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How is Donbass today?

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Post 11 Nov 2021, 06:26
I've noticed that there it has fallen off the radar, to the extent that there has been very little written about it since ~2015. What has happened since then other than a stalemate? What does the future hold for it? Could it have been more?
Post 11 Nov 2021, 07:58
Basically nothing, Ukraine is a dyarchy ruled by the President and his political+business clout and the Minister of Interior and his security+business clout, so they won't do anything because the security forces have adjusted to this situation and gain from it. Plus if the political regime collapses, the security regime will preserve continuity for whoever is the next president. The LNR and DNR are basically military dictatorships, but have popular support because they exist to defend the identity of the people who live there. The rest of Eastern Ukraine/Novorossia lack any sort of "passionarity" and think that the "soft state" of Ukraine as a country that is unable to consistently enforce its laws isn't a threat to them, so they're complacent to almost any regime there or leave the country entirely.

Most of the news coming out of the region have to do either with internal Ukrainian political squabbles or the European energy crisis. So I really don't know what has to happen for a resolution. In Armenia the existing political regime collapsed and the new one started screwing with the security regime, opening the door for Azerbaijan to come in and seize Nagorno-Karabakh, I doubt something similar will happen in Ukraine, Russia or DNR/LNR in the near future.
Post 11 Nov 2021, 20:09
From my admitted outsider perspective , here is the latest that I have been able to find out . https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nR7XAcArAa0
Quote:
October 27, 2021

MOSCOW, Oct 27 (Reuters) - The Kremlin said on Wednesday that its fears about Turkey's decision to sell strike drones to Ukraine were being realised and that the Turkish drones risked destabilising the situation in eastern Ukraine.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was commenting on the deployment by Ukrainian government forces of a Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drone to strike a position in eastern Ukraine controlled by Russian-backed separatists.

"We have really good ties with Turkey, but in this situation our fears are unfortunately being realised that the deliveries of these types of weapons to the Ukrainian military can potentially destabilise the situation on the line of contact," Peskov told reporters.

Russia-backed separatists have been fighting government troops in Ukraine's Donbass region since 2014, soon after Russia seized the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine. Kyiv says at least 14,000 people have been killed.

Ukraine has bought sophisticated Turkish drones to boost its military and has struck a deal with Ankara to produce the same drones at a factory close to Kyiv, the capital.

The drone issue is one of several straining ties between Turkey and Russia even though the two countries enjoy close ties in other areas.

"We see that as soon as such weapons fall into the hands of the (Ukrainian) military, they can potentially be used in this (eastern) region of Ukraine, and this leads to destabilisation," Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, said.

"This does not contribute to the settlement of this internal Ukrainian problem."

The General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces said it had deployed the drone to force pro-Russian separatists to cease fire on Tuesday.

It said the drone had destroyed an artillery unit belonging to pro-Russian separatists using a guided bomb. It said the drone had not crossed the line of contact between the two warring sides.

Ukraine gets military backing from the United States and other NATO countries.

Turkey, a NATO member, has criticised Moscow's annexation of Crimea and voiced support for Ukraine's territorial integrity.

Turkey, which faces Ukraine and Russia across the Black Sea, has nonetheless forged close ties with Moscow in the fields of defence and energy.
https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/kremlin-says-turkish-drones-risk-destabilising-situation-east-ukraine-2021-10-27/
Quote:
Russia's foreign minister accused Ukrainian leaders on Monday of trying to drag Moscow into the conflict in eastern Ukraine, following an escalation in fighting between government forces and rebels in the breakaway region.

"We observe attempts to carry out provocations, elicit some reaction from the militia and drag Russia into some kind of combat action," Sergei Lavrov told Russia's state television. Russia accused Ukraine of destabilising the situation after government forces used a Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drone to strike a position controlled by Russian-backed separatists last week.

