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Since the start of mass protests on Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kyiv late last autumn, a split of Europe became evident. Politicians and officials representing new and old EU members behaved differently: some kept silence waiting for the outcome, others remained neutral; some took Maidan’s side and some followed the channel of the Kremlin’s foreign policy.
In short, the cat came out of the bag and it was not Ukraine’s fault. The events in our country triggered demonstration of the double standard policy. The first time the difference in interpretation of events was observed in EU during and after the RussianGeorgian military conflict in August 2008.
Russian aggression against Georgia was fully unaccepted by the Baltic countries, UK and Sweden. Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are former Soviet republics, which were included into the USSR against their will. UK is the ‘cousin’ of the U.S., which condemned actions of Russia in Georgia calling it nothing other than occupation and aggression.
Sweden, which usually remains neutral, was the most unexpected figure on the list: Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, who compared Russia’s actions to invasion of Hitler army of the Sudetes (Czechoslovakia) and said that “No state has the right to intervene militarily in the territory of another state simply because there are individuals there with a passport issued by that state or who are nationals of the state”.
Polish president Lech Kaczynski spoke at the demonstration in Tbilisi on August 12, 2008, where he spoke of Russia: “You could say that the nation of Russia yet again showed its true face here today,” Kaczynski said. “The aggression here is nothing new when it comes to history”. He ended his speech by saying: “Today, it’s Georgia, tomorrow it may be Ukraine and the day after tomorrow – Baltic countries and, possibly, my country.” Then foreign minister of Poland Radoslaw Sikorski tried to smooth out such harsh reaction of Kaczynski by saying that the president’s words did not express Warsaw’s official position, but only his personal point of view. To add to that, president Kaczynski died in a plane crash in Smolensk, Russia in between conflicts in Georgia and Ukraine and now there is nobody in Poland to express their viewpoint on Russia’s actions.
The other group of European countries with France and Italy being the most active ones had to mitigate rhetoric of Russia’s opponents. France is a longterm foreign policy partner of Russia, which it inherited from the USSR and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is an old friend and business partner of the head of the Russian government Vladimir Putin. In respect to Russia’s aggression against Georgia Germany limited itself to Angela Merkel’s statement of support of territorial integrity of Georgia.
PASSAGE OVER DNIPRO
Climax is not only a definition from physiology, which is highly suitable for the old Europe, which is limited in its actions with the framework of existing structures and takes a long time to collect its thought and accumulate strength in order to take a decisive step. Climax is only a figure of speech, in which words, phrases, or clauses are arranged in order of increasing importance. Leaders of all leading EU countries spoke about the importance of signing the association agreement between Ukraine and EU. Officials in Berlin and Brussels were ready to turn a blind eye at authoritarian ambitions of Viktor Yanukovych and leave Yulia Tymoshenko behind the bars until better times. However, after defiant 180 degree turn of Yanukovych, who refused to sign the document at the last moment, Europe entered the fight for Ukraine. It became evident later that it was not only the fight for Ukraine, but also against Russia. As further events showed Yanukovych signed his own “deathwarrant” by refusing to sign the EU Association Agreement.
It is possible that the people, no matter how many, who voted in Crimea on March 16, 2014 for joining Russia, gave their votes so that more people gave their lives. The Third World War could start from annexation of Crimea by Russia, which 20 years ago acted as a guarantor along with the UK and U.S. of the territorial integrity of Ukraine, which unilaterally abandoned the world’s second largest nuclear arsenal.
In order to restrain the aggressor and also not allow any wars involving Russia in the future, U.S. President Barack Obama was trying to form antiPutin coalition during March and April. He attracted China, Saudi Arabia and EU as allies.
The vote at the UN General Assembly for the resolution on the territorial integrity of Ukraine showed that Russia’s situational allies include Armenia, Belarus, Bolivia, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Cuba, Nicaragua, Syria and Sudan. That is Putin’s coalition. This means that Europe (with the exception of two former Soviet Union countries) factually united on the side of Ukraine even notwithstanding the double standards, geopolitical nuances and economic interests.
This is how the alignment of forces in the third WW looks like, which may be limited to a minimum of human casualties, but result into a new division of the world.
Although the common opinion about Russia’s actions in Crimea did not form in EU immediately, the fears that a lot of shares of transnational companies would burn in the fire of the third world war played a significant role. It is very important here that Berlin, which for many years maintained partner relations with Moscow, sees Washington as its partner.
German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen told Focus magazine in an interview on April 18 that the third level of sanctions “would throw back the world’s economy, but affect Russia stronger and for long”. On the same day British newspaper The Times reported that the “U.S. was ready to play a very personal card against President Putin if he decided to send troops into eastern Ukraine”. The newspaper reminded that Putin’s fortune, estimated at US $40 bn, is concentrated in the West. The sources of The Times claim that any Putin’s assets would not be held in his name and that it would “not be easy” to link them to the Russian president.
Taking into account these nuance, it can be assumed that strengthening of NATO and not EU expansion became the key uniting factor for the European politicians for the first time in several decades. Change of priorities from economic to military ones promises further increase of expansion, but not under the aegis of the eurozone, but through strengthening of the security zone. Sweden and Finland could become the first candidates for the accession.Printable version