Gevorg Mirzayan, an associate professor of political scientist and a research fellow at the Russian Academy of Sciences' U.S. and Canadian Studies Institute, believes that the war in Ukraine will end like the Korean War with the partition of Ukraine between Russia and the West. Once the West reaches the conclusion that it cannot crush Russia, he maintains, it will agree to a Korean solution that will leave in Russian hands all the Russian speaking areas, a corridor to Transnistria, and a border that is 200 kilometers further away from Moscow. This will not happen soon, but both sides will eventually conclude that there is no other alternative.
While the territory that Mirzayan envisages appear extravagant, it is worth noting that there is no talk of demilitarizing Ukraine or "denazifying" it – formulas to which Russian officialdom still adheres. Mirzayan also cautions the Russian "turbo-patriots" that the Stalinist era is over and that talk of total conquest is therefore out of the question. He softens the blow by presenting the "Korean" option as something that Russia will impose on the West, but for a staunch regime supporter such as Mirzayan this represents a climbdown from the original objectives.
Mirzayan's article follows below:
Border between the two Koreas at the 38th parallel (Source: Vokrugsveta.ru)
"The collective West continues to produce fake news as part of the 'Russia begs for talks' manual. This time, the secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council, Oleksiy Danilov, distinguished himself. He spoke about the 'Korean option' that Moscow is now supposedly offering the West. Under this option, we are talking about a freeze of the conflict, and a separation of the parties along some natural line (as in the 38th parallel on the Korean peninsula). However, this is not a temporary freeze, but a permanent one.
"Moscow denies holding such talks; according to presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov, 'no one is talking about it... it's just another canard.' And this is indeed true, as Russia is not negotiating about the 'Korean' or any other option, simply because there is no basis for this now, nor is there any willingness on the part of the West to accept such a compromise, nor is there any desire on the part of Russia to ask the West for anything (it's not for this purpose that we launched the SVO).
"However, the irony of the situation is that the so-called 'Korean option' may well be viable in the future. Moreover, according to a number of experts, it is the basic formula for a final agreement on Ukraine (when Moscow forces the West to accept it, that is)."
We Will Partition
"It should be understood that the Korean option is not about a ceasefire. It is not about a temporary ceasefire and especially not about freezing the conflict. It is, essentially, a partition of Ukraine into two parts, formalized in the form of a corresponding agreement.
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"In this circumstance, the Korean option is fundamentally different from the  'Khasawyurt' Accords [ending the First Chechen War that left Chechnya as an independent state] that enemies are now offering Moscow. This implies that either the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia oblasts [that Russia annexed] should be returned to Ukraine (as articulated by Western 'doves'); or these regions plus the LPR and DPR [Luhansk and Donetsk People's Republics] should be returned (the point of view of Western 'hawks'); or all these territories plus Crimea should be returned, together with reparations payments (which the Kyiv regime wants). That said, even Kyiv understands that there is no chance that Moscow will go for any of these scenarios.
"These options also differ from the plan proposed by the Russian 'turbo-patriots' to wage the SVO until the Russo-Polish border is reached near Lviv. It's clear that such a solution is impossible, or it will be fraught with very, very high costs. At least because after the collapse of the Kyiv regime (which is a prerequisite for such a deep advance by the Russian army) the Poles, who are now actively preparing an occupation contingent, will enter western Ukraine.
"That aside, the western Ukrainian fragment of UGIL (the Ukrainian state of Ivano-Frankivsk and Lviv, as it is dubbed by the deputy head of the Zaporozhye oblast, Vladimir Rogov [in Russian, the name is similar to 'ISIS']) will turn into a serious burden for Russia, due to the strong anti-Russian sentiment there. This is not the Stalin era, when the NKVD pulled no punches in dealing with Bandera terrorists, and when the annexation of these territories in 1939 partly saved Moscow in 1941 (the Nazis simply did not have time to reach the capital before the winter cold).
"That is why Russia's SVO is likely to end with the Korean option, i.e., with the partition of Ukraine between Russia and the West. However, the West is simply not yet ready for this, as it still hopes to crush Moscow, and to secure agreement to the Korean option, Russia must demonstrate to it [the West] that there will be no other scenarios.
"That is, simply put, to inflict a series of severe defeats to the Kyiv regime (and the liberation of Soledar is the first step on this path). Second, the right configuration on the ground must emerge for this option to be implemented. The option does not and cannot imply the transfer of any additional territories to Russia, as that would be truly humiliating for the West.
"The said scenario involves at least a treaty-based retention of territory, which means that prior to concluding [the agreement], Moscow must reach the notional '38th parallel.'"
The Appropriate Parallel
"The question is what constitutes this parallel for Moscow. Obviously, the minimum program consists of the following territories: first, all Russian lands and cities. The Korean option presupposes the conclusion of a written agreement signed by the parties, and Russia cannot sign any document involving the surrender of Russian territories to the enemy, even on a temporary basis. The Russian Constitution prohibits this.
"Second, the borders of 'remainder of Ukraine should be pushed back as far as possible from Moscow (in order to maximize the flight distance for missiles). Currently there are less than 500 kilometers from the Chernihiv oblast to the Russian capital. Third, Russia should acquire territorial access to Transnistria.
"Otherwise, immediately after the armistice, this territory with several hundred thousand Russian citizens sandwiched between Ukraine and Romania will be a victim of military provocations. Consequently, Moscow will have to break the armistice and fight its way through Ukraine to save its citizens (one cannot go through Romania, since it would mean the activation of NATO's Article 5 and a nuclear war).
"It would seem that then the Dnipro River should serve as the '38th parallel,' which is exactly what the supporters of the 'Korean option' are talking about. To Russia, according to them, will go the left bank of the river, and to Ukraine the right bank. However, this border is not quite relevant. True, it moves the borders of Ukrainian territory away from Moscow by some 200 kilometers, however both the Russian city of Kherson (with a considerable part of the Russian Kherson Oblast) and Mykolaiv and Odessa (which are part of the land corridor to Transnistria) are located on the right bank of the Dnipro River.
"Additionally, Russian troops cannot simply advance and cross the Dnipro near Kherson oblast and liberate Russian cities, because such a crossing would be fraught with high casualties. It’s much easier to reach the right bank near Zaporizhzhya or Dnepropetrovsk (after their liberation), and then move along the right bank to Odessa. Moreover, Krivoy Rog, perhaps Kirovograd (now Kropivnitsky) and a number of other territories on the right bank should be liberated. Which, understandably, no one is going to give back to Ukraine.
Map of Ukraine (Source: Chsponyexpress.com)
"That is why the exact terms of the 'Korean format' are yet undefined, as well as the time for launching serious talks on the subject. Let’s recall that the Korean ceasefire was reached only after two conditions arose. The parties could not advance further and they inwardly reconciled themselves to the fact that there was no alternative to a formal partition of Korea. Therefore, Moscow’s current task is to persuade, or more precisely, to compel the U.S. and Europe to accept the 'Korean option.'
"The question is, how long will such convincing take? From the looks of it, not weeks, not even months. Well, we will wait. But will Ukraine wait?
Gevorg Mirzayan (Source: Lenta.ru)
 Vz.ru, January 16, 2023.