The leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Gennady Zyuganov, went on record advocating the annexation of the troubled breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, making Donbass (the overall region) part of the Russian Federation:
Russia’s Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov has openly called for the annexation of two eastern Ukrainian regions amid media reports of a possible escalation of hostilities.
Ukraine has been at war for control of the Donbass region after an uprising of pro-Russian separatists there in 2014. Russia has been accused of stoking the conflict that has claimed thousands of lives and displaced more than 1.6 million people, a charge that the Kremlin denies. Separatist leaders quoted by Russian state media have claimed that Kiev is readying an offensive in the region following the assassination of Alexander Zakharchenko, the leader of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic,” late last month.
“If I were in the place of the president, I would immediately accept Donbass [into Russia],” Zyuganov was quoted as saying by the state-run RIA Novosti news agency Monday.
Russia has recognized passports and other identification documents issued in separatist-held areas of eastern Ukraine, where the Russian ruble is already a commonly used currency, for a year and a half.
Zyuganov, who has been a staunch proponent of recognizing Donetsk and Luhansk as entities independent of Ukraine, suggested the annexation would bring an end to “the banditism.”
“I’m a supporter of continuing the Minsk process, but recognizing the republics won’t prevent this dialogue at all,” he said at a briefing following Russia’s local and regional elections, referring to the international Minsk peace talks.
Naturally, such a proposal is not likely to be very popular with Ukraine’s pro-Western government, as this government serves largely as a proxy of the will of the United States in the region.
While Mr. Zyuganov’s suggestion may seem attractive to some, there are substantial reasons why it is an unrealistic suggestion to make (though it got him some attention):
- Donbass, both the Donetsk and Lugansk breakaway republics, are currently in a hot war with forces from Western Ukraine, which allegedly are being advised and supported by American and other NATO country forces. Crimea was never in a state of military conflict. An annexation would bring war right into Russia.
- Although the question of joining Russia was asked of voters in Donetsk and Lugansk in 2014, both provinces opted for their own sovereignty by very wide margins, 90% for Donetsk voters and 96% for Lugansk voters. Neither wants to join Russia. Crimea did.
- Joining with Russia would not make the fighting stop. It likely would intensify it. This is because of the duplicitous rhetoric coming from Kyiv. The leaders of the Ukrainian government presently deride the Russian-speaking people of Eastern Ukraine and have resorted to true Nazi-style tactics of ethnic prejudice, and this is at both the levels of the state and the schismatic Kyiv Patriarchate, which is presently trying to uphold its masquerade as a legitimate Church, shockingly, with support from the Ecumenical Patriarch in Constaninople (Istanbul). While the Kyiv authorities regularly blast the Russian-speaking people of their own country, at the same time, they are not willing to part with these provinces who declared themselves separate.
- Ukraine would lose an enormous energy resource. The coalfields in the Donbass region are the fourth largest in Europe, with reserves estimated at 10 billion tons.
- Ukraine would lose its industrial heart. This region accounts for 20 percent of all industrial production in the overall Ukrainian territory.
These reasons differ widely from the situation that was faced by Crimea, which had been largely neglected by Ukraine, but at the same time which is sixty percent Russian in population and of enormous military and strategic importance. The main difference lay in the will of the people of Crimea, who determined for themselves that their best course was to be rejoined to the Russian Federation.
It should be further mentioned that the situation on the ground in these breakaway republics is dire, and understandably the responsibility for the suffering of the people in these places lies with the insanity and anti-Russian-anything vitriol coming from Poroshenko and the Kiev government. However, the Minsk Accords lay out the solution in the best possible manner. The problem is Kiev is not living up to its part of the bargain, and therefore it is Kiev that much answer for the strife of the people in this contested region.