A question of attitude

A couple of Ukraine-related items caught my attention this week.

The first is a report by Baylor University professor Serhiy Kudelia which discusses how to bring peace to Donbass. Kudelia starts by saying that Western states have regarded the resolution of the war in Donbass as being dependent on changing Russian behaviour. This is insufficient, he says, for ‘the successful reintegration of Donbas into Ukraine … rests on designing a new institutional framework that can provide long-term guarantees to civilians and separatist insurgents.’ Kudelia says that academic literature on conflict resolution would suggest four elements to such a framework:

  1. Autonomy for Donbass within Ukraine. Such autonomy would come with risks, by entrenching local rulers with patronage networks outside of central control and with the means to challenge central authority. To reduce these risks, Kudelia suggests giving autonomy not just to the territories currently controlled by the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR & LPR), but to the whole of Donbass, thereby bringing within the autonomous region some more pro-Ukrainian elements of the population as well as groups not connected to the DPR/LPR power structures. He also suggests devolution of power within the autonomous region to weaken the potentially disruptive consequences of hostile elements controlling the region’s government.
  2. Transformation of the rebel state and military structures into political parties. Experience in other countries suggests that when this happens, the prospects of a successful transition increase substantially.
  3. Comprehensive and unconditional amnesty for everyone involved in the war. For obvious reasons, rebel leaders won’t agree to the first two proposals without an amnesty. Past experience speaks to the necessity of this measure.
  4. No elections in Donbass for two to three years. Kudelia notes that, ‘Holding elections in a volatile post-conflict environment creates ample opportunities for voter intimidation, electoral fraud, and disinformation campaigns that could build on conflict-related divisions.’ Kudelia doesn’t say who would rule Donbass in the meantime. I would have to assume that it would mean that the existing authorities would remain in place. That could be problematic.

With the exception of that last point, these are sensible suggestions. But when boiled down to their essentials, they don’t differ significantly from what is demanded in the Minsk agreements – i.e. special status for Donbass and an amnesty. As such, while I don’t think that the leadership of the DPR and LPR would like these proposals, my instincts tell me that they would be quite acceptable to the Russian government, which would probably be able to coax the DPR and LPR into agreeing to them. If implemented, the results would be something Moscow could portray as a success of sorts.

And there’s the rub. For that very reason, I can’t see Kiev agreeing to any of this. Kudelia’s argument is founded on the idea that there’s more going on in Donbass than Russian aggression. Accepting that something has to be done to ‘provide long-term guarantees to civilians and separatist insurgents’ means accepting that there are civilians and insurgents who need reassuring, not just Russian troops and mercenaries. And that means changing the entire narrative which Kiev has adopted about the war. So while Kudelia’s proposals make sense (after all, what’s the alternative? How could Donbass be reintegrated into Ukraine without autonomy and an amnesty?), what’s lacking is any sense of how to get there.

A large part of the problem, it seems, is the attitude in Kiev. This becomes very clear in the second item which caught my attention – an article on the website Coda entitled ‘Now Healthcare is a Weapon of War in Ukraine.’ The article describes how the DPR and LPR are encouraging Ukrainians to come to rebel territory to receive free medical treatment, and then using this as propaganda to win support for their cause. This is despite the fact, as the article shows, that the medical facilities in the two rebel republics are in a very poor state. Author Lily Hyde isn’t able to confirm how many Ukrainians have taken up the rebel offer of free medical aid, but does repeat a claim by the rebel authorities that 1,200 people have done so.

What interests me here is not the sensationalist headlines about healthcare being weaponized, but the question of why Ukrainians might feel it necessary to go to the effort of crossing the front lines to get treatment. And the article provides an answer, namely that parts of Donbass ‘are trapped in a precarious limbo, still under Ukrainian government control but cut off from key services like healthcare.’ The war destroyed much of the healthcare system in Donbass, but ‘Ukraine provides no financial or other incentives for medics to work in frontline areas’, and has done little to repair shattered infrastructure. Healthcare seems to be a lower priority than fighting ‘terrorism’.

