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Crisis in Ukraine
Blurred Lines Between War and Peace

Ukraine, Russia, and the West all have their own reasons for not calling the ongoing conflict a war, just as they all have different views of what would constitute an acceptable peace.

Published on: July 11, 2014
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  • Pete

    “Their leaders talk on the telephone. And yet these countries [Russia and the Ukraine] are at war with one another, and this is not just a war of soft power (information warfare) but hard power as well. ”

    Control the hysteria, Hon. You obviously don’t know what real war is.

  • Vova Khavkin

    Seems the solution is easy, at least on paper – take the evil empire out of the equation and everything will fall into place. But wait, what about the self-absorbed narcissic America-hating fascist in the White House? What about the merchant of death, the spineless brain-dead French commie? What about the other merchant of death, the lady in Germany?

    • Paul Z

      But the cowardly Pukin still leads the pack.

    • toumanbeg

      The old “It takes two to fight ” theory.
      That theory is wrong. If one party wishes to fight there will be a fight. The party that doesn’t fight just gets their arse whipped. Might get an arse whoopin even if you fight back but you just might win. Don’t know until you try.
      There are lots of ways the west can deal with Pootie.
      My favorite is to withdraw from the NPT. After the 6 month period is over, sell nukes to Poland, Finland and any other nation (Baltic States?) that looks like easy prey for Russia. Remember Russia is Moscow, a handful of cities plus a lot of 19th century hovels. A dozen nukes will kill half the population of Russia.
      A less violent tactic would be removing Russia from it’s seat on the UN Security Council. The rational Pootie used to invade the Ukraine was that the revolution that over threw the Russian puppet President early this year invalidated the Budapest treaty. If so then the 1991 revolution in Russia invalidated the UN Treaty the Soviet Union signed.
      Make Russia apply for membership in the UN and place them in the General assembly, not as a permanent Security Council member.
      Either one of these 2 plans would have the Russians back in Russia quick as lightening.

  • Paul Z

    This IS war. Just because 100’s are dying right now instead of 1000’s does not change the definition.

  • El_Al

    Madame Shevtsova doesn’t have a clue was She’s wishing for. A war is very noisy and a war with the Red Army is something that no Ukraine even wish for. The Ukraine will then be destroyed for ever in less than 3 weeks. Most refugees went to Russia and not to Kiew think why.
    Kiev is dead broke – can’t pay the Gas bills – the stock market broke down for over 70 % of the trades since mid 2013. In this October there will be massive personell reductions in the whole Ukraine. The rich eastern part – their BIP is 5 times high as in Western Ukraine – is reducing te consumption and production. All IMF Credit are useless for this country.

    • caap02

      -1- there is no “Red Army”
      -2-most “refugees” did not go to Russia, the majority are in other parts of Ukraine

    • HumbleOpinion

      90% or refugees went to Ukraine. But they live with their relatives, so it is not as noticeable as just a couple of thousands that went to Russia.

      And what is going on is indeed a war. It is just starting slowly. German annexation of Czechoslovakia went without a shot, but it was a war.

  • Iain Colledge

    Didn’t we try accommodationism back in 1938, didn’t end to well if I recall.

  • mladenm

    Main problem is that anti -Russian forces grabbed power in Ukraine by coup and some of Ukrainian factories are major suppliers of Russian military. If Ukraine is about to toe NATO line, there might be problems in deliveries related to Russian support of legitimate Syrian government. So it has to be resolved, and soon: either Ukraine will not be NATO ally against Russia, or that production and key people must be relocated to Russia. Otherwise, Russia is quite happy to leave Ukraine (minus Crimea or any kind of economic support) to EU. People left to IMF treatment usually start crying for relief in short time. Regarding separatist, they are far too socialist for Putin’s taste. Or Western taste, who much prefer admirers of WWII Nazi collaborators. It is very likely Ukraine will end up as EU’s Mexico: source of cheap, semi-legal workforce who can be packed home on first sign of trouble. Full EU membership is project of 10-20 years (see how it went with West Balkan and Turkey). So, next decade or two won’t be easy. And in 20 years EU and Custom Union might sign some agreement anyway.

