(*This opinion / analytical article was written by Ivan Dikov for The European Views website.)
The current attempts to resolve the Ukraine – Russia conflict based on transactional arrangements seem doomed precisely because of their transactional nature.
The last months of 2019 have seen some supposedly positive developments in Europe’s most important war since the 1999 NATO bombing of Serbia (mini-Yugoslavia) over Slobodan Milosevic’s attempted ethnic cleansing of Kosovo, namely, the war in the Donbass region in Eastern Ukraine between the Ukrainian military and pro-Russian insurgents.
Since it started in 2014, the war in Ukraine has become an epitome of the great power resurgence of Russia under President Vladimir Putin vis-à-vis the West. An effort to regain Moscow’s previous positions while guaranteeing that the Russian capital would not be targeted by “regime change”, or vice versa, which could be construed as rooted in the tumultuous times of the Arab Spring (2011-present), or even to the earlier times of George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq in 2003.
The supposedly positive current developments in the hot and cold conflict between Ukraine, on the one hand, and the pro-Russian insurgents, on the other, and Russia by extension, have been made possible by the surreal election of actor Volodymyr Zelensky as President of Ukraine in the spring of 2019. In rising to the Ukrainian Presidency in a completely democratic manner, Zelensky realized in real life a role he played on his TV show called “Servant of the People” in which an ordinary person, a school teacher, gets to become President of Ukraine.
The ruling elite in Moscow and Vladimir Putin in particular are known to deem Zelensky a “likeable” person they can work with – although it remains unknown whether that is necessarily a compliment.
Whatever the current situational details, the hot and/or cold conflict between Russia and Ukraine, in which the war in Donbass is just one very prominent aspect, is demonstrative enough of how far Russia has retreated historically considering the past 300 years:
The Russian Federation, the largest successor and most important successor state of the Soviet Union (and the old-time Russian Empire, for that matter) is pitted against the second largest (in population) and second most important Soviet successor state, Ukraine, a country now deemed a prime candidate to become the newest part of the West at least by joining the European Union and possibly even NATO. How did that conflict even come into being?…
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