May 2, 2019

The Crimea on the Chessboard of Geopolitics — the Crimean Evening

How has the world system changed five years after the annexation of the Crimea? Should we expect a global war because of the confrontation in Ukraine? How long can the occupation of the Peninsula last? And what should Ukrainian government do in order not to lose the Crimea forever?

These topics are being discussed in the studio of the Radio “Crimea.Realities” in the talk show “The Crimean Evening” by radio host Serhiy Hromenko, and a Ukrainian military, ex-head of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine Victor Hvozd.


— Can we say that after 2014 and the annexation of the Crimea in international politics there is no check-and-balance system?

— Until 2014, the world order was characterized by the leadership of one country. In 1991 the bipolar world collapsed, the USA seized leadership and realized that it was the only country that could dictate conditions to everybody. But at the same time, the 20–25 years that followed began to change the situation. China began to move to a new level according to its potential, Russia slowly tried to reach the level of the world leader, as it saw itself. The methods of these countries differed: China tried to become a leader by modernizing its economy, innovating, concluding mutually beneficial agreements with others. Russia began to build relations, based on its geopolitics, ideology, on absolutely different principles — mainly on confrontations. The RF took the rhetoric of the USSR, put the idea of Russian chauvinism in the forefront, as a result, it returned to the new wave of the Cold War. The balance of power was actually gone for good, and today the world stands on the threshold neither of bipolar, nor unipolar, but of already multipolar world. There are more challenges and threats, first of all, for Ukraine.

President of “Borysfen Intel” Victor Hvozd on the Radio “Crimea.Realities”

— Is a new global conflict possible?

— I do not think so. Major geopolitical players possess nuclear weapons — weapons of restraint. In such a war there would be no winners. According to Russia's military doctrine, the main enemies are NATO and the United States. But this is not even the matter of a military threat — in today's situation, Russia is very much afraid of the democratic changes around it. For example, Putin's autocratic regime, his environment have a horror (up to paranoia) of the processes that are taking place today in Ukraine.

— You mean, Ukraine is in great danger?

— Even the latest election in our country is a huge challenge for Putin, and he immediately draws plan A, plan B with passports, and so on. He will do anything to block former Soviet Union countries' integrating into European structures, NATO, and so on. There is a huge danger to Ukraine, because Putin will persuade the West to leave the country alone, so that it remains neutral. But with Russia it's impossible to play neutral countries. Officially it would be neutral, but de facto — nothing of the kind… In fact, Ukraine has become a front line in which the interests of the two main geopolitical players came into conflict. As a result of this civilization collision, the United States and Russia began to build up their military capabilities. Later, they began to build up its military bloc both, on the border with Ukraine and on the border of NATO. Now Russia is seriously preparing for war, conducting large-scale trainings, in particular of nuclear missile forces. All this testifies to an increase in tension.

— All this sounds like the whole country is a coin to exchange.

— One can say that Ukraine gradually turns from an object of the geopolitical game into a subject. It is, of course, a geopolitical center — the territory of important interest for players. For Europe, Ukraine is a buffer between it and aggressive Russia, but Russia is not interested in letting NATO troops here. So, Ukraine is leaving the “gray” geopolitical zone, and here the most important thing is — clearly determined our course into NATO and the European Union. And not just determined, but took certain steps.

President of “Borysfen Intel” Victor Hvozd on the Radio “Crimea.Realities” President of “Borysfen Intel” Victor Hvozd on the Radio “Crimea.Realities”

— Can the world somehow resolve the problem of the Crimea?

— This one is an extremely difficult question. This is the problem of the occupied territories, if you look at history — the Far East, Japanese islands, the Kuril Islands, which passed on to Russia after the Second World War. Decades have passed, lots of negotiations have been held — nothing. The situation there, of course, was where the world powers gathered after the war and decided. With the Crimea, the situation is different: the Peninsula was annexed, international law was violated, no one recognized this. It cannot be returned by military force — nobody will start a slaughter. I also believe that it is impossible to return the Crimea while Putin is in power. Meanwhile, a new generation is growing up, the world is changing. When Germany was divided, did it occur to anybody that it will be united again 40 years later? On the other hand — North and South Koreas. We must understand that this will take long — nobody will resolve this issue today, tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. Today, Russia is using the Crimea exclusively as a military base, as an unsinkable aircraft carrier for its geopolitical purposes, but from the point of view of economy and other aspects, the Crimea, of course, will have difficulties without Ukraine.

— What can Ukraine do?

— Only changes within the country, only successful, economically developed Ukraine, when the standard of living in it is several times higher than that in Russia and in the Crimea — all this can allow to return in the practical terms, to return the Peninsula into the constitutional field. This is how I see this way, but nobody says that everything else should be stopped. It is necessary to continue the struggle on a diplomatic and international level, to work with our partners, and not to wait for someone else to do the job for us.

Video of the full interview: