Mr Putin’s greatest contribution may simply have been the ruthless propaganda offensive that has helped to generate such a climate of fear. The terrible incident in Odessa last Friday, when 32 pro-Russian protesters died inside a burning building that may well have been set alight by Ukrainians, has created still more ripples of terror. Yet even the most ardent supporters of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” find it hard to outline their demands. Many deny any ambition to join Russia and resent being called “separatists”. They also dislike the word “federalist”, preferring to say that they want a form of autonomy within Ukraine. Exactly what form, they are at a loss to explain.