Rebels supported by Moscow have been fighting government troops in Ukraine's Donbass region since 2014, soon after Russia seized and annexed the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine. Kyiv says at least 14,000 people have been killed.
https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2021-11-01/russia-says-ukraine-trying-to-drag-it-into-donbass-conflict
Post 21 Nov 2021, 21:49
I work online with people who live in the Donbass. They tell me that it’s been mostly quiet there for a while. They travel to Russia freely and from there freely on to Ukraine to visit their relatives.
Post 08 Dec 2021, 08:12
Donbass has been on the news a lot lately. Does anyone here have an opinion as to whether Russia will invade the Ukraine anytime soon? Is it all about militating NATO expansion? What role does nord stream play in this?
Post 08 Dec 2021, 08:53
I've been of the opinion that maybe it's the opposite and that Ukraine is planning a military takeover, and the stuff in the news is just psychological pressure to get Russia to chicken out of repeating the Georgia/South Ossetia conflict intervention of 2008. But maybe it's something else entirely and more related to internal political alignments in Ukraine. I try not to read the news much, I read stuff about this and it just upsets me and riles me up while most people I talk to don't seem to think about it at all.
Post 08 Dec 2021, 11:19
Kirov wrote:
I've been of the opinion that maybe it's the opposite and that Ukraine is planning a military takeover...

It’s very possible that with the military reforms and aid from the west, Ukraine thinks it’s strong enough to resolve the conflict militarily now, and that Russia’s build up on the border is meant to discourage such an operation. This won’t end I think until Ukraine gives up on its aspirations to join NATO. The timing is relevant though and I think nord stream just exacerbates this conflict.
Post 14 Dec 2021, 23:00
Quote:
Donbass has been on the news a lot lately. Does anyone here have an opinion as to whether Russia will invade the Ukraine anytime soon? Is it all about militating NATO expansion?

I don't think that NATO is driving this as much, I think the Ukrainians want more free weapons.
Post 15 Dec 2021, 20:36
From where I am standing , in the United States , here is what I have gathered . First of all here is what President Biden said to Pres. Putin .
Quote:
President Joe Biden on Wednesday ruled out sending US troops to Ukraine to defend the country from a Russian invasion a day after laying out the consequences for such an incursion during a stern phone call with President Vladimir Putin.

It was Biden's first time describing Tuesday's two-hour conversation, which officials said grew tense at moments as the two men sparred over the massive build-up of 70,000 Russian troops surrounding Ukraine on three sides.
Biden ended the conversation without any further clarity on whether Putin had made up his mind to launch an invasion, officials said afterward.
But a day later, both he and Putin said new diplomatic channels could soon be opened in an attempt to provide an off-ramp to conflict.
Speaking to reporters as he departed the White House for Kansas City, Biden said he warned Putin he would impose sanctions "like none he's ever seen" should the Russian troops massed on Ukraine's border escalate into an assault.
But he said the US would not dispatch its own forces to protect Ukraine, a stance that US officials have previously ruled out as well.
"That is not on the table," he said. "We have a moral obligation and a legal obligation to our NATO allies if they were to attack under Article 5, that's a sacred obligation. That obligation does not extend to ... Ukraine."
Instead, Biden said he told Putin in direct terms that the economic consequences of an incursion would be devastating.
"I was very straightforward. There were no minced words. I was polite but I made it very clear: If, in fact, he invades Ukraine, there will be severe consequences. Severe consequences. Economic consequences like none he's ever seen or ever have been seen, in terms of being imposed," Biden said.
He said he believed his Russian counterpart received the message.
"He knows. His immediate response was he understood that," Biden said.
American officials have previewed a lengthy set of possible sanctions on Russia, including on members of Putin's inner circle and the country's energy sector, as options for Biden as he moves ahead. The President has been coordinating with allies in Europe -- whose countries are tied more closely to Russia economically -- on a joint sanctions effort.
The consequences of an invasion would go beyond sanctions, however. Biden said he told Putin he would likely have to increase US troop presence in Europe to reassure NATO allies of the United States' continued support if Russia went ahead with an invasion.
Putin has long complained about the presence of NATO troops along Russia's border, alleging they are a threat to his country's security.
Ukraine has been seeking membership in NATO for several years, but is not in the final stages of entering the defense bloc. Biden has said previously the country must first do more to scrub out corruption before joining.
In Tuesday's video call, Putin asked for legally binding language that would prevent Ukraine's ascension to NATO, a red line Biden would not agree to.
But he did agree to hear out Putin's concerns about NATO in a diplomatic format and said Wednesday those talks were likely to begin soon.
"We hope by Friday we'll be able to say, to announce to you that we're having meetings at a higher level, not just with us but with at least four major NATO allies and Russia, to discuss the future of Russia's concerns relative to NATO writ large and whether or not we can work out any accommodations when it comes to bringing down the temperature along the eastern front," he said.
Speaking during his own televised news conference on Wednesday, Putin said he and Biden agreed to continue the security discussions and said Russia would submit parameters for the talks to the United States within a week.
"We agreed that an appropriate structure will be created that will be able to professionally deal with this," Putin said during an appearance in Sochi, the Black Sea resort town from which he participated in Tuesday's video call with Biden.
"The conversation was very open, substantive and constructive. I hope that this is how the American side assesses the results as well. We have the opportunity to continue the dialogue, and I think this is the most important thing," he said.
This story has been updated with additional reporting. https://www.cnn.com/2021/12/08/politics/biden-putin-us-troops/index.html
Concerns over NATO expansion encroaching upon Russian borders does however seem to playing a role in the troop buildup along the borderline of Ukraine . https://thegrayzone.com/2021/12/06/war-in-ukraine-nato-expansion-drives-conflict-with-russia/ Finally, here is the latest of what all I have found regarding possible Nord Stream 2 sanctions , in regards to the situation in Ukraine . https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qwPWUa5WbMo , https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VJw8mVuYsVw , https://foreignpolicy.com/2021/11/24/biden-aims-to-quash-nord-stream-2-sanctions-in-defense-bill/
Post 16 Dec 2021, 07:09
The Grayzone just dropped this interview:
Quote:
War in Ukraine? NATO expansion drives conflict with Russia

