March 18, 2016

Once Again on the Dignity of the Responsible and the Responsibility of the Dignified

Yuriy Radkovets

Today, it is clear to everybody in the political-diplomatic as well as in the expert-analytical environment, that the Minsk process of negotiations on the settlement of the armed conflict in the East of Ukraine has reached an impasse, the way out of which should be looked for in new international legal mechanisms and rules of conduct of the parties.

In fact, none of the achieved Minsk Agreements and Arrangements (Minsk-1 /September 2014/ and Minsk-2/ February 2015/) has been implemented by Russia. Moscow used them exclusively in its own interests. A direct evidence of this is the current aggravation of the situation in the Donbas, which has been observed lately.

Sadly, German Chancellor A. Merkel's rather declarative statements at the beginning of 2016 on the possibility of decisive progress and tangible results in the settlement of the armed conflict in the East of Ukraine in the nearest future — have not been practically implemented. On the contrary — the practical realities suggest the ineffectiveness of the existing mechanism to resolve the crisis over Ukraine, which provides for making fundamental political decisions within the framework of the “Norman Four” with their further adoption in the format of the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk.

This approach allows Russia to continue to avoid taking on responsibility for what is happening in Ukraine, while maintaining the ability to influence the situation in the East of Ukraine. At this, the West's sanctions though do cause Russia's economic losses, so far are not critical for V. Putin's regime.

Moreover, there are some signs that Russia has achieved its goals, because the West is gradually getting “tired” of the “Ukrainian problem”. Evidence of this is the proposals of some European politicians to resolve the situation around Ukraine actually on Russia's terms (in particular regarding the “elections” in the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions before resuming security of the situation there and restoring Ukraine's control over its eastern border).

Recent developments, practical steps and publications in Ukrainian, Russian and Western media outline the parameters of the choice, the responsibility for which will rest largely on the shoulders of both Ukrainian and Russian, and Western political elites. At this, it will be very difficult or almost impossible for all participants of the Minsk negotiations to backtrack or hide behind new circumstances.

According to independent analysts and experts, it is the matter of Germany and France's attempts to talk Ukraine into the shameful capitulation to Putin, as well as the dangerous prospects in the same context for our country in the next 10 months, during which B. Obama will still be in the White House.

That is, today, both, Paris, and Berlin, and in general, Brussels simply demand from Ukraine to agree to conduct the so-called “presidential and parliamentary elections” in the self-proclaimed “autonomous” state entities (that will be conducted by Moscow and DPR/LPR), and then to provide full support for their militants and terrorists. Europeans actually do not care about the quality and legitimacy of these “elections”, as well as about the exchange of prisoners or transfer of the control over the eastern border of Ukraine —“... All this later, maybe someday”. The main thing is the ritual, after which Germans and the French will “wash their hands”, having announced, at last, about their political and diplomatic victory, and having got rid of the annoying “Ukrainian issue”. Otherwise — Ukraine is threatened with the lifting of sanctions against Russia, and what is most likely, “freezing” of the programs of investment and financial and logistical assistance to our country.

So, to the “elections” in the uncontrolled territories of the Donbas, Ukrainian authorities are being pushed by Europeans much tougher today than before. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier demonstrates his irritation most openly: “One thing is clear: these elections cannot be further postponed... The security situation (in the ORDLO) should not be an excuse for our not working on the electoral law”.

So, the adoption of the law on elections in some regions of Donetsk and Luhansk regions (the ORDLO) was called “top priority” by the Head of the German Foreign Ministry. Actually — this is understandable, because from January 1, 2016 Germany for a year will hold the presidency in the OSCE. Among the main priorities of Germany's Presidency is overcoming the crisis in Ukraine. At the same time, the concept of the program of Germany's presidency in the OSCE for some reason does not include the question of promoting de-occupation of the Crimea, on which Ukraine insists, but which is not even mentioned there.

