Sanctioned Pro-Russian Website Explains Why Moscow’s Invasion Has Demoralized Ukraine’s Pro-Russians

Snowflakes be warned: answer is going to cause you cognitive stress

The answer is obvious: nobody likes someone bringing war to their hometown. Putin’s call to attempt to win Ukraine by military force is only going to widen the sway of Ukrainian nationalism and escalate anti-Russian sentiment beyond UPA’s wildest dreams

The article that follows is a translation of a post on the telegram:

While reading this, keep in mind that Strana itself has often been accused of being a ‘pro-Russian fifth column’ in Ukraine. It was sanctioned on Zelensky’s command throughout 2021 and 2022 for this reason.

Among its politically incorrect stances was its constant defense for the implementation of the political aspects of the Minsk agreements, which would have involved the reintegration of the territories of the ‘L/DPR’ into Ukraine on the basis of regional autonomy and without political purges.

They also often critiqued the role of nationalists and US interference in post-2014 Ukrainian politics. It was also the 9th most popular Ukrainian news site by monthly clicks in 2021.

In Russia, they are increasingly asking themselves why those people who were considered “pro-Russian” in Ukraine before the war do not support Putin’s “special operation”?

Why such little support even in the already Russian-controlled territories of southeastern Ukraine?

The answers to these questions are actually obvious.

First, and most importantly, Putin’s attack itself was a shock precisely for those Ukrainians who were sympathetic to Russia (for the nationalists, this was not a shock, but a confirmation of their theories).

After all, before that, the entire leadership of Russia had repeatedly denied the intention to invade Ukraine. And when this happened, people who were positive about Russia and generally shared the opinion about “one people” felt deceived and lost all confidence in Putin.

Secondly, the motives for the invasion declared by Putin did not seem adequate to the “pro-Russian” Ukrainians. After all, Ukraine did not go on the offensive in the Donbass, did not attack Russia. As for joining NATO (which was the main thesis in Putin’s statement about the start of the war), few people in Ukraine believed in the likelihood of this against the backdrop of constant statements from the West that they were not going to accept Ukraine in it.

Also, few people believe that Ukraine was supposedly going to attack the “L/DPR” in early March, especially after they had been recognized by Russia (as they are now trying to prove in Moscow). Therefore, the Russian invasion was perceived as completely unmotivated, as an act of treacherous aggression.

Thirdly, no matter how negatively this category of citizens of Ukraine feels towards the Ukrainian government, Maidan, nationalists and external management [by the West], no matter how they condemn Zelensky for the course towards NATO and for refusing to comply with the political part of the Minsk agreements, under no circumstances would they ever want “liberation” through the bombing of their cities and the complete destruction of their lives.

For the majority of Ukrainians, who before the war were referred to as “pro-Russian”, their positive vision for the future was not joining Russia and, moreover, not creating new “people’s republics” (it was well known to everyone that over the past 7 years Russia had failed to establish a normal life in the “L/DNR”), but a change in the external and internal political course of Ukraine, the establishment of good neighborly relations with the Russian Federation. That is, essentially, a return to the model Ukraine had in 2013.

Putin’s attack, in the eyes of “pro-Russian” Ukrainians, leads the country in the opposite direction – to a sharp increase in the nationalist vector.

They see the war as the greatest tragedy and want it to end as soon as possible. And if Zelensky and Russia agree to peace on certain conditions, then this category of Ukrainians will be the most active supporters of such an agreement.

Fourthly, there is still a small part of Ukrainian citizens who, in spite of everything, support Russia, and blame the Ukrainian government for the shelling of residential areas, accusing them of turning cities into fortified areas which the Russian army is firing at.

However, they do not openly support Putin even in the territories controlled by the Russians. Because the officially declared goal of Russia is to achieve a number of demands from Kyiv, after which the Russian army will leave all the territories occupied since February 24 (except Donbass). Naturally, as soon as the Ukrainian authorities return there, all those who collaborated with the Russians will go to trial in the best case for themselves, and in the worst case they will simply be shot as traitors. In such conditions, there are very few who want to openly help the Russian army.

Furthermore, representatives of the Ukrainian elite (more precisely, that part of it that admits cooperation with the Russians) are guided by the same logic. They prefer either to remain silent altogether or condemn Putin’s invasion. Especially considering that Russia did not achieve a quick victory and the outcome of the war remains unclear to them.

Characteristically, representatives of the Ukrainian émigré community from among the ex-party of regions politicians living in Russia (except for Oleg Tsarev) have not shown themselves in any way publicly. Even Yanukovych limited himself to just one rather abstract statement.

  1. ken says

    If Ukies didn’t want the ‘invasion’ all they had to do was follow the Minsk treaty THEY SIGNED… yes? Stop killing folks in the Donbass…. yes? Stop with the nazified laws they were passing….yes?

    Then after not keeping their signed word and the invasion started,,, all they had to do was guarantee the now independent states in the Donbass, stop killing folks in the Donbass and stay neutral. Nope! Too simple! The West wants to drag the war out until the last Ukrainian dies. Always there to help continue killing the West is now sending arms and even Western military slugs to “train” the Ukies.

