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Ukrainian Crisis

17.03.2015 00:36

The Ukrainian Crisis has seriously strained the relations between Russia and the West and naturally became a difficult security challenge on the post-Soviet space. Mass protests in Kiev in February 2014 lead to an armed coup and the ousting of the president Victor Yanukovych and later to nationalists' rise to power. The developing coup got even more serious and was developing all signs of a full-scale armed conflict.

The primary cause for the crisis was the inner instability of the Ukrainian state - a part of its population, especially in the East, had no support for the politicians who came to power, and thus announced that the opinion of the Eastern Ukraine population should be accounted for. The conflict that took the lives of at least 6000 people according to UN monitoring mission.

Meanwhile, German newspaper "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" in reference to the German intelligence service gives other information about the victims in Ukraine, saying it counts 50 thousand. Now, despite of the Minsk agreement, signed February 12, 2015 by OSCE Representative Heidi Tagliavini, Russia's ambassador to Ukraine Mihialom Zurabov, and the leaders of the DPR and the LPR, clashes continue between the parties, and the level of mutual hatred and mistrust remains high.

In this case, the decision of the Ukrainian problem itself is extremely complex, as it depends on a number of factors that influence the development of the conflict.

Historical factor

The word "Ukraine", writes historian Andrew Sidorchik, derived from the Old Russian word "oukraina", ie "borderlands". Part of the South-West of Russia at the end of the XVI century became a part of Rzeczpospolita in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. So some separate areas stretching from Podolye to Dnieper estuary became known as "Ukraine" in connection with their boundary position within the Commonwealth. The inhabitants of these lands, regardless of ethnic origin were called "Ukrainians" or "ukrainniks," that is, "the inhabitants of the borderlands."

The geographical concept of "Ukraine" and the name of its population - "Ukrainians" - had finalized only in the XVIII century. It is important that "Ukrainians" at the time considered themselves not a separate nation, but a part of the Russian people.

The emergence of an idea of a certain individual nation, unrelated to the Russians, happened in Poland after 1654, when after the Pereyaslav Rada Left-bank Ukraine became part of Russia. The aim of the development of this concept was to prevent ethnically Russian population that remained at the time under Commonwealth authority from uniting with Russia.

Opponents of Russia then used an originally artificial concept for three centuries, starting with the Swedish king Charles XII and so on until the United States during the 'Cold War'.

Religious Factor

Of course, a powerful moral and psychological factor having a strong mobilizing and, on the other hand, explosive effect is the religious diversity in Ukraine.

According to the Institute of Sociology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, the country's inhabitants are mostly parishioners of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, or members of the schismatic "Kiev Patriarchate". The Greek Catholics, Protestants, Catholics, Muslims and followers of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church are represented in a small extent.

Since the beginning of 2014 Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) in Ukraine is being attacked from time to time: priests die, churches are being captured and the the followers of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate are being persecuted.

In addition, due to the armed conflict, a large number of people were left without homes, work, family, and in a depressed state of mind. These people are a favorable environment for various sects. One of the most common and dangerous in Ukraine is "Jehovah's Witnesses". It is believed that millions of Ukrainians have become the adherents of various destructive religious structures.

At the same time, religious life in Ukraine considerably politicized. There are some typical examples among the top leadership of the country: Prime Minister Yatsenyuk (Scientology), Secretary of the National Security and Defense Alexander Turchinov ("Word of Life"), Interior Minister Arsen Avakov ("Dune").

Geopolitical factor

Geopolitical approach is one of the defining methods when considering the present Ukrainian crisis.

A member of the European Parliament from France, Aymeric Chauprade, believes that now "the ideology of materialism wages a war against the philosophy of the spirit," from a geopolitical point of view it's the US waging war against the multipolar world (Russia, China, and India).