While the DPR and LPR use healthcare as a ‘weapon’ by providing it to people, Kiev has ‘weaponized’ health in another way – by depriving people of it. As the article reports:

Kiev has not outlawed receiving medical treatment in occupied Donetsk or Luhnaks. But collaborating with the separatists – or supporting their propaganda efforts – is illegal. How exactly such charges are defined is not clear, but past experience has taught both individuals and organizations to be wary of such accusations. The Ukrainian authorities have investigated non-governmental organizations (NGOs) based in Ukraine who have provided foreign-funded medicines and other supplies to occupied Donetsk and Luhansk. NGOs working there have been banned by the de fact authorities [of the DPR and LPR] on similar charges. Doctors have found themselves placed on blacklists by both Ukrainian officials and the separatists, accused of being ‘terrorist collaborators’ by one side, or of being spies by the other.

Hyde contrasts the Ukrainian government’s policies towards the DPR and LPR with that of Georgia, where:

The government offers free healthcare for people from Abkhazia, a breakaway territory it still claims which is now under de facto Russian occupation. The government is building a modern hospital in the nearest town to the boundary line, aimed at people from Abkhazia.

Essentially, says Hyde, it’s ‘a question of attitude’. She cites Georgy Tuka, Ukraine’s Deputy Minister for Temporarily Occupied Territories – ‘“There’s a wish to punish people,” Tuka acknowledged.’

That’s quite an admission from a government minister.

Even if the details need fleshing out, the institutional framework required to reintegrate Donbass into Ukraine has been pretty obvious for a long time now. The problem has been getting people to accept it. It is indeed, therefore, ‘a question of attitude’. Sadly, the prevailing attitude stands firmly in the way of the institutional changes required for peace. The desire seems to be to punish people, not to reach agreement with them in order to promote reintegration and reconciliation. The issue, then, is whether this attitude can be changed (and if so, how) or whether it is now so firmly entrenched that there is nothing which can be done. Sadly, I fear that it may be the latter.

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28 thoughts on “A question of attitude”

  1. “after all, what’s the alternative? How could Donbass be reintegrated into Ukraine without autonomy and an amnesty?”

    Professor – you know the answer. It’s not like the most loud of the svidomites were shy or quiet about it.

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  2. If this is the Ukraine’s best hope for achieving the peace, then the author is borderline autistic who has no idea about the facts on the ground. Or, more likely, he’s just your typical self-important ivory-towery member of the Western Academia.

    Here a quick recap of the most resonant “incidents” that happened in the Ukraine last week:

    20.08. Night shooting in Kharkov’s city council – attacker mortally shoots one of the cops, then escapes. Later 20.08., still at large, he will kill his own wife with 5 pistol shots.
    21.08. Unknown assailant shot several times at the deputy director of Odessa’s housing and communal service company “Chernomorsky”
    22.08.
    – At night, parties unknown lobbed a combat hand grenade at the gates of Konotop’s former mayor (and current local city council deputy).
    – 38 y.o. citizen of Cherkassy beat the cop to the inch of his life with some unidentified “metallic object” while within the police precinct.
    23.08. This day the Ukrainian State Committee for television and radio broadcasting increased to 193 the number of the banned Russian books.
    24.08. Masked man lobbed self-made smoke grenades at Russian consulate in Kiev.

    Meanwhile, don’t even hope to get the answers about the “progress of investigation” of the most resonant assassinations in the Ukraine, or about unmasking the corruptioners, or even bringing to justice C14 “civil right activists”, responsible for the attacks on tsyganes (Roma) earlier this year. Why? Because the Ukraine is semi-failed state with semi-functioning law system. Sure, the Ukrainian state is mighty and stronK, when it needs to arrest Savchenko (for planning the coup d’état, no less!), or arresting this or that shpigun working for the “aggressor-state”. But it is either unwilling or incapable of maintaining the law for everyone on the day to day basis.

    Also – the current camarilla in Kiev embraces with all their hands ultra-nationalist, revisionist ideological narrative, that specifically defines the Ukraine as Anti-Russia.

    And you want to stuck the People Republics into this morass, without legal or military means to defend themselves? If this is not autistic, then this is a deliberate attempt to force a potential ethnic cleansing on the “vatniks” masked by the “humanitarian concerns”. Because, guess what – the Ukrainian state as it is will do NO-THING to prevent numerous “trains of friendship” from Lviv, Ternipil and Ivano-Frankivs (heck – even from Poltava, but full of ATO veterans) coming to Donetsk and Lugansk and beginning “re-education process”. After all, if there ought to be a “comprehensive and unconditional amnesty for everyone involved in the war” surely it also will target, say, “charming” people from the NatzBat “Tornado” currently languishing (and occasionally – staging prison riot) in Kiev – not to mention other Ukrainian patriots, fond of the “from heart – to sun” hand gesture.

