Will Putin take a step back? - ABDULLAH MURADOĞLU

Will Putin take a step back?

Parag Khanna, an American political scientist, had recited that a newspaper editor in Kiev had said the following for Ukraine; “This might be a corner of Europe; however, this is also right in the middle of the conflict being experienced with Russia”. According to Ukrainians, Ukraine means “mother country”. In Russian, this word means “borderland”. Parag Khanna is depicting this dual-qualification about Ukraine with these words; “As things stand, today it seems like both circumstances are ongoing at the same time.” No other sentence could have described the conflict between the West and Russia better than this one. According to Boris Yeltsin’s expression, Ukraine and White Russia are two Slavic states that should be included in the union, which refers to a cultural community qualified as “Slavic civilization”. White Russia had almost become integrated with Russia. As for Ukraine, it is trying to become integrated with the West, by means of pulling away from Russia. Their desire to enter the EU and NATO is a vicious sign of this desire. According to Russian nationalists, a Russia without Ukraine will never become a “European Emperorship”. Because of this reason, there is a deep conflict being experienced between Russia and Ukraine. The Western-sided “Orange Revolution” had fired the fuse of this conflict.

The West cannot saturate Russia’s Ukraine politics. They regard this as Russia’s expansion towards the West. As for the Russians, they are evaluating Ukraine’s attempts to enter EU and NATO as the USA’s expansion towards the East. The Russians think that the USA, which they qualify as “The Foreigner Nearby”, is lathering up Ukraine’s and Georgia’s desire to enter NATO. Russia had always implicated that they will be preventing both countries from entering NATO no matter what. Russia had fastened its attitude towards both regions, which they regard as regions within Russia’s sovereignty field, by separating Ossetia from Georgia and Crimea from Ukraine.

The Ukraine incident had slightly opened the doors to a new “Cold War” between Putin’s Russia and the USA. NATO maneuvers in the countries that had been included in the Russian population area during the Soviet period, and the USA’s and EU’s economic sanctions towards Russia show that the “Cold War” is starting to heat up. Russia is also a member of “G-8”. The leaders of the USA, Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Japan had established the “G-7” in 1976. After the Soviet Union had dispersed, G-7 had turned into G-8 by means of adding Russia to their ranks. Russia’s, who wasn’t invited to the G-8 Summits this year at The Hague, Brussels and Rome because of the Crimea and Ukraine incident, membership had been put on hold. As for Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, he had stated that G-20 had gained importance now and that they didn’t take the decision about their G-8 membership too seriously.

The Ukraine tension had left its mark on the “G-20 Leaders Summit” in Australia. With the President of the USA, Obama, being in the first place, the Western leaders had clearly declared that they would be making no compromises in their determination against Russia. Also, Putin was not content with his meetings with the Western leaders and Putin’s departure from Australia without even waiting for the final declaration was remarkable. Besides, Putin’s arrival to Australia with four warships had been found strange. Afterwards, in an interview with the “ARD” German TV Channel, Putin had said, “If the fear of Russia is supported secretly in Ukraine, this might lead to a complete disaster. This is completely a disaster.” These words are presenting the dosage of tension. What if the sanctions, whose objective is to force Putin to take a step back, fail? Putin’s Russia, who is gradually steering away from the West, might gradually get even closer to China. There is another critical question here; Is China prepared to take a side in the “Cold War” between the West and Russia?

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