Interviewer: Oleg, let’s begin with Ukraine. You have friends who have stayed there, and you have certain exclusive sources who regularly provide you private information. On that basis, what do you think about the situation with the economy of Ukraine, and what are the strategic prospects for the country in the near future?
Evidently, it was for a good reason that Kerry flew to Moscow on May 12th, and Nuland came there on May 17th. The outlines of the agreements are clear. Russia, the European Union, and now also the USA are forcing Poroshenko to implement the Minsk Accords. In this way, a foundation for political settlement will be laid down. In accordance with the Minsk Accords, the DPR and LPR must re-integrate within Ukraine, and get a special status, similar either to “autonomies” or to subjects in a confederation. The Donbass will have a common economic space with Ukraine, but will preserve the right to make independent decisions on most issues. Kiev’s observance of its obligations to the Donbass will be guaranteed by the armies of the DPR and LPR with all their armament, renamed into “people’s police forces”.
Evidently, in the near future we shall observe the creation of a demilitarized region around Donbass, from which not just heavy artillery but also lightly armed soldiers will be withdrawn. I think that this process will begin as soon as it is tested with the successful example of Shirokino. Clashes and shelling will cease as soon as the soldiers can’t see each other in their rifle sights. The next step will be a general amnesty and lifting the economic blockade of Donbass by Kiev.
The immense numbers of armed paramilitaries consist of radicals, whose life is war and who do not wish to lay down arms. It is also true that the population of Donbass, the majority of them having endured so much at the hands of Kiev during ATO, is not willing to return to Ukraine. From my point of view, the process of reconciling the Donbass with Ukraine can hardly be successful while those who unleashed civil war are still in power. And while people like Poroshenko, Yatseniuk, Turchinov, and Kolomoyskiy are not yet brought to justice for their crimes.
Still unresolved is one of the chief contradictions at the very foundation of the Ukrainian state –a state formed by the Russian and Ukrainian people – that the Russian language is not an official language. Nor it is not possible to call USA a reliable partner. The CIA employees who are controlling the State Security and the Armed Forces of Ukraine are not about to return to the USA. No one is about to give actual control of the country back to the people of Ukraine. Hence, of course, we must do everything we can to stop the bloodshed, but at the same time we need to keep the powder dry.
Unfortunately, I think woes and problems will plague my long-suffering homeland for a long time. Not long ago, an acquaintance who is a leader of an NGO in Dnepropetrovsk came to me and told me that they brought him to the Security Service [building], and among many other questions, they asked him questions about me.
The questions were about the period when I was engaged in politics in Dnepropetrovsk. At a meeting there was a man who remained silent and only listened to the answers, but when his phone rang, he began to talk on the phone in pure English. I am convinced that no matter how the conflict in Donbass develops, the Americans will do everything they can to keep Ukraine under their control.