Russia is seeking a legally binding pledge that NATO will stop expanding east, including to Ukraine. If the US refuses, is war next? Richard Sakwa joins Pushback.

Russia is seeking a legally binding pledge that NATO will stop expanding east, including to Ukraine. If the US refuses, is war next? Scholar and author Richard Sakwa analyzes the growing Russia-Ukraine conflict and how Russiagate fueled it.

Guest: Richard Sakwa. Professor of Russian and European politics at the University of Kent. His books include “Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands” and his latest, “Deception: Russiagate and the New Cold War.”


Link
Post 16 Dec 2021, 16:22
Shame that there's no transcript, not really something I want to spend 50+ minutes focused on and thinking about, but if what he is saying is the case, then this is again unrelated to the internal situation in Donbass, other than being situated around there. In that case, I would say the chance of anything happening is pretty low, but with that level of political tension it's hard to predict anything and say how the brinkmanship will end.
Post 17 Dec 2021, 21:46
Yeqon wrote:
It’s very possible that with the military reforms and aid from the west, Ukraine thinks it’s strong enough to resolve the conflict militarily now, and that Russia’s build up on the border is meant to discourage such an operation. This won’t end I think until Ukraine gives up on its aspirations to join NATO. The timing is relevant though and I think nord stream just exacerbates this conflict.


I think this is exactly right. Today Russia laid out a pair of security proposals explicitly demanding that the US and NATO stop their eastward expansion and not try to integrate Ukraine: https://www.rt.com/russia/543492-moscow ... uarantees/

From one of the documents:

"The United States of America shall undertake to prevent further eastward expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and deny accession to the Alliance to the States of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics."

"The Parties that are member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Shall not conduct any military activity on the territory of Ukraine as well as other States in Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus and in Central Asia."

Finally, after sitting on its hands for 25 years and twiddling its thumbs, Moscow finally sets a red line (although admittedly it was in no position to do so throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, when most of the expansion took place). We'll see what happens if the West tries to cross it, but I fear in such a case Russia would just do everything to make sure that the civil war in Ukraine's east never ends, thus preventing several criteria for NATO membership (including no internal conflicts) being met.

The only alternative is the broad autonomy for the Donbass that was stipulated in the Minsk agreements, but which Kiev authorities failed to deliver on amid fears it would put an end to their careers. Remember when Zelensky first came to power and hinted plans to start implementing the political section of Minsk? That sparked mass protests in Kiev from nationalists who claimed it amounted to "capitulation" to Russia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_to_capitulation! Of course, autonomy too would likely mean that Ukraine could not join NATO. Russian advisors to Donbass negotiators would make sure of that.

...

