That there are quite lively things going on in the Ukraina, well, that we all know meanwhile. But what I want to write about are some impressions from some information session which was organized by Svenska Bildningförbundet r.f. on Ti 4.03.

They had invited one Ukrainian who was able to report some impressions from the Maidan, but more I was struck by the contributions of the invited Swedish-Finnish speakers: they all agreed that Europe and the USA should speak with one voice in this matter.

Well, if one is politically borgerlig then one is usually not very good at psychology (a phenomenon very familiar to me from Germany), but still it strikes me just HOW little they understand about the Russian side of the business: If one listens to the media and also the Western military it is perfectly obvious that the Cold War has never stopped. Western Europe tries its best to be an obedient client of the USA (which results, e.g., in the president of Bolivia not being able to fly home unmolested as long as the USA see the possibility that he might have Edward Snowden on board his airplane), who also nicely swallows the fact that he is kept in contempt by the official USA (see the NSA affair and the recent formulation “Fuck the EU” – which just confirms what was clear already before). And Russia certainly knows this.

We also see that Russia has since the collapse of the Sovjet Union lost many areas to its Western (still) enemy. If this loss of territory now begins to concern areas which really have been Russian since a very long time (Kiev became Russian in 1687) then one should not expect the Russian government to simply submit to that. If one wants them to accept the loss of the Ukraina , then one should at least TALK to them, and A LOT, and in the spirit of what Willy Brandt and his team were introducing as “Ostpolitik” (“It is not important to shift borders but to abolish their character of being barriers”). The idea that Europe and the US should speak with one voice just supports the idea that the West is indeed the enemy, to whom Russia cannot afford to submit in anything. Thus, the USA should in no unclear terms be told to keep out of this business, better also refrain from ridiculous speaches like Kerry’s formulation that “På 2000-talet beter du dig bara inte på 1800-talsvis genom att invadera ett annat land med en fullständigt påhittad förevändning” (one could ask the Iraquis whether they feel like laughing …).

The presumably most realistic interpretation of Putin’s last move comes from Anna-Lena Laurén (Hbl of 5.03., page 3, “Putins budskap”). The situation is one of confrontation. What European diplomats should try via all available channels is some building of trust: We want a Europe with a respected position for a strong and friendly Russia, with a constructive cooperation between all participants. But if one is borgerlig then one of course prefers to be a just tolerated client of the USA …

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4 Responses to Ukraina

  1. Christian Blom says:

    Att Kiev och Ukraina skulle ha hört till Ryssland sedan 1680-talet är nog en historisk sanning med ganska mycket “modifikation”. På samma sätt skulle man kunna påstå att Helsingfors ju hört under Ryssland sedan 1714 eller senast 1808 och att det skulle berättiga att ryssarna igen tog över här hos oss. Eller att de baltiska staterna egentligen tillhör Ryssland för att de alla legat under Ryssland eller Sovjet under olika perioder. Europas historia är mycket mer mångfacetterad och invecklad än så. Har varit och är. Allt stöps om på nytt och på nytt. Men jag håller med Ernst om att vi skall diskutera Ukraina. Det får inte gå som under kriget i forna Jugoslavien då allt var så invecklat att vi på vänsterkanten aldrig egentligen hann bilda oss en åsikt över läget innan slakten var ett faktum. Liksom det är idag i Syrien. Vi måste tala om de här sakerna om det också känns svårt och tar på. För vi är ren mitt inne i det. Den verklighet som nu formas i Europa är inte “teoretisk” – vi formar den själv och på riktigt. T.e.x. i EU:s parlamentsval om några futtiga månader.Eller varje dag då vi uttalar våra åsikter om Ukraina.

  2. Ernst Mecke says:

    My thanks to Christian Blom for his comment (especially for his admonition that we should talk more about this matter)!
    As to Ukraina being or not being a part of Russia, I had especially the psychological side in mind. I am fully aware that the Ukrainians certainly have reasons why they might NOT want to be too much a part of, let’s say, the Russian sphere. For example, Nikita Chrusjtjov, who under Stalin was administrating the Ukraina, wrote later about that time that “we did not just have blood on our hands, we were up to the elbows in it”. – I do not know how much of this is still remembered in the Ukraina, but I do see reasons why one would not want to be too close with Russia.
    But: for Putin, in his present confrontation with what he has every reason to see as “the Western enemy”, the loss of the Ukraina would be a huge loss indeed, not only in terms of loss of face, but also in terms of Russia being pushed further and still further out of Europe and all matters European, into a position where it just would have to wait for the next push of the Western enemy (reminding very much of Chrusjtjov’s term “salami tactics”). – The West may be unaware that it is pushing, but in fact it is spreading all the time propaganda for its system and holding out offers (more or less realistic ones) to anybody who wants to turn away from Russia …
    Russia is still strong, and we should indeed be grateful that it has, so far, still provided a nuclear counterweight against the military might of the USA. – Central America could tell quite a number of stories what it means to be solidly in the US sphere of interest … .
    Thus, what I was meaning by my text, and still mean, is that Europe should try (HARD) to build a Europe WITH Russia. Instead of just continuing to be a loyal (but certainly not respected) follower of the USA.

  3. Christian Blom says:

    Allt du säger stämmer, Ernst (jag kan väl skriva på svenska ?) och månne inte Finland är det land inom EU där man mest av allt givit sitt stöd till Ryssland och på nytt och på nytt försökt bygga upp samarbete (i fallet kärnkraftverket i Pyhäjoki borde vi dock genast bryta samarbetet med Rosatom, som ju för övrigt äger och håller på att bygga de flesta kärnkraftverk inne i Ukraina) Ett litet exempel på Finlands och Rysslands traditionellt fungerande relationer är ju förra presidentens, Tarja Halonens, katt. Som hon fick av ryska statministern Medejev. Katten lär förresten vara svår att tämja. Den går inte med på att komma i famnen. Det nya i stormaktspolitiken är ju att EU nu för nästan första gången hamnar att försöka agera enigt och inte gömma sig bakom Natos och USA:s sköldar. Och sen är ju den sociala och politiska interna situationen i Ukraina en bra bit värre än vad läget var som värst i till exempel Grekland för ett år sen. I bästa fall lyckas man kanske stabilisera läget och kanske är det bara bra nu om Ryssland och EU tävlar om vem som ger mest ekonomiskt stöd till Ukraina.

  4. Ernst Mecke says:

    Just two small (but recent) additions to the topic:
    (a) While Europe, having barely recovered from the financial crisis (has it really?), is discussing how much money it could afford to offer to Ukraina, my Guardian Weekly (of 7.03.) had a small piece by Ha-Joon Chang (author of that VERY recommendable “23 Things They Don’t Tell You about Capitalism”), titled “A recovery? No, this is a bubble and it will burst”, in which he points out in very clear terms that the next economical bubble is already on the way (produced in the stock exchanges of the USA and the UK). – He also gives recommendations what should be done instead, but the chance that anybody will act accordingly is of course very small …
    (b) Via one email my attention was drawn towards an article by Henry Kissinger (whom I usually am VERY suspicious about) in the Washington Post of 6.03. . There, he points at the very important part which Ukraina has played through the centuries for the history and also the identity of Russia and is strongly advising that one should not try to separate Ukraina from Russia and integrate it into the West, but that one should try to make Ukraina something like a bridge between Russia and the West, helping it to develop in a similar direction as Finland (i.e. internally developing towards the standards of the Free World, but NOT joining Nato, and keeping up good relations with its Russian neighbour). – This from Henry Kissinger! I was astonished, but it anyway does not sound stupid to me.


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