Eleven members of the State Duma of the Russian Federation from the Communist Party tabled a draft resolution “On the statement of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation “On the address of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation “To President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin on the need to recognise the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic” with a request to put the draft on the agenda of the State Duma for February 2022.

The draft was registered in the electronic system for ensuring the legislative activity of the State Duma at 18:01, 19 January.

The document was prepared back in December 2021. On 20 December, the draft received an opinion from the legal department of the State Duma Apparatus, which states that, in accordance with the Duma Regulations, draft State Duma appeals on foreign policy shall be preliminarily considered by the Committee on International Affairs and the Committee on CIS, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots.

The legal department also sent “remarks of linguistic and stylistic nature” to the initiators of the appeal to Putin. That’s all! The legal department of the State Duma has no legal remarks about the practically open appeal to violate the territorial integrity of Ukraine (Article 354 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).

The first pages of the so-called document pathetically describe the situation in the occupied Donbas as an Act of expression of the will of local residents and their desire for self-determination. The Ukrainian authorities are called “glorifying the fascists Bandera, Shukhevych and their followers… intolerant of historically established norms of life, expression and religion of the inhabitants of these areas.” “The actions of the Ukrainian authorities can be compared to the genocide of their people.” “Instead of consistent actions, the Ukrainian authorities are trying to review or cancel all agreements reached. There have been many attempts to disrupt the peace process…”

The Communist Party of the Russian Federation believes that “in recent years [i.e., occupation], the republics have created democratic bodies and states with all the attributes of legitimate power on the basis of popular will.” According to Lenin’s followers, it is time to resolve as soon as possible the issue of “holding talks with the leadership of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic to create a legal basis for interstate relations that would regulate all aspects of cooperation and mutual assistance, including security.”

Opinions of experts on the reasons for the appearance of such a “document” are divided. Some believe that this is an initiative exclusively of the Communist Party, which thus decided to hype the topic of intensifying Russia’s aggressive actions and aggravating the situation on the border with Ukraine.

At the same time, it is the fulfillment of pre-election promises as Zyuganov spoke about the need to immediately recognise “DPR” and “LPR” at the pre-election congress before the last Duma elections.

Others believe that the Kremlin’s direct instruction was in it, and the submission of the draft is a concerted action with the Kremlin to test the reaction of the West, Ukraine, and Russian public opinion to such statements. Allegedly, the Kremlin is not involved, the initiative step is put forward by the parliamentary opposition. The goal is to make a statement and to see what happens next.

Nothing new and strange, the usual tactics of the Kremlin. In case of further aggravation, the draft of the Communist Party will be a logical part of public information preparations for Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine and will provide this invasion with political support and cover of the federal parliament.

A Just Russia faction led by Sergei Mironov immediately supported this appeal as it has a ‘Donbas wing.’ The official Kremlin, represented by Peskov, did not comment on the proposal of the Communist Party because “the text of the appeal has not been seen yet.” Only State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said that consultations on recognising the independence of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics would take place next week.

It is unclear whether there are some cool heads left in the Russian State Duma, but de facto, according to the Minsk agreements, there are no “LPR” and “DPR.” There are certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine, and Russia, among other things, that confirms this status, insisting on the implementation of the Minsk agreements and recognising these territories as the territory of Ukraine. Accordingly, the official recognition of “LPR” and “DPR” by Russia will mean the complete collapse of the Minsk agreements and the entire process of peaceful settlement of the situation in the occupied territories of Ukraine.

Yuri Fedorenko, Head of NGO “Agency for Development of Democracy and Information Freedoms”

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