Penso que o objetivo estratégico de Putin continua a ser a divisão do Ocidente.
Apesar de ser imperioso ter alguma prudência, creio que é essencial que o Ocidente se mantenha unido e espero que assim aconteça. Digo isto consciente dos sacrifícios que estão implícitos nesta posição.
Uma escalada para um conflito nuclear é possível. Porém, qual será o significado que emergirá daqui se perante esta “chantagem nuclear” a resolução do Ocidente esmorecer? Que efeitos devemos considerar?
Para além de se estar a dar tempo a Putin para se rearmar, para se reagrupar e para se consolidar internamente, quando Putin voltar a seguir estes caminhos, algo que não deve ser desconsiderado se tivermos em mente o padrão de comportamento demonstrado desde a intervenção russa na Geórgia, vamos ficar de braços cruzados perante uma nova chantagem nuclear?
Algo que era praticamente impossível há uns tempos – dois lados dentro do regime de Putin – é hoje uma possibilidade.
Isto não significa que a resistência ucraniana e o apoio do Ocidente à mesma não está a ter efeitos positivos?
Ukraine’s fall will only encourage Putin to continue down this path. And the consequences will be unpredictable. (article published 16 June 2022 – Observador)
1. The NATO-Russia Council was just over two years old when Boris Yeltsin nominated Vladimir Putin as Prime Minister. After that, gradually, what used to be a forum for consultation, consensus, cooperation, decision-making and joint action for security issues within the Euro-Atlantic region began to fade away. The reasons for detachment were not only due to old Russian suspicions about NATO enlargements. The installation of the NATO missile defense system in Europe also raised significant questions.
In 2007, Putin began to ask for a revision of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) seeking security enhancement. General Yuri Baluyevsky, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, acknowledged that Russia was considering unilaterally withdrawing from the INF Treaty, in response to the deployment of the NATO missile defense system in Europe and because other countries, like China, were not bound by the Treaty. In the same year, Russia suspended and later withdraw from the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe. Shortly thereafter, the Kremlin announced an 8-year investment of US$100 billion in modernizing its military capabilities and developing completely new nuclear missile systems. Today we know that Putin’s motivations were different. Russian actions in Abkhazia and South Ossetia (2008), as well as Crimea (2014) and the present ignoble interference in Ukraine illustrate this statement.
2. There is, since 1725, in Russia, a document that, apocryphal or not, seems to have influenced its behavior as a State. Not even the 1917 Revolution and the consequent regime change altered the execution of the ideas contained therein: territory and influence. Just remember how the Bolsheviks reacted to the territorial loss imposed by the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. I refer the Testament of Peter the Great.
In 2007, I authored an article – Crossroads – where I discussed Russia’s shift to a capitalist system and the resulting growth potential, saying that I would not be surprised if the germ of expansion reappeared. I said that the “heirs” of Peter the Great appeared to be revitalized. At least, as far as his current successor [Putin] was concerned in Russia’s resurgence on the world stage.
However, I missed one point in my analysis. I considered that Putin used the control system characteristic of the political apparatus of the former Soviet Union, but that he abandoned the communist system, merging these factors into the equation of democracy, when what Vladimir Putin was creating was an autocratic corporatist political structure, like the Chinese, under democracy’s guise.
Georgia, Crimea, and the invasion of Ukraine serve to prove Putin’s pattern of behavior. But something earlier happened that cannot be forgotten – Chechnya.
I have already written about Putin’s strange rise to power. As prime minister, and even as interim president, polls showed Putin had low levels of approval. Everything changed with the war in Chechnya. Do you remember what triggered this war? It was the explosion of bombs in apartment blocks in Moscow, attributed to Chechen terrorists. The Russian retaliation, which flattened Grozny (identical to what is happening in several Ukrainian cities) made Putin a popular hero.
Vladimir Putin has just compared himself to Peter the Great. Putin also hinted that without the 21-year war it would not have been possible for the Russian Tsar to found Russia’s new capital, St. Petersburg. built on land that no European country recognized as Russian. After hearing this, I wonder where Putin intends to establish the new Russian capital?
