http://www.state.gov/t/avc/trty/102360.htm

[4] The facility hosted three US Deveselu includes SPY-1 radar, and SM-3 interceptors. These missiles are produced by Raytheon Corporation and can be launched from the vessel and from the land base and the Deveselu. They can intercept short-range missiles or medium-range missiles in the middle or final phase of their trajectory. Can engage enemy missiles in outer space. No one knows exactly reach of these interceptors. SM-3 missile to destroy enemy rocket strikes, why does not contain explosive.

[5] http://www.businessinsider.com/russian-v-us-arms-imports-2015-4

[6] http://www.reportlinker.com/report-summary/Aerospace-And-Defence/83407/Missile-Industry-in-the-United-States.html

[7] http://sputniknews.com/europe/20160513/1039578197/poland-us-air-defense.html

Original file published by «New Defence Order. Strategy» / «Новый Оборонный Заказ. Стратегии», 2016, №3 (40)


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Интервью секретаря-координатора Кавказского геополитического клуба Яны Амелиной (на фото на главной страница сайта) румынскому аналитическому изданию Power&Politics World

– Как было воспринято в кругах исламского сообщества в России решение Кремля вывести основные авиационные силы из Сирии?

– Спокойно и с пониманием. Напомню, что перед началом операции российских Военно-космических сил в Сирии многие известные деятели российского мусульманского сообщества, наконец, выпустили фетвы (богословские заключения), запрещающие единоверцам участие в сирийских событиях на стороне запрещенной в РФ террористической группировки, именующей себя «Исламское государство». «Наконец» – потому что религиозные деятели, в реальности, а не для «пиара» озабоченные борьбой с распространением радикального исламизма, сделали это значительно раньше и без указаний со стороны.

Yana AmelinaОтмечу, что первая в России фетва такого рода была выпущена еще в мае 2013 г. (то есть за год до провозглашения «ИГ» т.н. «халифата») религиозным советом Духовного управления мусульман Республики Северная Осетия-Алания, председатель которого, муфтий Хаджимурат Гацалов, в свое время также давал интервью вашему уважаемому изданию (оно, кстати, вошло в его книгу «Россия и ислам: на острие атаки», вышедшую в марте 2016 г.). В августе 2015 г. ДУМ РСО-А выпустило еще одну фетву, уже непосредственно применительно к «ИГ». Укажем также, что Духовные управления мусульман нескольких республик, для которого проблема отъезда боевиков на Ближний Восток стоит принципиально острее, чем для Северной Осетии (в частности,  Дагестана и Татарстана), как говорится, до последнего тянули с вынесением богословского заключения, а в Казани так до сих пор этого не сделали.

Более-менее реальную картину отношения российского исламского сообщества к ситуации вокруг Сирии дают результаты социологического исследования, проведенного в ноябре 2015 г. BAIKAL Communications Group при участии Кавказского геополитического клуба по заказу министерства печати  и информации Республики Дагестан (оно до сих пор остается единственным опросом такого рода, материалы которого находятся в открытом доступе). Несмотря на то, что исследование проводилось только в Дагестане (республику можно смело назвать моноконфессиональной – мусульманской), оно выявило ряд тенденций, характерных не только для РД.

Так, оказалось, что  оппозиционность дагестанского исламского сообщества российскому государству значительно преувеличена, как и роль материального фактора в формировании привлекательности радикально-исламистских группировок. Большинство мусульман (52%), вопреки голословным заявлениям представителей федерального исламистского лобби об едва ли не единодушном неприятии ее мусульманами, поддерживает российскую операцию в Сирии и, более того, считает, что она улучшит отношение исламского сообщества к государственной власти. По 14% опрошенных не поддерживают политику РФ или безразличны к этой проблематике, 21% затруднился с ответом на этот вопрос. Скорее всего, реальных сложностей он не вызвал – просто не было желания декларировать, хоть и анонимно, свою позицию. Среди молодежи цифра поддержки ниже – 46%, тогда как не поддерживают или безразличны – по 17%. Зато в возрастной группе 45-59 лет поддержка вырастает до 59%, а в группе старше 60 лет – до 64%. 46% всех опрошенных убеждены, что российская операция в Сирии улучшит отношение российских мусульман к государственной власти (11% полагают, что ухудшит, а 18% – не окажет никакого влияния). В молодежной возрастной группе таковых 52%.

