Galicia and Volhynia break away from Ukraine in 2014 instead of Crimea and the Donbass

Status
Closed

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,022
SoCal
#1
Here's the scenario--instead of succumbing to revolution and having to flee the country (after being ousted by Ukrainian protesters), Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych implements martial law and, after a lot of bloodshed, is able to crush the pro-Western protesters in Kiev. However, Galicia and Volhynia (the yellow/gold areas on the map below) successfully manage break away from Ukraine in this scenario and form their own paramilitaries and government structures (just like the Donbass did in real life):



In turn, this raises the question--how exactly do Russia, Europe, the US, and the rest of the world react to these developments? Also, what would have happened afterwards in both newly independent Western Ukraine and in the rest of Ukraine?

Any thoughts on this?

BTW, this article speculates about just this scenario:

What If?: Galicia Rose Up In Place of Donbass



Five years since the referenda in Donetsk and Lugansk about joining the Russian Federation.

By early February 2014, numerous regional administrative offices (OGAs) had been seized by Maidan forces in Far West Ukraine, with attempts at storming them elsewhere in the West and Center. Some city and regional councils made autonomy- or even independence-sounding proclamations.

Now suppose that instead of wavering and signing an agreement with the opposition that they almost immediately turned their backs on, Yanukovych had ordered a truly forceful clearing of the Maidan, with the security services given carte blanche to use live arms and guaranteed total immunity from prosecution if or – let’s be honest, when– they came under armed attack.

Suppose that over a period of several weeks the Ukraine would have succeeded in restoring Constitutional order everywhere except for the far western provinces of Galicia, Rivne, and Ivano-Frankovsk (the historical and political heartlands of Ukrainian nationalism). By February 20 (in the real timeline), some bands in the far west had already begun to arm themselves, including with heavy weaponry from local storage sites – much as was happening in places like Lugansk and Slavyansk come March-April. Image that instead of going back under government control, the OGA seizures in the far west metastasize (lots of ammo dumps there given Ukraine’s Soviet-era military posture, plus a couple of military units might have defected), reject the government’s authority, and start incubating their own state structures.

Suppose then that Yanukovych had launched an “Anti-Terrorist Operation” against the West Ukrainian militants. Throughout all this, suppose that Russia has negligible or minimal involvement, apart from – obviously – rhetorical support for Yanukovych, and strong statements in support of Ukraine’s stability and territorial integrity. Suppose this ATO has lukewarm support in the East and South, but is opposed in the Center and universally hated in the Far West.

How would you have reacted to this scenario? What about Western politicians? As the Ukrainian Army shelled Lvov, would it be a case of Yanukovych “killing his own people” and calls for intervention? Or at least furbishing supply and training to the rebels/terrorists? Peacekeepers? Sanctions? Against just Ukraine, or Russia as well, if Russia refused to join the West in condemning the Yanukovych regime? To what extent would they support the right of the Ruthenian Neo-Habsburg Republic to autonomy, to independence, etc.? Or would they support Yanukovych, the alt-ATO, and preserving Ukraine’s unity and territorial integrity?
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,022
SoCal
#4
So who on the outside do we assume is sending in military organizers, money, guns, and fighting forces when necessary, in this scenario?
No one. Western Ukrainians acquire guns by attacking and looting military warehouses on their territory. Also, they handle things such as military organization and getting people to recruit and fight by themselves. After all, Ukrainians didn't rely on foreign military muscle for the Maidan Revolution in real life; rather, they did it by themselves. The difference here is that they fail to oust Yanukovych in Kiev in this scenario but are able to get the far western part of Ukraine to secede.

Futurist,

Limiting yourself to one speculative thread a day doesn't mean you HAVE to create one speculative thread a day...
Yes, I know, but I figured that this was an important topic that was worthy of being discussed. It certainly was worthy enough for someone else on a different site to create a blog post about this. In this scenario, it's going to be much easier for Ukraine to join the Eurasian Union since it is going to lose its most pro-Western territories--which certainly has a significant effect on European geopolitics.
 
Nov 2015
1,921
Kyiv
#5
I must say that the opposition of Western Ukrainians to other Ukrainians is a very characteristic method of Russian propaganda. It assured us that the so-called Galicians - галичане - as she calls all Western Ukrainians, are not Ukrainians at all, they are Polonised, etc. etc. This is complete nonsense.

I have to say that the Western Ukraine has managed to preserve much more Ukrainian than central or eastern. And this is a fact. I can say this as a native of Central Ukraine. It is clear that Central and Eastern Ukraine was much more Russified, Bolshevized and Sovietized.

