ISHCHENKO: East & West will ultimately join in condemning Ukraine

By Rostislav Ishchenko

5 3,604

When asked about the recognition of the Crimea by Russian Trump answered: “Let’s see.” And he added that we must understand what Russia has to offer.

It is unlikely that Russia will offer anything. For Moscow, of course, the fact of international recognition of the Russian status of the Crimea is important. And the recognition of the United States, as one of the most important world players, would encourage others to do the same. Nevertheless this would be recognition by only one, albeit very influential state. The process of final international legal legitimization can last for decades. Much more important for Russia is the final settlement of the Crimean problem with Ukraine, since if there is no country that disputes sovereignty over this territory, then there is no international legal problem. If there is such a state, then let the whole world recognize Crimea as Russian, the problem will remain.

To wit, the United States did not recognize the entry of the Baltic republics into the USSR, but it did not bother anyone, since there were no other candidates for sovereignty over these territories recognized as a subject of international law. Therefore, though not recognizing the fact of entry, the borders of the USSR, including the Baltic republics, were recognized as the borders of the USSR, and this topic has never been the subject of negotiations between Moscow and Washington. It was clear to everyone that bargaining was not appropriate here. On the other hand, the United States recognizes the Kurils as Russian. But the fact that Japan has not recognized Russia’s sovereignty over the South Kuril chain, sours us and has been the subject of permanent international consultations for the last 73 years. And the US is exploiting the fact of disputing the territories in its interests. This is like how they take advantage of the territorial disputes between Vietnam and China; The Philippines, Vietnam and China; Japan and China; Japan and South Korea, etc.

Thus, the possibility of unilateral American recognition of the Crimea as Russian does not completely solve the problem, does not deprive the US of the opportunity to return to this issue in the future and therefore there should not be any serious concessions. They are free to admit this. But they are unlikely to want to do something so freely. Trump wants to get a good dividend even for a spoilt product.

I am confident that despite the outrageous unprofessionalism of Ukrainian politicians and their diplomatic corps, Kiev is perfectly aware of the situation. Nevertheless, they struggle in hysterics and talk about the next betrayal of the West. And, strangely enough, they are right. The West has betrayed Ukraine and does not hide it.

Trump’s “look” for the Crimea for Kiev is worse than the “Nord Stream – 2” performed by Merkel. Of course, the real losses (not only financial, but also political) from the joint venture will be huge and they have yet to be incurred, but everything has already happened to the Crimea. But Germany’s commitment to the construction of this gas pipeline has always been and it is understandable. A direct gas pipeline is beneficial to the German economy, German business and sharply increases Germany’s shares as a pan-European leader, since it allows it to become the main European gas hub, that is, to put European energy under control and, with it, the European economy. Therefore, the actions of Germany, though annoying, are generally understandable – they are the ones who must wear their own clothes.

The question of recognition / non-recognition of the Russian status of the Crimea is purely political. An internal conflict that caused external consequences, because of which the Crimea was lost, in the Ukraine provoked the United States and their Western European allies. At the same time, Kiev was not just promised military-political, diplomatic and financial-economic support, but the US and the EU guaranteed that no issue concerning Ukraine, without Ukraine’s participation, will not be solved. In fact, the West pledged to defend the position that will be formulated by Ukraine during the talks.

Well, we know the position of Ukraine well: to return the Crimea, to force the return of the Donbass, to apologize for everything, to pay compensation, to reduce gas prices to almost base cost, to raise prices for transit to the skies, to guarantee the flow through the Ukrainian gas transit system of such volume of transit gas it will be able to accept and promise in the future to immediately satisfy all the wishes of Kiev, which it has not thought of yet, but will certainly come up with a plan. Despite the absurdity of these claims, the United States and the EU have for a long time really supported them and even imposed sanctions to meet the demands of Ukraine. In 2014-2015, Russia was given to understand that, of course, indemnities, reparations and free gas for Ukraine are a proxy position that will be leveled in the course of negotiations, but about the Crimea and Donbass there can be no divergence of opinions.