При этом 42% опрошенных полагают, что главная причина привлекательности «ИГ» связана с отсутствием возможности проявить себя, заработать, улучшить жизнь. 32% говорят о низкой религиозной грамотности исламской молодежи, 21% – о возможности заработать путем участия в незаконных вооруженных формированиях, 16% – о недостаточной работе с молодежью лидеров традиционного ислама, 10% – об убедительности радикальных пропагандистов, 8% – об идее халифата как государства абсолютной справедливости (среди молодежи таковых 14%). И только 6% связывают влечение к радикализму с нарушением прав мусульман в РФ.

Что касается последнего, то 57% дагестанцев (включая как молодежь, так и старшую группу) убеждено, что исламское сообщество в республике и стране свободно развивается в рамках действующего законодательства. Однако о том, что мусульмане испытывают проблемы и сложности, заявило 22% и почти столько же затруднились с ответом. Те, кто говорит о трудностях, обосновывают свою позицию ограничениями мусульман в отношении ношения хиджаба и т.д.

Опрос свидетельствует, что мусульманское сообщество Дагестана руководствуется в первую очередь нормами и требованиями традиционного ислама (34%). Почти четверть жителей республики считает, что определяющими являются общероссийские требования и нормы, предъявляемые к религиозным структурам, и лишь 13% убеждены, что местные мусульмане ориентируются на ситуацию, складывающуюся в мировом исламском сообществе (впрочем, среди молодежи таких практически половина). Все это выбивает почву из-под пропагандистских спекуляций на подобные темы, намечая четкие направления первоочередного приложения усилий для правоохранительных органов, общественных организаций и религиозных структур, призванных заниматься профилактикой экстремистских проявлений.

Distribution_of_ethnic_groups_in_Crimea_2001Учитывая, что представители силовых органов уже второй год говорят примерно о 2000 выходцев из России, присоединившихся к «ИГ» (эта цифра не растет), можно уверенно констатировать, что популярность радикально-исламистских идей в среде российских мусульман далеко не столь велика, как хотелось бы раздувающим «мировой исламистский пожар». Об этом же свидетельствует фактическая смерть запрещенной в РФ террористической организации «Имарат Кавказ», активно действовавшей в двухтысячных годах на Северном Кавказе. Правоохранители четко работают по «возвращенцам» с Ближнего Востока, арестовывая их прямо при пересечении российской государственной границы. Боевикам и пособникам «ИГ» грозят большие сроки, и суды на них не скупятся.

Попытки переноса ближневосточной нестабильности на российскую территорию в целом не удались, хотя, к сожалению, отдельные инциденты все еще происходят и, вероятно, будут происходить и впредь: полностью ликвидировать террористическую угрозу не удалось ни одному государству мира. Максимальная зачистка «исламского поля» от распространителей экстремистских идей – в интересах не только российского государства, но и, в первую очередь, самого мусульманского сообщества, что оно прекрасно понимает.

Операция российских ВСК в Сирии, между тем, продолжается – хотя и в меньших военных масштабах, но с выходом на иные смысловые уровни. Прекрасным примером этому стал концерт оркестра Мариинского театра под управлением маэстро Валерия Гергиева 5 мая в освобожденной Пальмире. В отличие от некрофилов из «ИГ» и их кукловодов с Запада Россия несет на Ближний Восток великую культуру, мир, самую жизнь – так надо понимать этот простой посыл.

– Недавние крупные теракты в Анкаре произошли как раз тогда, когда в повестке президента Турции Эрдогана были переговоры по реализации трансазиатского трубопровода. Можно ли это считать простым совпадением?

– Полагаю, что да. Суть происходящего принципиально шире, чем какие-то там трубопроводы, которые еще нужно построить, наполнить и заставить функционировать. Весь макрорегион Ближнего Востока – Большого Кавказа переживает глобальную трансформацию, сопровождаемую сотнями тысяч человеческих жертв, и эти процессы еще далеко не закончены. Трубопроводы на этом фоне – мелочь, о которой вообще не стоит говорить.

– Сказывается ли ухудшение взаимоотношений РФ и Турции не только на экономическом взаимообмене, но и на настроениях этнических общин тюркского происхождения в России?

