By waging war in Ukraine, Russia ultimately attacked itself

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Op-ed

Article by: Robin Molnar

Russia is like a sad, poetic paradox: while investing in Russian peace, Europe has prepared Russia for war; while Russia may be able to win parts of Ukraine, it’s losing Europe
I don’t know how to say this to make this clearer, other than by stating that in Ukraine, Russia is gaining losses. Or, more broadly, that in its confrontation with the civilized West, Russia has won a losing ticket.
Whatever European partners build for Russia, in the past year has begun dismantling, whatever partnership was build, is now fully dysfunctional and, more broadly, whatever hopes Europe had for a civilized and prosperous Russia are now falling apart.
Through large amounts of money and over the limit benevolence, Europe tried to progress Russia on a path of peace, hoping that prosperity and opportunity will calm imperialist wishes still alive in large masses of poverty-stricken and frustrated people.
Thus, Europe has failed in Russia, mainly because Russia wanted for Europe to fail, as this European compromise-bringing mindset was in flagrant opposition with the soviet-style wishes of power many people still linger for.
If Europe had invested the same amount of money in any country other than Russia, that country would have forever been grateful for the European benevolence. But not Russia. Russia still thinks that 90% of whatever Eastern European countries make is of their divine right to take, as it was during the inglorious days of USSR.
Had Europe invested the same money in Ukraine or Western Balkans or Middle East, there would have been some peace and some progress. But not in Russia.
Because Russia is like a sad, poetic paradox: while investing in Russian peace, Europe has prepared Russia for war; while Russia may be able to win parts of Ukraine, it’s losing Europe. Although Russian gains in Ukraine have been rather fast, such actions have been destroying everything that was decades into making.
Special cooperation with Europe? Gone. Credibility to European energy consumers? Gone. Access to NATO transparency programs? Mostly gone. Access to major capital markets? All but gone. Access to advanced technologies for natural resources and IT? Yes, gone.
As such, whatever Putin thinks Russia is gaining is secondary to everything that Russia is losing, and there is no easing in sight as the European Union, the European Commission, OSCE and NATO will go to the greatest of lengths to bring peace in Europe.
Of course, whether or not Ukraine will succeed in its European endeavor is still subject to more good work being done by Verkhovna Rada and more money being poured in by benevolent investors.
What is beyond any doubt is that Europe’s tolerance for war at home is null. And Russia will feel the full length of it, not as some form of revenge, but as a form of not needing to send your beloved children to war, now or decades from now. But I digress.
Putin’s regime is the last stance of Russia’s paradox: by waging war in Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine, Russia has ultimately attacked itself. In medical terms, this is a form of deadly auto-immune disease that can only be cured with help from outside.

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  • puttypants

    Good article and so very right on. It’ll take 100 years for Russia to undo Putin’s damage to the country.

    • Czech Friend

      I predicted 50, but then again, I’m eternal optimist.

  • Randolph Carter

    I wonder if Putin even cares about the Russian economy or if he’s just looking to make his place in history as the man who reassembled the USSR.

  • Michel Cloarec

    Nico few lines to say that we have said for months now , that putin is on the wrong track.
    This stupidity about URSS is so obvious that even putin should see it. Stalin daughter went away from URSS to USA Stalin granddaughter (olga) is living in USA !

  • Dagwood Bumstead

    Best thing to do is ignore Russia completely from now on. Let the dwarf continue his volte-face to Peking. He’ll discover soon enough that China will squeeze Russia till the pips squeak. Russia in its present borders won’t survive, it will probably lose the Caucasus to a Kadyrov empire and at least part of Siberia and the Far East to Peking. The breakup may start sooner than we can imagine.

    • Michel Cloarec

      I agree with you, but I had been waiting to see the crash of the URSS, and now I will be waiting to see the crash of the putin´s utopia. I am a grand father and I have 4 boys in age to be at war and I don´t want my grand children to see their fathers to go at war to fight against that stupid putin and his stupid wish of power over the world, he is not worth it !

      • Randolph Carter

        I wonder if Pukin would be stupid enough to attack China. As I recall, their army was large enough that they could simply throw masses of soldiers into battle; if the first group lost, then they would just do it again. Plus, could the dwarf handle a two-front war? He can’t deploy forces to Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, etc, and also handle Beijing as well. The supply lines from Moscow to China alone would be incredibly long and open to attack. In the end, he’d probably lose both.

