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Hands off Ukraine please, unless they are helping!! Hands off Ukraine please, unless they are helping!!
by Christos Mouzeviris
2022-03-03 07:46:05
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I cannot believe that I will have to write yet another article on Ukraine. It has been more than two months since I wrote for this blog, and my hopes were that by now things would have been improved. On February the 24th, Russian President Vladimir Putin, decided to invade Ukraine. We all were hoping he was bluffing, or that common sense would prevail; not this time again sadly.

Condemnations came from the Western countries, and support for Ukraine from all over the world. But really, what was everyone doing for the past 8 years? The war was silently waging since 2014, when a civil war broke out between ethnic Russians or Russian speakers in the east of the country, and the Ukrainian state forces.

ukr0003_400One would have thought that during all this time, the so called "powers" that are now involved- Russia, Europe and America, would have sat down and solved the problem; quite the contrary. They all brought their own interests on the table, making a solution almost impossible to reach. And one would have also thought that the United Nations, whose motto is "Peace, Dignity and Equality on a Healthy Planet" and its aim to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations would have done its job and stepped in.

Clearly not. The United Nations has instead become a useless relic of the past. It is a hotbed of quarreling and bitching among the world's self declared "powers" which have established themselves as such after the WW2, to promote and safeguard their own interests. Things have moved on since then, and I believe a UN overhaul is long overdue. These "powers", and I am sorry to say they are not only Russia and China, but also America and its European partners, who afterall were the first to disregard the UN's decision on the war on Iraq, are opting for dishonoring the organisation's initial purpose; which is to safeguard peace and stability, or resolve conflicts.

Neither Russia, or America, China and Europe, should ever take it upon themselves to fix things as it suits them. And that is exactly what Putin has tried to do and we can all agree it has been a huge mistake. The need or rather excuse to protect and support the Russian/Russian speaking community in Ukraine, can never justify an invasion, rather requires increased cooperation and collaboration with the Ukrainian government, under the UN's and only supervision.

What should have happened all those 8 years, would be for Russia with some other Western negotiating power, preferably the EU (well that's another Western failure here, the EU remaining only a trading block for ages), to sit with UN officials and agree or break a deal for a ceasefire between the two sides. Ideally one that would leave the territory of Ukraine intact, after the two communities there compromised and were able to live side by side once again. If a deal would be unreachable, then the negotiating sides would examine if more autonomy would satisfy the breakaway regions, a federalization of Ukraine or sadly in the case of unresolvable differences, partition. However after years that neither side managed to agree and compromise, Mr Putin thought that the best way to end this, or hit the nail on the head, was an invasion.

The West on the other hand-especially America, kept chewing and spewing the same bubblegum, bullshit argument about the "freedom of choice" of any country to join NATO! Even if Ukraine is not the right candidate for the alliance, which its very existence is based on Russophobia and the alledged threat from Russia. With millions of ethic Russians loyal to their "motherland" in the East of Ukraine, how does the alliance see them complying with military bases in the country, aiming towards Russia? Plus, this "freedom" is usually accompanied with some billions of worth of US and NATO investments in a new member, so is it really a "free" choice to join NATO, or rather a bribery?

The Western media kept mentioning about how bad the "Finlandization" of Ukraine would be, and that is something to be avoided. Excuse me, but last time checked, Finland was doing brilliantly and if Ukraine came any close to the standards of Finland, it would be a country to be envied. Finland is in the EU, fully integrated but outside of NATO and right next to Russia, which forces it to spend a substantial amount of money, to defend itself from Russia; which in fact hasn't threatened its much smaller neighbour since the end of Cold War. Understandably the large portion of the country's GDP that goes into its own defense, is a burden; but look at Greece, which is in NATO and still has to spend much more than Finland for its defense, to protect itself from another NATO ally, Turkey! Plus compromise a lot in order to keep the balance around Cyprus and the Aegean. Surely, Greece has it much worse than Finland in this aspect whilst in NATO.

In addition, Finland does not have millions of Russian speakers in its territory, that are loyal to Russia. Thus making the comparison between the two countries, rather daft! Ukraine must join the EU, but stay outside of NATO, not just because Putin wants it, but because roughly 20% of its own population will not be happy or complying with such decision. And what use would they be to their country or the alliance after all, which should have been abolished together with its adversary, the Warsaw Pact and replaced by a European defense policy by now. If it wasn't of course for US interests and European lack of unity and initiative; it is cheaper to rely on someone else for your protection, both financially and responsibility wise.

