The Crisis of Ukrainian Statehood
Pavel DMITRIEV | 08.11.2014 | WORLD

The Crisis of Ukrainian Statehood

On 2 November, presidential and parliamentary elections took place in two Novorossiya republics – Donetsk and Lugansk. The very fact that the elections took place despite opposition from Kiev is crucial to understand the situation in Ukraine and around it. 

Note: Novorossiya is a historical term denoting the territory that became part of the Russian Empire as a result of the Russo-Turkish wars in the second half of the 18th century. After the 1917 Revolution and the formation of the USSR, the territory, which was largely populated and developed by ethnic Russians, became part of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic, which, along with the Russian Soviet Republic and other republics, were part of a single Soviet state. Today, the term ‘Novorossiya’ most commonly refers to the confederate union of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk republics, which have refused to recognise the regime established in Kiev as a result of the uprising of February 2014. 

The elections in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) saw a high turnout: nearly 85 per cent in the DPR and around 68.7 per cent in the LPR. For comparison: during the parliamentary elections in Ukraine on 26 October, voter turnout, factoring in all distortions and falsifications, barely exceeded 50 per cent.

During the voting in the DPR and LPR, observers did not record any suspicious manipulation of the ballot papers. The vote count was carried out without delay and on time, and the heads of the electoral commissions did not disappear with the protocols, as happened in Ukraine. 

The elections in Novorossiya were also closely followed by international observers. 

A member of the observers group, French MEP Jean-Luc Schaffhauser who observed the elections in the DPR, said, «I saw no violations. In fact, the authorities legitimised themselves. Just as in Ukraine after the uprising. The European Parliament, unfortunately, is dominated by a single point of view. But I used to be a theologian, so I listen to all points of view».

Another observer, and representative of the Agency for Security and Cooperation in Europe (ASCE), Ewald Stadler, said: «I have been an electoral observer for a long time and I have never seen such queues at polling stations. People have been queuing for more than an hour... and I believe that the election results in the DPR will reflect the will of the people. I urge the European Union to recognise this expression of will». 

The elections in Ukraine on 26 October and the elections in the two Novorossiya republics on 2 November, as well as Russia respects the declaration of the will of people in southeastern Ukraine become another step towards the emergence of a new geopolitical reality in Eastern Europe. 

This process started with the uprising in Kiev on 22 February 2014, which was carried out by nationalists with the support of neo-fascist elements. The refusal of the Russian-speaking population in southeast Ukraine (the cultural and historical region of Novorossiya) and primarily in Donbass to recognise the uprising, the 11 May referendums, in which the majority of the population in Donetsk and Lugansk voted in favor of the state independence of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk republics, the Ukrainian presidential elections held on 25 May, from which Donbass was excluded, and the DPR and LPR insurgents’ fight for freedom from the unconstitutional Kiev regime have all reinforced the outline of this new reality. The elections carried out in two separate parts of Ukraine have politically and legally divided the populations of Novorossiya and the state of Ukraine completely. 

Following the victory in the armed struggle for de facto sovereignty, Novorossiya, by carrying out independent elections, has started to use this sovereignty in practice. The will of the people of Donetsk and Lugansk has been declared openly, and attempts to ignore it will be of no avail. 

International law expert and former UN Deputy Secretary-General Sergei Ordzhonikidze explains that from the point of view of international law, a government that effectively manages its territory is legitimate regardless of the status attributed to it from outside. «At present, the DPR and LPR are de facto independent republics, to which Ukrainian legislation does not apply. The results of the referendum held on May 11 in the republics, in which the people voted in favour of independence, are the basis of this independence. That is why the elections on November 2 are a logical continuation of the legal construction of these two self-proclaimed republics».

Establishing the sovereignty of the republics of Novorossiya is, at one and the same time, putting an end to the existence of the Ukrainian state within the borders it has had since the collapse of the USSR in December 1991, when the Ukrainian Soviet Republic became an independent state. 

Responsibility for Ukraine’s self-destruction which, to all intents and purposes, is already underway lies entirely with the Kiev regime and its Western patrons. The people who personify the current regime in Kiev initially violated the international agreements of 21 February on a package of measures to resolve the political crisis (one of the clauses of these agreements was to carry out presidential elections in Ukraine in December 2014), having organised the overthrow of the legitimate president. Then, after refusing to open up a dialogue with community activists and the civil society of Donbass, they virtually pushed the republics of Novorossiya out of Ukraine. All amid national hysteria about ‘the return of Donbass’ and ‘fighting terrorists’. 

The logic of such steps is understandable in the context of the regime’s attempts to strengthen the military organization of the Ukrainian state and militarize the country’s economy, which is experiencing a severe slump. 

The regime still hopes to find a way out of the crisis of Ukrainian statehood using force. This is also indicated by President Poroshenko’s decision to abolish the law ‘On the special order of local self-government in separate regions of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts’, so those regions controlled by insurgents, in other words. In practice, this withdrawal from the Minsk agreements should logically be followed by a resumption of Kiev’s military operations against the DPR and LPR. 

Markiyan Lubkivsky, advisor to the head of the State Security Service of Ukraine, says: «We can win this war by following the Croatia scenario». Lubkivsky is referring to ‘Operation Storm’, which was carried out by the Croatian army in August 1995. The operation destroyed the self-proclaimed Republic of Serbian Krajina, which had existed for four years with the support of Belgrade, in a matter of days. You will recall that the Croatians carried out large-scale ethnic cleansing against Ukrainian Serbs. ‘European Kiev’ sees getting rid of the local Russian-speaking population as a completely natural ‘final solution’ to the issue of Donbass. 

Poroshenko and his entourage still do not want to understand that they have no chance of a military victory over Novorossiya. Rather, if military operations are resumed, then the insurgents will have the opportunity to regain the territory they controlled until the end of June, and maybe also get neighbouring industrial regions to rise up in revolt against the regime.

Tags: Novorossiya  Ukraine 

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