Published 10:29 January 20, 2022
Vladimir Putin has already lost Ukraine.
The failed totalitarian experiment of Soviet Communism has ceased to exist. Yet Ukraine continues to be subjected to a perverse, prejudiced and reality-denying view of history represented by Putin’s desire to replace a 21st-century version of Stalinism in the guise of a modern-day model of the Russian Empire.
History has moved forward from the Second World War, though Putin hasn’t. In the present day, Putin is attempting to convert and apply a Stalin-influenced and an out-moded geopolitical view that has long, for all intents and purposes, been replaced by societies in Eastern Europe that aspire towards the principles of democratic freedoms and a rules-based international order that affirms national independence and sovereignty.
After the Fall of the Berlin wall, previous “captive nations” have been transformed, Ukraine being the last of these captive and oppressed people who yearn for democracy. Putin’s actions and his most recent writings strongly suggests that he can’t accept this fact and that any suggested freedom narrative, be it individual or on a national scale, is beyond his scope of understanding, let alone acceptance. What is most unfortunate is that there is no one in his “fear society” that has had the courage to tell him and to convince him of the drastic repercussions of his aggressive actions and future place in the civilized world of nations. Unfortunately, the pressures of public opinion and the influence of Russia’s citizens has no effect on Putin.
When will it become customary to state categorically that Putin cares only for the expression of power?
As he threatens and induces fear with the latest buildup of troops on the Ukrainian border, the question that remains unanswered: to what extent is he willing to gamble on destroying Ukraine’s quest for independence and natural sovereignty, and for Ukraine to be denied its sovereign choice to join NATO in response to continual Russian aggression?
The developing facts on the ground suggest that he will be making a push in the upcoming weeks to ensure that Ukraine’s example of independence will ultimately have to submit to his dictates and for it to once again participate in the Russian world and within the confines of its ‘sphere of influence’, the result being the destruction of its democratic plight and its national right and desire to determine its security choices.
Yet, other questions that must be asked; how many men and women will die, and to what extent will Ukraine be submitted to Russia’s destruction power in his last attempt to revive an anti-modern, oppressive, authoritarian, politically archaic and economically inefficient imperialistic Russia? Putin and the nation of Russia must be held morally and financially accountable.
Ukrainians intimately know Putin’s character and personality. They are not afraid of him, nor his threats. Unfortunately, the upcoming war will, rather belatedly, reveal the extent of Putin’s animus to all things western. They will finally see, in the present-day, the ruthless behavior of a Stalin inspired former communist apparatchik, still blinded by a nostalgia induced myopia that denies the death of millions by starvation and who disrespects fundamental human rights and individual dignity.
Recent history illustrates two major accomplishments of Ukraine’s citizens which suggest potential behavior in the upcoming war and potential occupation.
The first was the scaring away of the Russian-influenced and the corrupt leadership of the Viktor Yanukovych regime during Ukraine’s “Revolution of Dignity”. The second being the effective response to Russia’s aggression in eastern Ukraine and Crimea.
Many forget the inadequate preparation of Ukraine’s defence forces during Yanychovich’s time and the response of volunteer fighters who gathered from all points of Ukraine to effectively halt further Russian incursion into Ukraine. This experience and accomplishment transformed Ukrainian thinking about Russia and the country’s self-esteem.
Putin has made numerous miscalculations regarding Ukraine
He grotesquely misread Ukraine’s populace in believing that they would continue to tolerate the governing practices and corruption of the Russian inspired lackey, Yanychovich. He couldn’t conceive of the possibility of the strength of the opposition to a government whose very presence became a moral outrage to its citizens.
His response to the political changes in Kyiv was an opportunistic, violent, and unlawful invasion of Ukraine. In this, he misjudged the reaction of Ukraine’s people who deemed it an affront to their aspirations to a peaceful life, to their lands, and to their nation as they were attempting to create a new order and way of life within their country.
