International economic forum in Davos has become undoubtedly one of the most important events of international and European agenda in January. In this regard the speech of Russian president V.Putin deserves a special attention, as it was his first speech at such influential platform after 12 years’ pause.
The Russian president touched the issues of world security system degradation, weakening of international institutions, growing number of regional conflicts, the impossibility to set up unipolar world order, the risks of unilateral use of military force, the possibility of global “total war”, the increasing influence of digital platforms on the international policy etc. V.Putin also expressed some messages, which were directly addressed to the whole West and showed some possible changes of Russian external policy in this regard.
“It is absolutely clear that the world can not follow the path of establishing the economy which benefits one million persons or even golden billion”. These words of Putin were definitely addressed to the US and EU members, indeed – it is challenge of their geopolitical, economic and cultural leadership reached by these countries by developing high technologies, fair competition alongside the indisputable respect for the rights of citizens, high standards of social support.
Putin denies that concept of world order, having no alternative to offer instead. In fact he rather threats collective West with “The use of trade barriers, illegitimate sanctions, financial, technological and information restrictions is a game without rules that critically increases the risks of a unilateral use of military force”.
“Illegitimate sanctions” mentioned above are referred to the sanctions imposed by the international community against Russia as the result of multiple and brutal violations of international law committed by Russia, still all these sanctions were set up to make Russia return to dialogue and to stop these violations.
The message of Putin for world society is obvious – Russia will continue its confrontation with the West and even reinforce it.
Putin’s speech can be treated as the the next chapter of his Munich speech in 2007 and it was for the first time since the Cold war’s end that Russia has started catious confrontation with the West. Over time this confrontation was becoming more aggressive. Direct aggression against Georgia (Sakartvelo) in 2008, against Ukraine in 2014, support of absolutely illegitimate dictatorship regimes in Syria and Venezuela were backed up by a massive and extensive propaganda network presented in media landscape. Aggressive actions of Russia on the international arena marked the new chapter of hybrid war against the West.
The confirmation of Putin’s thesis of possible worsening of international conflicts was another significant event that took place almost simultaneously with Putin’s speech. Though it was less highlighted by world medias, it is directly connected with the warning Putin addressed to the West. It was “Russian Donbass” forum held in Donetsk city in the East of Ukraine, occupied by Russian-backed separatists.
The prominent Russian propagandists joined this event: Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of the Russian state channel RT, NTV channel presenter Tigran Keosayan, the editor-in-chief of “Moscow speaks” radio channel Roman Babayan. The Russian state Duma deputy Andrey Kozlenko and senator Kazbek Taysaev were also presented there as official guests from Russia. All these people shared round table with the “leaders” of unrecognized “republics” D.Pushilin and L.Pasechnik…. It is absolutely obvious that such event, with Russian officials presence, could not happen without the approval of top Russian officials and of V.Putin personally.
The result of that 2 days long propaganda show was publication of “Doctrine of Russian Donbass”, which contained some extremely dangerous tendencies not only for Ukraine, but for the Europe. One of the goals declared in this document is “to establish control of DPR/LPR over all territories of former Donetsk and Lugansk regions”. Such rhetoric fully contradicts with Normand and Minsk format of negotiations aimed at peaceful settlement of military conflict in Ukraine, it also contradicts with official obligations of Russia to support the re-establishment of Ukrainian control over Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
The recovery of “Novorossia” term means the current actualization by pro-Russian separatists of the aim to occupy the whole left bank of Ukraine:
“The fate of neighboring regions of Novorossia being under control of Ukraine yet, is important for the future of Donbass. The secession of these regions from Ukraine and termination of Ukrainian state in its current form, the creation of Russian state – the successor of Ukraine could greatly improve the prospects of Donbass and could improve international recognition of DPR/LPR as well as using resources of former Ukraine”.
In the early 2014 the term of “Novorossia” was widely used by Russian propagandists and meant the occupation of the whole Left bank of Ukraine, creation of “puppet republics” there. The firm reaction of Ukraine left no chance for this plan to be implemented.
There are also two tendencies which attract the attention. The first one is that Russia is not going to join Donbass de jure. The second one is that Kremlin opts for the “Abkhaz” scenario of conflict development in Donbass, which means the integration de facto (mass issue of “DPR/LPR” passports and then – issue of Russian passports) and maintenance of the conflict as a tool of pressure upon Ukraine. However in contrast of “Abkhaz” scenario, Russia is ready to resume escalation of conflict anytime, even if it means direct military aggression.
The seriousness of change of terms and narratives of pro-Russian separatists should not be underestimated, as it is about the plan of dismemberment of sovereign country-the member of the United Nations. Such dismemberment would be accompanied with an active warfare, the massacre of civilians, chaos and anarchy in Europe’s east.Ukraine today is perfect example of the way Putin’s cautions can be implemented regarding possible escalation of regional conflicts. Putin challenged the West. The question is how the West will response.