    This article glosses over the fact that currently there exists “parallel administration”, that rules over the whole of Donbas from Kiev in absentia, that it consists of the political appointees loyal to Poroshenko and idea of the radical svidomism, and that the article suggests that THESE people will be put in charge of the re-united Eastern Ukraine for unspecified time period, while the population undergoes vigorous anti-separ lustrations. Once again, what is this – deliberate cruelty or unmitigated stupidity?

    You, professor, also gloss over another reason and bigger issue, connected to the fact that the Ukrainian go to “separs” for free medical service. Namely – that the neo-liberal reforms in the Ukraine already dealt with a lot of previously free public services to which the citizens were entitled previously. The article glosses over all the changes that befell the Ukraine since 2014 and now, thankfully, lacking in DNR and LNR. If a lot of such changes were not quite popular (to the point of loud and numerous protests across the country) what would happen if the official Kiev tries to implement them in “re-integrated Donbas”, currently lacking any kind of political representation? What if the local population, just like in 2014, does not agree that Bandera and Shukehevitch are the heroes of the Ukraine or that there must be de-communization? Or that they disagree with the new policy of the language ukrainization at school? Or that they simply do not agree that Russia is the “aggressor-country” and that Crimea is part of the Ukraine anymore?

    I think, and this is just my opinion, that’s not the bug but a feature of this re-integration plan. By hook or by crook they want to force the People Republics to lay down arms and then military occupy those, whom they can not defeat in the open battle. After that – well, “shooting fish in a barrel” is way to gory, but appropriate metaphor in this case. Because they know as Yugoslavian wars proved it – the West has their back. Point 4. gave up their entire game. It is obvious, that “lustrations and filtration camps” point inclusion has been done for the benefit of the mainstream (former – ultra radical nationalist fringe) of the Ukrainian political spectrum.

    Finally – let’s not be idiots and pretend that such plans exist in the vacuum, or that there are no alternatives or previously suggested ideas. There are – and they have much more traction in the West and in the Ukraine. None other then our all-times favorite deranged Russophobe Andreas Umland suggested just such a plan not too long ago. It’s a real Jgem (meaning it’s outrageous):

    Prioritization.
    “[T]he West should develop a tougher combination of carrots and sticks.

    First, sanctions need to generate earlier effects. Russian access to Western financial markets should be further reduced, and the Nord Stream II pipeline should be frozen.

    Second, the West needs to crackdown through individual sanctions (visa bans, assets seizure, accounts freezes, etc.) on the regime’s major stakeholders as well as their immediate family members to generate more dissatisfaction and infighting within Putin’s system.

    Third, a forward-looking vision for improved Russian-Western relations should be communicated throughout Russia. The West could offer a less aggressive Moscow joint energy projects or a free-trade zone between the Eurasian and European unions. Western rewards to Russia for even more comprehensive solutions to all disputed conflicts in the former Soviet Union could comprise an Association Agreement (including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area) with the EU, visa-free regime with the Schengen Zone, and a Membership Action Plan with NATO. Think tanks and NGOs should communicate such ideas, and as they become widely known, national governments and international organizations could voice such proposals in meetings with Russian governmental and non-governmental actors. The offers should be made officially, explicitly, and repeatedly to feed societal pressure for a change in Russia’s foreign policy.”

    Pacification.
    “Once Moscow takes a more compromising position, the real work can begin. Western experts, diplomats, and politicians should explore future financing, the mandate, and the shape of an international peacebuilding operation across the Donbas. A temporary third-party intervention would provide a transition between Moscow’s crypto-occupation and the territories’ subsequent return to Kyiv’s control. A UN mission with up to 30,000 peacekeepers could serve the Kremlin as a face-saving mechanism.”

    Reintegration.
    “Today Ukraine’s major stakeholders reject the political parts of the Minsk Agreements. Western and Ukrainian politicians, diplomats, and experts need to find a way out. A possible solution could be a joint Ukrainian-Western reinterpretation of the Minsk Agreements. A new reading of Minsk II’s call for a “special status” of the Donbas could, for instance, mean stronger control over the occupied territories by Kyiv.

