Hopeless Ukraine

Ukraine has not become a subject of political life of the world,
therefore it became an object of other states' policies.

There are a lot of talking and writing about Ukraine now.
This is because of the fact that President of Russia Mr. Putin has been waging a war with the collective West just in Ukraine’s territory for some reason since 2014 and now there is a real threat of invasion of Russian troops.

Mr. Putin has already annexed Crimea in 2014 and organized and supported 2 unrecognized "republics" in the east of Ukraine (Donetsk and Luhansk "People's Republics"). He does not recognize Russia as a part of the armed conflict in Donbas and denies the presence of Russian troops on Ukrainian territory, although there are quite a lot evidences of the contrary.

The overall number of confirmed deaths in the war in Donbas since April 6, 2014, has been put at 13,100–13,300, by 31 January 2021.

Mr. Putin states that Ukraine is a “failed state” and Russians and Ukrainians are "one people". He has now gathered a 100,000-strong army near Ukraine's borders and almost openly threatened to invade. Ukraine asks for help from the West, but the West has a lot of its own problems.

Mr. Putin wants guarantees that Ukraine will never join NATO because he believes it poses a threat to Russia. NATO has an "open door" policy, that’s why all negotiations in January 2022 (with Mr. Biden in Geneva, NATO countries in Brussels and the OSCE in Vienna) came to a deadlock. And that's not the only reason. Putin also wants to return NATO infrastructure to the level of 1997, but 14 countries have joined NATO since that time. This is an obviously unacceptable demand and Mr. Putin should understand that.

The sides set out their positions at negotiations, and now someone has to do something or retreat. The collective West will not do anything for sure and there is no reason to retreat yet either. Mr. Putin will have to do something – to attack Ukraine, withdraw troops from the Ukrainian border (which is a “loss of the face”) or "retreat halfway", which is the most probable - for example, the Russians will withdraw half of a 100,000-strong group from the border and then keep on their blackmailing.

The main question that worries everyone right now is: why is he staking everything? Because by raising the stakes, Mr. Putin is also taking a big risk. The emperor has no right to retreat, otherwise he can be removed by his own cronies. What is his plan?

So what is Ukraine and why has it become a battleground between Russia and the West?

In short:
1. Ukraine easily gained independence from the USSR in 1991, but then it did not re-create its statehood like the Baltic countries (Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia) did, but settled for the structures and relations that remained from the USSR. In addition, Ukraine did not stop to buy gas and oil from neighboring Russia.

2. The authorities of “independent” Ukraine almost immediately began to stuff their pockets, impoverishing the people and destroying the existing statehood. State structures (plants, factories, collective farms, newspapers, TV-channels, hotels) were bankrupted and bought or privatized by descendants of the Communist Party, Komsomol and secret services. The clans that have existed since Soviet times sent their representatives into politics. The new post-communist elites were formed and they began to fight shamelessly for a larger chunk of Ukraine's budget.

3. The Ukrainian people were getting poorer, but they accepted the self-will of their authorities as a norm (just like Russians now accept the self-will of Putin's clan), and could do nothing about their elites, who were getting more and more impudent. Worst of all, the people of Ukraine didn’t even understand what was going on with the country and had divided into groups of followers of different parties (clans), conflicting with each other.

4. Different Ukrainian clans kept pulling the country in different directions, making a mess and literally tearing Ukraine apart. The process already began in 2014 from the annexation (or exit?) of Crimea. Yes, the Russians helped there much, having their own interest – to take possession of Russian Black Sea Fleet base, but it's not just about Russians. It's about the Crimeans as well - within 23 years they have got nothing good from “independent” Ukraine and did not become "Ukrainians”. Beautiful wife found another (more caring) husband.

5. As a result, Ukraine cannot act consistently as a single coherent mechanism home and abroad. It has not become a subject of political life of the world, therefore, it became an object of other states' policies (Russia, the US, EU). Apparently, this is what Mr. Putin means by calling Ukraine a "failed state”. This is not surprising, since the main factor of uniting Ukrainians now is a war in Donbas, the main driver of inner reforms is the IMF and the national idea is “Putin – khuylo”.

6. Russia cannot let Ukraine go free also just like a bad husband cannot let his beautiful, but muddle-headed wife go to another man simply because of hurt self-esteem and the assurance that “she is mine”. Mr. Putin is absolutely sincere when he states that Ukrainians and Russians are “one people”. Similarly, many Russians (not just Russian President) feel the same way about Belarus, Georgia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, and other former Soviet republics. From this point of view, Mr. Putin is really expressing the interests of his people. This is called "imperial way of thinking" - one of the main components of the mentality of Russian nation, which Russian President supports in every possible way.

7. Another very important reason why Russia cannot let Ukraine go is the setting of a “bad” example for the Russian people to try to drive out their thieves which is the Russian elite, led by the same Mr. Putin. This means that Russo-Ukrainian conflict will last at least until Mr. Putin’s death or Ukraine (or Russia) collapse. From my point of view, Ukraine has bigger chances to collapse because there is more mess in Ukraine and Ukrainians are more tired of their authorities than Russians of Mr. Putin and Co.

8. The empire must expand or it will cease to exist. Mr. Putin keeps doing the expansion with the help of "hybrid" wars - in Georgia (2008), in Ukraine (2014) and also recent (January 2022) brilliant “hybrid” combination in Kazakhstan, where without a war (!) Mr. Putin has got a loyal vassal in the person of the current president of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

9. The collective democratic West cannot decide if and when to do something about Russian’s expansion. Mr. Putin takes advantage of this and pursues his own line, showing the West its worthlessness. Both sides risk their reputations and now the intersection of these opposing interests is Ukraine, which has never become an independent political player.

The Ukrainians still do not know what statehood is about and why every country needs it. It seems that all the attributes of the state are present in Ukraine - coat of arms, flag, anthem, borders, constitution, people, power structures... However, something very important is missing.

What exactly is missing, how and why Ukraine has become a toy in the West-East political games and my observations on the development of "independent" Ukraine will be shared in the following parts of this article.

(to be continued)

P.S. Dear Reader! I am very much interested in your opinion on the subject of this article. Please, write a comment or ask a question if you want to clarify something.
Igor Chykalov
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