Upcoming Paris meeting on Ukraine threatens to become a new Munich, Piontkovsky says

Munich Agreement. Left to right: Neville Chamberlain, Édouard Daladier, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini & Count Galeazzo Ciano meeting in Munich, September, 1938.

Munich Agreement. Left to right: Neville Chamberlain, Édouard Daladier, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini & Count Galeazzo Ciano meeting in Munich, September, 1938. 

International, Op-ed, Russian Aggression

Two days ago, Aleksey Chesnakov, a Moscow commentator known for his close ties to the Kremlin and opposition to the continued existence of Ukraine, said that officials preparing for the upcoming meeting of the leaders of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine in Paris have already reached agreement on what that meeting will announce.

Andrey Piontkovsky, prominent Russian scientist, political writer and analyst Photo: Radio Liberty

Andrey Piontkovsky, prominent Russian scientist, political writer and analyst Photo: Radio Liberty

Moscow had demanded that this arrangement, the commentator said, lest Ukraine try to get out of the Minsk Accords — an ominous comment, Andrey Piontkovsky says, given Chesnakov’s past statements that “we need not the return of Donbas to Ukraine but the unification of Ukraine to the Donbas.”

Chesnakov’s statement is entirely plausible, the Russian commentator says, because those negotiation for Kyiv are people who have shown themselves entirely willing to defer to Moscow even though Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy continues to say that he seeks the return of the occupied territories and establishment of Kyiv’s control over the Russian border.

Zelenskyy’s comments naturally have sparked angry reactions from Moscow talk show hosts, but one of their Ukrainian guests told them to calm down, that the agreement to return the Donbas to Kyiv under Russian conditions had already been reached, and that Zelenskyy’s remarks were a tactic to calm “the significant part of the population which has unfortunately been harmed by nationalist views” and to prevent any protests.

Hands clasped in friendship, Adolf Hitler and England's Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, are shown in this historic pose at Munich on Sept. 30, 1938. This was the day when the premier of France and England signed the Munich agreement, sealing the fate of Czechoslovakia. Next to Chamberlain is Sir Neville Henderson, British Ambassador to Germany. Paul Schmidt, an interpreter, stands next to Hitler. (Image: AP)

Hands clasped in friendship, Adolf Hitler and England’s Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, are shown in this historic pose at Munich on Sept. 30, 1938. This was the day when the premier of France and England signed the Munich agreement, sealing the fate of Czechoslovakia. The Munich Agreement became a byword for the futility of appeasing expansionist totalitarian states. (Image: AP)

The die appears to be cast just as it was at Munich in 1938. “’Reunification of the ORDLO [the acronym for “particular regions of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts’] is a legitimation of Russian aggression, a guarantee of the spreading of the conflict to all of Ukraine and to that country’s loss of sovereignty,” Piontkovsky says.

This isn’t the peace in our time that Zelenskyy promised Ukrainian voters; it is instead “the suicidal ‘re-unification’ of the ORDLO under the diktat of Putin, Chesnakov and Solovyev,” the Russian commentator says. It won’t bring a ceasefire, and it won’t end either Moscow’s demonization of Ukraine or its efforts to subvert it.

Rather, this peace in our time like its 1938 predecessor will open the way to further aggression. Indeed, Piontkovsky says, this is yet another example of “the usual practice of terrorists: as long as you do not accept our conditions, we will kill you and torture in the basements the hostages we have taken.”

“The analogy between Paris 2019 and Munich 1938 are obvious,” he continues. “But each act of betrayal has its own specific features.”

Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron before a press conference in Bormes-les-Mimosas, France, August 19, 2019. Photo: kremlin.ru

Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron before a press conference in Bormes-les-Mimosas, France, August 19, 2019. Photo: kremlin.ru

As Piontkovsky points out, “ORDLO is not a territory; it is a way of thinking.” There are many expansions of this acronym; but take together, they show that “ORDLO is SOMETHING from the film ‘The Thing,’ which sought to swallow up everything around it that was living.” Russia as a giant ORDLO is doing the same thing.

“Ukraine’s problem is that 15 to 20 percent of its residents (the voters for Medvedchuk and Rabinovich) are people of ORDLO too. Their civil rights must be respected. But they must not be permitted to swallow up the entire country.” However, that is what appears likely to happen in the wake of Paris.

“Ukraine is not Russia,” he continues. “In Russia, 65 to 70 percent of the population are ORDLO people … The West has always felt this but never viewed its enormous eastern neighbor with such frozen terror as for example [French President] Macron does today.”

He is obviously afraid of Russia now that the US, the former protector of Europe, has “retired” from its international responsibilities and has decided to do what he has to to try to save himself and his country by sacrificing Ukraine. Macron and others like him have forgotten that acting in that way will only ensure that the threat to them will grow.

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Edited by: A. N.

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