Staunton, July 6 – Ukraine faces a serious problem, Vladislav Inozemtsev says. The West as recent events show is more ready for a rapprochement with Moscow than at any time since 2014, and Kyiv over that period has based almost its entire strategy on the idea that it is “defending democratic Europe from a totalitarian Horde.”
Recent weeks have not brought Ukraine much good news: Russia has returned to PACE, Trump and Putin have shaken hands and exchanged compliments and Macron and Merkel have decided to resume participation “in the senseless Norman format” for talks about Ukraine with Moscow (nv.ua/opinion/voyna-s-rossiey-chto-izmenilos-na-zapade-50030679.html).
All this indicates that the West now views a rapprochement with Moscow more seriously than at any point since the annexation of Crimea,” the Russian commentator says, a moment that only the naïve could believe would never come. “Although Russia is hardly capable of helping solve any international problem … Moscow has succeeded in creating the opposite impression.”
Moreover, the excessive demonization of Russia has brought this day closer because it suggests that Moscow is far more powerful and influential than it in fact is. But “if the Horde begins to be counted as a ‘normal’ state,” the logic on which Ukraine’s foreign policy has been based collapses.
“Gas deals between Berlin and Moscow, the lack of a desire by the US to hand over Russia to the sphere of the domination of China, the mythical influence of Russia on the situation in the Middle East – all this will work for the Kremlin” and against Ukraine, Inozemtsev continues.
Continuing to hold fast to the illusion that “Russia is part of Asia and that Europeans will never agree with Putin” is simply wrong. “Russia is Europe only not of the 21st century but of the 19th. All its imperial strivings are things the Europeans understand and they are hardly ready to oppose this for purely ethnic reasons.” In that regard, “things are no better than in 1938.”
Consequently, “chances for an increase in pressure on Kyiv are high, and the ever more obvious links of part of the Ukrainian political elite with Moscow are becoming an additional factor of reducing the support of Ukraine from the side of the West.” Ukrainians must face up to that squarely.
Unless Moscow makes a series of major errors, the former hostility of Europe and the US toward it will not last. And that in turn means that Ukrainians face “the task of developing a new geopolitical strategy based on the logic ‘how bad things will be for Europe without us’ but on the logic ‘how much we can be useful to the world.’”
“This is an exceptionally important and complicated task, the recipe for the solution of which I do not have,” Inozemtsev concedes. “I only want to stress that as long as Russia is not considered part of Europe, Ukraine also will not be viewed as such.
For historical reasons, European politicians view all of the former USSR except for the Baltic countries as “not Europe.” Countries like the Balts, the Czech Republic or Poland were simply Europeans who had been prevented from assuming their rightful place. Those to the east of them aren’t viewed that way.
Ukraine suffers from this and also from the fact that “in the opinion of Russia, it is too ‘European,’ while in the view of Europe, it is too ‘Russian’” and thus not European enough. Ukrainians need to consider how they can present themselves with competitive advantages and do so “led by rationality and not by emotions.”
As Inozemtsev concludes, “a war with Russia and a period of alienation between Russia and the West served as a catalyst for the formation of the Ukrainian nation. A period of their possible rapprochement inevitably must become a time for Ukraine’s acquisition of its own political and economic subjectivity.”