Borotba’s Victor Shapinov on Kiev’s ‘one-sided negotiations’ with Donbass

By Dmitry Rodionov
Political analyst Victor Shapinov points out that Kiev has repeatedly demonstrated that it wants to negotiate only on its own terms.
Victor Shapinov: Kiev leads “one-sided” negotiations, relying solely on Western governments to put pressure on the Kremlin, and it, in turn, to put pressure on the People’s Republics to accept surrender. This is not the case, so the negotiations are at an impasse.
If we look at the proposals that were presented to Kiev by the Lugansk People’s Republic (LC) and Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), we see that they contain the maximum possible concessions. To begin with, in exchange for peace, the LC and DNR agreed to actual self-liquidation and “entry into Ukraine.” And this, by the way, directly contradicts the will of the population of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions expressed in the referendum on May 11, 2014.
The republics can’t offer any bigger concessions. But this maximum level of compromise is not enough to satisfy Kiev. In these circumstances, negotiations are meaningless — only one side wants to negotiate. However, the resumption of fighting is a much more eloquent indicator of the deadlocked Minsk process than any statements by officials.
Free Press: Is the Minsk format exhausted, or does it still have potential?
VS: To be honest, I did not believe in Minsk format from the beginning. I, having lived in the unrecognized republics and knowing the situation in the territories controlled by the Kiev authorities, just wonder: How can it work?
For example, elections to the Ukrainian parliament. It turns out they have to participate in a Ukrainian party. And which party can now represent the population of the DNR and the LC? Well, partly the Communist Party of Ukraine. And then only in part, because the Communists in Donetsk and Lugansk themselves talk about the Kiev leadership and party leader Simonenko in approximately the same terms as Yatsenyuk and Poroshenko.
The Electoral Commission must also be formed largely of representatives of the parties represented in the Verkhovna Rada. Can you imagine what representatives of [Oleh] Lyashko’s [Radical] party will count in the Donbass? 146 percent for “one country”?
Or another example: Ukrainian legislation prohibits propaganda of communist ideology. And half of the republics’ militia fights under the red flag. In Donetsk, there are portraits of Comrade Stalin on the streets. How to reconcile this?
Even the compromise proposal by the LC and DNR that prosecutors and judges should be appointed from Kiev. And this is a prerequisite for repression of “separatism” or “propaganda of communism” — the prosecutor “sews” the case, the judge passes sentence.
It seems to me that the “architects” of the Minsk format simply did not think about such “trifles.”
FP: What next? Zakharchenko hints that if Ukraine moves away from a direct dialogue with the Donbass and is “late” with the response, the militia will have to take Mariupol and Slavyansk.
VS: So far, everything goes in this rhythm: “a provocation by the Ukrainian side — a successful militia offensive — a new round of negotiations.” It looks like we are going to the next round.


Translated by Greg Butterfield

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