But Russia's invasion of Crimea and the Donbass in 2014 sufficiently leveled off these gradations. And now the difference in the mentality of Western, Central and most Eastern Ukrainians has noticeably smoothed out. Putin wanted to split Ukraine in half or even separate Western Ukraine from the rest of her. Instead, his aggression took a big step to smooth out inter-regional differences in the mentality of Ukrainians and to unite the Ukrainian nation. Central and Eastern Ukraine have become more "Ukrainian." Here is the result of Russian aggression. These are not big words - this is exactly what happened in 2014
 
Likes: Futurist

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,629
#7
No one. Western Ukrainians acquire guns by attacking and looting military warehouses on their territory. Also, they handle things such as military organization and getting people to recruit and fight by themselves. After all, Ukrainians didn't rely on foreign military muscle for the Maidan Revolution in real life; rather, they did it by themselves. The difference here is that they fail to oust Yanukovych in Kiev in this scenario but are able to get the far western part of Ukraine to secede.


Yes, I know, but I figured that this was an important topic that was worthy of being discussed. It certainly was worthy enough for someone else on a different site to create a blog post about this. In this scenario, it's going to be much easier for Ukraine to join the Eurasian Union since it is going to lose its most pro-Western territories--which certainly has a significant effect on European geopolitics.
That risks creating a false equivalence between what actually happened in eastern Ukraine and, well, fiction.

It's a what-if. Anything could happen, it's the beauty of what-if, the answer can always be "yes".

But in this scenario, on balance the central power in Kiev would reassert control sharpish.

More detail might be had in the respect that the EU et al. would likely put Ukraine under sanctions over the spectacle of a president killing his own people to retain power. While Russia under Putin would welcome, endorse, and with money, resources and possible men, support the central government in Kiev, hailing the forcible crushing of the Maidan movement as a victory of sovereign democracy (and what they endorsed all along).

One problem with the scenario of Yanukovich coming back swinging to win in the end is that the force and bloodshed attempt WAS made. And it failed because the people involved in the Maidan didn't buckle. Instead there was a rapid run from Yanukovich and his presidency as the members of the security apparatus tasked with the violence and bloodshed reached a kind of tipping point where the made a risk-calculation where things were headed, and decided that sticking by Yanukovich was more dangerous than abandoning them. Once enough of the had started moving, there was a cascade effect as the muscle decided that the bug out had begun, and the most dangerous position would be to be the last one to leave. That was why his support crumbled so fast, in a 24-hour period more or less.

The Russian government wanted him to crush the Maidan. He did actually try, and it broke the security apparatus tasked with doing the deed. In order for Yanukovich to succeed as the OP assumes, then the Ukranian security forces would have had to be differently set up, motivated and trained.

Which means for the OP to work I will assume Putin sends down some proper Russian muscle, who don't give a rat's ass about Ukranians, to break heads and kill in Kiev until Yanukovich's seat would be again secure.

That would of course lead to another set of EU et al. sanctions on Russia, as happened historically. And possibly would mean that the EU et al. might recognize the rebels in the west as a legitimate uprising against a Russian de facto coup.
 
Likes: Futurist
Nov 2015
1,921
Kyiv
#8
I do not think that the title of this section -
Galicia and Volhynia break away from Ukraine in 2014 instead of Crimea and the Donbass

- is worded correctly


Firstly, Crimea did not separate from Ukraine by her own in any way. To separate the Crimea, a 50,000th Russian troops were landed on the peninsula in the latest decade of February 2014. Direct support for capture of the peninsula by Russia provided the Russian Fleet based in Sevastopol. And, most importantly, it required gross military blackmail by Russia - when on February 26, 2014 - a day or two before the first Russian sildiers began to land in Kerch - Russia raised the alarm fior the units of the Western military district and urgently mooved to the borders of Ukraine a 150,000 army group with all its heavy armament. A significant part of Russian tactical aviation has moved to the nearby airfields. At the same time, Russian airborne troops were raised into the air.

As I already said, this operation of intimidation of Ukraine was carried out in Russia under the slogan of "the largest military exercises in recent decades," which were widely covered in the Russian media. Foreign military representatives and diplomatswho were specially gathered for this in the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, were also informed about them:


