Why not give Russia what it wants? Vice Prime Minister’s article in Die Welt

Why not give Russia what it wants? Vice Prime Minister’s article in Die Welt

This Friday German newspaper Die Welt published an article by Ivanna Klympush-Tsyntsadze, Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, entitled “Bargain with Putin is bargain with the devil” about Western politics regarding Ukraine and the related threats.

UCMC publishes translated article from Evropeiska Pravda”.

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Ukraine has recently been battered by a flash flood of bad news. Thousands of civilians fell a prey to frost and fire. Putin launched an assault at Donbas, the strongest one since early 2015. Kremlin is rubbing its red hands in anticipation of another repartition of the world, hoping to take possession of Ukraine soon.

However, a few in the West seem to consider “all possible options” to make a bargain with Putin.

When everything became so tough? It did not start last week or last year. In some way, it started in February 2014, when Russia invaded Ukraine.

We all remember those days. Ukraine was begging Russia to stop. The Western world was begging Ukraine not to fight back with militarily. Russia alone was not begging – it was simply doing its business: undermining, manipulating and occupying lands that did not belong to it.

No one was ready for it at that time.

It took Ukraine three long months in 2014 – March, April and May – to overcome the shock and start fighting back. Sadly, looks like many people in the West still have not understood what had happened.

Russia has been interfering with your elections, corrupting you and toying with you – and you keep begging. Like before, you appeal to the good will of the country for which is tearing its neighbors to pieces is a common thing. Some of you might think: if we give Russia what it wants, this nightmare will be over. You simply can’t understand what it wants.

Well, there is a fair answer for you: it does not believe that the Western world and Russia can be on the rise simultaneously.

Russia only knows one thing: it is time for Russia to get up, and it is time for the West to sink.

It is surely against pure logic. But isn’t Moscow’s entire worldview against it? Isn’t their thinking based o the zero-sum game logic?

Alright, it contradicts everything we learned in the past 25 years. But isn’t Russia trying to erase these 25 years?

Don’t be fooled. It did not happen because Russia did not understand your intentions. It happened because neither of us understood Russia’s intentions. We believed the USSR was dead all these years, but it is not so. It was just rearranging and getting ready to recoup itself.

“Houston, we have a problem”, and this problem is the USSR 2.0, the country ruled by the KGB. It is capable of the things the USSR 1.0 could only dream of: interfering with your political discourse and ruin it, cheapen your values, corrupt your elites and destroy your alliances.

No, Russian leaders are not great thinkers.

They are ordinary KGB officers with unlimited funds and no conscience.

They don’t have grand ideas of their own, but they are good at ruining the others’: EU, NATO, “American dream” and “European home”.

Let’s go back to the question: why not give Russia what it wants? The answer is: because it wants Ukraine, and Ukraine will not accept it.

It’s the main conflict – Ukraine wants to be independent, and Putin wants to keep Ukraine on a leash. What bargains can it land but those disregarding fundamental and legitimate interests of Ukraine?

Bargaining with Putin can be similar to bargaining with the devil. He gives you something and you give all your values and belief system in return. He gives you something else – and you consent to another repartition of the world. He gives you some more – and you look aside while he is destroying his neighbors.

Ten thousand Ukrainians did not give their lives to let Putin eventually get what he wants.

Being a free nation, we’ve made our choice. Now it’s your turn to make yours in the West.

If you tend towards striking a bargain with Putin, we cannot influence it. Do nor do it at the expense of somebody else’s freedom, though. It would be mean and a transgression haunting you till your dying day. Freedom cannot be a part of geopolitical game. NATO, EU, democracy and international law cannot be for sale.

Fair deal between the Western world and Russia is impossible without fair deal between Ukraine and Russia. The only possible fair deal between Ukraine and Russia can be based on reinstatement of Ukrainian territorial integrity. Not under Russian terms, but under the terms of international law. Unfortunately, Russia doesn’t seem to be ready to do it at the moment.

It is time to stand your ground. It was not long ago that the Western countries thought the entire world was “their ground” – just because they believed democracy was essential for everyone. This concept is being called in question by Putin who thinks democracy is not essential. He suggests dividing the world – between those who think democracy is essential and those who can do without it.

If the West agrees, the time will go back to pre-Reagan époque.

The free world will get smaller. And then even smaller. And then yet smaller. At the end, it will get smaller than the tyranny world – and will continue retreating.

Keep it in mind: if freedom dies in Syria or if it dies in Ukraine, part of it dies in the West too. Try and do what seems impossible: stay strong in these difficult times.

History will judge you depending on whether you could do it or not.

Author: Ivanna Klympush-Tsyntsadze

Vice Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration