Weekly Summary – to October 12, 2014

1. The terrorists intend to have a long and happy life as a cancerous tumor on the body of Ukraine. They are actively preparing for winter, simultaneously using the so-called “ceasefire” for the greatest possible integration with Russia. Moscow quietly supports these aspirations of the Donbas marginals–in fact, that’s what started all this fuss.

Thus, on October 7, the “DNR” [Donetsk People’s Republic] announced the creation of its “National Bank” (obviously, a more appropriate title would be “The First Russian Terrorist Bank”). Further, “the DNR Prime Minister,” A. Zakharchenko, claimed that “the DNR banking system” would be integrated into the Russian [banking system], which would allow it, as clarified by this unique individual, “to begin payments of pensions and salaries, and launch our entire economy.” Previously, the “DNR Minister of Education,” I. Kostenok, blurted out that the “DNR” opened correspondent accounts in Russian banks and [therefore it] “can conduct practically all financial transactions.”

Simply put, the terrorists once again openly declare (and Russian media happily broadcasts these statements): we – are a project of Moscow, Moscow finances us, and we will live as a burden on her shoulders. However, the world does not react to Russia’s open financing of the terrorists she generated.

2. It would seem like a justified step [by Ukrainian authorities]: that the Verkhovna Rada [Parliament] has changed the boundaries of Novoaydarsky, Slovianoserbsk, Popasnyansky and Perevalsky districts of Luhansk region. The bottom line is clear: to attach the settlements of these districts (whose district centers ended up on occupied territories) to the areas controlled by Ukrainian authorities.

This step by the Ukrainian government is indirect evidence that no one plans to liberate Donbas in the near future. But that’s not the point. On the one hand, as the local authorities reasonably note, a change in the district boundaries will allow them to direct necessary funds for social payments to the regional territories controlled by Ukrainian authorities. On the other hand, this cannot be a self-sufficient step in working with the “frontline” areas. If [they] continue to simply pay pensions and benefits without working with the population, these areas will remain a powder keg, where people will be foaming at the mouth to demand that Kyiv increase social benefits, but dream about the “LNR” [Luhansk People’s Republic], and joining Russia.

Even if we decided to temporarily freeze the conflict in Donbas, the “frontline zone” should be the focus of ​​special attention. A full lustration of the local governance bodies and law enforcement agencies, the special economic conditions, job creation and the strong support of local businesses, informational outreach to the residents and support for local pro-Ukrainian social movements–this is a guarantee that the “frontline” strip will be a picture-perfect “success” of Ukraine in contrast to the chaotic, hungry and unemployed hell of the “LNR” and “DNR.”

Today, hundreds and thousands of professionals from Donetsk and Luhansk left for the so-called liberated areas, they want only one thing–to work quietly. We need to give them this opportunity. We need to create all the conditions so that every Donbas resident dreams of living in Ukraine (and as of now, there are less than 50% of those [who now support Ukraine] in these areas). This is no less important than tanks and mortars in the war for Donbas.

3. The negative publicity surrounding the investigation of events near Ilovaisk continues. The announcement by the Prosecutor General’s Office that the tragedy happened because of the desertion of the 5th Territorial Battalion became a hot topic of discussion. Media placed the responsibility for the tragedy on the Minister of Defense Heletey and the Chief of General Staff Muzhenko, saying that they knew about a mass invasion of the Russian troops – who later took Ilovaisk and encircled our units – on August 23, but that the General Staff took no active measures.

I have stated my attitude to the course of the investigation earlier. I can only add: according to our (IR group) data, the MoD and the General Staff found out about the Russian invasion not at the last moment – here, our information mirrors the data of Yuriy Butusov. The investigation now only needs to establish the exact time of arrival of the intelligence data and identify the reasons for inaction by the generals.

However, this does not mean that the commanders of the units that “retreated” for hundreds of kilometers must be declared heroes and given pastries and medals. The generals’ fault doesn’t preclude an investigation of the fault on behalf of the middle- or possibly, junior-level commanders. Then this [investigation] will be fair and just.

