Elections instead of counteroffensive?

Widely knowledgeable Russian TG channel Nezygar https://t.me/russica2  has published a list of supporters of capitulation among the elites of the Russian Federation, as well as the waverers. The list is solid, although its first part consists mainly of oligarchs: headed by Roman Abramovich, followed by Potanin, Vekselberg, Kantor, Fridman, Lisin, Alikperov, Mordashov. Among the statesmen: presidential adviser Medinsky, Roscosmos head Borisov, and former AP head Voloshin, who may be «former» but he was the one who put Putin in the chair. But the list of waverers includes the head of the Special Military Operation Naryshkin, deputy head of the AP Kozak, deputy prime minister Shuvalov, head of the Ministry of Finance Shadayev, and a whole host of financiers, securing a second year of the proverbial economic miracle of maintaining a stable banking system in the face of brutal sanctions storms: Kudrin, Nabiullina, Siluanov, Kostin. The very publication of this list indicates that forces within the Russian Federation are ripe for a more substantive dialogue on freezing the conflict. Which means that with such willingness, in Kiev (Kyiv), some result will be achieved.

Meanwhile, in Kiev, there are also some obscure movements suggesting some kind of initiative coming from «the top». Not from Bankova Street even, but from Tankova Street — from the US Embassy. For they are voiced by people for whom, as they say, «there is no God but the US State Department». In particular, Danylo Yanevsky, former ideology commissioner of Channel 5 during the Yushchenko era, has surfaced from the murky tide, rumoured to be playing the role of D’Anuzio of the Mtsensk district in this, then youth mouthpiece of Petro Poroshenko. Back in January and February he sang hosannas for the guarantor, considering his office a hundred times more effective than the entire Ukrainian Constitution. And then our bon vivant burst into flames:  No, more freedom! The «green gang» got their hands on everything! Even civic activism has been reduced to fundraising for the AFU, individual brigades, and he activism turns out not to be about that at all. And the cherry on top of the cake: «and this government has come up with nothing cleverer than to unleash a sectarian war in the country with “love buddies”. The way that Yushchenko used to call his «comrades”. “Love buddies” No, you are not imagining things — THE “love buddies”. About the sectarian war. How cool is that with the “love buddies”… 

Obviously, Danylo Yanevsky has been a qualified speaker, and if he says «love buddies» it’s for a reason, and it didn’t just come out. This is a signal obviously coming from his patron Poroshenko and affiliated circles, endorsed in the West, and most likely addressed to Moscow. Often nostalgic about the days of «love buddies», when, despite ideological differences, the south-east was not bent into a sheep’s horn, and co-operation with trade was in full swing. And the Kremlin dreamers think:  it would be nice to roll our relationship back to the same place, but with Russian control over Crimea retained.  And already Donbass and the south, as if also accepted into the Russian Federation at the request of the workers, are ready to exchange for a corresponding agreement on Crimea. Of course, it doesn’t work like that, but if in Kiev they say «love buddies», And in the context of criticism of Bankova’s policy on inter-confessional relations, a suggestion was made at the level of those close to Tankova to stop the repression of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and possibly a freezing of the military conflict, if this time Moscow will informally secure the support of its voter-oriented constituency for their candidate.  The voter was disappointed in Zelensky, even though Surkov, and with him the leader of the Opposition Platform, had warned that there was no better candidate than Poroshenko. Here, let them know who to vote for now and don’t get too much smarty-pants.

Of course, that candidate will not be Petro Poroshenko — As history has shown, the image of Richard Nixon standing up after a knockdown and winning has not caught on with us. Our people have a serious problem with their sense of taste, and therefore ready to go over and over again about the unfortunate wreath that fell on President Yanukovych, continuing to think it was funny. The political resurrection of President Yushchenko is out of the question all the more. Dead bees do not buzz. But waiting for someone from «love buddies» in the sky makes perfect sense. According to most experts, it will be Kiev mayor Vitaliy Klitschko. And it is a perfectly logical opponent to the current regime. And his chances of winning are already huge.

The only question is how to conduct an election in the current climate? How do you organise the whole thing technically if there is a war going on? And the authorities, of course, seeing the deplorable sociology for themselves, have little interest in carrying them out as soon as possible. That is, a rip off scenario is close at hand. Particularly in the south-east. That is, where the voters most dissatisfied with the government and the war reside. And if elections in frontline areas are cancelled and the results annulled, the legitimacy of the elections will be dramatically undermined. The Russians, of course, managed to hold a referendum on Russian-occupied territories, but so is the legitimacy of these events. «So how will they get out of this situation?» — I asked a number of experts who share the view that instead of a quick counter-offensive, Ukraine is facing an imminent election. In my view, the most plausible version is that no more polling stations need to be set up for elections — we have the «Dia» app, and we didn’t invent it just for surveillance. The election can also be tucked underneath it. Under this authority, proud of a digitalisation achievement like «Dia», will not be able to jump off the suggestion of organising elections for virtual avatars-users of the app. And there, online, it’s the admin’s control that decides everything.

In the meantime, there is no change on the front.  Sometimes war, but more often fiddling. And lots and lots of noise and smoke. One day they hit Luhansk, the next they shoot down a helicopter, the next they fly a drone into the Kremlin. Anything but the Ukrainian offensive. Or, here, Prigozhin reminisces about ‘happy grandpa’, and laments about the feds failing to keep the flanks in Bakhmut. Although, of course, street after street, and beyond that is the very nest. Just something unsettling, and at least twice a week. Like force majeure every Friday during the Maidan. And the authorities cannot be blamed for the offensive not to happen — the offensive is sort of underway, albeit in its own way (a thesis already being promoted at Bankova), and things will roll slowly towards the elections. The next step is to negotiate and freeze the conflict, which of course can be unfrozen at any time and by either party. And there will be plenty of people under the smoke screen to negotiate with.  And no one will benefit from this war, although each side will claim victory. 

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