Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Kremlin Insider Brings Putin's Stance on Ukraine and Novorossiya to Us, Outsiders [Or Does He?]

Oleg Matveychev, a professor at the Moscow Higher School of Economics and one of the advisers linked to the Kremlin, gave an interview to Neiromir TV. In the last ten minutes of the interview, after making a case for Russia's optimism, he offered an insider's look at Putin's strategy toward Ukraine.

1. Yes, for the last twenty years, Russia did not have a Ukrainian strategy. Russia relied on and trusted in the inter-elite rapport and inter-oligarchic relations.
2. As a result, Banderization of Ukraine proceeded unhampered.
3. However, this Banderization was spreading even to Sevastopol and the Kremlin itself.
4. Putid did want to limit his actions to Crimea.
5. Putin was [naively?] hoping that his Crimean speech would make an impression on his Western partners and that, together with the referendum, they would more or less come to terms with the incorporation of Crimea into Russia.
6. My comment: nothing of what Matveychev says would thus indicate some serious understanding of the nature of US geopolitical strategy or the nature of (resurrected) Nazism.
7. Putin's next (still standing) expectation was that Time (Saturn) is on his side and that the Kiev junta would hardly survive for more than a year and that it would fall perhaps thanks to another Maidan. In a Maidan do we trust?
8. This cunning plan was thwarted by the West's apparently unexpected response and by the unsanctioned of the people at the "base [low] level" represented by the working people of Donbass, pro-Russian patriots, anti-fascists, and Strelkov.
9. As a result of this double opposition to Putin's chess plan, Putin aka Bear got his paw caught in a trap (Matveychev's own figure of speech).
10. In addition, some Russian oligarchs (i.e. Yevtushenkov) and US investment funds (Franklin Templeton and Vanguard?) tried to use the crisis as a raid on other oligarchs' holdings (i.e. Akhmetov's).
11. Some punitive actions against these Russian oligarchs have already been undertaken by the Kremlin.
12. Next, Putin also tasked Surkov to turn the war in Donbass into a more low-level chronic conflict and, if possible, to freeze it. [that's exactly what Yatsenyuk accused Putin of trying to do]
13. Strelkov is not going to be punished because too many people see him as a hero.
14. Still it is expected that the Kiev regime would somehow implode even if the war stops, as Putin would like to see.
15. Moscow also foresees first a renewal of the demand for federalization by Galicia or Western Europe and then its possible cessation from the rest of Ukraine in order to become the West's or EU trust fund Banderite kid.

A good deal of what Matveychev says seems to fit a good deal of the available information. Still one may wonder why Matveychev is telling all this and why now. I can think of two or three basic possibilities:

1) Putin himself tried to avoid as much as he could offering too much clarity on his position, strategy, and goals (in Brisbane, it is said that Merkel was keeping Putin for four hours just to find that). Matveychev can tell all this because Putin decided that, in the face of the mounting pressure, some explanation is needed after all.
2) The explanation can, moreover, be given because the old strategy is already old, if not dead now. So it can be told.
3) Or Moscow is trying its last ditch effort for striking a deal with the Kiev junta and the West over pacification of Donbass and phasing out of the conflict.



  1. It does not appear that this conflict is going to be phased out. If anything, it seems it is going to be intensified according to the recent remarks of assistant National Security advisor Blinken and those of Gen. Breedlove. It seems not only NATO but other Eastern European countries are continuing or going to come to the aid of Poroshenko. The moment of decision is approaching for Putin whether he likes it or not.

  2. Also, the firing er resignation of Hagel is an ominous portent of things to come.