Publicist, journalist, analyst Vitaliy Portnikov commented on the Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland’s visiting Moscow, where she tried to persuade Russian leadership to fulfill the Minsk agreements not in word but in deed and restore peace in the Donbas.
'Can any negotiations of the Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland in Russian capital lead to any shift in the Donbass settlement? I have serious doubts about this myself. And not even due to ineffectiveness of American politics, but because of current lack of coincidence between the interests of Moscow and Washington.
Putin may realize that delaying the confrontation in the Donbas doesn’t meet his own interests. It allows keeping the sanctions, weakens Russian economy, questions the very survival of his marginal corrupt regime. But Putin can understand another simple truth - Obama is leaving and he is to stay.
Another Democratic president Jimmy Carter faced a similar situation in 1980. Carter was eager the problem of the US diplomats, who had been held as hostages by Iran’s authorities to be solved by the end of his term. The head of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Khomeini could easily solve this problem. However, Tehran would like to negotiate not with the leaving but the new president of the United States. Thus, the US diplomats were met not by Jimmy Carter but by Ronald Reagan.
Even if Putin really wish progress in the settlement of the Donbas (I have great doubts about this) he will negotiate not with Obama but with his successor. There’s not much time left, the White House will have a new owner just in ten months. And the Kremlin will have the old one. And this old sly puss simply will be forced to seek a new boyfriend’s recognition. And what else has she got except the Donbas, Crimea and Syria?'