The situation in Donbass has not been easy, and Moscow's policy was obviously to upset and anger the Empire bent on her existential destruction and demise as little as possible, which, in practice, means and meant giving in to the Empire as much as was possible at a given moment.
Mark Sleboda's piece should deserve an honest response (i.e., honest, not PR rebuttal and not silence) from someone co-responsible in Moscow for the situation. The point is that the Russians and also Novorossiya's supporters do need some honesty and a demonstration of true leadership. Honesty is what restores trust and what also serves as a good reason to forgive. Lying to the nation in vital, fundamental matters on which life and death depends in a Machiavellian fashion does not work and is disgraceful.
At the same time, the events now unfolding in Donbass show very clearly that the previous course was not sustainable and that things are no moving unto a new ground.
At the same time, I would like to stress one important thing, which seems to get lost. The struggle of the working people of Donbass for Novorossiya is real and its effect is already going to be profound. For, in this struggle, a new stronger Russian character is being forged. In other words, despite all, I am and remain a believer and optimist. I believe in the Russian character and the strength of the Russians. Thus, instead of "dying" I see a very difficult process of birth or rebirth, in which Moscow has served so far as a much hapless midwife who, till now, believed that her business is not this midwifery, but something more akin to the old "profession" or let's say a continued "professional" or "business-oriented" courting and flirting with her "Western partners" who are playing a role of Herod to Russia's new birth.
Nevertheless, while Moscow (or at least Lavrov) is trying to look for "pacifist" fascists or Banderites among the leaders and US puppets of the Maidanite junta (something as plausible as "moderate terrorists" in Syria with whom the West vows to change the Middle East and make them into "tolerant democrats"), the people of Donbass and many Russians are leading a heroic struggle in which a new, true Russia, her rebirth, is being forged.
Highlights from Mark Sleboda's post: "Russia will obviously not allow the West-backed and installed Kiev regime to conquer the rump "NovoRossiya" by military means. This latest "offensive" of theirs will either peter out quickly or will end very badly for them if it expands in the Spring.
... The Kremlin, further, purposefully and when necessary, brutally, weeds their leadership and retards their supplies and growth to make sure they cannot become truly independent of either Russia or Ukraine.
The Kremlin has gone out of their way to prevent the NAF from seizing even the rest of Donetsk or Lugansk Republics, letting them keep only this tiny rump principality which is only a third of the territory of the respective two Republics. They wouldn't even let the NAF take Donetsk airport for over 7 months. This was obviously a signal to the West of their limited intentions and an attempt to prevent the conflict from spiraling into anything bigger. The West either appears to have not gotten that message or completely ignored and taken advantage of it. The people who truly suffered from this policy of the Kremlin's are the people of Donetsk and the rank and file NAF. They have hid and died under regular Putsch regime shelling directed through the airport into the residential districts of the city since the summer.
The NAF being "let off the leash" and, after far more of a struggle than it should have been, finally taking their own city's airport tells us two things. First the Kremlin is growing frustrated with both Kiev and the West as negotiations are going nowhere. This is a signal of their discontent, but a very limited one in scope. Second it is painfully obvious that the NAF without greater Russian support than the Russian government has ever given them, or intends to give them (whatever the hysteric and regular pronouncements from Kiev or the Western MSM and governments to the contrary), has NO offensive capability to speak of. ...
The NovoRossiya "project" was NOT dreamed up in the Kremlin. It was an organic idea with historical roots that grew out of the desires of the people of the Donbass to get out of the post-Maidan Ukrainian madhouse and encouraged by various Eurasianist and nostalgic-Imperial/Orthodox elements of Russian civil society. ....
The Kremlin is very set on forcing rump Donetsk and Lugansk back into Ukraine at some point in the future under federalized conditions that suit the Kremlin's interest and influence. That is no longer enough in the minds of many of the NAF ranks or the people of Donetsk and Lugansk, who, rightly, have no desire to being forced under the Putsch rule or back in the same country with those who have been indiscriminately massacring them in their homes and on their streets for most of the last year (equivalent to asking the Kosovar Albanians to go back to Serbia after being bombed into independence by NATO) - but they may not have a real choice in the matter."
In the early Spring, Putin and the Kremlin clearly made an inadequate decision, which they tried with a little help from the West to package and sell from then till very recently.
Putin still, however, has a chance to earn the epithet Putin, the Great.