    Putin almost gave out BJ’s to get Ukraine and the West to follow these common sense methods and the treaties they signed. But no,,, after being ignored he finally takes appropriate measures to prevent a invasion of these territories and now he is the Nazi,,, the actual Nazis are the hero’s which show how f—ked up the West is. Oh yeah,,, those hundred thousand troops building up in Eastern Ukraine was just a fluke…. Good thing most in the West are clueless and took Bills killshots for the fake virus or the PTB would have never been able to pass on the BS they have.

    And does not the USA have a history of doing what Putin is doing only worse. Take its growing period (1800s),,, first it would send in White trespassers,,, then follow up with the military to ‘protect’ Americans. Then there was Grenada where some ‘college’ Americans were threatened…. and wasn’t all those ME/NA destruction central wars to protect Americans and the world from terrorism? More BS.

    All the horse hockey and twisting of facts in the world doesn’t negate any of these truisms. Only the senseless dumbshit lemmings that would never hump a pack and rifle are stupid enough to buy it.

    1. Oscar Peterson says

      I agree with you about the duplicity and hypocrisy of the GoU and US, but the real issue is what Putin should do now.

      He has to be able to reduce Ukraine to the status of a huge Gaza Strip to achieve his de-NATOization goal. What does he have to do achieve that? Does he have the resources necessary to do that?

  2. Oscar Peterson says

    Interesting piece and highlights the basic contradictions in Russian policy.

    Putin wanted to accomplish two things:

    1. De-NATOize Ukraine now and for the future.
    2. Reverse the trend of Ukrainian forced cultural/political divergence from Russia undertaken by the post-coup GoU, its nationalist supports and the US.

    There was alway a potential contradiction between the two since the first almost certainly required some degree of force which was likely to make the second more difficult to attain if not actually to strengthen the trend which is what this article talks about.

    Putin was faced with a Hobson’s choice and what he SHOULD have done and should do now is not obvious–not to me anyway.

    His other choices going into the crisis were:

    1. Ignore the NATOization of Ukraine and focus on building the Russian economy and shifting energy production to the Asian market–essentially fighting a primarily economic/social campaign geared to long-term success as China is doing.

    2. Dispense with what many would call the illusions about East Slav brotherhood and merely take the fastest, most militarily effective route to de-NATOization, emphasizing in the run-up to war not East Slavic brotherhood but the complicity of Ukrainians in the circumstances leading to the invasion: “You installed a government hostile to and threatening the RF and unless to stop going down this road, you will pay heavily.

    Of course, the faith Putin placed in Minsk to achieve a modus vivendi with the post-coup GoU while the AFU were being redesigned–fairly effectively, as we see now–was part of the problem. Those who wanted to go to the Dneipr in 2014-5 may have been right.

    The problem with taking a “Chinese” course of action is, obviously, that Russia is not China. It is not well armored culturally to withstand the incessant and aggressive subversion of the West. And despite Western attempts to lump Putin’s “autocracy” with Chinese authoritarian governance, that is merely a propaganda meme. Russia may be illiberal in some respects, but it is open enough to make it vulnerable to all the weapons of subversion the US can wield. And of course, there is no reason to think that US AMB and SSM systems would not move into western Ukraine at least.

    How much a different operational concept might have improved the strategic situation for Russia, I’m still not sure. But leaving Zelensky to chat with the world unimpeded while everyone and his brother uploaded damning images from cell phone cameras and beamed them out to the global (US) media, which is continuing to happen, certainly seems self-destructive no matter how laudable the concern to minimize casualties and discomfort might be. And the seeming lack of a plan to interdict supplies of ammunition and weapons coming across the Polish border is still a mystery to me. Unless the impact of the much-celebrated arms flow is somehow much less than it seems, this is a real problem for Russian strategy in Ukraine going forward.

    Ultimately, I think Putin will have to keep much of occupied part of eastern Ukraine under Russian control–at least an expanded Donbas and corridor through Mariupol to Kherson, because that has to be part of the “Gazafication” of Ukraine. If Russia does not want to occupy (much of) Ukraine, it will have to be postured to punish Ukraine. And it must control the periphery of Ukraine, as Israel controls the periphery of Gaza, in order to do that.

    Russia must be able to control all of the Ukrainian coastline either through sustained military occupation OR through naval blockage (actual or threatened). It must be able to interdict at need the flows across the western border. And it will have to have the will and capacity to actualize the economic isolation of Ukraine if it needs to.

    Right now, we have to see what Russia can achieve in the aftermath of Mariupol in the decisive attempt to (finally) encircle GoU forces facing Donbas. Then, if there is adequate success there, the question of the remainder of the coast west from Kherson and the issue of the border with Poland have somehow to be dealt with. There is also the half-way mobilization issue that Marko has raised several times. And the situation wherein that buffoon, Boris Johnson, feels he can sashay into Kiev (albeit clandestinely) for a photo op perhaps needs to be rethought as well.

    We’ll see what we see.

    1. Oscar Peterson says

      Should be ABM systems, not AMB.

  3. TRM says

    One other factor that was missed. They’ve been beaten down by the Nazis for 8 years. Not knowing if Russia was going to stay or go they would not help them out of fear of reprisals from the Nazis. Wait and see or flee and wait and see is the strategy with the highest survival rate for civilians.

    No point taking sides when you don’t know who will rule you next week. Especially after the withdraw of forces from the north.

  4. Russian Deaths says

    вы все должны уйти сейчас, пока Соединенные Штаты не вмешались. Если вы не можете обыграть Украину, вы обязательно проиграете американцам

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