Putin’s strategy: Involve West in undermining Ukraine so Ukrainians will despise it too

Minsk II: Leaders of Belarus, Russia, Germany, France, and Ukraine at the 11–12 February summit in Minsk

Minsk II: Leaders of Belarus, Russia, Germany, France, and Ukraine at the 11–12 February summit in Minsk 

2015/03/04 • Analysis & Opinion, Russia

Vladimir Putin’s Anschluss of Crimea and continuing aggression against Ukraine means that Ukrainians will never again accept ethnic Russians as “a fraternal people” or be prepared to defer to Moscow unless they are compelled to by forces beyond the capacity of today’s Russia to field. Instead, they will continue to pursue their European choice.

That puts Putin in a difficult position, but he appears to have found a way out, one whose implications some leaders in the West have ignored or may not even understand. By involving them in talks about undermining the integrity of Ukraine, Putin is laying the groundwork for Ukrainian hostility to Europe as well.

Such antagonism to Europe will not mean that Ukrainians will want to turn to Russia instead, at least not anytime soon. But any such hostility will mean that Ukraine will remain caught between Moscow and the West, not taken in by either and thus ever weaker, more divided, and more subject to manipulation by various means–overt and covert–by Moscow.

That Western leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Hollande should have fallen for this trap laid by Putin is appalling not only in terms of its immediate impact but even more because of its long-term consequences, but that the Kremlin leader should set it makes perfect sense from his point of view.

Those conclusions are suggested by “Moskovsky komsomolets” which notes that not Russia alone but it together with France and Germany are now involved with Kyiv in the beginning of “the decentralization of Ukraine,” something the Moscow outlet clearly celebrates.

The paper reports that the three countries, along with Ukraine, have “discussed the beginning of the work of a special group in Minsk which will be concerned with the preparation of local elections in special regions of the Donbas,” thus giving to Putin yet another victory over Ukraine through the involvement of Western pressure.

It notes happily that yesterday “it became known that Poroshenko had signed a decree about the creation of a Constitutional Commission which is needed for “the development of agreed upon proposals for the perfecting of the Constitution of Ukraine taking into account contemporary challenges and requirements of society.”

And it concludes with the words of Mikhail Pogrebinsky, head of the Kyiv Center for Political Research and Conflict Studies, that Poroshenko is moving in this direction because “foreign players including the European Union want this,” again a source of influence Putin may be glad to get but that the EU should not be giving to an aggressor.

Edited by: A. N.

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  • puttypants

    What choice does Ukraine have? It stands alone. Europe and America have done little except appease Putin. Ukraine is on its knees and no one is helping. All Americans and Europeans need to see how USA, Germany and France and other both eastern and western countries have sold out Ukraine and never forget and never forgive. You are “all” now at the mercy of Putin’s despotic regime. May God save you all for this man is truly a satan on earth. Remember every word out of his mouth is a manipulation and a lie. He will come at you as a peacemaker but the old testiment tells you that it’s a wolf in sheeps clothing. They have all sold their soles to the devil Putin and his evil empire. Everyone will pay for this. Ukraine had a righeous cause and you all abandoned her. Shame on you all.

    • Roger Mikael Klang

      How does one know when Putin is lieing? He is Moving his lips. This used to be a joke.

      • Roger Mikael Klang

        Putin is probably the anti-christ.

  • Roger Mikael Klang

    Reich chancellor Axel Oxenstiärna whom lived in the 17:th century great power of Sweden is said to have said to his son: “My son, don’t you know how little sense the world is ruled with?” And there we are 350 years later.

  • Mazepa

    France has always been the political whore of Europe.

    • françois

      look pal
      don’t know who you are or where you come from BUT!!
      visibly you don’t understand or KNOW much about politics and diplomacy maybe you come from some lousy far away subcountry with no history and a bunch o’ jerks ‘gouverning it ‘
      France has the oldest history o’ europe and many more countries of the world that is 2000 steady years can you boast so much ??you just WISH DUMMY!!
      and at least I remain polite (with assholes like you !)

      • Eddy Verhaeghe

        François, you’ve got a rather weird sense of ‘la politesse’.
        Je ne pense pas que vous aimerez être mis de côté comme un connard, un idiot, un pauvre type venant d’un pays sous-développé.
        Mais sachez que vous discutez comme un connard, un idiot, un pauvre type venant d’un pays sous-développé.
        So I wonder who’s the jerk here…

        • françois

          well the fact that you should be able to insult me in proper french doesn’t give your comment any more weight and at least i use civilized french but indeed insults are the arguments idiots use when they have none valid really feel sorry for you ; poor knowledge and poor education indeed oh well …it does take alml kinds to make the world go round but:we could do withot some really !!!

          • Eddy Verhaeghe

            François, in an American TV-series the prosecutor or a lawyer would now address the judge or the jury and say ‘I rest my case’. You apparently don’t know the concept of irony and you proved beyond any doubt that your trading of insults in your first post hides your total lack of valid arguments.

