The Russian military’s preliminary makes an attempt to take Kyiv by drive have failed. However, the Kremlin has not revised its aim of regime change in Ukraine.
“The aim is the liquidation of Ukraine as a puppet of the Anglo-Saxon block,” says Pyotor Akopov, a columnist for the Russian state information outlet RIA-Novosti, his feedback matching these of others near energy within the Kremlin.
“Ukraine in its current form will not come out of this conflict,” Akopov advised Newsweek. “It will be a different country with a different leadership completely in the Russian sphere of influence.”
Akopov got here to the eye of Western observers on February 26, when he printed an op-ed titled “Russia’s Invasion and the Arrival of a New World.” The article was posted to RIA-Novosti’s web site at precisely 8:00 a.m. on February 26, two days after the beginning of the Russian invasion.
“Ukraine has returned to Russia,” the article acknowledged optimistically. “This does not mean that its statehood will be liquidated, but that it will be reorganized, re-established and returned to its natural state of part of the Russian world.”
The RIA-Novisti web site eliminated Akopov’s article the day after its publication. Most of the hypothesis as to why it did so has centered on the discrepancy between the columnist’s characterization of “Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine acting as a single geopolitical entity” and the real-world truth of Ukrainian troopers and residents banding collectively to repel the Russian invasion.
However, whilst Russian troops redeploy from the areas round Kyiv in Ukraine’s north as a way to focus their assault on the southern Black Sea coast and japanese Donbas area, Akopov maintains that Russia’s political targets in Ukraine might be met.
“One possibility for the operation was a quick capitulation, but another was a longer conflict,” Akopov explains. “The quick capitulation didn’t happen, and so now the troops that were around Kyiv will redeploy in order to take control of the area from Kherson to Donetsk.”
He went on to explain the transformation of Ukraine into what is named a “rump state,” a landlocked remnant of the free and viable nation it has been, lower off from the West, from very important sea commerce by means of the Black Sea, a consumer state of the Kremlin — similar to its neighbor to the north.
“After that, the Ukrainian army will see the uselessness of fighting, and Russia will expand towards Mykolaiv and Odesa,” Akopov mentioned. “What remains of Ukraine will then come under such economic and military pressure that it will have to reorient away from the West and back towards Russia.”
“The resulting Ukrainian state will be similar to Belarus in its geopolitical orientation and domestic administration,” he added. “This is a multi-step process.”
Akopov isn’t a lone voice. Despite the army info on the bottom, his rhetoric matches that of different figures near the Kremlin, and of the Russian management itself.
Since the beginning of Putin’s invasion on February 24, certainly one of Russia’s formally acknowledged goals has been the “denazification” of Ukraine. The accusation that the Kyiv authorities is a neo-fascist entity has been repeated in Moscow ever since Ukraine’s Euromaidan revolution of 2014.
Moscow’s characterization of its southern neighbor has not modified although, in 2019, 73% of Ukrainian voters solid their poll for present president Volodymyr Zelensky, a Russian-speaking Ukrainian of Jewish heritage.
Nevertheless, on the morning of February 24, just a few hours after Russian forces started attacking Ukraine, Russian president Vladimir Putin introduced that “we will strive towards the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine.”
Throughout the battle, Russian officers and Kremlin-connected insiders have used comparable rhetoric.
“Our president said that we should carry out denazification and demilitarization,” state Duma deputy Pyotor Tolstoy mentioned on March 17 in an interview with the radio station Komsomolskaya Pravda. “In order for these two tasks to be achieved, it is necessary to completely take control of the territory of Ukraine.”
In an interview printed on March 28 within the newspaper Rossiskaya Gazeta, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pressured that “both the demilitarization and the denazification of Ukraine are necessary components of any diplomatic agreement that we might reach.”
On April 5, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev wrote on his private Telegram channel: “It should come as no surprise that, having written the names of of Judas and Nazi henchmen into its history textbooks and mentally transformed itself into the Third Reich, Ukraine will suffer the same fate that they did.”
On April 8, Russian Foreign Ministry official spokeswoman Maria Zakharova mentioned of some Ukrainians’ claims that borscht is a Ukrainian dish: “This is what we are talking about when we speak of xenophobia, Nazism, and extremism in all its forms.”
On April 12, in one other interview printed in Rossiskaya Gazeta, Kremlin insider Sergey Karaganov mentioned: “We have not yet solved the main problem, which is the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine, and the liberation of Donbas. It will have to be solved by military means, as negotiations at this stage will not lead to much.”
And additionally on April 12, the Russian president himself reaffirmed his targets in no unsure phrases.
“The military operation will continue until its total completion,” Vladimir Putin advised a press convention, “with the resolution of the aims which were set forth at the beginning of this operation.”
Despite its strategic army reorientation in the direction of Ukraine’s south and east, the Kremlin has not modified its preliminary political aim of regime change in Kyiv.
As Akapov warns, “This process can take several years.”
Correction 4/15/22, 12:20 p.m.ET: A earlier model of this text incorrectly acknowledged that Akopov’s article had been eliminated “within minutes” of publication. We remorse the error.