    Ukrainian and Western diplomats should turn the text on its head while formally fulfilling its prescriptions. A future Ukrainian law on the Donbas could proclaim a transitory “special status” for the occupied territories by, for example, temporarily increasing the power of the future Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts prefects. While these prefects had been originally designed to fulfill supervisory functions in a decentralized Ukraine, their prerogatives could for the Donbas be extended to that of provisional presidential governors within the framework of an interim regime for this region. The National Guard—not mentioned in the Minsk Agreements—could in a future Donbas law be temporarily granted additional rights and obligations in the occupied territories. Similar provisions could be included in a future law to make constitutional reform that includes a “special status” provision for the Donbas acceptable to the Verkhovna Rada.”

    See some eerie similarities here? I do. And I think this is no coincidence that, also worded differently, two suggestions for the “special status for Donbas” ended up sounding as “Kiev’s occupation”. Because “today Ukraine’s major stakeholders reject the political parts of the Minsk Agreements” (c). They are simply not serious about it. They consider them just an armistice before a next Big Push which will result in the Glorious Peremoga (Mishiko Saakashvili agrees). To quote professor Preobrazhensky: “The ruin is not in the water closets – it’s in the heads”. Or, to be specific, in the collective head of the West.

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    1. Lyttenborg, maybe something I don’t quite get is your “attitude”. Fact is, I may wind up on your side as suggested above, but as German and non specialist how could we get there?

      OK, one question. Was Umland discussed here before?

      In other words what did I miss, beyond his apparently steep career. Been aware of him but only more casually of Paul’s blog.

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      1. Been aware of him but only more casually of Paul’s blog.

        Ok, maybe I left out words here. Won’t add them now. But I wasn’t aware of Umland being discussed on Paul’s blog. As a late lurker that is. What did I miss?

        any links that may help me to grasp him beyond being a part of what seems to be an ‘ivory tower/think thank’ “Western” consensus around here. And thus the right topic to confront Paul Robinson with?

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      2. [please delete my previous post]

        “Lyttenborg, maybe something I don’t quite get is your”.

        I’m Russian. Living in Russia. My entire life. That’s my “attitude”.

        “Fact is, I may wind up on your side as suggested above”

        I’m nore recruting. Honestly. If I was at some point of time the proverbial “Olgino troll” they’d have to fire me for being way too non-mainstream. E.g. – you, Westies, are iffed by talking good about the Soviet Union and Uncle Joe. Guess what? This discqualifies me entirely. If it’d taking my shilling from Dvorkovich\Prigizhin’Whoever, I’d be fired by now, Ergo – these views are my own + a bunch of other Russians thinking similarly. Not “Kremlins”. I don’t care whether you will side with me, “Russia” or whatever.

        “Was Umland discussed here before?”

        Nope. Check out old “KremlinStooge” blog. There are some goodies concerning him there, But, honestly, he’s way too deranged Russophobe, and a sore looser to boot, that there is literally nothing here to lionize him

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    2. I’m Russian. Living in Russia. My entire life. That’s my “attitude”.

      i know, Lytty, Would you want to teach me Russian. I gave up ages ago, since I hated the teacher.

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      1. “i know, Lytty, Would you want to teach me Russian. I gave up ages ago, since I hated the teacher.”

        1) I don’t have a diploma proclaiming me a verifyied teacher of Russian. So – no, I can’t. I legtimately can’t teach you Russian.

        2) You, a person I’m not personally familiar with, someone whom I can’t call my friend, just called me “Lytty”. Reasons for that are obscure to me, but this alone allows me add – not only I can’t legitimately teach you Russian, but, also, I won’t no matter what.

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      2. someone whom I can’t call my friend, just called me “Lytty”.

        We had encounters where we seemed to share similar perspectives. Although, I have to admit that that when you first surfaced over there more on TTG’s strugges, I wasn’t able to place you. LeaNder/Xenotude/Snowflake.
        http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2017/10/the-tyranny-of-popularity-by-richard-sale.html

        Look, I am a lot older then you, it feels. Like brainwaves, especially if they tend towards clusters, anger seems to get less over the decades.

        but basically, people don’t need a certificate or diploma to teach each other their language. I am 100% sure about that.

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      3. “We had encounters where we seemed to share similar perspectives.”

        I have only best wishes to the Colonel and his blog. Despire my well-known disagreement with him on many things (e.g. Russia; History, Russian History, Vietnam War) I will never badmouth him. That would not be dignified. Still – his deletion of my comments is duly noted, as well as his chage of the commenting engine.

        “Look, I am a lot older then you, it feels”

        This might even be true. Still, I can’t recall us being friends or reaching some level of familiarity with each other that would excuse such form of adress.

