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The witnesses and the experts report why this war has succeeded in Crimea, but miserably failed in Donbass.
The Russian “success” in Crimea has finished by a hard failure in Donbass. A country “Malorossia” stretching its territory from Lugansk to Odessa did not emerge and the hybrid war turned in a bloody and terroristic one, the “ears” of Russia are seen with the naked eye. The witnesses and the experts told why it happened in this way. As it turned out, Russia was not prepared for a hybrid war.

“You in Kiev do not understand and can`t see anything! It`s happening a coup d’état in the country, which is carried out by right-wing radicals and the West!” – told me one of the employees of the Crimean state administration of the SSU during our phone conversation. This conversation took place in January last year, when there was more than a month left until a bloody denouement of the Maidan and events in Crimea, and it clearly depicted not only the personal attitude of the officer to the events in Kiev, but the general mood on the peninsula formed by loyal central government, and local media. Only a few people from Crimea joined the Maidan, mostly those, belonging to the Crimean Tatar nationality. Most of the Maidan did not understand or accept. The image of the right radical with a chain or a bat in his hand, which was added by a glamor in the media and social networks, was well suited for general moods in Kiev and in the west of the country. However, in Crimea it caused the opposite reaction. By the end of February, when the incandescence of passions in the Ukrainian capital has reached its acme and the blood has flowed the river, anti-maidan moods intensified, and the revolutionaries did not bother to explain the Crimeans what was really happening. In fact, Ukrainians on their own had created one of the key reasons, which allowed Russian federation to succeed in the first part of the hybrid war against Ukraine.


It is said today that the Russian government simply needed a moment to fulfil its old dream – the annexation of the Crimea. It has been preparing for a long time, actively creating a fifth column in the peninsula, generously giving her sponsorship. This column actually led the “return to homeland”, security of which was provided by “polite people.”
“In fact, it is not quite true – says one of the officers of Crimean special services, who remained loyal to Ukraine. – The activity of Russia on the peninsula stepped up immediately after Yushchenko took power in 2004. It had greatly increased the financing of pro-russian public organizations, media, new projects had emerged. However, as admitted by the activists themselves, 70-80% of the funds were plundered, but in Crimea, where pro-russian moods are so strong, and Russians constitute more than half of the population, the remaining funds were unobtrusive enough to maintain them. This lied down on the fact that local politicians were actively using the theme of infringement of russian-speaking rights, and the economic situation, in contrast to Russia did not improve, every new government of the peninsula was more corrupted and in Crimea it was subconsciously associated with Ukraine as a whole, and not, for example, only with the Donbas. As a result, by 2014 the pro-Russian sentiment among the population in Crimea remained at a high level without the participation of Russia, which at that moment had a 20,000th Black Sea Fleet in Crimea. Therefore Maidan has enabled mood radicalization”. In addition, the authorities had used these moods to create a “protection” from the Maidan. The anti-maidan self-defence forces were created in Ukraine. Crimea – is not an exception. “Recruiting to the hundreds began in January. At the same time there began trainings, in order to enable us to deal more effectively with “right quadrant” members” – says one of the Crimean self-defenders.
The hybrid war organizers eventually used such people. Moreover that it can start, confirms the fact that in the beginning of the year Russia is still preparing for different scenarios of the situation in Ukraine. For example, according to the Crimean media – Putin`s adviser, Vladislav Surkov, visited Crimea in January who is, by the way, credited with the authorship of a hybrid war in the Crimea. The real purpose of he, and also a muscovite, the famous “militia” and “ex-Defense Minister of DNR” Igor Girkin, which is for purpose accused in working with the Russian intelligence services, arrived on the peninsula before the Maidan events, remains unknown, however, events that occurred a month later are known to everyone .
“In any case, regarding these events, it was in March that the hybrid war broke up, which is based on the fact that the war is supposedly waged by the population, not by foreign troops, everything was ready. The only thing remained to do was to pull the “trigger” in order to provoke people. This trigger was their own provocation “- concludes intelligence officer.
Who are the people spreading gossips and organizing provocations? We can now only guess. All the parties deny their participation. However, their range gives us a reason to make certain conclusions. When, for example, on February 26 in front of the Supreme Council of Crimea a collision between participants of two meetings occured – pro-russian citizens, who were supported by Cossacks from Sevastopol and the Crimean Tatars, who supported the Maidan. Crimean hospitals were commanded to release their chambers for wounded men.
“I was lying on the annual medical inspection in the republican hospital. After lunch, we all were told to pack our bags and immediately leave the walls of the hospital. This news has led people into a panic. There were many other non-residents, who were afraid of roads overlap and rushed to railway station. The news about future clashes spread at a speed of light”, – says diabetic patient Alexander. The fact that due to the stampede, an elderly person died and the parties splitting the world became known later.
“A couple of days before all the events, through the town began to rush cars, people trying to throw down the monuments to Lenin – says the self-defender of Crimea. – Who are they? No one knew. But they didn`t throw down the monuments before the intervention of local people.”
