Speaking in Crimea on August 14, Vladimir Putin recalled that the Peninsula in 1920 was the last refuge of the anti-Bolshevik White Russian army. From there she sailed from Russia after the end of the Civil war. The place where was played the fratricidal conflict, can now become a place of "reconciliation "red" and "white"," noted Putin. These words were clearly related to his calls to end the conflict in Ukraine. The Soviet Union collapsed only 22 years ago, so any "red" still, but these "whites" have, of course, no — the last one died in 1990-ies. However, in the form of the old struggle of "red" and "white" continues, and its legacy in the context of the war in Ukraine continues to be surprisingly relevant.
In particular it helps to explain relations between Russia and the rebels, and those strange things that happen in the leadership of the breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk National Republics. First, your posts have left the civil leaders of the republics, Alexander Borodai, Valery Bolotov. They were both highly visible personalities. Secondly, the 14th of August resigned the most famous rebel commander Igor Strelkov. It was a shock to supporters of the DND and LNR, as the Shooters had become a cult figure. Many Russians consider it a symbol of military genius and military valour. It was obvious that he was forced to leave Moscow, but why?
Strelkov and Borodai are Russian citizens, and their successors were Ukrainians. It would be easiest to explain such a change by the desire of Moscow to send the rebellion into the hands of local. However, this case is not explicitly limited. For example, the Shooters turned into the banner of the Russian nationalist opposition who oppose Putin. This meant that he would have to leave.
According to Strelkov close to the source, in the last days of his command of the rebels he was concerned about the confrontation between "red" and "white". In one of his statements he said: "I stick to the ideology of the White guard". The shooters, apparently, considers himself a kind of modern incarnation of an officer of the Imperial army — with a strict code of honor and honoring "Faith, Tsar and Fatherland". In its way it acted as a modern version of Oliver Cromwell or Steadfast Jackson, trying to turn a motley militia in the regular army, soldered the military discipline and Christian values. For this, he, among other things, issued an unusual order prohibiting the men to swearing. "We call ourselves Orthodox army and are proud to be serving not the Golden calf, and serve our Lord Jesus Christ... Obscene language is blasphemy, which has always been considered a grave sin... In this regard, the Russian warrior cannot use the language of the enemy. It humiliates us spiritually and leads an army to defeat", — stated in the decree.
Strelkov also ordered his soldiers to treat prisoners in accordance with Geneva Convention, and ordered to shoot three militia members for petty looting. His subordinate Igor Bezler he was criticized for cowardly and dishonest — according to strelkov — attack on Ukrainian checkpoint, during which they killed 15 Ukrainian soldiers. If other representatives from both sides of the conflict regularly exaggerate their victories, the Shooters were known for honesty and willingness to admit their defeat.
When they say in the West, we usually emphasize that he supposedly is acting as an agent of the Russian government and is whether the FSB – the Russian secret service, GRU — Russian military intelligence. It is possible, however, such arguments obscure the fact that strelkov and his entourage has its own agenda — and, very unusual.
Strelkov — a retired Colonel of the Russian army fighting in Chechnya, a breakaway from Moldova, Transnistria and on the side of the Serbs in Bosnia. Ideologically he's ultraconservative and possibly a monarchist. He participated in the capture of the Crimea, and in may 2014, appeared in Donetsk, where he engaged in the organization of the rebel army. With a bunch of people he arrived in the city of Slovyansk, where he created about two thousand troops — mostly from local men and women. Fighters Strelkova has drawn some of the most combat-ready Ukrainian units that were besieged Slavyansk to early July. After that, the Shooters escaped from the surrounded city and went to Donetsk. Its a good exit environment has further solidified his reputation as a military.
A close associate strelkov was the head of the Russian military Union (EMRO) Igor Borisovich Ivanov. He had fought with a Rifle in Slovyansk, and then headed the political administration of the rebel army. In this capacity, he daily gave a video interview about the situation on the battlefront and behind enemy lines.
