Signs of this new discourse are numerous. One of Ukraine's wealthiest oligarchs, Victor Pinchuk , published an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, calling for "painful compromises" for peace with Russia, mainly renouncing its NATO and EU hopes, and putting the Crimean issue on hold for decades.
Inside Ukraine, Vasyl Filipchuk , a former diplomat and now head of a Ukrainian think-tank, proposed a similar vision in his long-read piece on Apostroph. Similar arguments on Ukraine's "neutrality" were expressed by Yuriy Romanenko , a widely read blogger, on his website Hvylya.
This comes on top of an increased number of media resources calling – or even demanding – reconciliation with Russia. Ukrainian media watchdog Detektor Media analyzed this new narrative with fake petitions, sites, and appeals in the name of Ukraine's working class to restore economic ties with Russia.
Finally, the website Korrespondent.net gave the floor to a blog of Victor Yanukovych, Ukraine's ousted president, in which he provides his "interpretation" of the Maidan events as an initially planned conspiracy by Western powers (later the blog was removed).
All this makes one think about a new way of a concerted media campaign, designed to shift public opinion in Ukraine and in the West and calling to bring Ukraine back to a pre-Maidan epoch, as a neutral Russian satellite – but this time without Crimea and Donbas.
We believe that the implementation of this scenario might bring painful consequences to Ukraine and the West alike. And here is why:
This text is a part of the UkraineWorld group initiative, which unites a number of Ukrainian foreign policy experts and journalists. The authors thank Sergiy Sydorenko, Kateryna Zarembo, Daria Gaidai, Natalya Popovych, Kostiantyn Kvurt and Natalya Kononenko for their help and advice in preparing the material.It represents a popular opinion among a large group of Ukrainian experts.