Before delving into Vladimir Putin’s latest invasion of Ukraine, it’s important to look at his background. His appeal for Ukraine to be demilitarised and denazified is merely a cover for his long-held ambition to rebuild and resuscitate Soviet pride. In 1991, Ukraine was one of 15 republics that broke away from the Soviet Union.
When the Soviet Union fell apart in 1991, Vladimir Putin was a top KGB officer (a Lt Col at the time). He had worked in the KGB for 16 years, from 1975 to 1991, when he quit to enter politics with the express intention of restoring the ancient glory of the Soviet Union, which had been a superpower until 1991. It is because of his worldview that the latest invasion of Ukraine has occurred.
Following Russia’s Bolshevik revolution in 1917 and three years of civil war, there were 15 republics that merged in 1920 to become the USSR (United States of Soviet Republics). Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine were among the 15 republics.
By the end of World War II, in 1945, the Soviet Union had established itself as a worldwide superpower on par with the United States, leading two military alliances, NATO and the Warsaw Pact, and a Cold War had ensued. However, the Soviet cold war with the United States and “Glasnost,” sponsored by then-Soviet Supremo Mikhail Gorbachev, resulted to the USSR’s disintegration into 15 original republics in 1991, which was bitterly despised by die-hard Soviet loyalists like Vladimir Putin.
Vladimir Putin had joined hands with a former Russian strongman after quitting the KGB. Yeltsin moved up the ranks to become Prime Minister in 1999. He has held several positions of power in Russia since then. He established the CIS (Common Wealth of Independent States) of former Soviet republics in the early twenty-first century. Three Baltic states (Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia) did not join the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Turkmenistan and Ukraine were among the countries who declined to do so.
Since the fall of the WARSAW PACT in the 1990s, Russia has seen Ukraine’s unwillingness to come under Russian sphere of influence as a severe security danger. Many of them were drawn to NATO and decided to join. Even Ukraine has expressed its desire to join NATO.
It’s hardly rocket science to figure out that Ukraine was one of the rebellious republics that refused to submit. However, two Ukrainian regions, Donetsk in the south and Luhansk in the north, attempted to secede from Ukraine. Both countries had a border with Russia. There is no disputing the truth that Putin’s Russia incited and backed the insurrection.
To put an end to the uprising, France and Germany joined forces with Ukraine and Russia in Minsk (Belorussia) in 2014 and 2015 to achieve a series of accords, the first of which was known as the Minsk Protocol and the second as the Minsk Agreement. However, these accords did not provide the needed stability.
This had enraged Russia, and it was seeking for a way to bribe it into submission. The first warning came when Russia forced Georgia to comply with its demands. In 2014, it was followed by the annexation of Crimea. Active assistance for the Donetsk and Luhansk insurgencies added to the warning. If the rest of the world did not notice, Ukraine and the rest of the globe would be in trouble.
Putin put the final nail in the coffin of Ukraine when he signed a proclamation on February 23, 2022, recognising Donbas and Luhansk as autonomous republics. Putin dispatched Russian forces into these two republics on February 24, 2022, and started an all-out three-pronged attack on Ukraine.
It’s worth noting that Russian tanks rushing into Kyiv were observed with Soviet Union flags flying. As a result, no one should have any questions regarding Putin’s actions. He is rumoured to have claimed that Ukraine is a phoney state. Politically, historically, linguistically, and culturally, he claimed it belonged to Russia.
His demand on the Ukraine Army to submit and remove Zelensky’s vile regime raises issues about its viability as a distinct country. This demonstrates his aim to form a pro-Russia government and so bring the country into the CIS.
Within 24 hours of the offensive’s start, Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, was besieged. Despite the United States and the European Union’s shrill protests, it is on the verge of collapsing. Putin will not be permitted to rebuild the European map, EU President Ursula Von Der Leyen thundered the other day. Putin, on the other hand, has already done so. The point is, except from making noise, what has the EU and the US done to stop it? NATO has said that no soldiers would be sent to Ukraine.
Would “Economic Sanctions” be enough to deter him? Former US President Donald Trump has questioned “sanctions” and tangible acts. “He’s taken over a nation for $2 worth of sanctions,” he said, praising Putin. “Taking over a nation — a large, vast place, a great piece of land with a lot of people—— and simply stepping right in,” he said.
The official US policy, on the other hand, was to oppose to Russian action merely with words. This is what happened in the United Nations Security Council the other day, when Russia vetoed a resolution condemning Russian activity, while India, China, and the United Arab Emirates abstained. During the UNSC vote on Ukraine, Linda Thomas Greenfield, the US ambassador to the UN, said, “— We have a serious commitment to not look away…”At the very least, we have a responsibility to object,” says the author.
Strangely. The Western world wants India to stand up to Russia in the name of democracy and freedom, but no one did so in India’s favour when it faced China in 2020-21. Russia may not support India in its conflict with China, but neither will the United States or the European Union. It would be up to India to accomplish it on its own. Why should it irritate Russia and risk jeopardising its weapons supplies in the name of democracy?
Some commentators believe India’s independent stance on the Ukraine problem was equivalent to riding two horses at the same time. I disagree and believe India was riding her own Mule rather than two horses. It remains to be seen how far it will go.
Riding a mule, I believe, is preferable to riding inebriated horses, which would not enable India to ride correctly and may result in a nasty tumble. As a result, it is preferable to ride its own mule and train it to be capable of withstanding China’s one-and-a-half mule.
As far as the United States is concerned, it will not come to India’s aid until it joins NATO. Because Ukraine is not a NATO member, it has declined to intervene militarily in the conflict. As in the case of Ukraine, its ranting would simply result in noise pollution.
Russia may not support India, but it will not join forces against it as it did during the Ladakh standoff. The United States and the European Union, for their part, kept aloof. In light of the foregoing, India’s “stand-alone” strategy is unquestionably the finest. When you rely on others, you become thoughtless and weak. Atamnirbharta in India must move with breakneck speed. China will have to wait 3-4 years before considering “Ukraine” in Ladakh or Arunachal Pradesh. Taiwan is currently China’s top priority.
Finally, it may be said that the globe was once again becoming bipolar. However, China would offer more value to the CIS Block this time. India would have to pursue its own way. India, on the other hand, has made it plain at the UNSC that it would not accept the coercive redrawing of UN member states’ borders. This dispels any questions regarding India’s indirect assistance for Russia.
This was also not a pro-EU or pro-American stance. Nonetheless, there is reason to believe that the Western Block should become a real guarantee of democracy, not just by words but through deeds. The future of Ukraine does not inspire such optimism.