As for the statements made by the Prosecutor General’s Office [PGO]. The PGO is not the truth of last resort. The truth of last resort – is the court. The investigation is not finished yet. When [they] announce the full list of the accused, when we learn about the findings of law enforcement officers based on the investigation results, and – most importantly! – when the court weighs [the information], only then can we start talking about the objectivity of the legal assessment of these events. And I trust that the investigation and the court will be objective – because there is good reason to hope for this, since this story has received a justifiably serious response.

The good news:

1. President Poroshenko announced the creation of three lines of defense in Donbas, in order to “lock in” the confrontation line between our, and Russian-terrorist, forces in order to, as he put it, “prevent terrorists and instigators from interfering with the peaceful life of Ukrainians.”

In fact, we talked about the necessity to create a defense line at the beginning of the “ceasefire,” i.e. more than a month ago. If these works were initiated in a timely manner, you see, the violent and bloody “truce” would not turn into a loss of new territories for us (I suggest that you compare the NSDC maps of the conflict zone from the beginning of September and from today). But if the bright idea to employ this trivial solution finally reached our strategists – this is already a success.

2. Putin ordered Russian troops to withdraw from the border with Ukraine. In general, this is not the first time since the beginning of the war that the Kremlin gives such orders; but somehow by a strange coincidence more Russian soldiers and weapons end up in Donbas after these orders. However, this time we have observed a partial withdrawal of Russian units from Ukraine for at least two weeks, which gives cause for optimism. Currently, the GRU [sabotage and reconnaissance groups], as well as the narrow specialists from among the Russian army personnel continue to horse around in Donbas as part of the terrorist groups.

It is clear that no one believes in the peaceful nature of Putin – you must be a complete idiot to believe it. But, knowing that Moscow is unable to increase the number of her troops in Donbas with lightning speed in a course of a few hours, we can determine a formation of our troops that will be necessary to keep the defense up (until Kyiv dares to undertake some active measures). And only then should we monitor the border territories of the Russian Federation for the new Russian “[military] exercises.”

3. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry is discussing a joint action plan with civic organizations aimed at creating a system of territorial defense (TD). [They] will sign a memorandum of joint actions, the text of which has already been dispatched to the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. A base of non-governmental organizations is currently being developed, which will form the backbone of the TD in the future.

The very idea of ​​creating a “complete” system of TD, instead of situationally-created territorial battalions that are sent immediately “to the front”– is absolutely correct. But there are questions as to its current implementation.

It is quite obvious that the TD should be created in the course of reforms of the whole system of National Security and Defense, and is an integral part of this system that supplements the army and the National Guard as the main armed formations. The mechanism for the formation of these units should be clearly prescribed by the legislature (with the selection and provision of benefits and monetary rewards for the soldiers trained as part of the so-called active reserve), a system of training and maintenance of these units, and their interaction with armed groups.

Moreover, much of the responsibility for the TD should lie with the local authorities – that is why the defense is called territorial. Everyone should know their rights and duties and bear their share of responsibility. Only then can we get away from the Makhno movement.

Instead, the Defense Ministry and the General Staff in essence offer that the activists continue the current forced improvisations and get involved in the territorial defense (thank goodness, the country has enough patriots), and that the state will help with some things. Good people, the volunteers have pulled this war on their shoulders, maybe you should stop forcing the question on Ukrainians why we need the state afterall and for what do we pay our taxes? But the state has enjoyed that the patriots do the work for it so much that it attempts to continue to ride this workhorse. And [this behavior] is strange–it seems that the war does not teach our military officials anything.

4. The President signed the law on lustration. The Parliament adopted the bill on the formation of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau at the first reading.

This is what we waited for immediately after Maidan. It’s hard to say how much of the election PR is behind these events, and how much is a real commitment by those in power to heal the most serious chronic diseases in Ukraine. But it is the first step, the beginning of the path. Everything else from now on depends only on you and me.

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Dmitry Tymchuk

Reserve officer, director of the NGO Center for Military and Political Research, Coordinator of “Information Resistance” (hereinafter “IR”) – a non-governmental project that aims to counteract external threats to the informational space of Ukraine in the main areas of military, economic, and energy, as well as the sphere of informational security.

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