So the Western complexes and financial interests, are coming in clash with the Russian ones- or rather those of a handfull Russian elites, because I doubt that any ordinary citizen of the country will benefit either way, regarding Ukraine's future. The Russian sphere of influence should not necessarily be threatened by Western expansion, if this is not a military one. This is the age of globalization, everyone should be with anyone by now. However, the mistake that the West does, is that it is making EU and NATO membership inseparable, plus antagonizing and frown upon Russia always. All other Russian hysteria on Ukraine being an integral part of Russian identity, the Russian-Ukrainian Patriarchate separation, the loss of territory, the collapse of the Soviet Block and so on, should have been dealt and digested by now by them as a society. Ukraine got its independence, there is no going back. And they have made it clear that they do not wish to have closer relations with the Kremlin, like Belarus does; well at least its leadership. Russia needs to move on beyond all this and become a modern country, however we must understand how recent this transition was for them.

Thus basically the only issue that should remain, is that of the considerable Russian minority and perhaps we should re-examine it, taking into account the sensitivities of all communities in Ukraine. Instead we have a rather childish, immature, bullish and utterly unacceptable Russian stance towards Ukraine, and the excuse is- like a child would say- if America can act this way and disregard our red lines, destroy countries like Yugoslavia, so can we. Which is of course a reflection of a similar Western tone of the past, "nobody will tell us what to do, the hell with the UN's resolution". The result is, and I will use a quote I came across on Twitter recently, "the big buffaloes are about to fight over the swamp, and the little frogs will be caught and squashed in the middle." Putin's behavior indicates either desperation, anger and loss of patience (for whatever reason, even if this is the constant Western refusal to compromise too), or simply loss of political skills. And in a leader of a country such as Russia, this is dangerous.

Wouldn't it preferable if everyone understood that we are better when we collaborate and work together, independently of where we are financially, politically, historically, or how developed our political and social system is. What is Putin actually hoping to achieve in Ukraine, overthrow the government and establish a new pro-Russian puppet one? Absorb the country or parts of it back into Russia, or maybe forbid it from joining NATO? Perhaps just punish it for daring to "flirt" with the West? Either way, did he really expect that Europe and America would just stay passive and did he for once concider the consequences for ordinary Russians, Ukrainians and Europeans? I guess not.

He is allegedly trying to stop the expansion of NATO, but by invading he is justifying the very existence of this alliance and have kickstarted a debate in neutral EU nations like Sweden and Finland, of potentially joining themselves. The image of Russia to the world has been tarnished as an aggressor, they very thing he accuses the West to be. Never mind potentially its economy will be also badly affected. Europe and America have been announcing wave upon wave of sanctions and measures against Russia, himself and his close circle of officials. I guess the richer Russian officials won't mind them much, but the sanctions could hit the ordinary citizens of his country, and in the Russian relatiation and all consequencequences that will follow, we all are going to pay for this financially. But ultimately, this could contribute to his final defeat at home.

Marches in support of Ukraine have been staged in many European countries, never mind the anti-war ones in Russia itself. It seems that the Russians are finally emerging and standing up en-masse, against Putin's policies. What years of anti-West propaganda hasn't done, it could be achieved by his own very mistake. And here is where Europe must play it smart. For years the West adopted a blantantly anti-Russian hysteria, because it did not approve of Putin and his policies. The result was providing his establishment with arguments, on why Russia needed a "strong man", to stand up to the West and restore their country's reputation and place in the world. The West's hysteria and complex towards Russia, in fact strengthened his grip on the country as his popularity soared with each West-Russia confrontation.

Obviously this is not the way to go. I am very pleased to see, European and Western officials, finally abandoning their habbit of bashing Russia as a country for the acts of its leadership and reaching out directly to its citizens with encouraging messages. We need to keep doing this, plus if possible, limit the effects of the sanctions for the ordinary citizens, that are as opposed to this war as any of us in Europe. Not one European or American citizen had to face harsh sanctions, even though they protested against the wars our governments have went ahead with after all. If we make the Russians suffer another harsh punishment and humiliation, we may achieve getting rid of Putin, but whoever comes after may be as bad for Europe. Be careful. Russia is never going to go away from our doorstep.

In the end, what will all this madness and death worth to anyone I wonder? A massaging of our chauvinism, our nationalistic pride, sense of moral, social and financial supperiority over the other maybe? What continent will we leave to the future generations, one of divisions and high military expenditures, just to prove a point and maintain our beloved "spheres of influence" ? The only ones who have gained from all this, are the war mongers on each side; NATO got a huge boost, military spending is going up on both sides; thanks Mr Putin! And who is going to be paying for all this I wonder. The rest of us luckily only with our taxes, but the Ukrainians with their own blood and lives. Shame on you all!! Russia, please GET OUT from Ukraine now, America please STAY OUT from Ukraine with your missiles, Europe please SUPPORT Ukraine financially to cope with this and all of you back off and let the United Nations take over and do what they were supposed to do in the first place, bring peace.

I would like to offer my deepest sympathy and condolences to the people of Ukraine, plus all the victims of this senseless war, either Ukrainian, Russian or Russian speaking. I am so sorry!!

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