In this confrontation, it's extremely important for the participants to control areas, that have geographical and economic value. It is believed that Eurasia is one of the richest regions of the world reserves of natural resources, which stores 31% of the world's proven reserves of natural gas, 17% oil, 23% of iron ore, 14% gold and 7% copper.

US seeks to establish control over this continent, to secure economic self-sufficiency. Zbigniew Brzezinski, a former adviser to US President Jimmy Carter, wrote in his book "The Grand Chessboard" that "Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard, is a geopolitical center, because its very existence as an independent country helps to transform Russia. Without Ukraine Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire. "

This March the ideologue of the American geopolitics was again consistent: "We should be able give defensive weapons Ukraine, because if we fail to do so, everything Putin has to do to triumph, is simply bring the situation to further escalation. Therefore, we must be able to convey defensive weapons to Ukraine. At the same time, I Russians need to be assured that a democratic, European Ukraine would not seek to become a member of NATO, that Russians believe to be a threat, and will do as Finland, which is a free, independent, European state, but not a NATO member. "

American political scientist Stephen Landman, in turn, confirms Washington's interest in controlling Ukraine: according to him, "Ukraine is but a weapon against Russia."

Currently, the US administration simply goes by the old geopolitical settings, strengthening Europe's dependence on Washington and weakening Russia, trying to eliminate the major competitors in their struggle for Eurasia and its resources.

Military-political factor

Russia perceives the military-political activity of the United States and its NATO allies in Ukraine as a threat to its military security which significantly increases the tension between Moscow and the West.

In July 2014 the Ukrainian Ambassador to Belarus Michael Ezhel said publicly about the ongoing consultations between Washington and Kiev to deploy elements of the US missile defense system in Ukraine. Of course, it is a serious threat for Russia. After all, the US leadership refuses to sign a legally binding document on the US missile defense not being directed against Russia. Jacob Kedmi, the former head of Israel's intelligence service Nativ, noted in this regard that Moscow is in mortal danger, and it is not very easy to eliminate that.

NATO's military build-up directly in Ukraine through the creation of joint units with Ukraine also makes Moscow question the usefulness of these steps including in terms of European security.

In addition, Canada and the UK have announced a decision to send military instructors to train the Ukrainian military. The US and some other Western states are already supplying weapons to the Ukrainian army in fact becoming parties to the conflict.

At the same time, not all Europeans share the bellicose rhetoric of NATO. Thus, Czech lieutenant colonel Marek Obrtel appealed to the Ministry of Defense to waive his awards of the Alliance for taking part in operations in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. He explains that the events in Ukraine and unjustified anti-Russian hysteria around the story of the downed Malaysian Airlines aircraft in July 2014 made him take that decision. Obrtel believes that the actions of the block are aimed at the resumption of the Cold War and prevention of "the collapse of the American empire."

In turn, Russia perceives such actions as contrary to the peace efforts to resolve the Ukrainian crisis and is forced to respond.

Economic factor

Ukraine is a country attractive from an economic point of view by its fertile land, large territory and human resources, as well as minerals such as coal, iron ore, manganese, nickel, uranium, sulfur, mercury, and iron ore. Oil and gas developments are underway here. This is the subject of the US and EU interests.

Russia, in its turn, is interested in restoring the financial and business, including cooperative, ties with Ukraine, as well as its integration into a single economic space. At the same time Moscow hopes that Kiev's cooperation with the EU will be held without prejudice to its interests.

In addition, internal socio-economic factor plays a vital role in the development of the conflict: the decline of living standards, wage cuts, rising inflation, restrictions on the sale of certain types of products, the increase in tariffs for housing and communal services, rising prices. The country is close to a social explosion.

Thus, objectively existing historical and spiritual unity of Russia and Ukraine, the continuing geopolitical confrontation between the powers and the economic attractiveness of the region cause long duration and severity of the conflict. At the same time, the role of the military and political instruments at its final resolution is increasing. In addition, taking into account the targeted action of the US, some new players are likely to be involved in this crisis.