Russia may recognise the independence of the People's Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, as well as of Transnistria, Putin's recent interview dedicated to the war in Nagorno-Karabakh suggests.
In an interview on the Karabakh conflict on Tuesday, November 18, Russian President Vladimir Putin noted that "the fact of non-recognition of Karabakh, including by Armenia, has left a mark on the course of events, as well as on its perception."
Putin draws parallel with 2008 Georgia conflict.
"We have to be frank here: at one time, after criminal, without any doubt, actions of the former Georgian administration (I mean striking our peacekeepers in South Ossetia), Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. We found as fair the expression of the will of the people living in Crimea, and the desire of the people living there to reunite with Russia. We reached out to people, we did it openly," Vladimir Putin said.
"Someone may like it, someone may not like it, but we did it both in the interests of the people who live there, and in the interests of all of Russia, and we are not ashamed to speak about it directly."
"We did not do anything like it with regard to Karabakh, and this, of course, significantly influenced all the events that were taking place there," Vladimir Putin added.
One may assume that Putin considers recognising the people's republics of the Donbass in the interests of its residents (and similarly - Transnistria), if circumstances require so.
Vladimir Bruter, an expert with the International Institute for Humanitarian and Political Research, told Pravda.Ru that the recognition of the independence of the People's Republics of Luhansk and Donetsk (known for the Russian initials as LDNR) is possible. However, there is practically no chances for Russia to recognise Transnistria, because the LDNR borders on Russia and Transnistria does not.
"Technically, Russia may recognise the independence of the LDNR if Kiev tries to solve the crisis by force. As for Transnistria, I do not think this can be possible, at least not at this moment of time. However, politics always gives rise to something new," the expert noted.
Vladimir Bruter believes that Armenia did not recognize Nagorno Karabakh due to international pressure.
"Recognizing Karabakh would mean that Armenia claims a part of the internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan. The previous Armenian leadership did not recognise Karabakh de jure, although it did recognise it de facto. The prime goal for both Serzh Sargsyan and Robert Kocharian was to defend Karabakh. They could cope with the task, but Nikol Pashinyan did not," said Vladimir Bruter.
The only state that recognised the Donbass republics (Donetsk and Luhansk) is South Ossetia, which is a partially recognised state too. South Ossetia was recognised by Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Syria, Nauru. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov explained the danger of recognising the LDNR by saying that such a move would give the West an excuse to stop putting pressure on Kiev to implement Minsk-2 agreements."
The first prime minister of the self-proclaimed People's Republic of Donetsk, the head of the "Union of Donbass Volunteers," Alexander Borodai, said during the congress of the Russian Rodina party in St. Petersburg that the People's Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk would become part of Russia.
"I am sure that in a relatively short time, the republics of the Donbass will become de jure parts of the Russian Federation, instead of being parts of it de facto," he said.
It is worthy of note that over 200,000 people residing in LDNR have already received Russian passports.