3. Why should we continue to support Ukraine? Because the fall of Ukraine will only serve to keep Putin on this path. He did not stop at Crimea; he will not stop at Donbass. European leaders must avoid pressure on Zelensky that imply territorial concession. As well as providing an incentive for Putin, it could also mean the end of Ukrainian unity around its President. What happens next? What effects will have the fall of Ukraine on the countries of the European Union and on NATO? Who can tell us that the war will not reach the borders of Poland and Germany? Especially if we show weakness. Make no mistake. It is in Ukraine that democracy, freedom, and respect for international law are being fought for.
How can we show more firmness? I know how the dynamics between the European institutions work, namely between the Commission and the European Council. I believe that Ursula Von der Leyen and that Charles Michel tend towards the integration of Ukraine in the EU. I support this measure, but I am concerned about the time such recognition involves.
Exceptional times require extraordinary responses. Therefore, I suggest an Ad Hoc procedure to speed up the process. I am aware of all the implications inherent in this suggestion. I am also aware that all candidate countries for accession must comply with the Acquis Communautaire and that there are other countries with previous requests. However, none of these countries have been invaded, nor are they at war. Furthermore, in the same Ad Hoc procedure, the subsequent conditions for Ukraine to become a fully-fledged Member State would also be expressed.
We must learn from the lessons of life and of history. Both the pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine have shown us that some decisions need to be reconsidered. We cannot remain dependent on just one country (either as a supplier or as a partner) and that, for example, we urgently need to formulate policies to encourage nearshore and onshore production in a myriad of areas. But what is at stake now is saving lives. It is not about deciding policies. We must reaffirm the Values we uphold. That is why we are deeply touched by the Ukrainians attitude. They are showing us that Democracy and Freedom comes at a cost.
It is undeniable that under Ursula Von der Leyen leadership, European sanctions have reached an unprecedented level. But it is necessary to go further. Vladimir Putin is not to be trusted. Hence, it is necessary to give an unequivocal sign of firmness.
To describe both Europe’s current circumstances and the measure of our resolve, Churchill’s sentence is the most fitting. Against those who uphold totalitarian ideas there is only one position: an unequivocally reaffirmation of democratic principles! One cannot just say. One must also act accordingly. And yes. Democracy and Freedom have costs!
Furthermore, by evoking Churchill and the context in which such words where expressed, we are remembered to what today is at stake. At the time, the choice was between defend or compromise our values and principles. At the time, despite all the warnings, Nazi threats were ignored.
Chamberlain was not willing to let go his appeasement policy. He was so keen to the idea that even after the Anschluss, Chamberlain went to the point of sanction Hitler’s desire on the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia (1938). Only after intense diplomatic pressure of the British (and the French) Government, did the Czechoslovakian President Edvard Beneš agreed with the demands for Sudeten autonomy. Later that year, the Munich Conference, classified by Chamberlain as the moment of “peace for our time”, handed over the Sudetenland districts to Germany. This signified the first sign of real concession, and we already know what happened next.
Hitler tactics were simple. Through local supporters, preferably with ethnic ties and endowed with political organization, subversive acts would be carried out to provide a pretext for German military action. Who was Hitler’s trusted man in the Sudetenland region? Konrad Henlein.
History is our greatest Teacher. We must learn its lessons. As such, it is primordial to bear in mind that even after all these events, among the British corridors of power there were those who argued for a peace treaty with Hitler. Imagine how history would have been if such moment had happened?
To have a better understanding of the subject under consideration, we also cannot disregard the consequences of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and its Secret Protocol, which defined the borders of Soviet and German spheres of influence across Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland.
Neither Stalin nor the Bolsheviks ever got over the territory loss caused by the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (1918). The signing of the Treaty was all but peaceful. During the discussion within the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, when Lenin told the delegates that saving the world revolution required validate such shameful peace and if they did not sign, he would resign, he was called a traitor. So, Stalin saw in the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact the opportunity to recover Lenin’s lost empire. As we know, in Yalta he went further, and soviet influence reached another level.
The aftermath of the Second World War represented the beginning of a new international framework. Faced with the failure of the League of Nations, the leaders of the Allied countries began a new process of international negotiation that culminated in the creation of a new intergovernmental organization, the United Nations (UN) and with it a new regulation for international law. Key examples are the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The UN Charter codifies the major principles of international relations, varying from sovereign equality of States to the prohibition of the use of force in international relations. One of the objectives expressed in its preamble is “to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained” and all UN members are bond to it. Putin’s Russia is no exception.