        “but basically, people don’t need a certificate or diploma to teach each other their language”

        Yes, the same is true about many things – including learning how to swim. Yet, not that many nowadays practice “swim of sink” routine. As you, apparently, live in the Firstst World capitalist country, I won’t cheat out capable professionals better qualified of teaching Russian by my purely amateurish attempts via internet.

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      4. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to teach the whole language, but if you resume learning it and ever have questions about some nuance, feel free to ask me 🙂

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      5. Lytttenbourg, yes the Colonel is a bit of a hot-head. From a layman’s remote diagnosis perspective, mine in this case, yes no doubt it feels he has a slightly unpredictable choleric temper. I do have a basic amount of sympathy for those symptoms, they feel familiar. If that wasn’t so, I wouldn’t still be some type of observer at the fence. Absolutely no doubt. … I do recall at least my earliest irritation concerning what you may want to call censorship. …

        As far as the “First World capitalist country” or countries is concerned. matters are maybe slightly different. Or to put another way in many ways (matters are) upside down from my rather limited perspective in politics or for that matter war. As far as the struggle in the West about its specific values are concerned. … that’s were it feels, the evil Russians enter the explanatory scene .

        Valentina Kurysheva; thanks, yes nuances matter. The biggest hurdle though for me would be the knowledge of an ideally rather high percentage of the vocabulary. It’s long ago, but wouldn’t those 2 extra cases, more randomly really matter that much beyond recognizing a high percentage of words?

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      6. “Lytttenbourg, yes the Colonel is a bit of a hot-head. From a layman’s remote diagnosis perspective, mine in this case, yes no doubt it feels he has a slightly unpredictable choleric temper. I do have a basic amount of sympathy for those symptoms, they feel familiar. If that wasn’t so, I wouldn’t still be some type of observer at the fence. Absolutely no doubt. … I do recall at least my earliest irritation concerning what you may want to call censorship. …”

        I won’t though. This is not a “censorship”. When in his own blog, Colonel Lang must be treated as Czar, God and Warlord rolled into one – without irony. That’s *his* blog. Full stop. I mean it. No irony. The same extends to other people. I wear their bans of my unworthy self without indignation – they had/have absolute right to do just that, because only their conscience might judge them. Not us, anonymuses of the world.

        Any result is net positive one because it helps you learn about the world and other people – even seemingly negative one like your own ban.

        “As far as the “First World capitalist country” or countries is concerned. matters are maybe slightly different”

        Tish and pish, good Sir! If our shy and conscientious intelligentsia (and EuroUkrs) to be believed, you live in the proverbial Blessed Valinor full of Elves (while we, naturally, languish in the cursed Mordor full of Orks). You have jamon, parmesan, Polish apples, Baltic sprats and 300 types of sausage ™ a-plenty. Your land is everything any Living Not By A Lie (™) Non-Systemic Oppositionist in This Country ™ considers Heaven on Earth. Claiming otherwise is just endorsing subversive propaganda of Olgino, Kremle-Bots, RT and Sputnik – which are grounds to losing one’s handshakable status!/S

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      7. Sorry, I didn’t quite understand the meaning of this sentence: ” It’s long ago, but wouldn’t those 2 extra cases, more randomly really matter that much beyond recognizing a high percentage of words?”

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      8. Valentina Kurysheva, yes there was a typo. Besides it was a more random ill reflected statement. It’s a long time ago.

        Nuance beyond grammar has a lot to do with knowing the context well. At one point interpretation enters the plain. No?

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      9. Tish and pish, good Sir! If our shy and conscientious intelligentsia (and EuroUkrs) to be believed, you live in the proverbial Blessed Valinor full of Elves (while we, naturally, languish in the cursed Mordor full of Orks). You have jamon, parmesan, Polish apples, Baltic sprats and 300 types of sausage ™ a-plenty. Your land is everything any Living Not By A Lie (™) Non-Systemic Oppositionist in This Country ™ considers Heaven on Earth. Claiming otherwise is just endorsing subversive propaganda of Olgino, Kremle-Bots, RT and Sputnik – which are grounds to losing one’s handshakable status!/S

        Not sure if Polish apples make it to Russia. But among other things over here in Europe apples surfaced in sanctions, at least I seem to remember. In case you are addressing me via “good Sir”, I am neither a Sir nor male. I am also not a fan of “the West” trying to align “the rest” via sanctions.

