Novelist. Author of APSARAS and tales from the beautiful Saigh Valley. First person to quantify spiritual values.

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Thursday, 13 March 2014

Ukraine. Some thoughts

War as we understand it with troops facing each other across a battlefield is not going to happen in Ukraine. Nor too will there be an exchange of missiles or other long range military exchanges but the West will respond to Putin's wilful disregard for the Budapest Memorandum to respect the sovereignty of Ukraine territory including the Crimea.
We should not underestimate the UK's capacity to disrupt and dismantle Russia's interests both in their own country and abroad. Foreign Secretary Haigh's recent trip to Kiev will have ostensibly been to show support but I'm sure that he will also be putting in place the UK contribution to measures fomenting unrest in the Russian speaking sectors. Cyberwar and financial instruments will replace military hardware.

Meanwhile, for the benefit of the press we can expect the usual bland pronouncements but by the end an accommodation will be reached, probably based on what Henry Kissinger, who has some experience in these matters, called 'balanced disatisfaction'.

Vladimar Putin is undoubtedly a megalomaniac. He firmly believes his destiny is as a Tsar of all the Russias; head of a new Empire based on past glories.  As with Hitler, Putin also comes from a modest background but I suggest at sometime in his family history there must have been an element of nationalistic violence. His determination to avenge Russia's embarrassment at losing the 'Cold War' because that is what happened mirrors Hitler's shame that his country surrendered in World War one. Even the holding of the Winter Olympics at Solchi on the eve of his Ukraine expedition reflected that of the Berlin games hosted by Herr Hitler in 1939.
He is therefore a proud man, keen to demonstrate his warrior qualities, his basic strength, his martial arts and horse riding skill that may suggest a Cossack mindset. Although Putin comes from near St. Petersburg he may have inherited the character of a former Cossack hero, Severyn Nalyvaiko. I suggest he does not fear conflict, nor will he flinch from decisions taken in the national interest even if it means loss of Russian lives. He will see the Crimea as an essential asset of Russia and one to be held at all cost especially as the Ukraine was and is the ancestral home of the very people he seeks to emulate, the Cossacks. For this reason, I maintain that he will not observe the Budapest Memorandum on the sovereignty of Ukraine if it is not in accord with the best interests of Russia. It must be remembered that he has 'previous' in this. The ex Russian land of Georgia was rent with division between those who wanted close Russian ties and those who wanted more contact with the west. Parts of South Ossetia are still largely held by Russian forces.

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