Novaya Gazeta (a daily Russian newspaper) published parts of the document with Russia’s plan to split Ukraine even before the country’s president fled in the wake of Maidan protests a year ago.
The newspaper claims that the “plan” was passed to Vladimir Putin’s presidential administration between February 4 and 12, 2014, which is at least 10 days before Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s president back then, fled Kyiv.
Eastern Ukraine split-up plan
The information provided by Novaya Gazeta was analyzed by the political experts. They presume that the document was prepared with the help of Konstantin Malofeyev, a well-known pro-Kremlin “Orthodox businessman” who actively supports the pro-Russian separatists in Crimea and eastern Ukraine providing them his ideas, money and people (in fact, Hyrkin-Stelkov and Borodai had worked for him before the events in Ukraine). Although Mr. Malofeyev’s spokesman strongly denies these allegations and even threatens to file charges against the newspaper.
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The document contains Russia’s step-by-step actions in the Ukrainian political crisis and explains Russia’s “need” to get involved in the crisis and take over Crimea and eastern Ukraine by political and PR means.
The newspaper didn’t say whether the “plan” was adopted or who in Putin’s administration viewed the document, but said that, “the extent to which this project coincides with the subsequent actions of the Russian authorities is striking”.
The document: “Pro-European demonstrators in Kyiv were acting under the influence of Polish and British special services”.
The authors of the document claim that the pro-European demonstrators in Kyiv were mostly soccer fans and criminals acting under the influence of Polish and British special services. Although no evidence was offered to back up that allegation.
What’s interesting is that the authors of the document believe that the European politics was directed against Ukraine’s territorial integrity, justifying the notion that Russia “must intervene in the geopolitical intrigue of the European community”. Furthermore, the document argues about the risks “that would inflict huge economic damage to” Russia, such as losing Ukrainian outlet market for the Russian energy sources and, “what’s even more dangerous, losing some control over the Ukrainian gas pipeline system”.
The document says that, “Russian politics toward Ukraine needs to finally become more pragmatic”. It argues about the bankruptcy of Yanukovych’s regime, and the lack of sense to pursue supporting it “politically, diplomatically, financially and information-wise” from Russia’s side.
The plan recommends holding a series of referendums in order to strengthen the claims of the pro-Russian regions of Ukraine to self-determination, “and their subsequent joining of Russia”. Which is exactly what happened in Crimea in March 2014, when a pro-independence referendum result was used by Russia to back up its annexation of the region.
However, the document says that, “It is highly important that the “international community” has little to no reasons to question the legitimacy and honesty of the referendums. That’s why it would be reasonable to make sure that a referendum process is provided with modern verification means (web-cameras and online broadcasting). The preliminary plan for this has already been developed and can be realized within two weeks”.
The document: “Financial support of Crimea and eastern regions would be a burden for Russia”.
While taking on the financial support of Crimea and “several eastern regions” (above all, the document mentions Crimea, Kharkiv, Luhansk, Zaporizhia, Mykolaiv and Dnipropetrovsk regions) would be a burden, the document says that, “in a geopolitical sense the gain would be priceless: our country would receive access to new demographic resources, highly qualified cadres of industry and transport specialists would become available… The industrial potential of eastern Ukraine, including the military-industrial sector, joined to the military-industrial complex of Russia, would allow a quicker and a more successful fulfillment of the rearmament program of the armed forces of the Russian Federation”. In addition, tt would “significantly change the political state of Central and Eastern Europe, bringing Russia back one of the leading roles in Europe”.
The plan also proposes a strong PR and press campaign to make the “pro-Russian drift of Crimea and eastern Ukrainian regions” seem legitimate. The “drift” argues for three main things: (1) federalization of Ukraine (which would provide regions with a high level of autonomy without breaking away from the country), (2) independent accession of eastern regions to the Russia-led Customs Union, and (3) full sovereignty and eventual annexation by Russia.
The document even contains an entire list of demands to be used by the pro-Russian rebels during protests, such as: “We don’t want to be the hostages of Maidan… We are with Russia. No to civil war…” etc.
A Ukrainian political expert, Oleh Shevchenko, sums up the document for ValueWalk: “It is fair to say that the plan from this document has mostly been realized in reality by Kremlin. Let’s see: organizing actions of disobedience in the pro-Russian regions – check. Trying to make these processes seem “politically correct and legitimate” and “morally justified” – check. Demanding through the pro-Russian protesters to simplify the procedure of holding a referendum in Ukraine as well as demanding “federalization” – check. Holding “legitimate” and “honest” referendums in eastern regions – check. And of course, the massive PR support (propaganda) of all these processes in Russian and Ukrainian media. Check. So in general, with the exception of a few things the plan has been fully implemented”.