  • toumanbeg

    Take a course on Conflicts. Only a small percentage of conflicts reach the kinetic stage. Remember, war is a diplomatic tool. Useful more as a threat then a reality. Only to be a creditable threat, a nation has to go to war on occasion. If Bush had told Assad WMD was a red line, Assad would have listened. Say what you will about Bush, he is no coward. Obama is a gold medal level coward. So nobody will take his threats seriously.

    Any elementary school teacher will tell you that children who know they won’t be punished behave badly.
    Any despot that can expand their territory and influence without cost WILL do so. Take it to the bank.

  • HumbleOpinion

    Excellent analysis. Work a bit on your English 🙂 Michael Swan “Practical English Usage” is the book you should read like the Bible: every day before bed.
    But overall, I agree, Putin is playing with Ukraine like cat with mouse. His goal is not annexation, but destabilization. The West grew fat and lazy. They don’t want to get their boots dirty. The situation has destroyed their pretense of peaceful Russia and no need to struggle ever again. Obama is indecisive and scared. But he is really offended by Putin. So, he will do a lot if he gets emotional. I wonder what Reagan would do in this situation. I think he would give Ukraine a military help. Just like Germans woke up one morning with Berlin Wall erected over-night, Putin should wake up one morning with a division of US marines stationed in Kyiv without even participation in the East, just stationed North of Kyiv. Unfortunately, Ukraine is broke and nobody wants to give them help because they have no credibility yet.
    Kyiv’s hope is that Girkin is desperate and the total mobilization that he announced should back fire on him in the form of women (mothers) protesting. Which in turn will give the Kyiv troops the moral superiority they need.

  • Julie Leighton

    The martyrdom of the Russian mercenaries will solidify Putin’s “besieged fortress” mentality–the idea that Russia is surrounded by “enemies” and must be A) authoritarian to maintain domestic stability in the face of outside threats; B) the government must prevent “enemies” from spreading “hostile ideology” that would undermine the country from the inside; and C) willing to intervene in foreign locations to prevent the spread of said “hostile ideology” into its own zone. This mentality then goes hand in hand with the Kremlin’s military-patriotic initiative—a pattern of the Russian government that creates and magnifies the threat of an outside enemy, bolsters the military to respond to the severity of this hyperinflated threat, and then experiences a jump in patriotic sentiment when this imaginary foe has been defeated.

    As Shevtsova describes, the problem with the Russian mercenaries, from the Kremlin’s perspective, is that the only conclusive way to positively deal with them is through their martyrdom. Deceased, they can be described as patriots who worked to contain the “fascist” and “neo-Nazi” elements that were threatening ethnic Russians in Ukraine. They were serving their country, protecting the Russian World identity, and preventing the radicals from crossing the border. They were heros, and should be commemorated as such. Russians would do well to celebrate them. Adopting any of these views supports the military-patriotic mobilization paradigm.

    Conversely, if these individuals return to Russia feeling disillusioned, disenfranchised, or manipulated by the Kremlin needlessly, they could be dangerous both physically and psychologically. They may not support the Kremlin narrative about the events next door; they may propagate information and stories that do not toe the official line; and possibly most disastrously, they may relay that governmental motives and actions in Ukraine did not match the official propaganda. Any of these could deflate the Kremlin in the eyes of the public, which would counteract the paradigm, and would make these veterans, from the government’s perspective, more parasitic than anything else.

    When national identity is dependent on perpetual crisis and defeat of an outside enemy, members of the armed forces are truly jeopardized. They are fighting for shifting short term ideals. In the case of the Donbass fighters, it is likely that the political climate and the need for a patriotic national narrative will not accommodate their return home.

    • Ander Elessedil

      There is another possibility.
      That this mercenaries could be used in another, future, crisis.

  • Ander Elessedil

    I think that Putin doesn’t want another partition of Ukraine.
    He got the Crimea, and if he now want the Donbass, he lose completely the rest of Ukraine, politically (only if in the future he invaded all Ukraine this would change).
    With the loss of the Crimea and its votes, a pro-Russian candidate in the next elections could win with much difficoulty. Without the Donbass would be totally impossible.

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  • Yulia L

    It is so great to see that the articles like this one are of interest to the general public and are able to spark discussions. I’m just appalled by a condescending tone that some of the participants deem necessary to employ to make their message stronger. I’d say it provides for the opposite considering you are being condescending towards someone who ranked among 100 intellectuals in the world…

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