Fighting for Peace

RUSSIA / FSU POLITICS - Report 09 Mar 2015 by Alexey Dolinskiy

A long-awaited ceasefire benefits separatists in Novorossiya as they managed to use last days before it came into force to capture an important transportation hub and can now regroup and consider further advancement. Russia would prefer to avoid further sanctions and can now wait some time for a convenient opportunity to provide further support to Novorossiya.

Economic challenges create incentives for the Russian leadership to channel all the public dissatisfaction towards the West. Trying to portray Russian opposition protesters as a treacherous supporters of the West, the Kremlin mobilizes its supporters to rally against “Maidan” which seen as a symbol of regime changes organized by the West.

Two policy options are on the table as liberals try to use the crisis as an opportunity for economic reforms, while the security agencies leadership demands further spending due to foreign policy situation and the Ukrainian crisis. The reform package has not been yet approved as the President is largely preoccupied with foreign policy, however, it may be used in the future if the economic crisis intensifies.

Former Deputy Prime Minister and opposition leader Boris Nemtsov’s death turned a new page in Russian politics. The Kremlin’s reaction towards it will be an indication of the methods of political competition that would be used in the country in the future. Although boosting the numbers of street protestors it has not so far created any profound changes in the opposition movement.

Russians believe that the main reason why the US is considering providing weapons to the Ukrainian army is to instigate a war. Moreover, almost half of Russian population believe that the world is what will happen if the US actually proceeds with this policy.

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