Danielle Young says that “since its inception, whatever post-war international order that exists has been under siege.” Yes, as we live in a world of nations, we can accept that view. Within the realm of international relations, realism and the importance of power and the balance of power as guarantees of security reigns supreme. Nonetheless, it is undeniable that the current international environment is different from the one that prevailed before the Second World War.
Hans Morgenthau in its 1948 book – Politics among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace – enumerated the six principles of realism. Although he had stressed the significance of foreign policy ethic dimension, policy makers paid little attention to it. Today, unfortunately, two of Morgenthau’s tenets – that realism is a perspective aware of the moral significance of political action; and the moral aspirations of a single community or a state may not be universally valid or shared – are almost forgotten.
Throughout history how many times was language, and ethnic population, and “protection” evoked as an argument to disrespect international law? Putin and his supporters have been mimicking Hitler’s tactics.
Relations between Russia and Georgia began to worsen after the 2003 Georgian Rose Revolution, which caused the downfall of Eduard Shevardnadze and signal a pro-Western foreign policy aiming a European and Euro-Atlantic integration. By April 2008, relations between both countries reached a full diplomatic crisis, and in August Russia invaded Georgia. How did Medvedev justify this decision? Russia wanted to shield and help the two breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Concerning the latter Putin also argued that the military intervention was to protect Osseitians from Georgian “genocide.” Who were the Kremlin friends in Abkhazia and South Ossetia? Sergei Bagapsh and Eduard Kokoyty.
In 2014, after the Kremlin loss of political influence due to Maidan Revolution and the consequent ousting of Viktor Yanukovych and his government, Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea. Once again, Putin employed Nazi tactics. Pro-Russian demonstrations were held in Sevastopol, masked Russian troops without insignia took over the Supreme Council of Crimea and Sergey Aksyonov, a declared Kremlin supporter, with the presence of the gunmen armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles and rocket launchers, was “elected” Prime Minister of Crimea.
What triggered Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine and annex Crimea? His concerns about the people of Crimea ability to freely express their will. That is why Russian troops occupied Crimea. To ensure freedom of speech and of choice. Curiously, while Yanukovych was in power and Russia maintained influence over the political decisions made in Kyiv, Putin saw no problem with the Crimeans freedom of expression.
Finally, what was the reason given by Putin to justify the invasion of Ukraine? “Denazification.” Intriguingly, the Kremlin gave no justification about the war crimes committed by the Russian troops, the attacks to civilians, and, among other things, the looting and theft of Ukrainian cereals.
Once again, the choice is between defend or compromise our values and principles. Once again, all warnings were ignored. All those, including Henry Kissinger, who say that we must find a way to save Putin’s face are wrong.
We keep neglecting Karaganov’s Doctrine. We keep disregarding Dugin’s concepts. We keep forgetting that Empire is the most enduring idea within all Russians elites, regardless of the epoch. We keep ignoring that Putin’s regime is nothing but a corporativist system. Let me ask you this. Concerning Crimea’s annexation what is more plausible? An act of Russian nationalism or an act of Russian imperialism?
Putin evaluated us in Georgia. Almost nothing was done. Putin annexed Crimea. Again, almost nothing was done. Putin invaded Ukraine. Finally, we are really reacting. But if our position weakens, Putin will do whatever and wherever he wants. Concerning Europe, this is what Putin and his staff desire: Russians want to be in, throw the Americans out and keep the Germans down. Which they will only accomplish with NATO disbanding.
The last thing we should do is save Putin’s face. Neither Putin nor his entourage can be trusted. Obviously, I am not advocating an invasion of Russia to overthrow Putin. That task falls entirely to the Russian people. What is essential to do is to unmask Putin’s lies, to show that he is an autocratic despot and to encourage those who have the courage to stand up to him through democratic procedures.
The latest form of Russian blackmail is the threat of nuclear war. Either they give me what I want, or else. We simply cannot give in. Nothing guarantees us that Putin will stop. In fact, his behavior indicates that what will surely happen are more abuses and demands. If Putin starts a nuclear war, it will not just be our children who will die. Losses will be global.
Circumstances may reveal people’s abilities, but it is choices that bring out character. Both Putin and Zelensky are revealing who they are. So must we. As such, we must be worthy of those who gave their last measure of devotion for us. We must show the same unwavering resolution and do what is right.
