A Russian economist, former Advisor to Putin (2000-2005) Andrei Illarionov in an interview with "Apostrophe” told about Kremlin’s influence on Viktor Yanukovych, return of Crimean peninsula, Russia’s current plans to seize Ukraine and much more.
- The first attempt was during the Orange Revolution in late 2004 and early 2005. But as this operation was ill-prepared, Kremlin decided to postpone it until 2010, the time of the presidential elections in Ukraine - in case Tymoshenko had won more votes than Yanukovych, they would have used a legend saying the power in Kyiv was seized by "banderivtsi" and "fascists" and Kremlin’s obligation is to "protect" Crimeans from them. Since Yanukovich won the election, the annexation plan had to be put off once again. The next attempt was scheduled for the presidential election in 2015. Hadn’t Yanukovych scored more than half of the votes, new Maidan would have started in Kyiv. Then, under the cover of a "threat coming from Banderivtsi," Moscow could have carried out its plan. However, Maidan began earlier, when neither Kyiv, nor Moscow expected it. Therefore, Putin had to revise his plans and carry out annexation in 2014, said Illarionov.