The Russia-Ukraine Crisis
Note: The following is an Opinion Piece
Why war? It’s often difficult for us to understand why nations and leaders go through with war, why do they willingly encourage the loss of life at such a horrific scale? Can anything, any domain expansion be worth the loss of the thousands and displacement of the millions? The answer to that question differs on how far up the power chain one goes, how much one becomes desensitised to the existence of human life. As it goes in society, every single decision is made by these very power hoarders, with human life becoming secondary to whatever end goal they enslave themselves to, whether it be nationalistic ideals or expansionism.
In lieu of this, let’s try to understand why this truly complex crisis came to be and why Russia invaded Ukraine in the first place. The answer to this question lies in History, or rather, the fabrication of it.
The last remaining thread of a blood stained history
A third of the population in East Ukraine consists of Native Russians with a majority of them speaking the Russian language, so it makes sense as to why Russia backs these regions, right? But here’s the thing, here’s the ‘fabrication’, back in the 1700s, Russian Queen Catherine ‘The Great’ shipped Russians to Eastern Ukraine, forced schools to teach only in Russian and banned the Ukrainian Language. In the 1930s, Joseph Stalin apparently steered a famine in Ukraine, resulting in the death of millions, the region then being repopulated by ethnic Russians. This forced displacement is why Eastern Ukraine has so many native Russians, giving the Russia of today the pretence to invade.
“So, I will start with the fact that modern Ukraine was entirely created by Russia or, to be more precise, by Bolshevik, Communist Russia. This process started practically right after the 1917 revolution, and Lenin and his associates did it in a way that was extremely harsh on Russia — by separating, severing what is historically Russian land.” said President Putin.
He isn’t exactly wrong on that statement except a few historical discrepancies without detracting from his point, but one fatal flaw in President Putin’s argument is that we do not live in the 20th Century anymore, the world has moved on from its blood soaked past, and Past Imperialism cannot justify modern day Expansionism. This action is akin to Britain laying a claim to once again conquer its previously colonised territories citing the reason to be that they were once a part of the great British Empire.
The actual reason.
This conflict is a forced connection being exploited for war. The reasons are not nationalistic, the reasons is not the “Will” of the Donbass people, because that will is the culmination of a carefully crafted political ploy, which has been in the works for hundreds of years.
The real reasons for this invasion aren’t as noble as “protecting the interests of the Dunbas People” or “Uniting the Old Russia” but are rather, a lot more politically and economically motivated, from the Western Influence to the Oil reserves in Ukraine.
The fear of the European power structure becoming lobsided in favour of the European Union and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation). Another fear is Ukraine becoming a powerhouse in Europe, which it very much has the capability to do if its allowed to do, which will again, pose a real threat to Russia having a hostile power so close to its border.
The real enemy.
In issues as complex as this, trying to find a ‘universal enemy’ is near impossible, so no matter how much we make Russia out to be the enemy, their concerns are not misplaced. Russia is a dwindling power, a shadow of what it used to be, with its dominance being threatened by the emergence of the Western domain as well as China. Ukraine becoming a part of the European Union would have been disastrous for the Putin Government, and as such it has done everything in its power to stop it from happening, with this particular incident being the latest in several aggressions. When Russia invaded Crimea in 2014, president Putin’s ratings went to an all-time high, so in fact, this is what the Russian People want, to stay relevant, to not submit to the overarching western influence and President Putin can do all but abide by that will.
Let’s look at this way, would the US want Russia to be able to stage missiles in Mexico, Canada, or Cuba? The last of those already led to a conflict similar to this during the cold war, so this isn’t exactly “New.” These wars to curb spheres of influence in the name of sovereignty have become almost the name of the game when it comes to modern expansionism, from US interventions in Libya, Syria, Cuba, and Iran, to Russia’s invasion of Syria and Crimea. Modern superpowers have perpetuated this strategy for so long that this doesn’t really come as a surprise, to anyone.
With 71% of Ukrainians already believing they’re at war, and with Russia’s latest statement and invasion, it seems that war is everything but imminent, but before we throw that statement around, we need to understand the gravity of “war.” The weight of the word and the truly despicable consequences of it. Real human lives, measured by the thousands and millions are at stake here, the futures of generations upon generations will be influenced by the outcome of war. From displaced families to destroyed economies, the effects of war aren’t just immediate, but are like a slow acting and lethal poison.
So does Russia’s concern justify war? Depends on whom you ask, most people would say that nothing could justify such bloodshed, and they aren’t wrong, but then again, the ones making these decisions aren’t “most people”, they’re the same power hoarders to whom political gains once again take precedence to human lives.
~ Prabhpreet Singh