Alarming calls to Kiev have been coming for a long time. At first, Europe somehow lost interest in discussing the problems of Ukraine in the Normandy format (with the participation of Kiev), and the Paris and Berlin leaders managed to fly to separate talks in St. Petersburg, then in Moscow, then in Sochi. Then the Ukrainian leaders were no longer accepted in the US (except for paid photo sessions), but Trump spoke of the need for direct talks with Putin on the settlement of all problems that separate Russia and the US, and hence the Ukrainian crisis and the status of the Crimea.

Direct talks between Washington (Paris, Berlin) and Moscow on the Ukrainian issues mean only one thing: the settlement of this crisis will be at the expense of Ukraine. Yes, the West is going to still bargain over who will get what piece of pie it will break, and in which other region of the world he would like to receive from Russia counter-concessions. Russia in strategic issues (Ukraine, Syria, the DPRK, an informal alliance with China and Iran) will not give in and give arguments to force it to reconsider its position with the West. Some compensation for trivialities (like access to markets, prices and tariffs), it is possible to bargain for it and it will be possible (a compromise requires mutual concessions). But it is clear that today Russia is not ready for the volume of concessions, which appeared to her justified in 2013 (when Moscow offered trilateral negotiations in the format Russia / Ukraine / European Union) or in 2014-2015, when it was about the federalization (confederalization) of Ukraine (without the Crimea, but with the Donbass) as a transitional status, giving an opportunity for the subsequent self-determination of autonomous territories. Today, the Ukrainian and Syrian crises are unequivocally won by Russia and there are no grounds for reviewing the results of the five-year struggle.

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So, the West is going to bargain with Russia about the conditions for normalizing relations, taking an openly weak position. Ukraine is not invited to the negotiating table, although its fate will be decided there too. In Kiev, they correctly assessed the situation: the West is going to pay for its mistakes and crimes with the fate of the Kiev regime. The question is not whether Ukraine will surrender. They handed it over already. Now it is only a question of whether the West will be able to compensate for any losses, and, if so, how much.

So far, Moscow’s position is that the West must at least partially pay for the results of its intervention. And this position is common for Ukraine and Syria. That is, Brussels and Washington are offered to bargain not about compensation from Moscow, but about possible discounts from those compensations that they should pay.

However, this is neither cold nor hot for Kiev. Kiev was served at the dinner table and offered up to be eaten. In such a situation, the entire Ukrainian political scene (regardless of whether the specific politician supports Poroshenko or opposes him) absolutely does not care who pays for the banquet on which Ukraine itself is intended to be the dish.

Not in 2014, not even in 2012, but back in 2005, I said during the public discussions with the nationalists – the outpouring of “patriotism” of the then Yushchenkovsky  that a weak, secondary state trying to get into the struggle of the great powers, especially trying to initiate a crisis in relations between superpowers, will be the first victim of this crisis. Because the adults and the strong will agree – the quarrel has brought peril. When they begin to look for the culprit of the problems that have befallen them, they will remember the impotent provocateur who hoped to win the conflict in someone else’s cart and nothing, except looting is not suitable. First of all, they will try to write off all the costs of the conflict.

Nevertheless, Ukrainian politicians believed that they were the most intelligent, and that the work of policemen by another occupier could not simply enrich them, but also bring global politics into the structure of the upper world. Now they have the opportunity to recall how the same Euro-Americans gave tens of thousands of their ancestral Hilfspolizei over to the victorious Soviet Union, because nobody has to spoil relations with the superpower because of human filth. Such material on the political panel is always in unlimited quantity.

The most interesting thing is that already realizing that they were sold and betrayed by external patrons, without which they can not exist, they still conduct an internal struggle for the Kyiv throne. And the struggle is one of destruction. They still have to find out what the last gang leader is responsible for, even if he was better than his predecessors. Such is the indestructible law of politics. For death and destruction, someone should answer. The losing state is responsible. Personally, however, its those politicians who lead it at the time of signing full and unconditional surrender, even if this capitulation is signed for them by third countries.


Rostislav Ishchenko, translated by J. Flores from Alternatio


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