Beyond the Kremlin

Russia past and present, from a historian in Cambridge

A Europe whole and free? Russia, the West and Ukraine

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Click here for my article on the Ukraine crisis in the Yorkshire Post.

The article seeks to explain the crisis as the result of Russian opportunism and provocation, Ukrainian politics, and US-EU diplomacy — in other words, as a consequence of elite decision-making, not vicious ethnic rivalry. My view that politicians and diplomats from all three groups share ultimate responsibility might have been a little clearer had a few key words not been edited out. I reproduce them below:

Russia has exploited, even provoked, the situation. Annexing Crimea was recklessly opportunistic. Russian TV propaganda, with its talk of Ukrainian neo-fascists and impending civil war, is shrill and dishonest. The possible use of Russian special forces in eastern Ukraine — not to mention the army just over the border in Russia — imply an imminent invasion. But risking a disastrous war undermines legitimate Russian concerns about its own security and the rights of ethnic Russians in Ukraine.

So my view is not that ‘the West’ is somehow more to blame than Russia. But see the rest of the article for more!

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This entry was posted on April 21, 2014 by and tagged , .
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