– Скорее, этот фактор пытаются использовать для того, чтобы оказать определенное давление на российское руководство. Именно так следует расценивать ряд заявлений об обеспокоенности в связи со сложившейся ситуацией, прозвучавших из казанского Кремля. Однако попытки спекулировать на некоем «тюркском братстве», которого в реальности не существует, в нынешних обстоятельствах очевидно неуместны. Не случайно мы больше не слышим подобных эскапад в публичном пространстве. Местечковые экономические и иные интересы, разумеется, не могут служить аргументом в ситуации, когда на другой чаше весов лежит гибель русских военнослужащих и честь нашей державы. Нынешнее состояние российско-турецких отношений крайне прискорбно, однако решение проблемы – в руках турецкой стороны, которой следует начать с публичных извинений и компенсаций семьям погибших бойцов. Пока этого не произойдет, рассуждать о каком-то «братстве», «узах» и прочем и непродуктивно, и просто безнравственно.

– Влияет ли на настроения тюркского населения в России «размораживание» армяно-азербайджанского конфликта?

– Если и влияет, то весьма ограничено. Россияне тюркского происхождения живут, скорее, внутренней повесткой дня. Историко-культурная общность различных тюрских народов – больше пропагандистское преувеличение, чем реальность общественно-политических процессов. Азербайджан ни в коей мере не является образцом для подражания российских тюрок, а некоторые из этих народов, в частности, татары, относятся к этому примеру постсоветского государственного строительства даже с некоторой долей пренебрежения. Попытка возобновления силовой стадии карабахского конфликта не вызвала потока добровольцев, намеренных воевать на азербайджанской стороне, из числа российских тюрок. Это вряд ли произойдет, даже если в Карабахе (упаси Господи) начнется полномасштабная война. Вообще, армяно-азербайджанское противостояние слишком незначительно по масштабам для большинства россиян, привыкших мыслить иными категориями, вне зависимости от этнического происхождения. (…)

Интервью подготовила Габриэла Ионице

Full version – Russian Language on Кавказский геополитический клуб

Russia wants to preserve the status quo of Moldova Republic and Transdniestria

Romanian-flagPPW:More and more Western experts seem to agree that Ukraine was abandoned, the EU nowadays having its own problems that does not know how to manage right. How to see things from Kiev?

Andriy Voloshyn: – I think Ukraine was abandoned from the beginning, when Russia annexed Crimean and started war on the East of Ukraine. There is Budapest Memorandum which was signed by Russia, USA and UK who guaranteed security of Ukraine. Russia violated it and other countries did not much to guarantee security of Ukraine, our country received only minor humanitarian help. We understand that while Obama is president nothing will change, but anyway I’m constantly raising this issue, and many American politicians, not only Republicans but also Democrats say that Ukraine should receive bigger help.

Andriy Voloshyn

If Western powers are afraid that providing military help will escalate the conflict with Russia, then Ukraine can get big economical help. We need to have Marshall plan for Ukraine. As I see the funds can go for creating new jobs, new businesses, new housing for army veterans and IDPs (the number of which is more than 1.5 million). Then by raising economy we will strengthen our army and other areas. Ukraine managed to restore its army very fast with the help of volunteers and people’s support. Unfortunately the resources of volunteers and patriotic people are also limited. So while we had so-called ceasefire – it is good time to focus on reforms and economy.

Ukrainian topics are much less frequently are raised in EU media for 2 main reasons. First reason is that we have now low-intensity conflict, was is going on but the territory and scale of it is limited so media attention is much smaller. Second reason is another focus of problems EU is facing now: migrant crisis, terrorism, different problems of state-members.

PPW: – I said that the negotiations for the Minsk agreements were rather PR for political leaders than a real help given to Ukraine? What do you think ?

A.V.: – I think we can say so. For example Lukashenko, President of Belarus seriously improved his image in the West because of providing the platform for Minsk agreements. Also for French and Germany leaders it is a way to show their countries as strong conflict-solving powers, strong diplomatic leaders. For Russia Minsk agreements is a tool to integrate so-called LNR and DNR (terrorist states) into Ukrainian political system which will be like a huge disease for Ukraine. Can you imagine terrorists becoming regional leaders, taking money from Ukraine’s budget and blocking any Ukrainian incentives which Russia dislikes (for example joining NATO).

We understand stat many EU countries want sanctions on Russia to be lifted and they see Minsk agreements as the only way to do it. But Ukrainians don’t see how it’s possible to make election in the areas controlled by terrorists, it’s not right to give amnesty to those who killed and tortured Ukrainian civilians. So Minsk agreements can be considered as temporary ceasefire (which is violated all the time by terrorists) but it has not political future…

At the same time Ukraine feels support of some EU countries, such as Baltic countries, especially Lithuania, Poland, Romania, recently cooperation with Turkey increased.

