By Robert van Voren
Over the past months there have been so many moments that I need to take a walk to rid myself of anger or frustration over the Ukrainian-Russian war, that it sometimes feels like a permanent state, rather than an extraordinary one. Yet there are moments when that anger reaches unusual heights. This is one of those.
War? Yes, you read me well, there is nothing wrong with your eyesight: Russian-Ukrainian War.
Sure, the war is undeclared, and Putin waves his hands saying “ya tut ne pri chom” (free translation: I am totally innocent), but every day more Russian military hardware, mercenaries and other terrorists, instructors and FSB and GRU officers enter the country. And not just a few: we are talking about large quantities, both men and equipment, and the quality of the equipment continues to increase: initially old discarded stuff was sent in, now we are looking at pretty sophisticated stuff.
This is a war. Russia is waging war. It is waging a sneaky, dirty war, mainly directed in making sure Ukraine has no chance to become a prosperous and stable society and at the same time defending its criminal business interests.
The latter is an important issue: Russia is ruled by a criminal government, or a government of criminals, and their main interest is “business”. The rest is just facade. They don’t care about “the glory of Russia” more than they care whether Holland lost against Argentine or not.
What is disgusting is the attitude of the European Union, and in particular the German Chancellor and the French. The French pretend their nose is bleeding, and in the mean time sell their sophisticated Mistral ships to Russia, which one day can be used to invade Ukraine from the sea. Frau Merkel enjoys a football game with this small-sized warmonger Vladimir Putin, and although she definitely must feel uneasy (impossible when stemming from Eastern Germany and from a family not very much “DDR-Freundlich”) business considerations prevail. Acknowledging that this is a war means that a new wave of sanctions is unavoidable. And so we pretend it is not. It is not a war – Putin is “tut ne pro chom” and thus we do not have to impose sanctions.
I think this attitude goes fully against the ideals on which the European Union was based, and it would make the founders of the European Union turn around in their graves. The EU was built to avoid war, built by people who survived the Second World War and were convinced that ANYTHING was necessary to avoid a repetition. Anything also means taking action when action is needed, and responding when European values are at stake.
What really hurts is the fact that Ukrainians seem to believe much more in European values than the leaders of the European Union do. They fight for their land, they withstand the aggressor and the Soviet Union again creeping in on their lives. They are willing to shed blood in defence of freedom.
And the Western European leaders? They are willing to watch a football game with Putin and pretend that he is “tut ne pri chom”…
History will catch up on them, and will condemn their attitudes. But for the time being Ukraine stands alone. And that is a tragedy.
Robert van Voren is Professor of Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies at the Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas (Lithuania) and Ilia State University in Tbilisi (Georgia).
Source: Robert van Voren’s FB