By the way Yeqon, how popular would you say Lukashenko is in Ukraine? I saw some polling and read some stuff last year which seemed to suggest that he was the only leader among the three sisters of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus who could actually achieve majority support in all three countries. But I assume that changed after the post-election crackdowns, and particularly amid the recent escalation of tensions.
Post 22 Dec 2021, 12:36
Quote:
But I assume that changed after the post-election crackdowns, and particularly amid the recent escalation of tensions.

The crackdowns and the migrant crisis on the borders have somewhat tarnished his image in the Ukraine, although not to the extent that one may imagine.

Ukrainians tend to talk about the problems in Belarus in the passive voice, as in they say that bad things are happening over there, instead of Lukashenko is doing bad things. I think his popularity in the Ukraine can be attributed to things like the fact that he is of Ukrainian origins, as his surname would suggest, and other things like the fact that he was one of the first leaders to recognize the Ukrainian government after the Euro-maidan days. Even though he explicitly condemned the Russophobia coming out of the Euro-maidan, he did express sympathy for ordinary Ukrainians battling rampant corruption and the oligarchy. He also said that he de jure recognizes the Crimea as a part of Ukraine. In terms of foreign policy amongst us Eastern Slavs, I really do think that his approach is the most sane and level headed.
Post 06 Jan 2022, 22:59
Quite an interesting start to the new year for Russia. The Donbass is a mere 500 km from the border with Kazakhstan. Crazy stuff that’s going on over there; chopping coppers’ heads off and shit. I wonder how all of this will play out.
Post 07 Jan 2022, 14:25
The situation in Kazakhstan seems like the definition of being stuck between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand you have the totally corrupted and greedy elites (much of whom literally just flew away to Europe cash in hand the first couple days of the crisis), sucking the life out of Kazakhstan with their foreign (American, British, Russian, etc.) partners for 30 years. On the other hand you have the protesters being coopted by Islamist radicals and ultranationalist fanatics who hate Russia and the Soviet past and who, if they came to power, would turn the country into an even bigger hellhole just so the West can stick it to Putin.

It's a horrible, horrible situation and seems to have completely divided the Russian left. Particularly the part of ODKB troops being sent to the country.

Yeqon wrote:
Ukrainians tend to talk about the problems in Belarus in the passive voice, as in they say that bad things are happening over there, instead of Lukashenko is doing bad things. I think his popularity in the Ukraine can be attributed to things like the fact that he is of Ukrainian origins, as his surname would suggest, and other things like the fact that he was one of the first leaders to recognize the Ukrainian government after the Euro-maidan days. Even though he explicitly condemned the Russophobia coming out of the Euro-maidan, he did express sympathy for ordinary Ukrainians battling rampant corruption and the oligarchy. He also said that he de jure recognizes the Crimea as a part of Ukraine. In terms of foreign policy amongst us Eastern Slavs, I really do think that his approach is the most sane and level headed.


Thanks, good to know. I remember he got so much flak in Russia for not basically cutting off diplomatic relations with Ukraine after Maidan (even though Russia never did either, of course). But then in 2015 they signed the Minsk agreements in Belarus, precisely because Lukashenko was seen as a fair arbiter. That was such a hugely significant event to me, because it at least froze that terrible war.
Post 08 Jan 2022, 10:34
Is there anything that is known about these "protesters"? They didn't seem to have any demands or political program, very strange.
From what I can make out, it was basically the head of the secret police cooperating with organized crime, exiled oligarchs abroad and possibly Turkey to coup the government. Of course, that may just be an official narrative to make sense of what is going on, but it can't come from nowhere, can it?

But many things don't match up - why the doubling of LPG prices and not a steady move to desubsidizing it? Why was almost all the violence in Almaty? Having minor violence nationwide helped distract the police/military and create an atmosphere of doom, but it ultimately made the whole coup attempt too distracted. Also why Almaty in particular? It is the biggest city, but not the seat of power and capturing it exposes how divided into 3 sub-countries Kazakhstan is. Nazarbayev seems to have been aware of this security/political weakness and moved the capital way up north to the steppe and moved the seat of Almaty Oblast out to some town nearby.

