Federalisation of Ukraine, has been and is Russia’s policy towards Ukraine since 2014…
In Spring 2014, thousands of people in South-Eastern Ukraine carried Russian flags and demanded a referendum. They wanted, like Crimea, to join Russia. The Russian politicum, media, and propagandists called them “supporters of federalisation”. In most of the South-East, local separatist movement was crushed by Maidan goons. Thousands of people are in Ukrainian jails on political charges now.
Only Donbass erupted in a rebellion that Kiev was unable to handle. Russia helped these rebels survive in a pitiful state, only to once again push for her cherished idea of federalisation. According to the official Kremlin position, the Donbass republics need to reintegrate back into Ukraine on a federative basis. The Russian state media regularly refer to the Donbass republics as “self-proclaimed”. According to Konstantin Zatulin, a bigwig from the Russian parliament, responsible for the CIS, and similarly pro-Kremlin talking head Nikolay Starikov, Donbass should be reintegrated into Ukraine to make at least part of Ukraine pro-Russian. Zatulin also shamefully said that the Donbass people are not Russian enough.
The problem for Kremlin’s dream of federalisation is in that apart from fools like Zatulin and Starikov, nobody believes in it. Ukraine is not planning to change the constitution that defines the state as “unitary”. I recently heard US envoy for Ukraine, Kurt Walker say that federalism is not constitutionally possible, hence confirming Kiev’s position on the matter, and America’s support for it.
Also, I am not certain if enthusiasm for Russia will last in many parts of the South-East. Pro-Russian political movements have been suppressed. Kherson, always the most Ukrainian of South-Eastern regions, according to my information has gone a bit nationalist in recent years. Same story could be said to occur everywhere apart from coastal cities that still retain a strong Russian element. But these places will only grow further apart from Russia while they are dominated by Kiev.
A little war that would settle the fate of Donbass would likely be the best way out of this situation. Liberation of Donbass and its integration into Russia would be a good outcome for Russia. Support for liberation in other regions would be the best outcome for Russia. It would bring what the Russian nation craves, greatness, and heroism. But do you see the cowards of the Kremlin, Surkov or the fat nerd Zatulin, as people who could do the right thing?