That is, the West and Russia are interested in the first place, in the laws on the “status” of the ORDLO's territories, on general amnesty for terrorists of all stripes and, of course, on elections in these uncontrolled by Kyiv territories — like this! As for the de-occupation of the Ukrainian Crimea, resumption of control over the eastern border of Ukraine, the security situation in these ORDLO — it's all “for later”, if at all! Germany in any case needs to demonstrate its success during its presidency in the OSCE, and the easiest way to do this would be on the example of organizing and holding elections in the ORDLO. Just put pressure on Kyiv and shamelessly blackmail it — and the desired result simply must be! Much more difficult and more dangerous for one's image is to resolve the question of resuming control of the eastern border of Ukraine or achieving and maintaining the security situation in the ORDLO. Here it is possible to failure because in these matters revengeful Putin would not listen to anyone, especially — to Germany, as he has not forgotten its “offense” in the persons of A. Merkel and Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

At the same time, for the sake of objectivity of the estimate, we should pay attention to the following thing. Actually blackmailing Ukraine with the lifting of sanctions against Russia, Berlin, Paris and Brussels have come out of today's disappointing for them realities, namely:

  • a systemic crisis in the EU due to the “migration” (read — “hybrid”) war organized against it by Putin to gradually destruct and destroy first the Schengen area, and later the European Union itself as the main rival of Putin's project — the Eurasian Union;
  • degradation of the European elite, which is not able to withstand the radical extremism and international terrorism in the heart of a united Europe, which for 70 years had lived without a war on its territory, being sure that this fagot would not touch it;
  • Moscow's active, consistent and cynical propaganda which has deliberately accelerated in different EU countries coming to power of political forces and movements that are the Kremlin's candid friends or, at least are not friends of Ukraine.

All this is happening against the background of general slowdown in the European and global economy as a whole, caused, among other things, by problems within the EU, and by the need for significant financing the sequences of international conflicts and the “immigration crisis”.

It is appropriate and necessary to explain in more detail why the actions of the European (German, French, Italian, Belgian, Dutch and other) politicians who have agreed to their participation in the negotiations with the bandits-terrorists and Putin, and, moreover, — even by blackmail are forcing Ukraine to hold these negotiations “on equal terms” are not an abstract betrayal or an ordinary stupidity, let alone an intricate game or pragmatic defence of the interests of their countries and their peoples, but on the contrary – they are a direct and imminent suicide scheme.

That is, the probability of Russia's “hybrid” war against Germany (France, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands, etc.) is now considered by many absurd (foolish, senseless, illogical, paradoxical, fantastic, unholy, etc.), like several years ago was considered pointless the speculation that Putin could take military aggression against Ukraine and cynically occupy the Ukrainian Crimea and a piece of the territory of South-Eastern Ukraine.

But when Putin, using a huge “fifth column” of immigrants from Russia, for example, in Eastern Germany (most of them are not assimilated, malicious, resentful and parasitic, purely reflexively despising and simply hating “indigenous and well-fed Germans”), starts first “shaking” the public mood (and this is already taking place, and social networks in Eastern Germany are overwhelmed with anti-German reproaches and marginalized fascism), initiates creation of radical extremist groups, and then continues building up military escalation, these reasons for the disgraceful capitulation to which today they provocatively push Ukraine, will be taken by politicians in regard to Germany (or France, Italy, Belgium, Holland, etc.). So do they need this bleak and in general dangerous prospect?

I am absolutely sure that, if ordinary Germans were explained the logic of these arguments, demonstrating that the actual “merging” of Ukraine to Putin's regime is not protecting national interests of Germany and its citizens, but a rapid irreversible approach to the mortal danger for Germans and, in general, for all Europeans, — then to many it would look compelling and alarming. The Germans know their politicians very well and would sooner believe that they are corrupt and cowardly profiteers than that they are honest knights-politicians. Moreover, many of them still remember the days of the GDR.

Of course, we can't know the exact location of the target for Putin's next attack in Europe (or in the world). Will it be Germany, or France, Belgium or the Netherlands, Poland or Lithuania (Estonia, Latvia), Turkey or Romania, or maybe Italy or Spain?