PPW: – What is the most serious problem facing Ukraine at the moment?

A.V.: – Apart from Russia (aggressive neighbor which is permanent threat for security), we still have many old corrupted officials and their affiliates which use different corruption schemes, block new people from coming to power, block reforms. Big problems are in judiciary and law enforcement areas. Corrupted officials, thieves, traitors were not punished, and often we see trials against patriots on some fabricated or stupid accusations.

PPW: – What strategy could conceive Kiev to recover its influence on Crimea? There is sufficient domestic policy levers (i.e. conditionings, restrains of energy and transport infrastructure linking Ukraine and Crimea) or external (the cooperation with the Euro-Atlantic community,  particularly Turkey) that can to help fulfill this objective?

 A.V.: – I would call this strategy “Soft Ukrainization”. Ukrainian geopolitical thinker of XX century Yurii Lypa wrote that Crimea – is a key to Black Sea, the key which is necessary to have to dominate the Black Sea. So the geopolitical long-term goal of Ukraine is to return Crimea. Right now it’s hard to imagine that Crimea will be returned without military action, but in long-term when Russia’s economy and military power will fall – then it would be possible. By occupation of Crimea, Russia violated international law and challenged all civilised world by this action. On the international level I’m sure no states except Russian satellites will recognize occupation of Crimea.

I’m supporter of idea of Baltic-Black Sea Union so the question of Crimea should be kept all the time on regional agenda. Russia threatens not only Ukraine, but also other neighbours, especially Baltic states, relationships with Turkey are spoiled, so that would be good for Ukraine to increase cooperations with countries from Baltic-Black Sea space. Strategy of “Soft Ukrainization” should include informational, political, economical and cultural aspects of activities for the increase of pro-Ukrainian sentiments in Crimea. Right now many Crimean citizens are not happy with the situation. Many people thought that moving from Ukraine will bring some benefits, but tourism flows fell, prices increased and for most of people who are not in military or state services, life didn’t changed to better. cw_LIQVjY1Y
The big goal is also to make really successful and prosperous Ukraine, so people from Crimea will see how many opportunities they lost. But being realist, even if majority of people from Crimea would be for joining Ukraine, Russia as it is now won’t allow it. So weakening and destruction of Russia (separation into several states) should happen before Crimea can be returned to Ukraine. The fall of Russia might look impossible right now, but were there many people who predicted fall of Soviet Union?

PPW: – The Ukrainian parliament just approved yesterday the resignation of the Prosecutor-General Viktor Shokin, an close ally of President Poroshenko but seen by the Ukraine’s Western backers as an obstacle to tackling corruption. How do you comment the resignation of Mr. Shokin ?

A.V.: – It was not a surprise. Many members of parliament fought for this, also American ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt openly criticized him. More interesting is who will be next Prosecutor, there are candidacies supported by public opinion, and there are old bureaucrats, like Sevruk  (deputy of Shokin, who is acting as Prosecutor-General now) who anti-corruption activists accuse as the one who blocked the competition for employment in Prosecutor’s offices, so almost no new people came to work there.

PPW: – Local elections in secessionist territories of Ukraine  – according to German media – could be ideal pretext, if will be confirmed fulfill of the OSCE standards, for total or even partial lifting of sanctions imposed on Russia. What do you think ? In first, do you think that Kiev will allow local election in Donbas (June 2016) – it means fruitful negotiations with the separatists from DPR ?

A.V.: – I think everyone in Ukraine understand that it’s not possible to held such elections. I always make comparison with ISIS, can you imagine elections by OSCE standards there? The same is with DNR, LNR, terrorist organisations which are ruled by Russia (also in German press in Bild there was good material about Russian influence and rule over these “republics”). May be only Opposition block, which consist mostly of people affiliated to previous president Yanukovych) is interested in elections as they can increase their voter-base and there were rumors that their leader Yurii Boyko and oligarch Rinat Akhmetov can become leaders of these now ruled by terrorists groups. I think Russia can change leadership of the terrorists, it placed and removed people from there many times. But even if this happens – it’s not possible to make elections, most of people who live there now are scared and brainwashed. And what about people who had to run from there because they were in danger for their pro-Ukrainian position? After territory is clean from terrorists, there should be some period before the elections. It’s very strange when people say otherwise, it’s even possible to check other history of similar wars and anyway elections which are held under a gun – can’t be fair elections. While terrorists (separatists) are there – it’s impossible to make elections.