The ROVS was founded in 1924 by General Wrangel as a means to merge the remnants of the "whites" who fled from Russia at the end of the Civil war. His task was to maintain the spirit of irreconcilable hostility toward the USSR and to preserve the traditions and values of "white" and the Russian Imperial army. Officially EMRO was supposed to be apolitical, but in practice he has always been a strong nationalist bias. As in the 1930s, one of the ideologists of the organization, "white was determined from the beginning and will be determined before the end — purity of motive and the driving voltage of Patriotic religious freedom".
Putin's call for reconciliation between "red" and "white" unbearable for the modern heirs of the White guard. To the modern Russian state, they are viewed with suspicion due to the fact that it refuses to distance itself from the Soviet past. Ivanov has repeatedly condemned, as he puts it, "the chekist-oligarchic regime" of Vladimir Putin. "Putin's regime" doomed to collapse, he said, and after that to save Russia from chaos can only army.
Finally, the private political Advisor to strelkov was another Igor — Igor Mikhaylovich druz. He is the head of the Ukrainian branch of the "people's Cathedral" — the Orthodox-Patriotic organization struggling with "liberasty" and "Western values" and defending Orthodoxy and the traditional family. Druz called the Ukrainian government "gays and drug addicts" and declared: "On our banners — face of the Savior". The Russian branch of the "people's Council" is proud to have achieved the adoption of laws banning swearing on television and in the movies and "homosexual propaganda to minors". The tendency of the organization to focus on moral values rather than material issues definitely puts her on the edge of the conservative wing of Russian politics.
If the rebellion in Donetsk, indeed, from the very beginning was Moscow, she chose a very unusual agents. Maybe the Shooters comrades source and obeyed the orders of the Kremlin, but by the time of the resignation of Colonel clearly shifted set its bounds, becoming a symbol of the modern version of the irreconcilable spirit EMRO in contrast to Putin's policy that the nationalists believe weakness in the face of Western pressure. Headlines such as "strelkov, against Putin" and the survey showed that strelkov have a chance of defeating Putin in Russian presidential election, turned rebel commander into a political issue.
It is believed that Moscow prefers the rebels like Oleg Tsarev — the so-called speaker of Parliament of Novorossiya (Association of Donetsk and Lugansk National Republics, the flag which strikingly resembles the battle flag of the Confederacy). Tsarev is seeking a new Russia of the status of autonomy within Ukraine, and not to unite it with Russia. This wants the part of rebel commanders, the most famous of which is the head of a battalion "East" Alexander Khodakovsky. The same wants and Vladimir Putin.
The image of strelkov as the leader of the "party of war" in Donetsk may explain why the Russian state has never provided his army necessary to win the war. In fact, some facts clearly indicate that in the Kremlin there are forces that actively opposed the rebels and even demanding from strelkov "close shop". According to rumors, Strelkov left Slavyansk, not only because he's surrounded by, but also because Moscow has agreed with the Ukrainian oligarch Rinat Akhmetov for the surrender of Donetsk. In exchange Akhmetov had to support the creation of an Autonomous Novorossiya as part of a United Ukraine. Only appearance in Donetsk strelkov fighters were able to prevent it.
The architect of the alleged plot, apparently, was the former head of Putin's presidential administration Vladislav Surkov, who is often called the "gray cardinal of the Kremlin" and "Putin's chief ideologist". Surkov is considered the head of the "party of peace" in the Moscow corridors of power. Many believe that he tries to get rid of the militias in order to restore normal relations with the West. Perhaps it is not true, but the mere appearance of such rumors shows: war party does not feel that the Kremlin is on her side.
In recent years much has been said about the growing conservatism of Putin. But a romantic nostalgic white imperialism three Igors — strelkov, Ivanov and friends — it's a different kind of conservatism, unlike the pragmatic nationalism of Putin. Moreover, it is politically dangerous for the latter. Accordingly, the recent change in the leadership of the new Russia may be considered an attempt to transfer power to a more ideologically acceptable to the characters, who are more willing to accept the agreement, assuming that the new Russia will remain a part of Ukraine. Thus, Moscow is probably making a step towards peace. Now the question is whether Kiev and those who support it in the West, to make a step in return.
Original publication: Putin's Right Flank
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