A former Russian insider says he was there when Putin began openly planning the present invasion of Ukraine back in 2003.
At a conference in Brussels this week, Andrey Illarionov, a Russian economist and former economic advisor to Vladimir Putin informed that the invasion of Ukraine has been in official planning since at least 2003.
“Since 2003. I can say that certain questions relating to the future war with Ukraine were discussed in my presence. I didn’t think the talks would really lead to a real war,” he said.
In an anguished response to the Orange Revolution a year later which brought about an ostensibly pro-Western government, Russian officials then began discussing the potential for launching a military occupation of Crimea and it’s subsequent annexation. Illarionov also discussed leaked documents which detail the operation of Russia’s future war with Ukraine.
By 2009, he stated that plans to conjure and support separatism in Ukraine began to surface. It is now known that the terrorist organization known as the ‘Donetsk Republic’ began to reassert itself online in 2008 after then Russian-backed Viktor Yanukovych lost his position as Prime Minister. Created in 2005 also in the wake of the Orange Revolution, ‘Donetsk Republic’ members attended training camps in Russia funded by the Russian Presidential Administration, where instructors from the security services taught methods of espionage, sabotage and guerrilla tactics to attendees. Syncing with Illarionov’s statement, the group began organizing local terrorist training camps as early as 2009.
Putin’s July 2013 Speech
Illarionov did not mince words, making clear that this is a very much a “Russian-Ukrianian war” or rather, as he described: “Putin’s war against Ukraine.” A war he steadfastly describes as being long in the works that will continue to play out in the long term.
“So, they were preparing the war for a long time. The other matter is that it is a long war that has been continuing for more than 16 months. It was officially launched on July 27, 2013, by Putin’s speech in Kyiv on the occasion of the anniversary of the baptism of Kyivan Rus,” he said.
The speech cited by Illarionov was on the topic of Ukraine’s “civilizational choice” and “orthodox Slavic values.” In it, Putin bloviates on alleged “common spiritual values” which make Russians and Ukrainians a “single people,” calling for the preservation of ‘ancestral traditions.’ He also convincingly ignores centuries of persecution, telling listeners that subjugation (“union”) under Russia “changed the lives of Ukraine’s population and its elite for the better, as everyone knows.”
At another point, Putin speaks glowingly of Stalin’s reforms and investment in Ukraine during his first ‘Five Year Plan,’ a disastrous policy which resulted in the Moscow-orchestrated genocide of up to 7 million Ukrainians.
Current conflict zones’ historical hallmarks were focused on in the speech, specifically calling the Donbas “one of Russia’s main mining and metals industry regions,” and Odesa “one of the Russian Empire’s biggest seaports.” The next day Putin would attend Russian naval celebrations in the Ukrainian city of Sevastopol in Crimea.
All of this, of course, amounted to a cynical sales pitch for Russia’s unborn Eurasian Union and reunion with Russia, and to convince Ukrainians the perils of European integration. With a smile.
Let me say again that we will respect whatever choice our Ukrainian partners, friends and brothers make. The question is only one of how we go about agreeing on working together under absolutely equal, transparent and clear conditions.
Illarionov resigned from his position within the administration in 2005, has been an outspoken critic of president Vladimir Putin since that time.
Since becoming a dissident, his words to date have been prophetic. In October 2008 he quickly exposed that the Russian invasion and occupation of Georgia in August of that year was premeditated and instigated by the Russian government, when many still debated whether Georgia fired on Russian soldiers first.
In February of this year, prior to Russia’s “green men” swarming into Crimea, he fully predicted the occupation of the peninsula and similar destabilizing actions in the south and east. In March, after this had already come to fruition, he further predicted and warned of impending Russian forces seeping into eastern Ukraine during an interview on the Ukrainian network TSN. Russian Col. Igor Girkin, “Supreme Commander” of the Donetsk Republic, openly admitted recently to Russia’s involvement in the war and told how his special forces group entered Ukraine in April to seize government buildings.