5 februari 2015
Vedomosti runs an article on President Vladimir Putin's opinion that Russia's approach to the Chechen crisis can be used as an example for of solving the Ukrainian conflict. Financial Times has disclosed that President Putin expressed this opinion during his talk with Angela Merkel in Brisbane. Putin had claimed that Kiev can "buy" loyalty of the region in exchange for "money and autonomy".
The author considers that this solution may have been proposed by President Putin to Petro Poroshenko as well, who decided to reject it. He further argues that the current scenario in Donbass is different to that in Chechnya, and Ukraine cannot turn Donbas into a "black hole" where money will be invested uncontrollably (especially since Ukraine does not have enough resources for this).
Finally, this kind of solution can be seen as a way of the Ukrainian side "giving in" to the pro-Russian insurgents in Ukraine, and this will further only spur the will of the separatists to protect their territories.
13 februari 2015
Vedomosti runs an editorial on the outcome of the Minsk Summit in the Normandy format. The author argues that the Minsk talks were more successful than the previous ones, emphasizing that several Russian interests were met.
The list of terms in the new agreement is more detailed and gives hope that leaders can be held accountable for the implementation of the terms. Many key issues were addressed such as the agreement for a ceasefire starting on 15 February, withdrawal of heavy artillery from the front line, Ukraine's pledge to carry out constitutional reform providing more powers to the regions, socioeconomic help from the Ukrainian side, among many others.
The author argues that it seems as though Putin's favorable Chechen scenario has come to life — Donbass will be granted a special status (including more autonomy) within a united Ukraine.
Despite the fact that the deal may have some drawbacks, it has a special "status" because it was agreed by the heads of state (even though it was signed by the Contact Group on Ukraine), which gives it some kind of guarantee.
Assessing the results for both Poroshenko and Putin, the author argues that the terms of the agreement are more advantageous for Putin than Poroshenko — The reunification of Crimea has been "forgotten" and Donbass will receive a special status. For Poroshenko, the situation may be tenser as he would be forced to grant Donbass this special status.
18 februari 2015
Vedomosti publishes an editorial on the possible impact of the war in Donbass on the Russian Armed Forces. The author notes that officially, Russian regular troops are not taking part in the conflict in southeastern Ukraine [servicemen who have been killed or captured are declared 'volunteers'].
According to the author, this kind of 'secret' war will have an impact on the state of the Russian army and will strongly influence the ideas of security, morality and discipline. The army will eventually experience problems with conscription campaigns as it was during the Chechen wars. Furthermore, when soldiers are left in a "grey zone" and have no guarantees and support, this will give them no reasons to fight.