But in this situation — before and during another massive “hybrid” war — there is a huge problem — Ukraine simply does not have effective enough information tools, with the help of which it could quickly and very intelligibly convey to Europeans its arguments that betrayal — is a suicide for a traitor, that betrayal is considered weakness by the aggressor, and that it is a traitor, who as a rule, is the next victim. But Europe and the West in general are deaf and blind to the full range of arguments and facts of Ukraine's case.

And except for Ukraine, which today has actually felt the full harm of Russia's “hybrid” policy and “hybrid” war and almost on its own confronts it all, including protecting Europe and its civilization values, because according to the Europeans' logic, obviously, no one else can do this. But that's another topic. Although, unfortunately, there is almost no time for talks.

As for the United States and B. Obama, according to leading analysts and experts, his vision of the international agenda looks approximately as follows: as a whole, “the world is located in an environment of evil”, but, according to B. Obama's logic, the USA does not intend to oppose this evil more than it is necessary to eliminate the direct vital threats for itself. The United States in the development are so far ahead of all the other countries of Europe and the world, that they might not be “shaken” by the same inadequate Putin.

At this, according to B. Obama, the USA cannot defend Ukraine, since it is not a NATO member, and Russia will always have the opportunity to increase the pressure on it, because Ukraine (in B. Obama's words, “the country – Russia's client” ) is in the sphere of Russian vital interests. Although “in general” B. Obama has won Putin with the help of strategic inaction — and Putin, though “is not completely stupid”, continues destroying Russia by internal and external conflicts, raw material economy and international isolation. Therefore, with B. Obama in the White House (with whom on the “Ukrainian issue” debate his own State Department and the Pentagon), the current level of support to Ukraine is the highest. The main thing for Ukraine is its remaining high.

So can Ukraine under such circumstances of purely verbal “concern” (read — undue caution and timid indecision) resist Russia's cynical military aggression, constant political and diplomatic pressure, economic and informational wars? Can we learn to not be afraid of a hostile and inveterate enemies, and too cautious while compulsive allies?

Премьер-министр Израиля Леви ЭшкольIn this context, I would like to refer to the historical experience of Israel's struggle for statehood. For example, the fourth (in a row) Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol (1963-1969; born in Kyiv region) is called by his associates and historians the least aggressive Prime Minister in Israel's history. In 1967, when the invasion of the armies of five Arab countries (Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Algeria), many times larger than Israel's, seemed irreversible, L. Eshkol sent Foreign Minister Abba Eban to the United States for support.

The then US President L. Johnson (who for his support to Israel /first of all with weapons of all kinds and types/ was called the most “Jewish” of the US Presidents), expressed “deep concern” about the situation in the Middle East and the proper being busy with public affairs. At the same time, he explained that the USA was not ready to fight for Israel. At this, he referred to the objective difficulties — that Vietnam is enough for the United States, and it does not want to aggravate relations with Moscow. He assured that Israel remained a friend and partner-state of the United States. He reminded that Israel needed a political and diplomatic support of the United States first of all, in the United Nations. He also recommended to “hold on and not to provoke”. In case of the junior partner's misbehaving, he threatened to stop supplying weapons to Israel. Finally he repeated twice: “Israel will not be alone unless it decides to go alone”. Does this not remind the current situation in Ukraine's relations with the USA?

Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol listened carefully to Abba Eban's report after the latter's return from the United States and decided to act in the interests of their own state. Within the six days of the war (from 5 to 10 June 1967; was called the “Six-Day War”), Israel completely defeated half a million troops grouping of five Arab states and established control over the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan heights. The consequences of this war to this day determine the political situation in the region. And most importantly — Israel was not left on its own. The United States as a result of Israel's independent actions did give it political and diplomatic support, first of all in the United Nations.