В соответствии с распоряжением президента Российской Федерации сегодня в 14:00 внезапно подняты по тревоге войска Западного военного округа, а также соединения и воинские части, дислоцирующиеся на его территории, 2-я армия Центрального военного округа, командования Воздушно-космической обороны, Воздушно-десантных войск, Дальней и Военно-транспортной авиации", - сказал С.Шойгу на совещании в Минобороны РФ. Глава Минобороны отметил, что "верховным главнокомандующим поставлены задачи проверки способности войск к действиям при разрешении кризисных ситуаций, представляющих угрозу военной безопасности страны, а также антитеррористического, санитарно-эпидемиологического и техногенного характера". "Проверку предусматривается провести в период с 26 февраля по 3 марта в два этапа. Начальнику Генерального штаба на первом этапе, с 26 по 27 февраля, привести привлекаемые к внезапной проверке войска в высшие степени боевой готовности и осуществить их развертывание на общевойсковых и морских полигонах", - сказал С.Шойгу. На втором этапе, с 28 февраля по 3 марта, начальнику Генштаба поручено провести "оперативно-тактическое учение с 6-й и 20-й армиями Западного военного округа, 2-й армией Центрального военного округа, командованием ВДВ". Кроме того, на втором этапе проверки пройдут двусторонние тактические учения с соединениями и воинскими частями Северного и Балтийского флотов. Часть сил авиации 1-го командования ВВС и ПВО будет перебазирована на оперативные аэродромы, в том числе, с дозаправкой в воздухе. "Быть в готовности к осуществлению бомбометания на незнакомых полигонах", - сказал С.Шойгу.

- my translation of the text of the Russian TV news. It's 27 or 28 February 2014

In accordance with the decree of the President of the Russian Federation, the troops of the Western military district, as well as the formations and military units deployed on its territory, the 2nd Army of the Central Military District, the command of the Aerospace Defense, and the Airborne Troops, were suddenly raised on alarm today at 14:00 troops, Far and Military Transport Aviation, S. Shoigu said at a meeting in the Russian Defense Ministry.

The head of the Ministry of Defense noted that "the supreme commander has been given the task of verifying the ability of the troops to act in resolving crisis situations that pose a threat to the country's military security, as well as anti-terrorism, sanitary-epidemiological and technogenic character."

“The audit is planned to be carried out in two stages from February 26 to March 3. At the first stage, from February 26 to 27, the chief of the General Staff should be brought to the highest levels of combat readiness involved in a sudden verification and deployed at combined arms and sea ranges" - said S. Shoigu.

At the second stage, from February 28 to March 3, the chief of the General Staff was instructed to conduct "operational-tactical exercises with the 6th and 20th armies of the Western military district, the 2nd army of the Central military district, and the command of the airborne forces."

In addition, at the second stage of the audit, bilateral tactical exercises with the formations and military units of the Northern and Baltic Fleets will be held. Part of the aviation forces of the 1st Air Force and Air Defense Command will be relocated to operational airfields, including with refueling in the air.

"Be prepared for bombing at unfamiliar training grounds," said S. Shoigu. As I said earlier, this operation intimidating Ukraine was carried out in Russia under the slogan "the largest military exercises in recent decades," which were widely covered in the Russian media. Foreign military representatives and diplomats, who were specially gathered for this in the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, were also informed about them.

As Girkin, one of the active participants in the capture of Crimea, said later, the Crimeans in those days were sitting at home and looked out the windows in anticipation of how it would all end. The capture of Crimea by Russia occurred with the insignificant participation of the local population.

Similarly, the armed confrontation in eastern Ukraine was not a direct product of the will of the inhabitants of Donbass. The military conflict there was directly provoked by Russia, its special forces, its agents and its targeted actions. And then the direct participation of her army in operations in the Donbass (since August 2014).

Donbass "separated" as a result of a large-scale Russian operation in the east of Ukraine. I know the situation there well, our company had a business with a number of Donetsk companies and at one time I was there at a large seminar with the participation of a dozen directors and co-owners of the largest plants in the region. People from Donbass worked at our company, and they told us about what was happening there in their time.

So - until 2014, the entire course of events in the Donbass was chosen by the local elite. It was strong and quite united. And without her knowledge, absolutely nothing passed there. And in 2014, this elite was pushed aside and some random people who no one had known in the Donbass before entered the arena. In fact, the underground that Russia had been building there for a number of years unexpectedly surfaced. Plus Russian special forces — Girkin and others — were extrmely active. And many other people came from Russia who actively participated in meetings and anti-Ukrainian there. The most remarkable thing is that at the largest rallies the number of participants did not exceed 10 thousand. This is a ridiculous figure for a densely populated region and for Donetsk with a population of more than a million people.

For comparison - at a rally in Kiev, which launched the Big Maidan on December 1, 2014 (I was there with my family) - more than 1 million people from Kiev came.

In fact, an external project was imposed on Donbass, and the Donetsk elite was pushed aside. The last thing she wanted was for Donbass to enter Russia. In the end, if the DPR were headed by Yanukovych, and the people supported him there, I would still doubt that Russia did not play a key role there. But Yanukovychnever even appeared in his native land after fleeing to Russia .

For Galicia and Volhynia, no external forces dictated the behavior of people there in the time. And her deeds were not a mirror reflection of the Donbass. At the same time, I remember very well that somewhere in the fall of 2013 rumors went that if Kiev follows the pro-Russian path - that is, Yanukovych will completely get the situation under his control - Galichina and Volyn they will insist on sovereignty

By and large, such sovereignty was quite suitable for Putin. The Russian maximum program provided that all Ukraine would fall under Russia, except for the Western regions, of which Putin did not doubt disloyalty to Russia. He is a pupil of the KGB. And the Chekists perfectly remembered how hard a Western Ukraine was for them.

