Perhaps the main news today was about Putin's aide, handler of unrecognized "republics" Vladislav Surkov leaving his post "in connection with a change of a course in the Ukrainian direction." Well, at least, that's the narrative prevailing in the media space at the moment while vast audiences rejoice in a rush of schadenfreude.
However, it should be understood that such a sweet spot can't remain unoccupied for too long. Moreover, not everyone realizes that it was due to a powerful adversary that Surkov lost his battle for pseudo-republics, so the winner is unlikely to bring any relief for Ukraine.
I should recall that the sophisticated game launched against Surkov reached its climax last year, in the wake of Ukraine's election campaign. Then the FSB came into play along with a number of affiliated figures, such as Viktor Medvedchuk. This affiliation came through the Beseda-Kozak-Babich trio, and it was Babich who played an important role in taking down Surkov.
In June last year, Babich was appointed Russia's deputy minister for economic development. This way he, as well as the FSB's beseda-Kozak-Babich triumvirate as a whole, gained control over financial flows to the occupied Donbas, the territory Surkov previously managed through his puppet on the ground Denis Pushilin. But it's not only about the bridgehead of unrecognized republics...
In Ukraine's political arena in Ukraine, we've also observed confrontation between Vladislav Surkov (read "GRU"), represented by the "Opposition Bloc" political force, and the earlier mentioned FSB triumvirate sponsoring Medvedchuk's "Opposition Platform - For Life" party.
It was Medvedchuk who was supposed to expropriate powers that Surkov left behind in the occupied territories, thereby pushing the GRU to the periphery of Ukraine issues.
Immediately after Medvedchuk received new handlers, he sharply intensified efforts in buying up Ukrainian TV channels and resuming negotiations on prisoner swap with who essentially are his accomplices from the so-called "DPR".
Thus, Viktor Medvedchuk has been implementing two campaigns at a time – on monopolizing the Ukrainian media market, obviously with Russia's direct funding, aimed at bringing in pro-Russian mass content with further integration with the Russian propaganda machine within a single space, and on molding a nice image of himself as a "peacemaker and mediator".
And it is not surprising that right now Viktor Medvedchuk became more pro-active with the idea of Parliament's inter-factional association "Inter-Parliamentary Dialogue for Peace", although now it's been adjusted toward a "parliamentary dimension of the Normandy format".
So, in 2019, Vladislav Surkov not only saw his political force lose for parliament seats, but also began to lose control over the external direction of Russian policies, which was fully intercepted by the FSB.
Another fly in Surkov's ointment flew from Abkhazia where he was hardly able to keep street protests from spilling over the egde. The latest developments showed that he isn't controlling anything in this "republic" anymore. Besides, Dmitry Kozak's success in creating a pseudo-coalition in Moldova in the wake of the political crisis, which allowed the elites beyond FSB control to be removed, sealed more points to the trio.
But Moldova is really just a warm-up for Dmitry Kozak and his team before they move to implementing a full-scale plan to integrate the unrecognized "DPR" and "LPR" entities into Ukraine, which will be forced to finance them, while Moscow will de facto retain full control over these territories. This may allow Russia to finally get rid of the extra financial burden, start talking about the easing and lifting of western sanctions, while continuing their destructive influence on Ukraine.