A recent poll by Russian VTSIOM has indicated that virtually half of Russians polled either favour the recognition of the Donbass republics as sovereign entities or the full incorporation of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics into the Russian Federation.
Of those polled, only 4% stated that they favour Kiev rule over the republics.
The Russian people seem to have woken up to a reality that more retrained voices in the Kremlin still haven’t fully internalised. The Donbass republics are sovereign entities in spite of non-recognition by Russia and nothing is going to change that. The sooner that Russia accepts this reality, the better.
There is simply no practical alternative than for Russia to recognise the existing sovereignty of the republics of Donbass and no moral alternative than to incorporate these free-born republics into the neighbouring Russian Federation.
There have indeed been some important measures taken by Russia to normalise the lives of citizens of Donetsk and Lugansk. Recently, a Presidential degree from Vladimir Putin declared that Donbass issued documents such as passports, driving licences and birth certificates are now legally acceptable in Russia. Furthermore, Donbass passport holders now have the full right to work and live in Russia. Russian based banks are also now opening up accounts for citizens of the Donbass republics.
But these small measures are not enough. The deplorable, blood-soaked and totally unfit for purpose regime in Kiev deserves the respect of no one and the scorn of every decent person in the world.
It is a regime that has waged a genocidal war against Donbass while not even being about to provide basic public services to areas it still controls.
The people of Donbass deserve far better.
There have been several theories suggested as to why Russia has been so aloof from enacting the inevitable return of Donbass to its mother country. This contrasts sharply with the speedy normalisation of life in Crimea after a peaceful, democratic referendum. But Donbass too had referenda in Donetsk and Lugansk.
Some have suggested that if Russia militarily secured the sovereignty of the Donbass repulbics, NATO might come in to aid the fascist aggressors. Some also claim that because unlike Crimea Donbass is landlocked, such a thing would have been more easily achieved from the NATO side.
Even during the darkest days of the Obama regime, it was never likely that NATO would have risked a third world war in order to prop up the fascists in Kiev who are constantly fighting among themselves.
Another theory states that Russia prefers Donbass to remain in a federated Ukraine in order to oppose the fascist policies that generally eliminate from the former Polish and Austrian regions of the country. This too is a rather fatuous theory as even if one takes the Donbass republics out of the Ukrainian equation, there are still many Russian majority anti-fascist regions of that state that would serve as a counterweight to the neo-Nazism of western Ukrainian regions.
Lastly, there is the argument that Russia could not economically absorb Donbass. This too is a rather inane statement. The Russian Federation is a massive country which has expended resources on fighting a war against terrorism for their ally in Syria. Surely if Russia could expend these resources, a superpower like Russia could afford to take on Donbass, which after a short while could well return to the industrial heartland it once was, therefore adding economic value to the Russian Federation.
Russia’s timidity on the issue is increasingly not worth the cost of lives in Donbass. The inevitable should not be delayed. The Russian government should take a cue from its own people and bring Donbass back home once and for all. If it’s good enough a move for picturesque Crimea, it is good enough for industrial Donbass.