What You Need To Know:
✓ The Kremlin still has one goal - containment of the West in Ukraine, but it might change its tactics
✓ New tactics could include: bribing the Ukrainian elite, co-opting part of the opposition or helping Ukraine to have a financial breakdown and creating an illusion to the West that the conflict is only about Donbas
✓ Putin could attempt to exchange control over Ukraine for supporting the West in Syria and Iraq
✓ Ukraine needs to avoid Russia's embraces by building a viable state on the basis of rule of law.
"The Kremlin cannot forget about one goal - containment of the West in Ukraine. They have to keep Ukraine in their embraces," Lilia Shevtsova a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution told Hromadske. However they might have to change their tactics to avoid further sanctions. "Over the next few months they will be trying to offer the West a new concept of peaceful co-existence - or collective management of the crisis," said Shevtsova.
Their new tactics will be flexible, according to Shevtsova, and could include bribing the Ukrainian elite, co-opting part of the opposition or helping Ukraine to have a financial breakdown and meanwhile creating an illusion to the West that the conflict is only about Donbas. It will create an impression that the conflict is not about a civilizaion clash but about something small and unimportant, added Shevtsova.
Ukraine is also becoming a trump card for Putin to use in negotiations. He could attempt to negotiate for control over Ukraine in exchange for supporting the West in Syria and Iraq, according to Shevtsova.
She said that there are two main myths circulated with regards to Russia among policy makers. Firstly that Russia is an autocratic country which loves its leader and if you apply more sanctions, more people will mobilize around Putin. Though evidence indicates that Russians are interested in the country's economic well-being. Secondly, that the West should accommodate Russia despite the fact that the West has been doing so for the last 20 years.
With regards to Ukraine the myths also include the need to accommodate Russia, as well as the fact that this is a civil war and that Ukraine cannot be armed because it is too corrupt.
Though Ukraine and Russia are hostages of their geography and history, the only way for Ukraine to build its nation and the state is to try and escape Russia's embraces as far as possible, Shevtsova told Hromadske. This cannot be done by military means or by building a wall - it needs to be done by building a viable state on the basis of rule of law, said Shevtsova.
Hromadske International's Nataliya Gumenyuk with Lilia Shevtsova on May 28, 2015.