I admit that many people in Galicia and Volhynia really had such sentiments. But when Kiev launched the Big Maidan and massively supported the protest against Yanukovych and its pro-Russian trend, no one spoke of any Volyn or Galichina separatism.

I can say more. Russian aggression in Ukraine has led to the fact that even many residents of the East of Ukraine have become "Galicians" in spirit. At the Donetsk city forum, a couple of years ago I was appointed the moderator of the historical section of the forum. And I can clearly see what the inhabitants of the region write about. Among them there were so many patriots of Ukraine that until 2014 you could not even dream about it. Yes, and Kharkov - I visit the forum there - demonstrates a clear pro-Ukrainian trend. Pro-Russian participants there are only a few people - as in the Donetsk forum

And one more remark. It is more correct to call Galicia in this context as Galichina, as it is called in Ukraine. Galichina is the eastern part of Galicia, its Ukrainian part. And the western part of Galicia is Polish, including Krakow.
 
Likes: Futurist
May 2014
21,022
SoCal
#9
How important can a speculative topic be? After all, it didn't happen that way.
It's as important as any other speculative history topic.

That risks creating a false equivalence between what actually happened in eastern Ukraine and, well, fiction.

It's a what-if. Anything could happen, it's the beauty of what-if, the answer can always be "yes".

But in this scenario, on balance the central power in Kiev would reassert control sharpish.

More detail might be had in the respect that the EU et al. would likely put Ukraine under sanctions over the spectacle of a president killing his own people to retain power. While Russia under Putin would welcome, endorse, and with money, resources and possible men, support the central government in Kiev, hailing the forcible crushing of the Maidan movement as a victory of sovereign democracy (and what they endorsed all along).

One problem with the scenario of Yanukovich coming back swinging to win in the end is that the force and bloodshed attempt WAS made. And it failed because the people involved in the Maidan didn't buckle. Instead there was a rapid run from Yanukovich and his presidency as the members of the security apparatus tasked with the violence and bloodshed reached a kind of tipping point where the made a risk-calculation where things were headed, and decided that sticking by Yanukovich was more dangerous than abandoning them. Once enough of the had started moving, there was a cascade effect as the muscle decided that the bug out had begun, and the most dangerous position would be to be the last one to leave. That was why his support crumbled so fast, in a 24-hour period more or less.

The Russian government wanted him to crush the Maidan. He did actually try, and it broke the security apparatus tasked with doing the deed. In order for Yanukovich to succeed as the OP assumes, then the Ukranian security forces would have had to be differently set up, motivated and trained.

Which means for the OP to work I will assume Putin sends down some proper Russian muscle, who don't give a rat's ass about Ukranians, to break heads and kill in Kiev until Yanukovich's seat would be again secure.

That would of course lead to another set of EU et al. sanctions on Russia, as happened historically. And possibly would mean that the EU et al. might recognize the rebels in the west as a legitimate uprising against a Russian de facto coup.
AFAIK, Yanukovych never actually tried to declare martial law during the Maidan. That said, though, you're correct that there was a risk that this could have failed due to defections and thus still resulted in Yanukovych's overthrow. Thus, you might be correct that Yanukovych needed to put more loyal and trustworthy men in positions of power in the Ukrainian military and police if he wanted to have much higher odds of keeping power. As for the rebels in western Ukraine, is the West actually going to try arming them and helping them capture additional territory? After all, these rebels might be interested in liberating Kiev, Vinnitsya, Zhytomyr, et cetera.
 
May 2014
21,022
SoCal
#10
@Dir: You are absolutely correct that pro-Ukrainian sentiment has hardened in Ukraine over the last five years. Even in the Ukrainian-controlled part of the Donbass, in spite of voting for the Opposition Bloc, less than 10% of people actually want to join Russia (the comparable figure in the rebel-controlled part of the Donbass is around 45%). Crimea, of course, does appear to be heavily Russophile nowadays--which Russian nationalists could use as an excuse to argue that they should have conquered more of Ukraine by force in 2014 in the hope that these regions would have seen an upsurge in Russophilia after the fact just like Crimea did.

I'm glad that we also appear to agree that if Yanukovych would have somehow been able to reassert control over Kiev, the far western Ukrainian provinces might have indeed seceded from Ukraine or at least tried to do this. Yanukovych might have even privately allowed them to do this in such a scenario since such a move would remove a lot of pro-Western voters from Ukraine and thus make it much easier for the pro-Russian forces to continue winning elections in Ukraine.
 
Status
Closed

Similar History Discussions