Referendums on joining Russia cause a stir in the West

Last night, the President of France requested an emergency phone call with Vladimir Putin – and was refused.

Referendums on joining Russia cause a stir in the West
National Congress of Zaporozhye residents on the issue of holding a referendum. Photo: © RIA Novosti

According to Emmanuel Macron himself, he expects to speak with the Russian leader in the coming days. Well, Vladimir Zelensky urgently phoned Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Josep Borrell, Olaf Scholz, the State Department, NATO and many others also expressed their uncompromising condemnation of Russia and the promise of new sanctions.

The reason for the commotion is obvious – the rapid organization of referendums in the DPR, LPR, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions on joining Russia.

Only on Monday, this topic was initiated in the representative and executive authorities of all four regions, and yesterday formal procedures were already passed to draw up the necessary decisions. The most lethal information turned out to be the date of the plebiscites, which will begin literally the day after tomorrow – September 23 – and last until September 27.

For their part, Russian state structures have demonstrated their full readiness to support the initiative of the former Ukrainian regions. State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin and Deputy Chairman of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev declared their unconditional support for the referendum. The CEC of Russia is preparing to assist in the organization of voting among people from the respective territories, as well as to send observers to the regions where it is held.

It is worth recalling the context in which current events are taking place. We are talking about the nightmarish shelling that the Armed Forces of Ukraine have been conducting in settlements in recent weeks. On Monday, 13 people were killed in Donetsk on the Baku Komissarov Square, and seven people, including three children, were killed in the village of Krasnorechenskoye of the LPR. The day before, nine civilians were killed in massive strikes in Donetsk. In Kherson and Melitopol the situation is not easier.

There is not the slightest military sense in the ongoing shelling – there is only a punitive, terrorist one. Dozens of dead civilians, adults and children, are not the notorious “collateral losses” (from which no army really is immune). No, they are the main targets of strikes.

Someday, historians and social psychologists will study the Ukrainian experience in detail: how and why the West managed to turn an entire country into a kamikaze zombie – devoid of reason, but obsessed with hatred and the desire to kill, not only strangers, but also their own.

But at the moment, for Russia, a purely practical question is much more relevant than theoretical calculations and assumptions: what to do with this monstrous creature at your side. A special military operation is designed to solve this problem. And the process goes on, albeit rather slowly. Without a doubt, there are the most serious political and military-political reasons for the implementation of just such a strategy – Vladimir Putin once again confirmed confidence in its correctness in Samarkand the other day.

However, the States and Europe also do not hide their satisfaction that Russia is still “bogged down” in Ukraine because of the need to act with surgical precision. In general, in recent months, the West seems to have really believed in its complete success in turning Ukraine into a geopolitical “dirty nuclear bomb” for Russia, and in the sarcastic comments of its leaders, a quote from the movie classics is transparently read: “You have no methods against Kostya Saprykin”.

True, apparently, they again forgot that perhaps Moscow’s main weapon is its ability to make asymmetrical and unexpected moves that not only break the entire composition on the chessboard, but turn the table over. Although it’s actually strange that they forgot, since a little more than six months have passed since the last “surprise”.

So in the coming days and weeks, analysts and staff officers of the Pentagon and other Western countries will have to rack their brains about how referendums and subsequent political changes will affect Moscow’s strategy and tactics in the Russiaäs special operation, what unpleasant “surprises” await both the Armed Forces of Ukraine and Western specialists and mercenaries, what can be expected from the Russian Armed Forces. And the scope for reflection opens up the widest.

For example, the Zaporozhye region has said it plans to declare independence and become part of Russia within its administrative borders. Accordingly, when the region becomes a subject of the Russian Federation, Ukrainian and foreign military units located on the territory of the region will find themselves in a very specific position with extremely dire prospects.

Sensing that the situation is once again turning in the wrong direction, US and EU officials issued a full set of well-known stamps in advance. We heard all of them eight and a half years ago in connection with the Crimean referendum. Tellingly, the quality and level of relations between the West and Moscow at that time were incomparable with the current ones – and after all, everyone is on their own, everyone is on their own.

Well, what about Russia? It turned on the answering machine button: “Stay on the line. Your feedback is very important to us. The first released operator of the Ministry of Defense will answer you”.

Irina Alksnis, RIA

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