Posted 6 months ago on Aug. 21, 2014, 12:43 p.m. EST by flip
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the main point of the article - "This occurred against a background of growing political radicalisation within the movement. In August, a joint letter had been published by rank-and-file militia fighters demanding that the slogan of “social republics” that had been proclaimed in Donetsk and Lugansk should be put into effect, that the property of oligarchs should be nationalised and that reforms should be enacted in the interests of workers. The post of chair of the Supreme Soviet was taken by Boris Litvinov, a communist who had broken with the official leadership of the party. A law was adopted reversing the commercialisation of health care that had been initiated by the previous leaders, and recurrent, though somewhat timid, attempts were made at nationalisation.....................................now some background - "Paradoxically, it was Strelkov who did most to aid the radicalisation of the process, despite his sympathies for the pre-revolutionary monarchy and nostalgia for the Russian empire. The leader of the militias was not only famed for his honesty and openness (it is enough to recall his detailed accounts of his own difficulties and failures, accounts which contrast sharply with the propaganda from Moscow and Kiev). Strelkov’s political instincts drove him, to a large degree despite his own ideological leanings, to support social and political changes. He and his associates stressed repeatedly that they would not allow Novorossiya to be transformed into a second edition of pre-Maidan Ukraine, directly contradicting the strategy of the Kremlin, which sought precisely that.
Unlike other Donetsk and Lugansk leaders, who travelled constantly to Moscow to beg for assistance (for the most part in vain), the commander of the militias was to be found with his troops in the line of battle. There, as practice showed, it was safer for him politically than in the Moscow corridors of power.
How Strelkov was lured to Moscow, and what was done to him there in order to extract from him his “voluntary” resignation (if in fact he signed such a statement at all), we can only guess. He may have been threatened with a complete halt to Russian supplies to the liberated territories of Novorossiya. To a substantial degree, this dependency of the people’s republics on outside supplies is a result of inept management by the people whom Strelkov removed from their posts in July and early August – they were unable, or refused, to organise the economy in the rear, and to ensure the normal distribution of resources. By August a situation had arisen in which the republics were threatened with disaster unless shipments of food and ammunition were brought from Russia. More than likely, it was this lever that was used by the Kremlin intriguers to get rid of Strelkov.
One way or another, the conservative forces took their revenge, and the Donetsk military leader was removed. People suspected of links to the oligarchs were appointed to a series of key posts. In Moscow during these very days the Ukrainian politician Oleg Tsarev, representing no one and driven out of Donetsk by the militia fighters, unfurled a “new flag of Novorossiya”. For some reason this was an upside-down version of the old imperial banner, and was obviously meant as a counterbalance to the flag, dark red with a cross of St Andrew, under which the militia are fighting.
The Russian press is already reporting openly on an agreement reached between the Moscow bureaucrats and the Ukrainian oligarch Rinat Akhmetov. In the best traditions of the ancien régime, the Kremlin bureaucracy has decided to sacrifice the liberated territories to its new vassal, in exchange for his services as a mediator in its relations with Kiev and prospectively, the West. At the same time, contacts are being revived between Russian and Ukrainian diplomats, and lively discussions are under way on the ultimate fate of the south-east. After the failure of its latest offensive, and faced with growing internal difficulties, Kiev might well be ready to strike a deal.
The only thing the authors of this scenario have not taken into account is the thinking of the people of Novorossiya and Ukraine, along with the moods of Donetsk residents and the overall logic of a revolutionary process into which Russian society too is gradually being drawn. The militia fighters and activists who, beneath the bombs, are constructing a new state are no longer prepared to be docile agents of outside decision making, no matter where, in Moscow or Kiev, the decisions alien to their interests are being taken. In Novorossiya, the idealistic sympathies with an abstract Russia that characterised the first months of the uprising are now being replaced by a growing hatred for the Kremlin bureaucrats, whom supporters of the republics accuse of sabotage and treason. The same moods are growing, in the fashion of an avalanche, within Russia itself. As for Igor Strelkov, a new group of field commanders is taking his place, in many ways accepting him as an example but differing from him in their far more radical and left-wing views.
Through apparatus intrigues, blackmail and manipulation, it may be possible to achieve tactical successes, and to banish one or another figure from the leadership. But it will not be possible to stop the revolutionary crisis whose development is now gathering strength.
Translated by Renfrey Clarke