I remember clearly that in 2013, the administration of the Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych led by the Prime Minister, Mykola Azarov, was not against signing the Association Agreement with the EU. However, they understood what it will do to Ukrainian economy and asked for some €300 billion to readjust the economy from oriented to the East to one that would be linked to the collective West. The major reason for Yanukovych not singing the agreement was Western refusal to foot the bill.
Instead of negotiating with Yanukovych, the West activated its agents in Ukraine to stage a several months long protest to remove him from office. I guess it was a cheaper to remove Yanukovych and his Party of Regions, and replace him with a compliant puppet. But little did they realize that the dancing and jumping troglodytes on the Euromaidan have awakened the Russian bear from slumber.
While this festival of life was going on in Kiev, Yanukovych was with Putin on the Russian Black Sea coast attending the Winter Olympics. It was a truly memorable winter. I bet that he told Putin everything about Ukraine, and Putin went like WTF?
You see, contrary to popular wisdom. Until roughly 2013, the Russian establishment barely noticed Ukraine. People like Kosachev and Chernomyrdin that were directly responsible for relations abroad treated Ukraine as if it was still part of the USSR. I could count Russian TV documentaries about Ukrainian nationalism and Svidomism on the palm of my hand. And they weren’t aired in prime time on state TV. Today there are several dozens of these documentaries, and Ukraine has become the most discussed topic on TV news, whereas in the days of old news about Ukraine were rather rare.
Ironically, the pro-Russian Ukrainians, who before 2013 were marginalized and abandoned by the Russian state have gained greater influence after they fled to Russia, the separatist republics of the Donbas, or took up arms against the post-Maidan regime. Before 2013, they were ignored by the Ukrainian media, chased by the Ukrainian secret service, the SBU, and thoroughly marginalized. It is not that their ideas weren’t popular among segments of the society but without organization and money, they were losing ground to pro-Western forces.
And even more ironically, today Ukraine is literally getting billions in military and humanitarian aid, and in simple financial injections. I mean, I don’t know the exact figures but the West must be spending the kind of money Yanukovych and Azarov demanded in 2013. Actually I think the Ukraine situation costs the West far more if you add damage from accommodating refugees, and sanctions.
So let me ask, wouldn’t it have been easier to just pay Yanukovych for the transition, use the fact that the Russian state completely neglected soft power, and slowly integrate Ukraine in a completely peaceful way, pulling the rug from under Russia? I mean, some Zapadniks believed Ukraine will become somewhat of an alternative to Russia to the chagrin of the Ukrainian nationalists. Or was the West interested in fomenting the violent standoff that we see today? Because quite frankly, the cost of the violent option is bound to cost much more at this point.
And in the end, if the choice was war from the get go, do the architects of this realize the impact this will have on the Ukrainian project, and Western hegemony? Now the West decided to put all the chips on Ukrainian victory. This is truly a drunkard’s gamble. Somebody will be thrown out of the casino.