        • Michel Cloarec

          He does not have to do a thing about China. The faith of Siberia is already in the hands of China. RF is getting loans in Billion from China to cover up the lost of incomes . The next and actual WWIII is an economical war .

          China’s rapid expansion into Central Asia has changed the balance of influence among outside players there. The Middle Kingdom’s return to the neighboring region, after more than 1,000 years, has been vigorous, sweeping aside most of the recent external players in Central Asia, and to some extent Beijing has even supplanted the recent traditional power in the region, Russia.

          China has used the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as its vehicle to enter Central Asia. The SCO was founded in 1996 (called at the time simply the Shanghai Five) as a confidence-building measure that obligated China and the four former Soviet republics bordering China — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Russia — to withdraw the bulk of military personnel and hardware away from the Sino-CIS border. That agreement worked so well that the group evolved its purpose to include trade and, later, security. Uzbekistan joined in 2001, giving China access to four of the Central Asian countries via SCO agreements.
          Trade between the Central Asian states and China amounted to some $1 billion in 2000 and by 2013 it had risen to $50 billion. Since then China has signed new deals with the Central Asian states, notably agreements linked with Kazakhstan in late March that are worth some $23 billion.
          Economically, China seems to be all over Central Asia. The presence of the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) in Kazakhstan. “China is visible everywhere in Kazakhstan.
          China has successfully used trade to win new friends in Central Asia. But it was pointed out that Beijing’s primary interest in Central Asia is natural resources. China imports oil from Kazakhstan; natural gas from Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan; uranium from Kazakhstan; operates gold mines in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan; and is searching for rare earths in Tajikistan. Much of the infrastructure projects Beijing has financed in Central Asia — the roads, railways, and pipelines — lead back to China.
          Certainly the Central Asian states benefit from these projects, especially considering they could not realize these projects on their own and there are still relatively few foreign investors in the region outside the oil, gas, and metals sectors.
          Central Asia also stands to gain from China’s Silk Road Initiative. What China is doing in the bigger picture in the Silk Road, is very much a launching pad connecting by land China to Europe.

          China financed construction of the Dushanbe-Chinak highway linking the two countries but after the road opened “toll booths started appearing from these opaque companies [involved in construction] which were charging local Tajiks to use it. So they [Tajik citizens] weren’t even able to use these roads once they were built as part of China’s infrastructure strategy.”
          And many bazaar merchants in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan have complained that Chinese merchants gained access to bazaars near the border and sold goods subsidized by the Chinese government at lower prices than local merchants could match, putting the locals out of business.
          Beijing does have some programs to try to win the friendship of Central Asia’s people. China’s courting of Kazakhstan’s youth. “Confucius centers are functioning in Kazakhstan as well in all the biggest centers — regional centers Almaty, Astana — and are quite popular,” he said. “Around 2,000 grants are given by the Chinese government to Kazakh students to study Chinese or anything in China.”
          “Year-by-year,” he added, “Chinese universities are kind of pushing Russian universities from the way and getting more popular.”
          The rivalry that has developed between Russia and China was a prime topic during the discussion. After the Soviet Union collapsed in late 1991 and “newly independent” Central Asian states emerged, the competition for influence in Central Asia was mainly between Russia and the West — the United States partnered with the European Union.
          Chinese influence in Central Asia is now far greater than Western influence, a trend that looks to continue as Western states withdraw from Afghanistan and recede, to some extent, from Central Asia as well.
          Russia is at a big disadvantage and the Kremlin’s policies are to blame for at least some of that.
          Even during the years of the last decade when the Russian economy was strong, Moscow was having a difficult time matching Chinese investment in Central Asia. Russia’s recent economic problems have provided China with new opportunities and Beijing has again moved in quickly.
          But Russia’s reputation in Central Asia has suffered due to the Ukraine crisis. Moscow might deny any role in Ukraine but the Central Asians are certainly apprehensive. “In the last year there’s been a lot of suspicion of Russia’s actions, especially in Ukraine.

        • Michel Cloarec

          The Russian government has become willing to contemplate deals with China that would have been unthinkable before the sanctions. One of the regions in Russia’s Far East recently signed a tentative agreement to lease 284,000 acres of unused agricultural land to a Chinese company. This has generated outrage in the Russian press and on social networks: Russians have always been wary of giving China access to the vast Siberian spaces, suspecting that if Chinese workers arrive, they will never leave and Siberia and the Far East will end up as colonies.