          • françois

            well for one i never watch us series (don’t wanna get any stupider)
            n°2 irony for you when i repeat i only see insults(but they slide on my raincoat !)
            and i never (but maybe should you get a new pair of glasses !) did insult you and certainly not so virulently
            n°3 you should apply for (and obtain easily )a russian passport considering you just like them turn around the arguments against you interlocutor ..brilliant indeed

          • Eddy Verhaeghe

            Poor man, you started the discussion with :

            ‘look pal
            don’t know who you are or where you come from BUT!!
            visibly you don’t understand or KNOW much about politics and diplomacy maybe you come from some lousy far away subcountry with no history and a bunch o’ jerks ‘gouverning it ‘
            France has the oldest history o’ europe and many more countries of the world that is 2000 steady years can you boast so much ??you just WISH DUMMY!!
            and at least I remain polite (with assholes like you !)’

  • Rods

    Hollande is a clown who thinks the smart money is made by arming your enemy and Merkel does not care as long as Germany gets Russian gas and can sell as many of it’s industrial products in Russia as possible. Hollande and Merkel idea of a successful intervention in a country, is the economy of Greece. Compare it now, to the much worse case in 2009, Iceland, where they didn’t interfere. They imposed the wrong solution for political reasons on Greece, where Iceland took the hit by defaulting, cleansing the system of debt, so they could rebuild from there. So keep that in mind, where they are both interfering in Ukraine.

    The signatories of the Budapest memorandum, Russia, UK and US have all acted appallingly towards Ukraine, with Russia by far the worst, but the UK and US are complicit by doing nothing of note to date, while Russia continues to invade the Donbas region and are continuing to strengthen their forces there, ready for a bigger spring war. We get vague talk of training and defensive weapons, where they think somehow delaying and even better not making a decision, will somehow makes things better. This is like delaying the repair of a leaky roof and expecting a better outcome for the structure of the building!

    If the fools think that Minsk I, II no doubt followed by III, IV, V IV…… will stop the Russian invasion they are deluded. The only person who will stop this war is Putin and he will only stop when the military and economic costs become so high, that the domestic political costs to him are higher, at that point it makes sense to stop expanding his mafia empire. As much as I want to see peace in Ukraine, only when the Russian casualties are so high and the economic difficulties so great, that it affects his standing in Russia will he stop. The West needs to supply defensive weapons to Ukraine and also help with the training of their armed forces and the building of a ‘fit for purpose’ logistics system to keep the troops supplied. Effective sanctions means banning the use of SWIFT in Russia. This is the Afghan scenario, once Reagan in the US, supplied the Mujaheddin with defensive weapons the military and economic costs became too high for the USSR.

    Putin respects strength and exploits to his advantage weakness. I’ve never seen such a poor crop, with one or two exceptions, as the current shower that run most Western countries, Putin is busy exploiting these fools ‘peace at any price’ stance at the cost of Ukrainian territorial integrity. I wouldn’t trust most of them to run a bath, let alone entrust the future of my country!

    • puttypants

      I agree with you. Even the sanctions are a joke. Why haven’t they sanctioned Putin and the entire Russian parliment? Like freeze their assests. They’ve done nothing serious with sanctions. It’s really business as usual with all of the europeans including USA. They’ve allowed Russia to spread all kinds of low accusations about Ukraine even in NY. Some American politicians are even working in Washington to not allow anymore sanctions against Russia. What kind of seriousness is that? Obama has shown over and over again he could care less and does not take foreign policy very seriously. He doesn’t seem to understand that is the most important function of the Federal government. He’s too busy being a celebrity. No one gives a shit about values. It’s all about money. You notice oil prices are going up. That means Obama will sacrifice Ukraine for Iran and let oil prices go up which helps Putin. OIY what a cowardly, sleezy bunch of hypocritze in power all over the world. UK is just now supposed to be sending in trainers, USA is still thinking about it. By the time Obama gets done thinking about it Putin will have all of Ukraine and will start working on the Baltics as well as Sweden and Finland. Even though Putin has actually threaten Ukraine, europe and even US with his Nukes…they do nothing but appease a mad man. The West has shown him the world is his oyster and he can do just about anything he wants…i.e., Nemtsov murder. Imagine the West insisted Putin investigate the crime. I almost threw up. Such a joke these so called leaders are. Do they think we’re all stupid? They must. They’re betting that most of the world doesn’t care about Ukraine and that may be true. However, there are those of us who will never give up. We will continue to educate about Ukraine. We will continue to fight Putin’s aggression no matter how long it takes. Ukraine will be free to choose its way in the world.

  • Roger Mikael Klang

    Every war when it comes, or before it comes, is represented not as a war, but as an act of selfe-defence against a homicidial maniac.
    War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.

    • Roger Mikael Klang

      That was George Orwell.

  • chris hawkins

    “I don’t want you to fight, I want you to die” Kamal Atturk