Following Hitler’s strategy in Austria, he wrongly assumed that Russian speaking Ukrainians and decades-long efforts at Russification in Ukraine would result in unquestioned support of Russia’s occupation, Instead, what he precipitated, and re-energized, was a process of Ukrainization in the form of solidifying Ukrainian national resolve towards independent nation-building.
He solidified mistrust towards himself and Russia, as Ukrainians were beginning to experience a renaissance of what it means to be Ukrainian, ensuring a feeling that to be Ukrainian did not mean to be anti-Russian, but that to be Ukrainian meant the affirmation of rebelling against any form of oppression.
The citizen inspired Maidan was a countrywide rebellion to governing paradigms that resulted from Soviet Communism and its progeny, the Russian inspired oligarchic system, that corrupted all aspects of Ukrainian life. Ukrainians no longer wanted, nor do they want, these types of influences in their lives.
Putin also assumed and propagated the “brotherhood” between the Russian and Ukrainian peoples. Invasion and occupation and aggressive action within the occupied lands only proved this to be a Soviet and imperialistic propaganda myth.
Ukrainians do not forget the 14,000 that have been killed during Russia’s most recent aggression. The dead are seen as heroes. Ukrainians, of all ages, are prepared to fight and die if the Russians invade again.
At the same, Ukrainians do not forget the close to 1.6 million internally displaced people as a result of the Russian invasion in the east and the fact that this has caused enormous family displacement within the country, loss of property and way of life. They are used to such depravations.
Ukrainians continue to resent Putin’s actions because they are seen as thwarting their desire to draw closer to their historic European roots and to the establishment of western type institutions which they believe will lead to the fulfillment of their economic aspirations, a greater sense of legal justice, to greater equality and fairness in society.
Putin has failed to understand to understand Ukraine’s desire to build a post-soviet, and western orientated society based on dignity, freedom, the equal application of justice, a sense of fairness and the rule of law. Putin is ridiculed in Ukraine. They have had enough of him and the world he represents. They despise his constant threats and continual attempts at destabilizing their country.
Putin’s behavior has hardened the resolve of the Ukrainian people against him
Recent polls reveal that close to 60% of Ukraine’s people are ready to take up arms against any invasion force. Between 40,000 to 50,000 battle-hardened volunteers, who gained war experience in attempting to fend off Russia’s initial invasion, will find themselves on any front in about 2 days.
Ukraine’s, once disorganized army, is mobilized and highly motivated as they prepare to confront an invading imperial army, having gained years of experience in battle and is prepared to confront the existential threat at its doorstep. It awaits the delivery of weapons so that it can defend its sovereign and European country.
In final, the extension of the war between Russia and Ukraine will reveal some basic and unconvertable truths to the world – Ukraine is not Russia and it has never been.
Ukraine is an independent and sovereign European nation. A country with a unique cultural identity, a distinct language, a national history that has been centuries in the making. Ukrainians, though a peaceful and non-aggressive people, and who only a few years ago assumed that its security would be guaranteed by other nations through agreements like the Budapest Memorandum, and most recently by the Minsk Accords, are prepared to go to war to confirm its sovereignty as a country and to ensure its independence.
Ukraine has unequivocally rejected to be part of the Russian world and be subjected to life in Russia’s ‘sphere of influence’. It has the right and responsibility to determine and pursue its national interests as it deems fit, finally coming to the realization that it is the sole determiner of its national fate.
Ukraine is a fledgling European and western orientated democracy, which, despite weak political leadership, is attempting to build a nation despite Russia and its attempts to weaken its democratic neighbor by the use of aggressive military means.
Ukraine will resist Russia despite the half-hearted attempts of being given weapons from its western counterparts with which to defend itself and efforts to dissuade Russia diplomatically.
Despite the results on the ground, the true relationship between Russia and Ukraine will be revealed and will affect relations for at least a century. A full-scale war with Russia will provide Ukraine with a modern-day definition of what it means to be, and hopefully, exist as a sovereign and independent European nation.
In a way, Putin didn’t lose Ukraine. It’s that a war with Russia will confirm Ukraine’s statehood, once and for all. Thus, Ukraine wins.
Source: New Europe