Russia Without Ukraine Is Not a Great Power. And No Civilization of Its Own.

"In unfriendly hands, it not only pushes Russian power back, but also exposes critical vulnerabilities of the Russian heartland."


Source: Russia Matters

At this point, it is unclear what Vladimir Putin’s end game will be after launching a full-scale, combined-arms invasion of Ukraine. However, what we can be reasonably sure of is that Putin, who has, for the last two decades, been reasonably consistent in his vision for Russia’s role in world affairs, came to the conclusion that his aims were no longer served by continuing with diplomacy, and has chosen to “let the cannon decide.”

In making that choice, however, he is also foreclosing on Western, especially European, assistance in pursuing his vision of Arctic development which he has stated is the basis for securing Russia’s economic future—and is gambling that a closer partnership with China can safeguard his priorities without subordinating Russia to Beijing’s preferences.

Putin believes that Russia has no choice but to remain as one of the agenda-setting powers of the world. His view of “sovereign democracy” is that a Russia that lacks the wherewithal to defend itself from outside pressure will find itself forced to adopt Western standards or a Chinese diktat.

Russia’s position as a great power is defined, in part, by being able to maintain an independent Eurasian pole of power—more or less coterminous with the old Soviet Union. Over the course of his career as prime minister and president, Putin has changed his tactics and approaches in pursuit of these aims. In his first years, he hoped that a post-9/11 partnership with the United States and collaboration with the European Union to create a wider European space from Lisbon to Vladivostok would lead to Western recognition of Russian pre-eminence in this region—essentially a division where the Euro-Atlantic world would voluntarily cease its eastward enlargement at the Vistula and Baltic littoral. When it became clear that, in pursuit of partnership with Russia, the West was not prepared to accede to any Russian sphere of influence, Putin’s approach became more controversial—as reflected in his 2007 Munich speech and his 2008 tête-à-tête with George W. Bush in Bucharest—and culminated in the 2008 Russian incursion into Georgia.

Hopes for a reset in Western-Russia relations, as epitomized by the efforts both of U.S. President Barack Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, foundered on the 2011 Libya intervention and ended with the 2014 Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine. Since that time, Russia has embarked on a dual approach—using “sharp power” tools to try to impact politics in Western societies while also hoping that dependence on Russian energy and resources by European economies will produce sympathetic business and political leaders.

Key to all of Putin’s plans has been to ensure a friendly and pliable Ukrainian government. Ukraine’s economy, resource base and population are critical for the success of any Russian-led Eurasian Union which is the manifestation of Russia’s ability to create that independent “Eurasian pole of power” that counterbalances a China-led Asian sphere with the Euro-Atlantic world. Ukraine’s strategic real estate (particularly Crimea), in friendly hands, allows Russia a pathway to project power into the heart of Europe and the greater Middle East; in “unfriendly” hands, it not only pushes Russian power back, but also exposes critical vulnerabilities of the Russian heartland.

Ukraine also serves an important role in validating Putin’s belief in a pan-Russian/Orthodox civilization that is distinct from (although related to) European/Western culture.

Faced with the “loss” of Ukraine in 2014, Putin took several intermediate steps: seizing direct control of the Crimean peninsula, so vital to Russia’s ability to project power across the entire Caspian-Black Sea-Eastern Mediterranean zone, while backing two separatist entities in southeastern Ukraine as a way to preclude Ukraine from joining key Euro-Atlantic institutions, starting with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. At the same time, Russia started a series of new geo-economic projects to more closely bind Europe’s economies to Russia’s resource base.

By 2021, however, there were signs that these efforts might not succeed in the long run. Two successive Ukrainian presidential administrations—that of Petro Poroshenko and then Volodymyr Zelensky—refused to countenance constitutional changes that would have prevented Ukraine from continuing along a Euro-Atlantic path as a price for regaining control over the Donetsk and Luhansk republics. Ukraine pushed back against projects such as the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would allow Moscow to effectively end the use of Ukraine as a transit state for Russian energy headed for European markets. Finally, the successful creation of an Orthodox Church of Ukraine independent of the Moscow Patriarchate was a powerful rebuke to the claims of a single Russian/Orthodox civilizational space. Ukraine’s halting but real reform efforts, especially in the military sphere, and closer cooperation with NATO states, also raised the possibility that at some point in the future, the balance of forces might shift in Ukraine’s favor, not only regarding the Donetsk and Luhansk entities, but perhaps even Crimea itself.

The Kremlin worked throughout 2021 to get American and European assent to a series of propositions: the permanent neutral status of Ukraine (so-called “Finlandization”); acceptance of Nord Stream 2 in return for Russian promises not to cease all energy transit through Ukraine; an end to military cooperation between Ukraine and NATO countries; implementation of the Minsk Accords that, in providing for the reintegration of Donetsk and Luhansk into Ukraine, would effectively give Russia the ability, through those entities, to veto aspects of Ukrainian foreign and domestic policy it objected to. Compromises offered by Western states, starting with the United States, fell short of what the Kremlin hoped to achieve, and in a final set of conversations with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, it became clear that Paris and Berlin could not override Washington’s objections. Putin is now gambling that he can achieve most of these objectives through a military campaign, endure the initial set of Western sanctions and then, as occurred in 2009 after the Georgia war, lay conditions for a new reset on the basis of a new status quo.

