Sunday, August 28, 2022

For Peace and Security, West Must Ally with Regional and National Movements within Russia, Shamayda Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Aug. 1 – Because any “peace” with Russia will only be “a pause before another attack,” Taras Shamayda says, the West must use other means to “eliminate the Russian threat.” It cannot occupy Russia as it did Germany. And so it must ally itself with and support those inside Russia committed to that end to bring about change.

            The most important of these allies, the Ukrainian commentator says, are the regional and national minorities. But to do so, the West must “overcome artificial obstacles in our own minds,” including the view that this is possible, that isolating Russia is better, and contempt for these forces (

            Moscow seeks to make these groups the enemies of Ukraine and the West more generally by using them as cannon fodder in its wars, but neither Ukraine nor the West must fall for that. The Buryats, Daghestanis and other non-Russians and Russians from the regions are not the enemy; the enemy is Moscow.

            Ukrainians have particular reason to recognize that reality and how to respond to it. After all, Shamayda says, “the crimes committed by Ukrainians among the Soviet forces in Czechoslovakia or Afghanistan did not reduce the importance of Ukraine in the collapse of the USSR and the gaining of Ukrainian independence.”

            Cooperating with non-Russian and regional movements within the current borders of the Russian Federation is vitally important for Ukraine and the West. Kyiv has taken important steps in this direction over the last several years. But it needs to do more, both to help these groups and to convince the West of the need to do the same.

            According to Shamayda, “the West must overcome its fear of the collapse of the Russian Federation.” After all, it is “the continued existence of Russia not its disintegration” that threatens Europe and the world. And in that fight, the most important allies are the non-Russians and the regionalists, “not some mythical ‘good Russians.’”

            The de-colonization of Russia is, the Ukrainian commentator argues, “a key prerequisite for the peace and security of Ukraine” and for the peace and security of the West. This process is “not about some kind of artificial dismemberment; its about helping enslaved nations gain their freedom, a chance to break forever from Russian identity and control.”

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