This example – is not a call to war. Rather, this is reminding everybody of the dignity of the responsible and the responsibility of the dignified. True, that the strong respect the strong. The strong look for non-standard solutions and implement them, while the weak look for a huge number of excuses for their inaction.

There is no doubt that all the above said needs, based on the objective reality, a change in the international community's approaches to the solution of the whole complex of problems related to Russia's armed aggression against Ukraine.

First of all, such changes should concern expansion of the “Normandy Format” by including into it other leading countries of the world having real levers of influence on Moscow. First of all, the countries-signatories of the Budapest Memorandum of security assurances in connection with Ukraine's accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of nuclear weapons — the United States and the United Kingdom (in December 2015 such a proposal was received from the “group of wise men of the OSCE”).

Besides, in the international negotiations on Ukraine could also participate other countries, in particular — Poland, which is a persistent and consistent lobbyist for Ukrainian interests in the EU and NATO, and also holds the most intransigent positions with regard to the Russian Federation. This advanced format is unlikely to radically change the situation, but it could get things moving and increase international pressure on Russia.

At this, unlike the present, actually “recommendatory” status of the “Normandy Format”, a new format of international negotiations should be able to impose legal obligations on Russia for the unconditional implementation of the decisions taken with regard to Ukraine.

In this context, Moscow's attempts to evade its obligations or their regular violations should cause immediate and severe sanctions of other participants in the negotiating process in the most sensitive areas of the Russian Federation (energy, finance and the military-industrial complex).

Resolving this issue will also allow to change the current situation of the Minsk Contact Group, limiting its functions to organization of practical implementation of decisions taken at the highest level. Thus, Russia and the DPR/LPR will be deprived of opportunities to manipulate the situation for their own purposes.

At the same time, really strategically important for Ukraine, for the long term future would be the deployment of an international peacekeeping force in the East of our State under the aegis of NATO, the most powerful world organization in the sphere of ​​collective security. This would not only make impossible Russia's military intervention in Ukraine, but would create real prerequisites for the integration of our State into the Alliance. Besides, on the separatist-controlled territories it would be appropriate to deploy a special mission of the European Union to keep peace within the framework of the EU's Common Security and Defence Policy.

The consistent and purposeful implementation of the above-mentioned approaches could allow to radically change the situation, thereby ensuring both security of Ukraine and security of the European Union and NATO at the Eastern strategic direction (from Russia).

All this requires understanding of fundamental political decisions of the leaders of major Western countries, especially of Germany and the United States as countries, which took the primary responsibility to contain Russia and to settle the conflict around Ukraine. Experience has shown that none of the agreements or arrangements with Russia is implemented by Moscow, if it does not meet its interests.

In the context of any regime in Russia, containment of Moscow's neo-imperial ambitions is possible only by the armed forces or their equivalents in the form of political and economic actions to destroy the Russian economy, as it happened to the former Soviet Union.

Under these circumstances, Ukraine should position itself based on its national interests and national security, and not on a desire to be praised B. Obama, A. Merkel or F. Hollande, who are actually powerless and helpless (as the experience of the past two years shows!) before Putin's thugs, and before the internal problems of their own countries, the main of which are — verbal “concern”, subjectivism and well-fed burghers (the petty bourgeoisie).

Proceeding from objective reality, it is only natural that all this needs a change of the international community's approaches to solving the whole complex of problems related to Russia's armed aggression against Ukraine. First of all, these changes should affect the expansion of the “Normandy format” to international one  — by involving leading countries that have real leverage over Moscow, first of all the signatory countries of the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances in connection with Ukraine's accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of nuclear weapons — the USA and the UK.

Strategically important for Ukraine, for the long term future would be the deployment of an international peacekeeping force in the East of our State under the aegis of NATO, the most powerful world organization in the sphere of ​​collective security. This would not only make impossible Russia's military intervention in Ukraine, but would create real prerequisites for the integration of our State into the Alliance. Besides, on the separatist-controlled territories it would be appropriate to deploy a special mission of the European Union to keep peace within the framework of the EU's Common Security and Defence Policy.