Saturday, August 12, 2023

Russia’s Criminal War in Ukraine Nonetheless Part of an Effort to Address Real Historical Challenges that Won’t Disappear when Putin Goes, Pastukhov Says

 Paul Goble

            Staunton, Aug. 5 – The Kremlin’s war in Ukraine is typically viewed as a struggle between good and evil, but in fact, it represents not just as effort to save Vladimir Putin and his regime but also to address some serious “historical challenges that are facing Russia as a whole,” Vladimir Pastukhov says.

            And because that is the case, these challenges will remain even after this criminal war ends and Putin leaves the scene; and they thus must be understood so that they can be dealt with in a different and less destructive way, according to the London-based political analyst (

            The fact that Putin has chosen an “erroneous and at the same time criminal response” to these challenges “does not mean that these challenges themselves do not exist in reality.” In fact, the war for Russia contains elements of both a civil war and an imperialist one, and these exist and will exist even if Putin’s personal proclivities are ignored.

            That Putin chose war to address them so as to boost his own political prospects is certain, but the war in Ukraine has two other sources that really do exist and that will continue long after Putin leaves the scene and the guns in Ukraine go silent. These include “the struggle for ‘the Soviet legacy’” and “the solution of the problem of ‘the divided people.’”

            “I have always believed that the Kremlin’s attempts to solve both of these problems through war is a crime not only against other peoples but against the Russians themselves,” Pastukhov continues. “But at the same time, denying war as a means of solving problems does not mean that these problems cannot be solved or can be ignored altogether.”

            In fact, he continues, “after the collapse of the Putin regime, they will continue to exist as challenges to which any successor in Russia will be required to give an alternative response. If that individual fails to do so, he or she will not hold onto power for very long” because these problems aren’t disappearing.

            “Moreover, it is precisely the fact that the Putin regime has managed to create a political Molotov cocktail with an incendiary mixture of its own self-serving interests and its misinterpretation of national interests that has allowed it to achieve and maintain a unique level of support for this insane war,” Pastukhov says.

            For that to change, these components must be faced and reduced in strength, something that will be the task of any successor regime that hopes to survive and also live in peace.


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