        In case you are still addressing Pat Lang here, in spite of all the struggles I had with him, I think this unfair. Maybe your anger guards a deeper treasure wisdom I cannot really read. He no doubt is heavily in favor of American Interests, and maybe a bit sensitive concerning himself and his country, just like you?, but as far as I know he is no expert on Russia. Or ever was. I have thus no idea about his opinion about what you are like to label as “subversive” propaganda here. In Syria he is definitively on the side of Russia vs a US regime change.

        About a second ago Pat deleted a comment of mine. In earlier times I occasionally asked him to do so. Maybe that’s why I do not care much about it. …

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      10. You are right, but often grammar is inseparable from the context. Just changing a prefix here or the word order there can lead to a subtle shift in meaning.

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      11. INB4 the main answer – this important message:


        ^Still exists.

        Now, point-by-point:

        “Not sure if Polish apples make it to Russia.”

        They don’t. Ergo the point of the whole thing. You are not big on this sarcasm thingy, do you?

        “In case you are addressing me via “good Sir”, I am neither a Sir nor male.”

        Duly notes. Please excuse me for misgendering you. In the Net most of denizens are males (and also not Sirs by any stretch). I’m just applying here a rule of thumb, given that the NickName is no indication.

        “In case you are still addressing Pat Lang here, in spite of all the struggles I had with him, I think this unfair. Maybe your anger guards a deeper treasure wisdom I cannot really read.”

        How’s that for a thought experiment – read what I wrote as it is, without trying to find some “hidden meaning”.

        “I have thus no idea about his opinion about what you are like to label as “subversive” propaganda here.”

        I think we have a problem establishing basic communications here. On the one hand – you seem to be incapable of grasping the concept of the “sarcasm”. On the other – simultaneously, you are searching for hidden meaning where there is none.

        Don’t do that. Use your smarts.

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      12. Tish and pish, good Sir! If our shy and conscientious intelligentsia (and EuroUkrs) to be believed, you live in the proverbial Blessed Valinor full of Elves (while we, naturally, languish in the cursed Mordor full of Orks). You have jamon, parmesan, Polish apples, Baltic sprats and 300 types of sausage ™ a-plenty.

        Sarcasm, Irony. i am a fan. Believe it or not. Your choice. I sure got the jambon, parmesan placed slightly ahead of the Polish apples.

        But interesting, I could babble more on Pat in this context, since my not solidly established, datawise, suspicion that irony and sarcasm could have triggered one way or another his meme: I was maybe several people at once. But then, I cannot read his mind or yours for that matter.

        As far as jambon goes, it is Schinken for me, really, recently I discovered a well established Russian/Ukrainian, adding the latter since they seem solidly united in this context, recipe, telling me how to best deal with Свёкла, great discovery. Since I love them.

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    3. You are right, but often grammar is inseparable from the context.

      you are of course correct. i do have a unresolved trauma concerning my teacher in English. … And not least his accompanying jokes about the Brits. My Russian teacher was similar.

      Fact is my teacher in English never uttered anything in the language he taught us, besides something that burned into my brain: yes, very well.

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      1. Well, in my experience teachers don’t really influence one’s desire to learn a certain language, or lack thereof. I had an excellent teacher of Spanish, and it is a language the sound of which I quite like, but this still didn’t make me want to learn it in earnest. After graduating from university I more or less gave up on it. So if you do want to learn Russian, you’ll find a way, and no bad memories about the previous experience will stop you 🙂 For now, could you tell me by what means you’d prefer to contact me on Russian-related questions?

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      2. Spanish, and it is a language the sound of which I quite like
        Yes, Russian too. Love the sound of it, but rarely encounter it around here.

        When a British friend of mine discovered my love for Scottish accents, he told me this: Well no wonder. It’s almost as harsh as German. German on the other hand is not quite as harsh as Russian. My own ears perceived it as rather melodious. How comes, could a musician help?

        *******
        It feels we shouldn’t babble more.Thanks a lot to Paul for allowing this OT thread so far.
        ******
        What essentials should I know about Umland, though?

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  3. It’s too late for the reintegration of Donbas into Ukraine, there will be no implementation of any agreement.

    – Ukraine have gone full neo-Nazi
    – language law is offensive to all minorities not just Russian speakers
    – Russophobia is rampant
    – attacks on the orthodox church

    Why would anyone in DPR/LPR want to be part of this.