Probably the strangest thing was that they were intent on attacking a) the airport (I guess easy to hole up in it, get hostages and escape, but for what purpose?) b) Mir TV channel, it's a channel that isn't very popular but is used to broadcast various CIS/Eurasian Union countries' news and perspectives. My only theory is that they were trying to capture it to use the offices/studios to declare themselves pan-Turkic warriors of Great Turan, which it would be a symbolic place to do (the actual offices and broadcast is run from Moscow.)
Post 09 Jan 2022, 15:18
Well, a few things have cleared up in my understanding:

First, large-scale protests began in western KZ, the poor yet oil-rich region over CPG prices doubling. Also protests throughout the rest of teh country but smaller.

Tokayev uses this to get rid of the Nazarbayev-heavy cabinet and replaces it with people more loyal to him.

Very violent though relatively small protests begin in the south (Shymkent, Alma-ata, Taldykorgan). "Protesters" from organized crime loot gun stores and mount attacks on administrative, police and military buildings, as well as the airport. Others, primarily urban poor loot electronics, jewelry, etc stores, overwhelming police.

Tokayev calls in aid from CSTO.

CSTO comes in to protect military installations, social and transport infrastructure. Security forces loyal to Tokayev arrest various high-profile figures such as the head of the secret police and the head of the Kazakh mafia, Wild Arman.

Nazarbayev's press secretary claims that Nazarbayev now pledges full support for Tokayev, although he seems to have taken the Gorbachev strategy of hiding out until things calm down.

I guess next is the CSTO summit tomorrow.

The Turks seem to actually be mostly absent from this, although most of the anti-Tokayev people have heavily pro-Turanism/pan-Turkism including Wild Arman (though his personal interest would have mostly been drug manufacture and traffic routes, he is connected with Gray Wolves). So we will see how this plays out beyond their lapdogs in Azerbaijan launching anti-Russian propaganda that I doubt will be very effective.
Post 10 Jan 2022, 19:34
The crucial question remains , who all is behind the unrest in Kazakhstan ? Its government is trying to pin it on the CIA , without yet having produced any substantive proof . https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/01/08/kazakhstan-foreign-protests/ From what I have read in the links below , it's a unorganized spontaneous revolt . https://lefteast.org/a-color-revolution-or-a-working-class-uprising-an-interview-with-aynur-kurmanov-on-the-protests-in-kazakhstan , https://en.communia.blog/protests-in-kazakhstan/amp/
Post 11 Jan 2022, 18:55
You can read the official position of the KZ government yourself, that's not really the case at all.

Quote:
Now I would like to tell you about the current developments in our country and the events of the past few days. Having a full picture of these events, I can say with responsibility that all the events that have taken place since the beginning of this year are links in the same chain. They are part of a single destructive scenario that has been in preparation for a long time. Investigation will reveal whether these preparations were made over one, two or three years.

Destructive forces made numerous attempts to undermine stability and start a rampage. The state was tested for stability and resistance. All these efforts were cut short resolutely, but the organisers did not abandon their plans and started preparing for armed action. They used public discontent over vehicle fuel prices as a pretext in several regions. Rallies were held, during which protesters advanced socio-economic and socio-political demands.

The state took these demands into account and acted on them. The government withdrew, prices of LPG fuel have been reduced and frozen. We announced the adoption of a package of practical socio-economic measures and a clear-cut plan of socio-political reforms.

But it no longer mattered for the organisers of this aggression against Kazakhstan. Spontaneous rallies were used as a pretext for provoking civil unrest. Religious radicals, criminals, outright thugs, looters and petty hooligans filled the streets as if on cue. Socio-economic and socio-political demands were put on the back burner, they were forgotten. Next followed the hot phase, and armed fighters, who were biding their time, took over.


http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/67568

Also today Tokayev announced that CSTO peacekeepers will be leaving in 4 days, and announced a new economic policy that is, in essence, taking the assets of the Nazarbayev family and reapportioning them to others.

He also appointed Askar Umarov, a man known for russophobic and pan-turkist statements as minister of information and social development. He was previously vice-minister so this may just be a reshuffle, but that's sure to ruffle feathers.
Post 12 Jan 2022, 17:00
Hmm, I've been following the whole thing through oriental studies telegram channels, and although they basically control the discourse here, and the points made in them are discussed broadly 2-3 days later, it's pretty addicting yet unrewarding. Should return to ignorance now that this whole thing seems to have blown over, there's basically nothing in it for me.
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