Judging from this statement made by Nuland (http://www.novorosinform.org/news/id/45585) after meeting with Surkov in Kaliningrad, the previous scenario of gradual, stealthy "Ukraininization" (and then Nazification) of the DPR and the LPR via tailored elections (the Nicaragua 1990 model) has been abandoned as unrealistic. Now, the slogan and demand is "real elections," which means "elections" only with the Ukrainian parties, the Ukrainian media, and above all under control of Kiev. In practice this means that demilitarization, disarming, or, most likely, military neutralization of the DPR and the LPR now has a priority.
This direction was already at work via the creation of the so-called buffer zones, neutral zones or gray zones in the guise of which the NAF effectively withdrew from its positions in numerous places, the Kiev forces occupied most of these "neutral" territories, including officially 8 villages and significantly improved its tactical and strategic positions. As a result of this organized, prescribed withdrawal, the DPR and the LPR lost in the last year a notable portion of the territories, especially around Shirokino. If you look on the map, you can see that, effectively, the NAF created unilaterally a safe zone around Mariuopol in exchange for nothing in return. No such a safe zone was created or carved around Donetsk or Gorlovka. And, yesterday, the head of the OSCE mission to Ukraine made it official: all these buffer zones are and were always meant to be Kiev's zones and territories, just like the DPR and the LPR. Therefore, by seizing these supposedly "neutral zones," Kiev did not violate any Minsk agreements. For this is how the "buffer and withdrawal zones" were always intended to work.
Despite Moscow, the DPR and the LPR tried to lie about the fact that the cancelling of the last Fall elections in the DPR and the LPR was their own initiative, everyone following the crisis knew that the opposite was true. It was Kiev's demand, backed up by the West. But, as usual, the Kremlin tried to present a defeat once again as a victory and yet another proof and instance of its impeccable strategy and winning.
The LPR is to hold these elections now in February, but there is no talk about them. Both the West and Kiev made it more than clear that, under the existing conditions--without clear and indisputable control by Kiev--any elections there are out of questions--they are not allowed. If before "elections" were considered as a possible way of changing the regime in the DPR and the LPR, the calculus is now to change the regime there through talks and arrangements with the Kremlin directly. That's where the Surkov-Nuland talks and other recent activities come in.
In this respect, a new scenario is becoming more likely--the Krajina model in which a quick military defeat of the entity is premised on guarantees that its protector (in Krajina's case Yugoslavia/Serbia and here Russia) will not come to defense of their attacked kinsmen and, in fact, will do the opposite--will undermine as much as possible the combat readiness, the spirit, and strength of the place and the people which the West wants to see defeated and subdued, including sharing of intelligence.