What awaits Ukraine – an interview with Rostislav Ishchenko

rostislav-ishchenkoRostislav Ishchenko, the president of the Center for Systems Analysis and Forecasting, gave an interview to “Prague Telegraph”.

Question 1: In response to recent events in Ukraine how probable is an armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Russia and NATO?

Answer: The conflict between Russia and Ukraine will be possible only if the regime in Kiev directly attacks Russian territory (most likely in the Crimea peninsula). If such an attack will not take place, the conflict will further develop in the format of the Civil War, with a gradual and accelerating move of the front line to the West.

As for a conflict between Russia and NATO, the probability is extremely low. Even if the individual contingents of NATO will be present on the Ukrainian territory, and even if Russia will have to officially send own forces to neutralize their troops (which is unlikely, since the militias are able to solve this problem by themselves), it’s just going to be the destruction of the individual armed contingents of individual countries. But this does not mean that NATO will take over the responsibility for the conflict. That is because the recognition of NATO (and thus the United States) itself in a state of armed conflict with Russia leads to an almost inevitable nuclear standoff. USA is ready for a war between Russia and Europe, but the United States is not ready to place their own cities under a threat of a nuclear attack.

Question 2: In what direction is the situation developing in Ukraine? How long will we have to wait for a win / loss of one of the parties?

Answer: Resources of the Ukrainian state are extremely limited. On the other hand the Western world does not have the resources to maintain Ukraine either. Therefore, it seems to me, the active (military) phase of the conflict is to end by the late winter, tentatively by January 2015. And Kiev must be defeated because if Kiev suddenly defeats Donbass, then the United States will face the question of what to do with this “suitcase without a handle” and where to get the resources to maintain it? Kiev’s defeat in the Civil War absolves America of all responsibility. In Washington, they will announce that it is all Putin’s fault. But if Kiev wins and then collapses under the weight of economic problems, the blame will be squarely on Washington, who would appear too greedy to rescue an ally.

Question 3: Is it not, in your opinion, the purpose of the Ukrainian conflict to serve as a “smoke screen” for launching military operations in the southern regions of the world (under the guise of Ukrainian war conflagration spreads – Libya, Syria, etc.).

Answer: No. Ukrainian crisis is part of the global systemic crisis of the global system of economic and political relationships that were built after the Cold War based on the hegemony of the United States. This is not the screen, but only one of the stages of development of the general crisis of the system. Perhaps that will be followed by a similar crisis of the EU, if Europe does not change its mind and will not go to the settlement of Ukrainian crisis on Russia’s side, leaving the United States alone in international isolation.

Question 4: Are the sanctions effective instruments of influence on Moscow?

Answer: No, they are not. The fact is that, as I noted above, it is a crisis of the system. That is, Russia, and other states would still have to solve a problem of a profound reform of the current system of global relationships, or create a new one. Obviously, this would have happened a little later (say, five years). Sanctions stimulate solution finding in the form of a new system. In fact the United States, trying to confront Russia to stop or slow down the creation of a new, alternative to pax Americana, system, with its sanctions accelerated this process. The new system is in its infancy (Bank BRICS, beginning of the transition to national currencies in international trade, bypassing the dollar), but things are moving very quickly. Back in the month of May, no one expected to see even what is already there now. In fact the United States, through the mechanism of the anti-Russian sanctions organized their own hanging themselves (if EU did not demonstrate their traditional servility the cold corpse of Washington would have been taken off the rope by now).

Question 5: How big are the contradictions within the Ukraine, in particular, in Kiev, with respect to military operations in the east of the country?

Answer: So far, the controversy over the operation can be reduced to the fact that everyone wants their neighbor to go fight for them, without calling into question the advisability of war as such. True and proper anti-war trend began to emerge in the east (Kharkov) and the West (Transcarpathia) of Ukraine in the last week. For Kiev authorities today more dangerous is the internal competition of political groups fighting for control of resources rapidly running out, as well as the growing anti-war sentiment in parts of the regular army. In principle, any major defeat can lead to the situation that the remains of regular troops will move onto Kiev, together with the militia. That is, the Kiev regime is on the verge of a political collapse. This crisis can, without exaggeration, occur at any moment. But it has not yet occurred.

Question 6: Does Ukraine face a threat of spreading “fascist plague,” as is talked about in the Russian-speaking media?

Answer: What do you mean “threat of spreading”? In Ukraine, the current regime, ruled by Nazi, came to power in an armed coup and threw the army against its own people, at least against that part of it which the regime thought “wrong.” The regime very clearly articulated (even before the Civil War and before the coup, by the leaders being in opposition at the time) that the main enemy is Russia and Russian speaking (Russian-“cultured”) citizens of Ukraine. Regime started and continues the offensive on Russian culture and the interests of Russian speaking citizens of Ukraine. Regime committed genocide in the South-East of the country. So, I think that fascism has long spread all over Ukraine. Now we have to wait for it to crawl from Ukraine to the EU. It appears that the wait will not be long.

Question 7: When will be possible to reconcile the Russian and Ukrainian peoples?

Answer: I would not be talking about “reconciliation of the Russian and Ukrainian people” in this context, but of the reunion of all Russian Orthodox people. I think that at the end of the civil war in the Ukraine, this process will go very quickly….

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