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  2. GMC says

    After this first liberation attempt, if the Ukies are still brainwashed from the 7 years of Western Propaganda, then Ukraine should be destroyed and left a Borderland – like it was supposed to be. Ukraine area was always the first region to be imperialized/terrorized by the West, while on their way to take Russia.
    Today Ukraine is liked by the West because it is so Corrupt,a Geopolitical location, and in it’s 30 year history has not once been a trustworthy neighbor, even when it had a Pro Russian Government. It will stay a mafia state as long as the West can come and go and deal with the Jew Oligarchs, that should be hung.

  3. ken says

    The West wants the valuable resources in Russia. There will never be peace if the Western oligarchs have any say.

  4. guest says

    According to this data-miner Gvosdev, Grand-Protector Vladimir just wants to be respected and integral part of the world order. He is not feeling the respect he thinks should be accorded to him and his Mother Russia, so he entered into this chess-game with the people who haven’t lost a round in 500 years. A turf-war between two criminal gangs.

    (In 1998, 1999, the people of Russia wanted the Communist Party to come back, but someone decided that they should have Vladimir Putin, instead.)

    Years ago the contemporary grand-protector, Alexander, for the sake of the new world order, made war against Napoleon. At the conclusion of that war the Army of Mother Russia lost more soldiers to desertion than died on the battlefields. When they saw how life was in France (their alleged enemy) they did what they could not to return to Mother Russia.

    As we speak people of Russia are lining up at the border with Finland; getting on planes to Tbilisi, Tallin; some of them might even be disguising themselves as Ukranian refugees —and leaving Putin’s grand-protectorate for NATO territory. All those people in Russia with “Z” on their automobiles are not lining up at the recruiting office.

    What will be left of Mother Russia even if this war in Ukraine concludes ? (But NATO won’t let it conclude, they will keep it going until the last Ukranian dies or leaves the country; but even after that they will continue, they don’t give up.)
    Already Putin had to ask China for help. China doesn’t help, they do things for you if it benefits them. The longer the war, the more asking will have to be done. India is not helping, either; but they will be happy to repopulate Russia after the Grand-Chess game is over.

  5. Juan says

    Vomitive westerner propaganda.

  6. Kris Saenen says

    What a heap of crap this article is. I’m used to better quality from Anti-Empire. Has Anti-Empire gone ‘Empire’ or what?

  7. Jerôme says

    We are hitting end times…Ukraina in Latin means Harvester, that one who’ll come to HARVEST OUR SOULS… In 2025 ends Kali- yuga by global FIRE…Kali means ‘ fire and hot’…Kali- yuga means also Satya-yuga- satan’s age, which will be cut short by Krita- yuga- Christ Age…Kali-yuga is also known in the West as Iron Age,since Iron dominates our age… In 2032 ends the Anno Magnus- current Great Precessional Year, counted by the jew adopted Hebrew calendar of A.M.- Anno Magnus. On 2032 planned the zionazi globalist cabal, Novus Ordo Seclorum, better known as Jew World Order…But in 2033 is the Great Jubilee Year of 2nd Coming of Christ and His Krita-yuga, with the Greatest Reset of all, no earthly jew can compete with! From that year starts new Anno Magnus with new Aquarian Age of Potter-the Creator, remaking our world anew! The closure of Kali- yuga is with Harvest(Ukraina)of souls and Armageddon by Fire= WW3…Like it or not, the more and more extreme weather should warn all of you that we are on the path of global destruction of our corrupted civilisation,not the First one,and hopefuly,not the Last one…Repolarisation of the Earth is also imminent,with global earthquakes,up to 25 on Richter scale…So, don’t be suprised about the WAR GAME of East and West with Ukraina! Their state symbol and colors of flag are clear speech to that too!!!

    1. Jerôme says

      Ukraina mean no ” Borderland= Land by Russia”! That’s camouflage name! Yet, another masonic version is U-krajina, where u,o,v,w,m,y, symbolises feminine grotto, a copy of eden in Milky Way…

      1. Jerôme says

        The jews loves to settle in river bends shaped as female grotoo, see Canary Wharf= Serpents Docks in London on Thames river,better known as City of London Corporation…Shaped river bend as W !!! And the world has numerous such copies of Eden in Milky Way!

    2. GMC says

      Here is my recent take –
      How did all those people become ethnic Ukrainians in 30 years? Since this country is only 30 years old and has been the most corrupt country in Europe, besides Britain, Netherlands and a few others, the Borderland has been Russian for a thousand years, give or take a few occupations and a few stupid giveaways. And looking back at the fall of the CCCP , who manipulated the pro US/WallStreet Yeltsin to look the other way when it came to the western borders of Russia. Those who brought this up were quickly – suppressed.

      This is like saying 80% of the people in the United States are really Floridians or New Yorkers or Montanans, – not Americans. Ukraine was Russian, except for the western pods that herd around the East EU countries. Stop with the Bull Shit that Ukrainian is only 20% – 40% Russian. They are all Slavs.

      If parts of the USA split and become another country , they will do it in order to get away from the corrupt totalitarian bully’s in Washington. They will go thru today’s Corrupted Constitutional laws that were set up for this , which is legitimate – I think, since I’m not as smart as that black president , who was supposedly a Constitutional Lawyer.LOL . The Borderland never decided to do this, Crimea did, they were always with Russia and the Region was called Ukrainee. Just like the Siberians, the Chechnyans, etc.that are all part of Russian Federation. This ” Ukrainian Operation ” was formulated from the Snakes in the West, over 30 years ago – For Sure.

  8. Steve Kastl says

    With weather changes, Siberia may become the new breadbasket for Russia instead of Ukraine. Once the land has settled from the melting in Siberia, high speed rail will hopefully open that vast area for agriculture.

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