“That was strange. A truck arrived on the waterfront. People started throwing on it a rope, obviously, to knock him down. I was just passing by and ran in to give a good lesson to these radicals. However, they spoke Russian, and when we explained them that the citizens of Yalta will decide what and where to knock down, they silently left, “- says local artist Anatoly.
The head of one of the “militia” squadron based in North Crimea, Alexei was awakened by a call from his friends in the Council of Ministers on the night of February 27: “It was right after the Crimean Tatars made a row near the walls of the Supreme Council.” Do you know that there are 700 right sector members in Genichesk willing to put forth the Crimea?” – Said his friend and added that he urgently needs to protect children from these monsters, “If they burst in Crimea they will hang us one by one, you know.” I had no doubts concerning his words. Three days before this, the streets of Dzhankoi were flooded with lot of suspicious youth, who tried to arrange provocations, bullied with local people, and shouted “glory to Ukraine”. Even the local “Freedom” disowned these people, and the police did not react, scared to touch them. Now, six months later, I do not exclude that it was a provocation, organized by Ukraine. At that time, my goal was to collect as many men and advance to the border with the Kherson region. Almost a hundred of Dzankoinians as well as me were already in Chongar by six o`clock in the morning. No green men were still there.
There were three or four dozens of “Berkut” troops at the block post. It has become known later that they were from Sevastopol and Simferopol and arrived here at night. Closer to nine o’clock in the morning there were already five hundred people in Chongar, and there were more and more to arrive. Rumors concerning hundreds of right sector members arriving to Crimea spread in a couple of hours and everyone was ready to prevent their invasion at the cost of their lives. However, a few days later we found out that there were no so many right sector members amounts on the other side. These were Ukrainian soldiers stealthily reaching us and asked something about the provision because of problems the Ukrainian army had with the supply chain who told this.”
The fact that provocations could have been organized by already arriving “experts” confirms one of the leaders of the “militia” of Novorossia “former Defense Minister of DNR” Igor Girkin, who is suspected of having connections with the Russian intelligence services and works with them. In an interview with the Russian Internet site, he admitted that he was in Crimea in February: “Two days prior to the beginning of everything.” Including the national election of the mayor of Sevastopol Alexander Chaly and clashes that supposedly calmed the future leader of the Crimea, the current head of the “Russian” peninsula, and then the leader of the marginal unit “Russian unity” Sergei Aksenov. The fact that the latter was pre-selected as a leader who will lead the “popular protest” is also confirmed by Girkin: “I met him at the time of bringing the gifts for the Magi (Volkhvs) in January. It is a big tragedy that there was no such a person in Donetsk. When I entered the territory of the Donetsk region, I was hoping that I could find the same leader. ”
- When people were “raised”, its leaders were chosen and authorities buildings were captured, the last point in the hybrid war is always to ensure the safety of their activities what exactly has been performed by the “green men”, – said an employee of intelligence services of Ukraine.
The fact that he is right is confirmed by the participant of “Russian Spring” – a program of the radio station “Moscow speaking” in Crimea Igor Girkin: “Everything in Crimea was performed by the “green men”.
OPERATION “KRYMNASH” (Russian expression which means – Crimea is ours)
If the preparation of Russian Special Forces invasion, as claimed by the security services and the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine has been known a few weeks before the event, a lot of people have seen the movement of militaries of the Black Sea Fleet in Crimea. “There is a rotation,” – it was as always tersely explained, for example, the transit to the departmental Yalta sanatorium of CFP military trucks, was photographed by a man and posted to social networks.
However, regarding the background of events in Kiev and rumors about a possible attack of the Maidans on the rebellious peninsula, Russian military was perceived as those who keep the peace.
“That fear, which was spread by the Russian media while Ukrainian media has been quietly cut off, had one goal – to convey that a peaceful life in the Crimea is possible only with the Russian Federation” – shares his personal observations “militia” Alex. He was away from the Crimea: “Green men emerged only after two or three days at Chongar. They did not stand at the block post at all, and stayed away from us. At about the same time, Cossacks from the Kuban and Rostov appeared, who constantly talked about fellowship of nations and that Crimea can only be Russian.”
Thus, nobody have seen the real movement of cargos with military equipment. On the one hand, arms and military were dispatched to the naval base in Sevastopol and a military airfield near Simferopol, on the other – military units that were blocked, were not placed in the settlements. The length of the peninsula did its job.
“Even the presence of TV broadcast in military units did not change the situation. Note that the militaries acted peacefully. They did not take part in all sorts of assaults of Ukrainian military units in Crimea. They just stood nearby, as observers, or took the area near the border – says “militia” Alex. – The military units were assaulted and penetrated by “militia” and ordinary Crimeans. I.e., the “green men” were a sort of visual symbol of Russian non-interference. Herewith, in a crowded Simferopol airport, they used muscular and beautiful men who greatly impress women.”
