This article is written by Ms. Marine Graimont, She has studied Politics and International Relations for her bachelor’s and International Security for her master’s course at the University of Warwick in the UK. She is passionate about crisis and its related management and wishes to work in international diplomacy. As a French citizen, She feels very strongly about the EU’s politics.
War in Ukraine: Long Live the USSR?
The current crisis in central Europe shows just how much stability is volatile and comes with a price. From the stage to the front of the battlefield, Volodymyr Zelensky has proven his will to fight, and not to surrender. On the other side of that bloodbath, Vladimir Putin reminisces over the late USSR. With the outcome of this war still unknown, theorists, experts, and specialists prepare for any scenario. This “war of information” among the West, Ukraine, and Russia could also facilitate the scenario of the good, the bad, and the ugly.
While estimations of the total numbers of casualties in the Russian and Ukrainian conflict remain unconfirmed and approximate, the certainty is that the number of civilians fleeing their home country has now reached more than 3 million, including more than 1.4 million children according to UNICEF. As envisioned, the violent nature of that conflict led to Ukrainians leaving their home, but this is especially true since Putin has started bombing cities, women, and children. “War in Ukraine: Long Live the USSR”
Propelled from the spotlights to the battlefield, the Ukrainian president has repeatedly said that Ukraine will fight. He also asked Russia to stop its offensive and start discussions as to how to settle this crisis. However, some questions remain, if not on when this conflict will end? Then why did it start? Why now? And what end goal does Putin have in breaking another country’s sovereignty and putting his own land at risk on the international stage.
Putin’s decision to attack goes back to the very moment he stepped into the Kremlin. His vision for Russia is in essence very different from the one of Gorbatchev. His will to reform the late influence of the USSR was incoming, even if most theorists failed to predict it, and embodied by a Machiavellian’s “the end justifies the means” policy.
However, Robert Hunter, former US ambassador to NATO, declared that “it was likely that in time [Russia] would recover a measure of national power sufficient to threaten European security and stability if it chose to do so.” Indeed, Putin rejects the West’s vision of having attempted to restrain the USSR’s influence during the Cold War and to develop democracy in the region. His current omnipotent role as leader of the nation depicts his clear nostalgia for Russia’s former empire but also sends a 1984-like message to the West.
His Orwellian disillusion being backed by Belarus, and implicitly backed by the Chinese government, has now skyrocketed in his horridness. The terrible bombings happening across the nations are living proof of Putin’s intention to submit the Ukrainian people to his will and to reduce everything to ashes in order to build again. This is further evidenced by the propaganda he has been spreading across Russia. In one of his televised speeches, he declared that “the Occident is trying to break our society by speculating on its military losses and on the effects of their sanctions, to provoke a civil opposition within Russia by using its fifth column. But each people, and the Russian people more specifically, will always recognize scrum and traitors, and spit them out like one would spit out a fly that flew into their mouth.”
Some still wonder whether the decision of the offensive was the one of Putin alone. If some argue against it, an interview of one of his former counterparts, Sergueï Pougatchev, might just reveal that it was. He explained to Media-part that Russia was unlike any other European state, it was an “almost-state” that had nothing to do with the structure of any other. He reveals that the ties among the oligarchs, the State, and the siloviki (members or ex-members of the “force” ministers: army, police, special services, etc.) are all confounded, if not reduced to one. In essence, this dynamic allows for Putin to get funding for any decision he considers viable and feasible: for instance, to get the funds to invade Ukraine and rebuild the USSR.
Rebuilding the USSR: when the end justifies the means.
Propaganda, restrictions of freedom of speech, thoughts, and total control over the news make one thinks of the late USSR under the control of Joseph Stalin. The supremacy of the Kremlin after World War II until the end of the 1980s is Putin’s blatant and clear dream. As seen with the cases of Alexei Navalny and Marina Ovsyannikova render this diplomatic transition even more obvious. Having tried to kill the former and locked him up until the foreseen future and having imprisoned, then realized, and fined the latter; Putin’s will to submit will justify any action he has been undertaken thus far.
The killings in Ukraine also support this claim and recall the wars in the Middle East. Some chiefs of security in private companies in Europe report that they never thought this level of horridness would be seen in the continent. This is evidenced by the bombings occurring around Ukraine, but more specifically, the bombing of the theatre in Mariupol, where civilians and mostly women and children were sheltering to save their lives. The inscriptions around the theatre stated “CHILDREN” in Ukrainian, however, this did not stop the Kremlin’s head to attack it. The end justifies the means in this instance, as civilians were, supposedly, not Putin’s targets at the beginning of this conflict. The soldiers remain in constant threat, and are the main targets, as proved by the bombings of Mykolaiv where 50 soldiers died. War in Ukraine, Long Live the Soviet Union!
Lastly, the invasion of Ukraine comes at a strategic point after the annexation of Crimea back in 2014. If the EU and the international sphere had not done anything diplomatically and economically then, this conflict, however, is very much different as they have imposed some severe economic sanctions (i.e suspended from the SWIFT agreement) as a way to support Ukraine. Additionally, the EU and the US have sent weapons, food, and medicine in the country to help fight the Russian invasion. Poland is now the main refugee destination as Moldavia is not as stable due to its link with Russia.