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  4. I agree with the other commentators integration of the Donbass into an aggressive nationalist Ukraine which is not capable of respecting minority rights is not possible. A more sensible option would be for Ukraine to divide into a nationalist part and a rusdophone part, this may be in a confederation like Belgium. As you say the Kiev government wants complete victory rather than a peace baed on reconciliation the conflict will continue at low level if the Kiev regime believes that they cannot win but will ignite into another major war if they believe that they can. What should Russia do ? In my opinion provide suitable aid to the people of the Donbass to ensure their survival and build institutions, a stable and peaceful pridnistrovye type situation is the best that can be achieved in the foreseeable future

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  5. I’m well acquainted with Umland’s anti-Russian leaning biases. One such instance is mentioned in this piece which InoSMI picked up:

    https://www.eurasiareview.com/02042012-coverage-of-russia-uncensored-analysis/

    https://inosmi.ru/politic/20120403/189815758.html

    In Umland’s most recent piece (linked below), he rather unconvincingly second guesses the degree of pro-Russian sentiment in Crimea, while inaccurately cherry picking the history and demography regarding the Crimean Tatars:

    https://www.eurasiareview.com/23082018-to-whom-does-crimea-belong-analysis/

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  6. Sad news from Donbas

    Zakharchenko was killed by a bomb in a cafe

    The article is called a question of attitude –
    We see the attitude of the Kiev regime in this action of killing one of the signatories of Minsk 2.

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  7. Just a direct quote from prof. S Kudelia “Peace plan” linked above:

    Rebel Disarmament, Demobilization, and Conversion
    Reaching an agreement on power-sharing is one precondition for beginning to disarm and demobilize combatants in civil wars. Another component is the inclusion of former rebels in the competitive political process through “rebel-to-party transformations… Integration of the party tied to former rebel groups can eliminate potential spoilers, develop stakeholding in the new system, provide non-violent means of conflict resolution, make them more accountable to their constituency, and increase legitimacy of the election process and new authority structures. However, some of the positive effects from rebel conversion depend on the prior organizational structure of separatist groups and their political wings. Groups with a highly integrated political and military structure are the least likely to undergo a successful transformation into an exclusively political force. This points to major challenges in achieving rebel conversion in Donbas.

    The leaders of the armed groups in Donbas have already established their own political organizations, which participate in separatist-administered elections, control local councils throughout the conflict region, and engage with residents. They have turned into what a security analyst Benedetta Berti calls “hybrid politico-military organizations” tightly linking political activities and armed struggle. In both “republics” military and political wings are subordinated to a single leader…

    …However, an integrated political-military structure also presents three important challenges for successful transition into the political arena. First, in contrast to political wings of rebel forces in other countries, these organizations emerged as key tools for separatist governance in DPR and LPR. Their ideological program promotes independence for these regions and would be incompatible with participation in Ukraine’s institutional politics. Their reintegration would require a major revision of their principles and goals with an emphasis on accommodation with the Ukrainian state and acceptance of its jurisdiction over the entire region. Otherwise, their inclusion in the political process risks deepening the war-based dividing lines and hampering reconciliation. Second, the centrality of the leaders of these groups in organizing an armed struggle against Ukrainian forces and their direct involvement in the fighting delegitimizes them in Ukrainian public opinion and with the central government. The recently adopted law on “temporarily occupied areas of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts” describes the ruling structure of the “republics” as an “occupational administration of the Russian Federation.” This further complicates their post-conflict acceptance as legitimate regional representatives. Hence, leadership turnover in separatist groups is a crucial precondition for the beginning of their direct talks with the Ukrainian authorities. Finally, the current control that DPR/LPR leaders exercise over the separatist military apparatus means that even following disarmament and demobilization they would maintain some influence over local law enforcement. This, in turn, would allow these leaders to rely on an informal personal militia after demobilization or revive the military component of their organizations if they sensed a threat to their power status.

    The conversion of rebel groups into recognized political organizations could be one of the most complex and contested elements of the transition.”

    Full stop. Now, ask yourself – Qui bono?

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    1. i fully agree Lyttenbourg, there is this patronizing layer that sticks out. While he offers a lot of references to other people’s studies. Neither you nor me seriously want to look into?

      Now once again, why did you bring up Umland? I am interested. Not least since “us Germans” (directly, indirectly?) may have been involved in matters for longer now. Item in case: the visa affair.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Visa_Affair_2005

      How all this squares or could square with Germany’s insistence on North Stream 2 is a different matter.

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