Staunton, September 26 – The pro-Moscow militants in Ukraine’s Donbas backed by Russian forces represent a threat not only to the territorial integrity of Ukraine but to the future of Russia because the leaders of “Novorossiya” combine nationalism and socialism in a way that recalls some of the greatest evils of the 20th century.
In a commentary in Vzglyad yesterday, Petr Akopov speaks about “the enormous influence” which “Novorossiya” could have “on all of Russia” and points out that while Igor Strelkov is “an imperialist and a monarchist, many local commanders have socialist” and distinctly “’Soviet’” views.
The Moscow commentator does not take the next step and speak of national socialism – most Russians still refer to Hitler’s movement as the Nazis and avoid mentioning that it rested on that combination – but the threat of the revival of such an ideological system in Putin’s Russia is all too real.
Such a danger may be especially great precisely because of the way in which Akopov describes what is happening ideologically in “Novorossiya.” He speaks of “a synthesis of the Red and White idea,” which he says “the Kremlin is seeking to find for Russia,” a synthesis that will allow the emergence of a just social system in the Russian world.
Akopov’s observation about this combination of nationalism and socialism comes in the course of his survey of what in fact “Novorossiya” is or can be for Russia. According to the commentator, there are three distinctive answers, given that returning the region to Kyiv’s control is not going to happen.
The first approach, he says, is that “Novorossiya must reunite with Russia.” Not yet but rather after “the further disintegration of Ukraine and the increase in the size of Novorossiya as a minimum to the full borders of Donetsk and Luhansk regions and still better with Kharkiv, Zaporozhe and Herson” as well.
Such an annexation and its timing – it could occur “a year from now or three” – is not critical. Russia will simply take what it wants and leave the remainder of Ukraine “under a Western protectorate,” where Akopov says, he hopes that its collapse will continue and thus allow Russia to absorb the rest bit by bit.
The second possibility the commentator lists is that “Novorossiya is only a transitional form of the struggle for all of Ukraine.” Obviously, he says, “Russia cannot allow the departure of Ukraine to the West and therefore Novorossiya is needed only as an instrument in the struggle with the United States and the European Union for power in Ukraine.”
In this case, Moscow will use “Novorossiya” as leverage on Kyiv and as a means for the return of all of Ukraine to “a union with Russia.” Neither this option nor the first will be affected all that much by the ideological mix that is emerging in the Donbas now, the Moscow commentator suggests.
But the third possible course of development is different in that regard as well as others. Under its terms. “Russia must use all methods, military, political and economic to work for the speedy end of the Ukrainian state and the expansion of Novorossiya,” Akopov says. Then Russia will conclude a treaty with the new state of “Novorossiya” and be affected by its ideology.
Putin, the commentator says, “obviously is going along the second path, fighting for all of Ukraine but if, God forbid,” Akopov continues, “things will work out so that it will become clear that this struggle will require from Russia not two or three years but a much larger period of time, then he could move to the third variant.”
If that happens, Akopov says, then “the issue of the Novorossiya ideology will become key, even decisive, in defining the future of Russia.”