Novorossija, the dream that shattered along with the Boeing MH17

It should have been the start of a new "Russian World". Putin’s ideologues together with shady characters who came out of the undergrowth of services worked at that project. But it unravelledin a July sunny day two years ago.

It was already understood that the Novorossija project had been chucked by the Kremlin. At least since Moscow has called home itsemissaries in Donbass and showed to renounce territorial conquest of the entire region. Now one of the men who orchestrated the annexation of Crimea and the outbreak of war in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk tells to the Russian journalist SergejLojko how things went. And he also gives a certain date.

The Kremlin plot

"Russia lost its chance to create any ‘Novorossia’ on July 17 2014, when the passenger airliner was shot down over territory held by the militants. After that, the idea of Novorossiawas closed. So it was shut down and the war was soon frozen".

The man who speaks says he is a businessman. We know him only by the name of Alexander. According to his account, he among the men who – at the time of self-proclaimed government of Sergei Aksionovin February 2014 – worked to the secession of the Crimea, which has resulted in the referendum and subsequent Russian annexation. "At the time, the overwhelming majority of the population voluntarily voted for unification with Russia", says Alexander. The enthusiasm was quickly exported in Donbass from those who would later be the first leaders of the republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, people like Igor "Strelkov"Girkin and AleksandrBorodai.

The story AleksandrtellsLojkomatches with revelations published over a year ago by the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta on the existence of a Kremlin plot for the partition of Ukraine. In Donetsk gatheredPutin’s  ideologues to kick off the Novorossija project. It seemed the dawn of the "Russian World", and the Ukrainian unity sunset. Putin’s political calculation, however, wanted something different. “The ‘Russian World’ that I dreamed of, that the people of Crimea expected, that the volunteers who died in Donbas believed in, crumbled into dust before my very eyes”.

Broken dream

Among the fathers of Novorossijathere was Alexander Dugin , founder (together with EdvardLimonov) of the Russian National Bolshevik Party, admirer of Nazism and longtime supporter of the occupation of Crimea; Alexander Prokhanov, writer famous for his anti-Semitic and Stalinist stance; Valery Korovin, member of Eurasia, the Russian far-right political party that strives to strengthen the strategic and geopolitical unity of Russia and Eurasian federalism. No coincidence that the last three characters are members of Izborsky club, a Moscow based think-tank (with a certain influence on the Kremlin), which supports “the idea of a Eurasian empire which united peoples, ethnos and cultures of Great Russia into a single strategic space”.The new state would be based on land collectivization, nationalization of industries, cultural unitywith the Russian world. The ultimate goal of Novorossija would be joining the Eurasian Union (strongly wanted by Moscow) and merge one day in the great putative Russian homeland.

Even the choice of name did not hide the intentions of its founders. Novorossija was a large swath of today's Ukrainian territory conquered in the 18th century by the Czarist Russia to the Ottomans, covering the regions of the southeast of today's Ukraine, including Crimea. Mixing historical events here and there, adding a dose of revanchism and peppering everything with Pan-Slavic ideology, the founders of Novorossija wanted to refer clearly to the eurasist movement that is influencing the policy of the Kremlin in recent years.But it had to deal with Putin’s realpolitik.

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