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Tires are the worst imaginable. More than 100,000 Russian troops are marching on the border with Ukraine, and the US says an invasion could come at any time. Russia has given the West a deadline to respond to its demands for security guarantees, which means that Ukraine will not join NATO, and that NATO will withdraw its forces near its borders. Tomorrow, there is another meeting between US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, in Geneva. The intention is to give diplomacy another chance, before any war becomes a continuation of politics, by other means, war historian Clausewitz has written. How can it go like this?
When Ukraine was born As a country 30 years ago, no one would ever acknowledge the existence of a child. Her mother, the Soviet Union, had just died, and the last thing she did was bring a number of new countries – including Ukraine – into the world. There was no relevant paternity issue – there were no real candidates. And the child – well – was confused about both his existence and his justification, not least about where he belonged. Ukraine was a state, with all the rights and obligations imposed by international law. But no nation had a unanimous idea of what it meant to be Ukrainian.
Russian was a lot language more widely than Ukrainian, and while in the eastern provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk there were as many people who identified themselves as of Russian descent as those who identified themselves as Ukrainians, there were much more who identified themselves as Russians than in the semi-Ukrainian language. Crimea. Peninsula. In the East, people were inclined against Russia for historical, cultural, religious, economic and political reasons.
In the West, people have been in touch their future hopes for Europe. Strong Ukrainian nationalism has historically been a Western Ukrainian phenomenon. And in the West, Poland and the European Union were gradually set as role models. When Ukraine was born, it was as poor as neighboring Poland. But while in the EU Poland has experienced adventurous economic growth, the opposite has been the case for Ukraine, where the economy has sank like a rock for many years. In 1990, Poland’s GDP was 33 percent of the European Union average. Now it’s about 70 percent. That is why – among other things – Ukrainians in the West look to Poland.
Ukraine was and still is A deeply divided country. The election of leaders revealed systemic schizophrenia. Presidents were elected in largely regular elections. But either the chiefs had very strong support in the West, and therefore weak in the East, or vice versa. And in 2004, Viktor Yanukovych, with the support of the East, launched the first modern revolution in election fraud. But only six years later, the electoral cheater is back, this time winning a fair election. Ukrainians were very consistent in their political preferences, and the process of building the Ukrainian nation was far from a unified national idea. The distance was very large between the state and nation Ukraine.
The distance was very great, but with a certain right, it can be said that the first nation-maker of Ukraine was Russian President Vladimir Putin. His annexation of Crimea and his support for the war in eastern Ukraine united Ukrainians more than anything else around at least one national identity, the defense of the motherland.
Now Putin is normal Also a Russian nation builder. But only to a certain extent. He strengthened the country in the 2000s, when it was in danger of disintegration. But he has since built a country on solid feet of clay, where as much political control as possible is more important than economic growth and resilience. The need for the brutal suppression of dissent points to a nation far from in harmony with itself. Putin is a nation in which whips and policemen are more important than the economic carrot he was once tempted. There is no recipe for the stability he seeks. But in the long run it poses a threat to the system it is building.
Since Katrina The great conquest of “New Russia” – Crimea and Ukraine east of the Dnieper – at the end of the 18th century, the control of Ukraine defined Russia as a great power. Without this control, Russia would have been a European province. But there is more to geopolitics here. For Ukraine, it is culturally close neighbors – yes, fraternal people – who can choose a path other than that of Putin’s persistent authoritarianism. Yes, Ukraine chose Russia, and Putin himself helped it. It also poses a threat to Putin, who has a democratic dimension, while letting the tide of war sweep across Europe.
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