Apparently, the absence of collisions and visual picture of calm was designed for Western countries that, as the soldiery affirm, hold the indecisive leaders of the country from any forced resistance. For Russia, as the analysts say, the situation at that time was twofold: on the one hand, the military had no identification signs and no one could directly accuse Russia, on the other – Russian Intergovernmental agreement allowed to increase Russian military forces in Crimea up to 40 thousand. However, what is more important, there was no bloodshed on the peninsula, which is essential for Western countries. By early March, Ukraine has missed its moment: the authorities were caught; acting Crimean parliament elected a new chairman of the Council of Ministers and declared a referendum on accession to Russia, and the “green men” or “polite people,” the title of Russian unmarked military, have already blocked Ukrainian military units.
“Back in early February, we developed a plan and under the guise of military exercises sent to Crimea the reconnaissance squadron of the 25th Dnepropetrovsk Airborne Brigade and special operation troops of Kirovograd and Ochakovo regiments. Only about 300 people. Moreover, we have prepared a plan of deployment of four battalions of airborne forces in Crimea, which makes up 1200 people. But … I was stated: our European partners suggest not to make any sudden moves, “- said Chief of Staff of the Ministry of Defense in his interview, at that time General Vladimir Zaman.
During and after the annexation of Crimea, lot of people said that the peninsula has just been surrendered. Military units included. Examples are lying nigh. The Rear Admiral and the new commander of the Ukrainian Navy Denis Berezovsky went over to the Russian Federation without hiding this fact, but, for example, the commander of the 204th Brigade of Combat Aviation Colonel Julius Mamchur, who was famous for his unarmed march toward the Russian military and the breakthrough of the captured airfield Belbek recalled that chief of the General Staff Yuri Illin ordered to remove all weapons from the aircrafts. At the same time, more than a half of the personnel of the Ukrainian troops in Crimea went over to the side of the Russian Federation. No more than 8 thousand of 18 thousand came back to the mainland. “The reasons? How the army has been treated? How it has been supplied? Many military remained without houserooms. The Russians, as we saw it, earned a good salary, we had lot of family ties with them, and many of us served with them in the same troops in the Soviet Union”- described the situation one of the Crimean soldiers, who refused to go to the Russian troops.
However, according to the military who remained loyal to Ukraine – no one has been bribed beforehand. During the years of independence, Ukrainian government itself has done everything possible to reduce to a minimum the patriotism within Ukrainian army.
Example of spontaneity – Russian military actions in Crimea. The “Green men” were constantly mistaking – instead of blocking the Ukrainian military units, they besieged private or state-owned enterprises. The confusion was all the time within the first 10 days of the Crimean events, – says ex-chief of general staff Volodymyr Zaman.
Therefore, as the analysts say, the corruption of the former leadership of the country and the military played a tiny role in the Crimean annexation, if any.
“First of all, population loyal to Russia was pumped with information, which reached its basic instinct – self-preservation, and that only Russia can protect them. In this case, it secured the absence of protests from the population. On the other, there were no victims, and the Russian military, which cannot actually be called so, stood side by side, but away from force captures that were assigned to local activists, – says one of the military analysts. – If we add to this the rapidity of Russian actions, the new Ukrainian government`s indecision and lack of reaction of Western countries who pretended to notice nothing, we get a picture of what happened and we get the reason why the hybrid war in the Crimea succeeded. The most important things were done in the early days: seizure of power, population is loyal, and the Ukrainian military were blocked, as the escape routes to the mainland were blocked too – thereafter, any military operation of Ukraine would be ineffective. In addition, the subsequent referendum in late March and the signing of the merger agreement – has been just a matter of technique!”
WHY “DONBASSNENASH” (Russian expression that means “Donbass is not ours”)
In the same time, similar things happened in Donbass. At least, the beginning of “Russian Spring” in Crimea: information attack, seizure of state buildings, the appointment of the authorities, the referendum… However, everything ended up in another way – with blood, thousands of victims and the carnage. It is not ceasing until now.
The «ex-defense minister» of DNR Igor Girkin names one of the reasons: “We were perceived as the “green men”, but actually we were not them.
“Russian troops deployed in Donbass when there was a war, the forces of the antiterrorist operation crushed the terrorists who were scattered and did not have a single leader – says one of the military analysts. – So, when Russia realized its possible failure in Donbass, it began to operate using terrorist’s methods – supplying with weapons, involve the intelligence officers and military forces.”
There were no doubts that all this was performed by Russian Federation. Numerous evidences of Ukrainian military, who were even provided with the help from Russian soldiery to avoid captivity or were trashed near the border of Russian side with the purpose to “clean up” the borders from the ATO forces, are known to all. Let us not forget about the Western countries, which responded this time to a hybrid war with sanctions. All analysts in one voice claim that the hybrid war has long gone. “There is an information field about the militias and protection of native land, there are certain republics, leaders, but no longer loyal population, as it is exhausted and is looking forward to the end of the war. Even more when the front line of fire emerges the hybrid war ends and begins the real one, entailing numerous victims, by which the West cannot get through. As it cannot get through the downed plane, the whole story of which is very similar to Russian “perhaps”. The militants were given an anti-aircraft missile system from which, apparently, a plane with citizens from all over the world was accidently shot down. At this point the West, who can adequately respond and for which the hybrid war was designed stopped pretending that the hybrid war continues. For Russia, it was a failure, meanwhile for us – a tragedy that nobody knows when it will end.”

Author :
EurActiv Network