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Donetsk and Lugansk Republics Dress Rehearsal for Novorossia?

"Novorossia won’t be able to become independent at once, but the West needs to get used to the idea that it no longer belongs to Ukraine."

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

The author is a well known Ukrainian journalist forced to immigrate to Russia after the February 2014 putsch in Kiev.

Everyone interested in the Donbass has been paying attention to the internet dialogue between the Head of the Donetsk People's Republic, Alexander Zakharchenko, and the citizens of Kharkov, Odessa and the part of the Donetsk People's Republic that though still under control of the Ukraine have been considered part of Novorossia since 2014. It’s clear that these is not just an isolated campaign, but a purposeful initiative with a far-reaching goal.

<figcaption>It seems the groundwork has already been laid</figcaption>
It seems the groundwork has already been laid

Question-and-answer sessions are thoroughly prepared and announced in advance. The Ministry for State Security of the Donetsk People's Republic protects the Internet lines from attacks by the State Security Service of Ukraine. Zakharchenko answers a wide range of questions, similar to what Vladimir Putin does.

The "Novorossia project" could be revved up this year, an extra incentive for Kiev to observe Minsk II rather than dream up OSCE "police missions".

Zakharchenko is considered to be the leader of Novorossia, its Che Guevara, while the Donbass is a kind of Cuba that was a Mecca for leftist Hispanic revolutionaries, politicians and statesmen. The Donbass is destined to play approximately the same role for Novorossia.

Novorossia covers half of the entire territory of Ukraine. It is the heart of Russian Ukraine, 70-80% of the entire industrial production of the country, and half of all Ukrainian citizens – 20-22 million people. Taking into account the fact that these territories are industrial urban agglomerations, the population is also more qualified, including many specialists with a higher education.

Without Novorossia, Ukraine is a backward, poor, depressed agricultural country, with no access to the sea. It won’t be aggressive or dangerous anymore, whether or not the south-east is independent or a confederated part of it, since Kiev won’t control it in either case.

People may be skeptical about the idea of resurrecting the "Novorossia project", when the most of its territory is controlled by Ukraine, only a third of the Donbass – the Donetsk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic - being virtually independent.  The Donbass republics are unlikely to take the offensive, – because this would result in increasing anti-Russian sanctions by the West.  

That’s why this is about "the Russian Spring 2", a new uprising in Novorossia. Donetsk and Lugansk are preparing for it, and Zakharenko is portrayed as the leader.  

Novorossian hatred of Banderite Ukraine never disappeared. And pro-Russian sentiment remains strong. The Russian Spring failed to win in 2014 only because the riot wasn’t prepared and organized; they had to learn everything on the ground. It was a people’s protest flash, not a scenario with a premeditated plan.

People who visit Donetsk and Lugansk and have a chance to talk to the leaders of the republic know that they spent these two years not only in building the state, but also training future officials, who, in the event of a new revolt, would be able to manage and also rule the liberated territories.

After that, Novorossia will formally remain part of "Ukraine", but will no longer be controlled by Kiev. It won’t be able to become independent at once, but the West needs to get used to the idea that this territory no longer belongs to Ukraine.

So far, Novorossia is unofficially under the aegis of Moscow. The Russian ruble and Russian standards have been implemented in the Donetsk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic – from the economy to the educational system.  In order not to lose Novorossia’s industry, Kiev and Ukrainian oligarchs will have to agree to a confederation – the only possible way to avoid losing everything.   

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