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko (C) former PM Arseny Yatseniuk (R) and newly PM and ex-Parliament Speaker (L) Volodymyr Groysman during a parliament session in Kiev, November 27, 2014. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich (UKRAINE - Tags: POLITICS)

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko (C) former PM Arseny Yatseniuk (R) and newly PM and ex-Parliament Speaker (L) Volodymyr Groysman during a parliament session in Kiev, November 27, 2014. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Ukraine had local elections recently under a new in all Ukrainian territories, including parts of Donbas which is not occupied. The bill on special status was voted on 16 September 2014, and was a part of Minsk agreements. The vote itself was un-constitutional, because the screen was black and it was not a personal vote like always, there is no information about who voted for it and who didn’t. This law was not and won’t be in action, it consisted many negative things such as amnesty for terrorists, also the date of elections there was set on 7 December 2014. The idea of special status for the areas which are now controlled by terrorists is very unpopular in Ukraine. So if any new similar bill would be prepared it can cause huge disagreement in Ukraine.

Regarding OSCE – many Russians work there and many pro-Russian people. Many times Ukrainian soldiers reported cases when OSCE visited them – after that they were under fire. For many people it might look strange facts that representatives of reputable organization is cooperating with terrorists, but lots of cases are reported, recently was popular case when OSCE celebrated wedding of one of terrorists. So the image of this organization is not the strongest among Ukrainians.

PPW: – What do you think about Russia intentions regarding Transnistria and Moldova Republic ?

A.V.: – I think Russia will do its best to keep Transnistria is the state which it is now. When Russia attacked Ukraine there were different options. I tend to think they considered to capture all Eastern Ukraine and Southern Ukraine, including Odessa oblast. In case they would succeed they could go further and annex Transnistria or make a fake referendum there like in Crimea. This scenario failed because Russia faced strong response from Ukrainian army, volunteer battalions and ordinary people. In case of this scenario  Transnistria could be used as one of the sides from where Russian military would attack. Right now it doesn’t look so important for Russia in military terms, but in case Transnistria will start to decide its vector for future – Russia may also intervene. Pro-Russian forces are strong in Moldova and they along with pro-Russian forces can be used as tool for destabilization for the western integration of Moldova.

PPW: – Could be Crimea the pivot of some state constructed by Russia around/in Ukraine and Moldova region through consolidating potentially of the separatist regions (like Transnistria, Novorossiya)?

A.V.: – In his propagandist film about annexation of Crimea Putin said he made a fortress from Crimea. May be Russians considered scenario of annexation of part of Southern and Eastern Ukraine, then they could have land connection to Crimea. But this scenario failed firstly thanks to Ukrainian volunteer battalions and army and secondly because they ideas of “Russian world” and “Novorossiya” was not popular in these regions.  Novorossiya is a failed project, and even many Russian expert  acknowledge it, some of Ukrainian regions have pro-Russian people, but their influence is not significant, and is decreasing all the time. Also  from the Russian point of view Crimea is Russia now, so they would not allow it now to become independent or become some part of other state.  From the political point of view Crimea is on the periphery of Russia, economically it’s a burden for Russian budget, but from the military point of view (mostly navy) it can be used against Ukraine or against other state.
Novorossiya is not a region, it was a plan, failed plan, now we have annexed Crimea and parts of Donbass (DNR, LNR) which are not more than territories controlled by terrorists.

PPW: – And last but not least, what about PM Yatsenyuk resignation ?

A.V.: – It was expected after prosecutor Shokin resigns. Parliament met for session and voted Thursday to seat a close ally of the president, Volodymyr Groisman (ex-head of Parliament) as new PM. So now the presidential vertical of power would be strengthened as Groisman is conidered as his man, his career was promoted by Poroshenko. Its investment was received with reticence. We’ll see if he can do the necessary reforms.

Andriy Voloshyn is Ukrainian political scientist, writer and geopolitical expert.  He is the author of ”Maidan and War in Ukraine. Geopolitical Thoughts” book.  Also Andriy Voloshyn is co-founder of NGO “International Initiative to Support Ukraine”, adviser to Member of Ukrainian parliament, founder of geopolitical Center GRUNT.

interview made by Gabriela Ionita