Thursday, December 19, 2019

Paris Summit Offers Five Lessons for Russia, Tsipko Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 17 – Senior Moscow commentator Aleksandr Tsipko says that the recent Paris summit on Ukraine, at which the Russian-speaking Ukrainian president suddenly appeared to turn into a Ukrainian nationalist, gave Russia five important if unwelcome lessons that Moscow must take in if it is to develop a successful policy for the future.

            Writing in Moskovsky komsomlets, Tsipko says that wars have a logic of their own and that the five years of war in Ukraine has transformed that country in ways Moscow has not yet fully recognized but must ultimately accept (

            These lessons include:

·         First, “as a result of what has taken place in the last five years, Ukraine already cannot fail to be anti-Russian.”  Some Ukrainians may be willing to make deals with Moscow, but the overwhelming majority of the population and its leaders will view Russia as hostile to their nation and be hostile in return.

·         Second, Tsipko continues, that means that “it is time to recognize at the least that now there is no basis for restoring partnership relations with Ukraine. And thank God, all our Russian illusions connected with Zelensky’s coming to power have dissipated.”

·         Third, “Ukraine will never, as long as it is an independent state turn away from its course toward the West and NATO.” That isn’t something Moscow can change at least by force, and the Moscow commentator adds that Zelensky’s predecessor, Poroshenko, was “no nationalist” but rather someone who tried to express the Ukrainian national idea in a more civilized form.”

·         Fourth, “if Ukraine remains an independent state, then the so-called ‘values of dignity’ born of the revolution of 2013 will remain the basis of national identity of the new Ukraine.”  Pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine who suggest otherwise are suffering “in the best case” from illusions.”

·         And fifth, “Russia must come to terms with these inevitable realities and build its strategy from the interests of its own population above all.” It must overcome its tendency to equate control over larger space with greater power and recognize that it needs to make itself sufficiently attractive that almost 40 percent of its young won’t want to leave.

But what is “the chief thing,” Tsipko concludes, is that the Kremlin needs to make decisions now to revive among its own people “faith in the future” rather than assuming that it can achieve that by continuing aggression against Ukraine, a country that has already made its decision against the Russia of today.    

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