* * *
* * *
* * *
Give a new revolutionary state a break!
Russians and Russian-speaking Ukrainians know that the first day or so of establishment is huge as regards the potential defenses of a new state. State leaders, provisional, interim, or old hands know they have got to get on their feet fast; at the same time on this one: where’s the war?
The Ukrainian revolution, what little I’ve seen of it, just hasn’t been about Ukrainian or Russian culture or nationalism — this goes way beyond “hardly” — as much as about kleptocratic and piratical Moscow — Putin’s Moscow –leaning on Ukraine, Russian and Ukrainian Ukraine, for favor and loot, and then promoting a dependency-creating energy-based trade policy to chain Ukraine back to The Bear.
Putin-Assad-Khamenei: okay. It’s good to see them in the same arc, the three amigos of dictatorship (with just one capable of reversing his tracks).
It just wasn’t meant to last.
There are only two main themes for the whole wide world and for Ukraine as regards the recent boot given the government of Viktor Yanukovych: integrity in government; autonomy in self-governance.
It’s a big F-U alright, but not to Russia. Or Russians. Or people who speak Russian.
Putin isn’t Russia.
Putin is what he can command and control of Russia with the levers and methods he has at hand — start with his ability neutralize political rivals like Gary Kasparov and, perhaps, one day, Navalny — and to which he may have become accustomed (while we in the U.S. are counting on him to contain and destroy Assad’s chemical weapons, it’s, gosh, hard griping about his irresponsibility as regards the rest of the war . . . oh, that Arab-borne jihadi thing to close to Saudi ambitions gets in the way too.
Ukrainian Russians aligning with Russia and not on the take, as it were, may want to revisit what they may doing for Putin to keep themselves in Russian money. I would suggest that if arrangements and contracts are commercial or industrial outside of defense or involve shipping and trade, the will be there no matter what.
The state relationships that seem to be at stake are off to the side of these other two central themes: again, integrity vs. kleptocracy; Ukrainian and Russian self-determination within Ukraine.
Ukraine may turn out a long-term neutral buffer between NATO and Russia, but that’s a peaceful position — pretty good one, actually — where the character of leadership on both sides wakes up in good health.
I cannot suggest that good health might also characterize, say, Bashar al-Assad’s mentality as regards his position in Syria. That one left common sense (if children ask you a few questions, do you wipe them out?), prudent statecraft, and sanity behind years ago.
As regards the best possible Bond villain ever — and he doesn’t even have to live in fiction — Putin suffers as I do: we love the charms of 19th Century aristocracy, but mine is like an architect’s model of a life, a spec of an old apartment box lined with books; Putin has the whole estate, carriages with wings and palaces and all.
I can’t wait to see what he does with Marbella!
In the meantime, Ukraine seems to be breathing on its own again and getting on to its feet, nicely graced with Faberge eggs left behind by the former boss.
# # #