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For over eight years, Russia has been masterminding a genocide of the Ukrainian people, claiming all the while that “no one is there” and “Donbas must be saved.” It is not the first or even the second time that Russia has been using the pirate’s method, posing as a normal civilized country only to invade the world when it least expects that.
This has been Russia’s tactic for centuries. This has been Russia’s tactic in Eastern Ukraine back in 2014 when it created quasi-republics in the occupied territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions to represent the imaginary “voice of the people from the East.” This has become one of the key instruments of Russia’s hybrid war not only against Ukraine but against the world at large.
So, why has the Kremlin set up a “window dressing” of “people’s republics,” what can it entail, and how the West should react? Find out in our explanation.
“It’s not us, it’s the L/DPR”
Let’s look back at the year 2014. Then, in February, Russia invaded Ukraine for the first time since it regained its independence. It occupied Crimea, appointed a puppet government, and held a rugged pseudo-referendum on the annexation of the peninsula. Just three months later, in May, Russia created the so-called “republics” in two Ukrainian regions, namely the Donetsk and the Luhansk regions.
The project of these “republics” wasn’t anything new. Russia has used a similar method for a long time to destabilize the countries that it wants to keep under its thumb. One doesn’t even have to dig up old historical records for that. Russia did the same thing in Moldova’s Transnistria, providing military support to separatist forces and the “republic.” It did the same in Georgia, when it supported the so-called republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, stirring the pot and starting the war in 2008. This has been Russia’s go-to strategy for a long time.
Okay, but why did Russia need the “republics” on Ukrainian territory in the first place? This sanctioned the Kremlin to wage a war for eight years without taking any responsibility for it. Apparently, “it isn’t us” that terrorize and torture locals for pro-Ukrainian opinions, it is “the independent republics.” “It isn’t us” that destroy Ukrainian cities and civilian objects, it’s “the independent republics.” “It wasn’t us” that downed the Malaysian Boeing 777 with almost 300 civilians on board, it was “the independent republics.”
Of course, in 2022 Russia had to show some of its true colors when it invaded Ukraine again “by invitation” from these pseudo-republics. However, it hasn’t abandoned its tactic and continues to use all kinds of false-flag operations to justify its aggression for the world and its own citizens. Although now Russia has taken even bigger steps. By proxy of the L/DPR, it is flaunting the death penalty before the world, threatening to kill not only Ukrainian defenders but also the foreigners that came to Ukraine to help preserve its territorial integrity and sovereignty.
Diplomacy or death?
By the hands of the “Donetsk court,” the Russian dictator has already sentenced five foreign citizens to death: two Britons (Sean Pinner and Aiden Aslin), two Americans (Alexander John-Robert Drewke and Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh), and one Moroccan (Brahim Saadoune).
In August, the trial of five more foreigners began, three of whom, namely, John Harding from Britain, Matthias Gustafsson from Sweden, and Vjekoslav Prebeg from Croatia, are facing the death penalty, as per Russian propagandist media.
Several states have already sent diplomatic notes to the Russian Federation. Russia has predictably responded by referring them to the “jurisdiction of the Donetsk People’s Republic” (this is a tactic to force the world to recognize these pseudo-republics).
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, in turn, expressed grave concern and called this Russia-hatched trial a “sham.”
The majority in the West understands that the “L/DPR” are just a “window dressing” for Russia. And it is Russia that is sentencing foreign citizens in order to have itself yet another lever that it can use to blackmail the world.
No one is safe
One of the most important things to keep in mind is that no one is safe from Russia’s aggressive and treacherous politics. Russia systematically creates pretexts and false casus belli to justify its invasions. This happened to Finland, when the tall tale about the Finns shelling the Soviet Army became the basis for the start of the war in 1939. This happened in the 1960s in the then Czechoslovakia, when the Soviet KGB agents created a pretext for the Soviet Army’s invasion of the country in 1968.
This repeatedly happened to the Baltic states and a number of other countries. The world must, once and for all, learn this lesson about Russia in order to effectively counter its politics of intimidation, terror, and aggression.