By Paul Goble
While Nikolay Storozhenko dismisses them as illusions that will soon dissipate following new Russian victories on the gorund, the Moscow journalist says that Ukrainians currently have six reasons in their own minds for optimism that somehow they and their allies will be able to defeat Russian forces.
First, he says, Ukrainians are confident that they are not fighting alone and that they have allies who will continue to help them. Second, they believe that new anti-Russian sanctions by the West will force Russia to change course. Third, they are encouraged by the relocation of Russian troops away from Kyiv to the Donbass (vz.ru/world/2022/4/7/1152301.html).
Fourth, they believe that the West is ever more acceptant of Kyiv’s description of the conflict and thus will be even more supportive. Fifth, they recognize how valuable “the manipulation of information” can be and are doing it very effectively. And sixth, they think that the longer they fight, the more likely it will be that the European Union will take them in.
“For many Ukrainians, especially those who have long been individually integrated with Europe,” Starozhenko says, “such a prospect is a powerful reason both to fight and to destroy the remnants of the Soviet past.” They are confident that “the more we destroy and suffer, the greater the chances that Europe will accept them.”
“It is possible that this will indeed be the case,” the Moscow journalist continues; and “so the Ukrainians really have a lot of grounds for optimism,” although the value of these “grounds,” he says, “will soon become clear.” That’s as may be, but the appearance of Starozhenko’s article is striking.
For a journalist in Moscow to be talking about any grounds for optimism in Ukraine is remarkable, even if he dismisses them, because it calls attention to the fact that Putin’s narrative about what is going on there is fundamentally flawed and that Ukrainians do have good reasons to continue to fight the invaders.