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The Daily Vertical: Return Of The Little Green Men (Transcript)


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The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

So, whose little green men are they, anyway?

At this point, we don't really know.

But there was a sense of deja vu in Luhansk yesterday as masked, armed men in unmarked uniforms took up positions in the center of the de facto Russian-controlled eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk.

It all felt so retro -- so very 2014.

Except that then, the so-called "little green men" were part of a Kremlin campaign to stir up and manufacture a separatist uprising in the Donbas and undermine Ukraine's sovereignty.

Today, they appear to be a tool in a fight among the separatists themselves.

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Initial reports suggest that the reappearance of little green men in Luhansk is connected to a power struggle that ensued after Igor Plotnitsky, the pro-Moscow separatist leader in Luhansk, fired his police chief, Igor Kornet, earlier this week.

The Russian news agency RBK is quoting an unidentified Kremlin official close to Vladislav Surkov, Russia's point man on Ukraine policy, as saying that Moscow is displeased with Plotnitsky's rule and is backing Kornet.

But the Kremlin is denying this and -- quite improbably -- calling the whole thing an internal affair of the so-called "Luhansk People's Republic."

It's going to take a little while for the smoke to clear before we can piece together what exactly is really going on here.

But one thing is clear.

When you use force, deception, and subterfuge to create a fake state on somebody else's territory -- force, deception, and subterfuge will likely become the organizing principles of that fake state.

A territory established by little green men is doomed to be governed by the rule of little green men.

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