It's time to audit and count the money
Kherson region has set the deadline for holding a referendum on joining the Russian Federation. According to Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the military-civilian administration of the region, a vote on integration with the Russian Federation should be expected in the fall. But in the Zaporozhye region, they called for the abolition of the border with Russia. In the eyes of the people, integration with our country looks a much more attractive option than transformation into new people's republics: the conditional KhNR and ZNR have long been the object of jokes and negativity for the people. Well-known political scientist Denis Denisov told Moskovsky Komsomolets why this model does not work, and how it turned out that for eight years outside Ukraine, the people's republics could not create a positive image, even despite the serious efforts of the authorities.
– And there were opportunities, – Denisov begins his story, – serious and effective. Another thing is how they were used. Since 2014, serious attention has been paid to the information campaign, the promotion of the images and values of the DPR and LPR. And the options for working on Ukrainian territories were very serious. I will give one example that was used for the People's Republics – a humanitarian program to reunite the residents of Donbass, within which large budgets were allocated so that residents of the Ukrainian-controlled territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions could receive medical care in Lugansk and Donetsk, including such complex things as like cancer surgery. A number of areas concerned sports and cultural exchange. Now it's time to review these programs and understand how effectively this money was used. And there was a lot of money out there. And what could and should have worked – you really believe me
– It was possible, but now it is already difficult. Since the collapse of the Union, without criticizing Russia's policy on Ukraine, we can note several subtle points that we rarely pay attention to. It so happened that with the collapse of the Union in Russia, a certain approach was formed in relation to many countries in the post-Soviet space – first of all, you need to work with the elites, and working with the people is superfluous. And Ukraine is an exemplary example here. There were every opportunity to work with the population, but in fact no one did it, and the elites with whom they worked turned out to be weak people who quickly changed their shoes when they felt that they were in danger. And so we got the first “revolution” in 2004, the second in 2013-2014 and now a special military operation
– I am an unconditional supporter of “soft power” — . soft power tools. This is the involvement of the population in various projects, the creation of organizations focused on the Russian Federation. Somehow we have always been embarrassed to adopt the approaches and tools of our Western “colleagues” from Britain, Europe, and the United States. Enormous money was allocated for the loyalty of political elites, whether it was the issue of large assets or the transit of oil and gas. At the same time, there used to be a lot of pro-Russian organizations, even in cities like Rivne or Ivano-Frankivsk, but they did not have funding. And it was unthinkable for these organizations to ask for support from our banks and state corporations, because there were no such mechanisms at all. Separately, there was Russian business, and separately – pro-Russian organizations. Not a single political party was created that could be, to be honest, affiliated with Russia and financed by Russia. This is a normal example when, relatively speaking, there is a party in Hungary financed by Turkey. And we had every opportunity. Who prevented the same Medvedchuk from creating youth, sports, Orthodox organizations throughout Ukraine?
– That's just the point. Those people who were, as it were, pro-Russian, are either not in Ukraine now, or have changed their shoes, or in places not so remote
– The current elite are the guys of the new generation who came after 2014, when relations became somewhat more complicated. There were attempts to make contacts or show influence, but they failed. We know perfectly well that the current president of Ukraine was happy to speak at corporate parties of Russian oligarchs as an entertainer. Is it building relationships with the elite or not?
– It hardly came. It so happened. At the right time in the right place. You see these modern trends common to the whole world – what kind of people and personalities are now becoming politicians, not even because, but rather in spite of. Rockers, comedians, show hosts. Ordinary people have a request for this, because, as such, politics has ceased to be of interest to them. For them, this is something sad, boring and uninteresting, but here the show, and bright characters come to power. And Zelensky, no matter how we treat him, is a bright and charismatic character. Against such a background, he simply tore up the past president, who is not a fool, and has been in politics all his life, and political technologists are strong, but the image has become boring. The population is tired of escalating the situation, and these guys approached their work creatively. They created the show. The image of Zelensky and Poroshenko is a wedding and a funeral. A person chooses emotionally, so the Ukrainians have made their choice. Moreover, you remember his slogans and key theses: “Everything will be fine”, “Europe is with us”. Banal populism, and the people just played political Russian roulette.
– According to what I know from Ukrainian colleagues and see in the media, nothing has changed. This is their long-term strategy of behavior within which they are comfortable working, and they are not going to change it, since it has shown its effectiveness. Since February 24, it has become much more difficult for them to work, but all that we see is the paradigm of the show.
He didn't know what realpolitik was. I thought it was all beautiful, simple and interesting. There is a feeling that this reality hit him like a butt on the head, and this is noticeable in his first months as president. A man with a normal education and a life path, but having got into trouble with the political foxes, wolves and bears of our time, he realized that he could not get off with charisma and creativity alone. We need high-class consultants and advisers
– Enter the ruble, exit five. He showed not very great efficiency in the position of Ukraine, and in the current conditions he can only leave. But since, apparently, this will not happen, and no one will let him out, he will remain for the people a man who ruined the country.
– Bad image. He is not seen as a leader. He never had high ratings, and if not for the explosion that claimed the life of Alexander Zakharchenko, he would never have been in his position. How did they work and work with his image? They work poorly, the base is not enough. But this is not the big money that would be better spent on mobilization activities and the people of Donbass. So the population in the Kherson and Zaporizhia regions does not want to be like in the LPR and DPR, and this is largely due to such leaders.
– He cannot prove himself. Based on his background, he has no success stories as head of the DPR. But why is that, what is the problem? People have different goal-settings, and this is a terrible disaster for our system in the Donbass. Back in 2014, we could make a showcase for Ukraine out of this region, and the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions would want us to have the same. And right now the time has come to comprehend whether the right people have been involved in these republics for eight years. Time for cleansing and rethinking. And I really hope that appropriate conclusions will be drawn, followed by personnel changes in Donbas