Commemorating the Great Patriotic War [WWII], President

Putin awards a Jubilee Medal to Sergei Kolesnik, a participant

in the WWII liberation of Ukraine, Czechoslovakia and Poland.



To Reshape Global Order, Russia Needs Help of Other Disgruntled Peoples (Gazeta, Russia)


"If they were put in a global context, Russian demands for new rules of the game would garner wider support. … There are many countries and peoples who consider the planet's existing world order to be unjust. Most comprise what used to be called the 'third world' - developing and post-colonial countries; and many have long been extremely dissatisfied with the chorus of discrimination by great powers unprepared to give up their dominant position. … Humanity's accumulated fatigue with the lack of alternatives to the West opens up new opportunities. Even if Moscow has no ideology to offer right now, it would resonate if Russia sensibly channeled this anti-hegemonic fervor."


By Fyodor Lyukanov*



Translated By Rosamund Musgrave


March 10, 2015


Gazeta - Russia - Original Article (Russian)

Fyodor Lyukanov on how the war in Ukraine has changed our lives but not the world.


Had the crucial Feb. 11 talks in Minsk happened a week later, they could have been part of a time loop. Almost exactly 12 month before, on February 21, came the culmination of the Maidan protests and the toppling of the government in Kiev. The result of the talks? With the interference of the great powers there was an end to hostilities and a consolidation of the revolution on the global stage. This was neither more nor less than what occurred during the French Revolution from the storming of the Bastille to the Congress of Vienna. Only then the interval from start to finish was over a quarter century, whereas this time everything occurred within the course of about a year. After all, time moves faster in the 21st century.


Nevertheless, the magnitude of events then and now are comparable in much the same way as imperial Vienna 200 years ago compares with Minsk today.



More importantly, the scene of the action today, Ukraine, is a place in which the same things have happened again and again and bringing history full circle: an endlessly repeating loop of something approaching tragicomedy.


That doesn’t necessarily mean that Minsk II is doomed. There's a chance that armed conflict in Donbass can be stopped (or at least frozen), as the costs involved if war continues are far too great. Yet the Ukrainian drama is not over and the shockwaves it set in motion will continue to reverberate throughout European politics. This will provoke new crises.


That's because Minsk in 2015 is not like Vienna in 1815 or Yalta in 1945 in the sense that a new world order or new rules of the game will not be created - and couldn’t be.


Almost a year ago, when in response to the political tsunami in Kiev, Moscow rushed to aid the population of Crimea by permitting a vote for self determination, many considered it a demand for a revision of the global order. Yet the significance of refusing to accept the inviolability of borders that emerged after the collapse of the USSR goes beyond the post-Soviet space.


A leitmotif of the year in Russia has a discussion about the injustice of global events over the last quarter century. This is in part because since the end of the Cold War, as a rule, consultation with Moscow has been an afterthought conducted at best for the sake of form. This is also in part due to the antagonism that comes with publicly raising questions about the essential facts and events of recent history. Out of this emerges the idea of questioning the legitimacy of German unification highlighted by Russia lawmakers and echoed in Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's speech at the Munich Security Conference [video below].





If they were put in a global context, Russian demands for new rules of the game would garner wider support.


There are many countries and peoples who consider the planet's existing world order to be unjust. Most comprise what used to be called the “third world” - developing and post-colonial countries; and many have long been extremely dissatisfied with the chorus of discrimination by great powers unprepared to give up their dominant position. With its imperial tendencies, Russia cannot of course simply align itself with these former colonies. However, humanity's accumulated fatigue with the lack of alternatives to the West opens up new opportunities. Even if Moscow has no ideology to offer right now, it would resonate if Russia sensibly channeled this anti-hegemonic fervor.


Russia, however, when referring to new rules of the game, does not in fact have in mind rules that are global and comprehensive, but only those to regulate its relations with the West.


The spirit of the Cold War which everyone is talking about today is seen precisely in the obsession with a relationship that defined the global order 30 years ago, but which now, though, if not peripheral, are certainly not as central to the world as they were.


The battle for Ukraine, which has changed all of our lives over the last year, is in a global context a local episode that most outsiders see as something rather exotic.


If the first act in Crimea aroused the curiosity of many (what if Russia really is trying to challenge the prevailing order?), interest rapidly became bogged down because few people understand the drawn-out conflict in Donbass.


The results of Minsk depend largely on Russia, although ultimate success is of course hardly guaranteed. The parameters of a possible solution were clear from the outset last April as the flames of Donbass began to blaze. Whatever else makes this era unique, the fact that it took thousands of lives and complete destruction for those involved to accept the obvious shows that human nature hasn't changed at all.


Russia sought the transformation of Ukraine into a state limited only by certain decisions primarily centered on NATO membership. The arrangements in Minsk dealt with constitutional reform and vesting certain areas (at least the Donestk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic) with powers that would make them a kind of in-line fuse. Everything else is, on the whole, deals with technicalities (albeit very important technicalities) that must facilitate the smooth transition toward this purpose.


Using the popular analogy of Yalta Conference for which we recently commemorated the 70th anniversary, the Conference was planned down to precise detail. It is an apt illustration of how the ambitions of Russia have diminished since the days of the superpowers.


Instead of the division of Europe through which the USSR was granted a much-needed buffer zone in the east of the continent, a measured partition of Ukraine is more modest, yet is also sought with an eye on a buffer zone in the east.


If the intended plan is implemented, then the goal could be considered realized, although the price and profitability of the project is best left for later. Independently formulated and decided by it, Russia will resolve its own problems and prove to the West that there remains a magic red line along its borders.


This has nothing to do with the global rules of the game. Minsk is neither a model nor a precedent.


A better parallel, which has been repeatedly mentioned, would be the Dayton Accords on Bosnia. They halted the war but failed to create an effective state. The case of Ukraine is of course on a much larger scale and the probability of an unpredictable relapse into conflict and crisis is much greater than in Bosnia, which quietly smolders under the supervision of the E.U.

Posted By Worldmeets.US


The war in Ukraine hasn’t changed the world. Global processes will take their course, increasingly taking on an Asian flavor with Middle Eastern spices. There is no place for vareniki (Ukrainian dumplings). Minsk won’t be a new Vienna or Yalta, primarily because such fundamental agreements don’t touch on the central themes of global politics.


These are primarily issues related to China, and the Chinese think rather differently and not in terms of spheres of influence traditionally used by Europeans. This has made it much easier for China to negotiate with Russia, which is why historically we have been much closer.


To the Old World - including those in the E.U. and those like Russia which is not now and never will be, it remains to define relations among themselves just as they did 200 years ago. The only difference today is that while in the fields of Leipzig and Waterloo a new geopolitical architecture was charted for Europe (which was essentially the world), what is now happening in Mariupol and Debaltseve is impossible to understand.


*Fyodor Lukyanov is Chief Editor for Russia in Global Affairs.



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[Posted By Worldmeets.US, March 10, 2015, 6:15pm]













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