That is the only way we will properly honor those who allowed us to be what we are – Churchill, de Gaulle, Roosevelt, Pierlot, Dupong, Adenauer, Monnet, Schuman, Spaak, among many others.
Brevemente, num Observador perto de si!
Haverá palavras para classificar os actos dos soldados russos aos civis ucranianos?
Haverá palavras para classificar o que aconteceu em Bucha?
Há duas coisas que são características da espécie humana. Apesar de sabermos, e de até reconhecermos, que a História é o maior dos professores, tendemos para não aprender as suas lições e para mimetizar os erros outrora cometidos.
A 12 set 2020, publiquei um artigo no observador intitulado Do(s) genocídio(s) soviético(s) – o massacre de Katyn. Nele relembrei algumas das atrocidades cometidas, a mando de Estaline.
“Há oitenta anos, pondo em prática ideias defendidas de Marx e Engels, ideias que Estaline aplaudiu e comentou em Os fundamentos do Leninismo (1924), a polícia secreta soviética, na altura conhecida por Comissariado do Povo para os Assuntos Internos (NKVD), executou cerca de 22 mil soldados e cidadãos polacos. Sob as ordens de Laventri Beria, comandante do NKVD, o genocídio, aprovado pessoalmente por Estaline e por Vyacheslav Molotov, Kliment Voroshilov e Anastas Mikoyan, membros do politburo soviético, ocorreu entre abril e maio de 1940.
O exército vermelho, sustentado nos termos acordados no Pacto [Molotov–Ribbentrop], invadiu a Polónia a 17 de setembro, e, devido às instruções dadas pelo governo polaco, praticamente não encontrou oposição. Dois dias depois, sob a orientação de Beria, agentes e colaboradores do NKVD, construíram uma série de campos de detenção onde foi feita uma elaborada identificação e selecção dos prisioneiros. Paradoxalmente, a triagem feita pelos soviéticos foi facilitada pelo próprio sistema de recrutamento polaco que referenciava, como oficiais da reserva, todos os jovens que terminassem o curso universitário. Deste modo, não foi difícil ao NKVD prender igualmente milhares de elementos da intelligentsia polaca.”
Seria expetável que as barbáries cometidas no passado não voltassem a ser repetidas. Infelizmente…
O que se tem passado na Ucrânia, particularmente em Bucha, poderá não ser classificado como um genocídio, mas não há qualquer dúvida que é a manifestação de um comportamento desumano que é perfeitamente identificável como crimes de guerra.
Concerning Europe, this is what Putin and “entourage” desire:
Russians want to be in,
throw the Americans out
and keep the germans down.
Which they will only accomplish with NATO disbanding.
Não tenho qualquer dúvida que Putin aceite o resultado da consulta na Crimeia.
Mas, aceitará sequer que as regiões russas descontentes com Moscovo possam realizar semelhante iniciativa?
A Rússia está a fazer na Ucrânia, mais ou menos o que fez na Geórgia.
Alguém se lembra o que a comunidade internacional fez sobre Abcásia e da Ossétia do Sul?
Então, a pergunta é: desta vez, qual será a reacção da Comunidade Internacional?
Penso que devemos considerar a possibilidade de Putin se julgar como o herdeiro de Pedro, o Grande. É uma possibilidade. Sobre Putin ser corporativista, disso não tenho qualquer dúvida.
Já referenciei várias vezes o Testamento de Pedro, o Grande. Mas, como também já afirmei, apesar de ser um documento duvidoso, algo que não pode ser negligenciado, não é possível deixar de ver coincidências entre aquilo que nele consta e a actuação da política externa russa, independentemente dos regimes. Nem durante a União Soviética, os objectivos deixaram de ser território e influência.
Dito isto, não acredito que Putin fique por aqui.
Russia is doing in Ukraine more or less what it did in Georgia.
Does anyone remember what the international community did about Abkhazia and South Ossetia?
So, the question is: this time, what will be the international community reaction?
I think we should consider the possibility of Putin judging himself as the heir of Peter the Great. About Putin being a corporatist, of that I have no doubt.
I have referenced the Testament of Peter the Great several times. But, as I have also affirmed, despite being a dubious document, something that cannot be neglected, it is impossible not to see coincidences between what it contains and Russia’s foreign policy performance, regardless of the Russian regimes. Not even during the Soviet Union, the objectives ceased to be territory and influence.
That said, I do not believe that Putin will stop here.