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Getting Putin’s Intentions Wrong Again On Russia-Ukraine – OpEd

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On Russian-Ukrainian matters, there has been a tendency in the Anglo-American establishment and some other circles to provide a false start date of provocation. 

Consider the suggestion that Crimea’s reunification with Russia led to increased tensions with the West – omitting what transpired beforehand, with the overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically elected president – followed by the elevation of nationalist anti-Russian elements in the Ukrainian government.
Likewise, the reported buildup of Russian forces near the Ukrainian border this past spring, typically overlooks what happened beforehand. Specifically, the Kiev regime’s increase of its troops along the area near the Donbass rebels.

Another example is how some view an earlier energy crisis in Europe by portraying Russia as the culprit. Omitted from this spin is the Kiev regime being delinquent on its energy payments to Russia, along with Ukraine siphoning energy bound for other parts of Europe. This Kiev regime action came after Russia decided to cut off its energy shipment to Ukraine.

The German proposed Nord Stream pipeline arrangement with Russia was undoubtedly initiated with the  motivation to not be too dependent on using Ukraine as a transit route for Russian energy. Instead of acknowledging a mistake, Kiev regime proponents like Arseniy Yatsenyuk spew BS on the Nord Stream project, before the uncritical likes of the Atlantic Council.

Contrary to Yatsenyuk, Russia has shown itself to be a dependable energy supplier. One of numerous examples being the 2008 war in the Caucasus, which saw Russian energy to Georgia continue. Russia fully understands the downside of not being a reliable energy supplier. Withholding energy is a double-edged sword that doesn’t serve Russian interests.

The follow-up commentary on what Russian President Vladimir Putin recently said about Russia-Ukraine, omit what led to his statement on the matter. Instead, some suggest that he unleashed an unnecessary provocation which came out of the blue.

Not too long ago, the Kiev regime issued an historically inaccurate bill on the status of indigenous peoples in Ukraine. The Crimean Tatars are listed as an indigenous people unlike the Russians. The former arrived in Crimea after (not before) the Rus (constituting modern day Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians) presence on that territory. Upon hearing of this Kiev regime bill, Putin said that he might prepare a detailed reply on the history of Russia-Ukraine.

​The gist of what Putin said about Russia-Ukraine is nothing particularly new. Ukraine’s current President Volodymyr Zelensky, said the same in 2014. Zelensky’s backpedaling is in my opinion (and that of some others) due to the disproportionate influence of nationalist anti-Russian individuals in Kiev regime controlled Ukraine.

Generally speaking, it appears easier on that territory to be an anti-Russian advocate than a pro-Russian voice. At play is a fear factor aspect having to do with violence and the threat of legal action.  

Going back further before Putin and Zelensky, Pavlo Skoropadsky advocated and “All Russian Federation”, consisting of Russia and Ukraine. Over the course of time across the left-right political spectrum, there’ve been Russian and Ukrainian calls for some form of Russo-Ukrainian togetherness.

It’s also true that there’re Ukrainians thinking differently. Post-Soviet Russia has formally recognized Ukraine as an independent entity. It’s unrealistic to expect Russia to ditch the pro-Russian element among Ukrainians. In point of fact, the Russian government has come under criticism for not doing enough for that sentiment.

Michael Averko is a New York based independent foreign policy analyst and media critic. This article first appeared at the Strategic Culture Foundation’s website on July 18.

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Michael Averko

Michael Averko is a New York based independent foreign policy analyst and media critic. He has appeared as a guest commentator on the BBC and WABC talk radio, in addition to having been a panelist at the World Russia Forum, Russia Forum New York and US-Russia.org Experts' Panel. Besides Averko's Eurasia Review column - Academia.edu, Counterpunch, Foreign Policy Journal, Global Research, History News Network, InoSMI.Ru, Johnson's Russia List, Journal of Turkish Weekly, Kyiv Post, Oriental Review, Penza News, Pravda.Ru, Pravoslavie.Ru, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Russia Insider, Sputnik News, Strategic Culture Foundation, The Duran, The Huffington Post, Valdai Discussion Club, Yonkers Tribune and WikiLeaks, are among the numerous venues where his articles have either appeared or been referenced. The American Institute in Ukraine and the Lord Byron Foundation for Balkan Studies, have referenced some of Averko's articles, along with academic white papers prepared for NATO Watch, Ohio State University, Problems of Post-Communism and the Royal College of Defence Studies. He has been referenced in the Council on Foreign Relations, Defense One and The New York Times. Averko is source referenced in Richard Sakwa's book "Frontline Ukraine". His Eurasia Review article on Pavlo Skoropadsky, provides the first full online English language transcript of Skoropadsky's edict calling for an "All-Russian Federation", inclusive of Russia and Ukraine. Among other issues, that article explains the relationships among the major combatants in the Russian Civil War. He can be reached via [email protected]

5 thoughts on “Getting Putin’s Intentions Wrong Again On Russia-Ukraine – OpEd

  • July 19, 2021 at 12:30 pm
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    Dependable, reliable energy supplier or not, for all other Putin is one of the most unreliable neighbours one can have. Whether Crimea or Donbass, it was an act of war and many Ukrainians were displaced internally and lost thriving businesses.

    Some don’t like to hear so, but under Yanukovich with the backing of Putin, many youngsters were brutally killed or tortured.

    Reply
    • July 19, 2021 at 7:22 pm
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      Jacques,

      You miss the obvious that’s stated in the article. The overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically elected president led to the elevation of nationalist anti-Russian elements in the Ukrainian parliament. This happened before what you bring up relative to Crimea and Donbass. The overthrow occurred right after an internationally brokered (French, German and Polish, with Russian oversight) power sharing arrangement was made involving the then Ukrainian government and opposition.

      Crimea and and to a lesser but still noticeable extent Donbass don’t generally share the view of the nationalist anti-Russian forces. The majority of ethnic Ukrainians in Crimea support Crimea’s reunification with Russia.

      On the matter of breaking agreements, the post-Yanukovych Kiev regime went against the aforementioned power sharing agreement, as well as having been delinquent on energy payments to Russia, while siphoning energy to other countries and not full-filling its obligations concerning the Minsk protocol.

      As for tolerance, I don’t see where the regimes prior and after Yanukovych have been more tolerant than him, despite his flaws.

      Reply
  • July 19, 2021 at 3:11 pm
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    Yours are the weakest arguments I’ve read about the bad relationship between Russia and Ukraine. You cherry-pick points in time ignoring the macro level power and numerous overt and clandestine ways in which it exerts that power. Why don’t you just state the obvious, that Ukraine should be part of Russia? To pretend that Ukraine has been the bad actor in their relationship is nothing more than gaslighting.

    Reply
    • July 19, 2021 at 7:25 pm
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      Brad Owens,

      The Kiev regime has been a bad actor, which is getting acknowledged within US foreign policy establishment circles. Refer to some recent articles by Ted Galen Carpenter in The National Interest. He’s saying what I’ve previously stated.

      Reply
  • July 20, 2021 at 8:11 pm
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    Let us not forget that the Soviet Union was officially dissolved by the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. Russia was Russia, Ukraine was Ukraine, and Belarus was Belarus. Basically, the biggest dissolver of the Soviet Union was Kazhakstan and its leader. Then, finally, Russia could be Russia.

    Reply

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