It pays for countries to play up the ‘Russian threat’, as we can see from the current conflict in Ukraine…
Written by Johanna Ross, journalist based in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Unfortunately when it comes to the western narrative on Russia and its role shaping the geopolitics of our European continent throughout the 20th century up to the present day, it often seems that facts don’t matter. We hear little about the Red army’s tremendous part in defeating Nazism and, for example, liberating the Polish concentration camps decades ago. The Soviets more often than not are equated with fascists as the post-Soviet bloc, particularly Ukraine and the Baltic states, play up the Russian threat and bend historical facts in order to secure lucrative western funding and defence contracts.
Since the fall of the USSR, which was once referred to by President Putin as the greatest tragedy of the 20th century, the states on the periphery of the bloc, like lost children, have sought to redefine themselves as their adopted Mother Russia was suddenly no more. Some, like the Baltic states, have rejected Russia outright as they pursued a European identity. Other nations, which are much closer to Russia ethnically and culturally, as fellow Slavic peoples, have sought to maintain ties with Russia, as they had for centuries before. Two such countries are Belarus and, until recently, Ukraine.
The Ukraine crisis therefore, with the rejection of Russian culture and language which came with it, is of course an absolute tragedy for the peoples of Russia and Ukraine. For there could not be two more close nations in terms of identity. As Putin has also said before, the two are practically ‘one people’. Ancient Russia, or ‘Rus’ began in Kiev after all. The border therefore between the two countries has always been practically irrelevant. What is incredibly sad is that it seems many Ukrainians are not aware of the extent to which their anti-Russian sentiment has been a strategic goal of the West, and is part of a conflict entirely manufactured by the US and its partners.
The 2014 Maidan revolution was a project of western interference in Ukraine that began many years earlier, as the West began supporting Ukrainian integration into Europe. The US and Britain are no strangers to such meddling; they supported Ukrainian fascist Stepan Bandera as far back as the 1940s in a bid to destabilise the Soviet bloc. Their security services are experts in this kind of malevolent activity. And they know just how to use the media in order to manipulate populations and persuade them of their political viewpoints.
It’s happening right now as British and American governments fund media across the post-Soviet space in order to spread anti-Russian sentiment. This is why when it comes to the last escalation in the Ukraine crisis, the stage is already set. History has been written before it is made as headlines across western media for weeks now have declared that a Russian invasion of Ukraine is ‘imminent’.
As usual in this situation, the facts seem completely irrelevant. Western governments and their liberal media have already played the role of judge, jury and executioner. Never mind the fact that Ukraine has been building up its military in the East, aided by Britain and the US, since March earlier this year. Never mind the fact that Kiev consistently violates the Minsk peace agreements with the use of drones against the rebels in the East. Russia is the aggressor, Russia is the invader, says the media. This means that if Russian forces do enter Ukrainian territory to protect ethnic Russians in the conflict, as they did in the South Ossetia conflict in 2008, Russia will still be portrayed as the bad guy, and Ukraine the victim.
What the US and Britain need to ask themselves is how far are they prepared to push the Russian bear? War with Russia would be all-out war; it could be nuclear war on a scale never seen before. Russia knows this, and is therefore keen to avoid any conflict. But western war hawks seem to be blindly heading towards disaster.
The proposals recently put forward by Russia to Nato seem like a last minute attempt by Russia to get the message across: stay out of our back yard or you’ll regret it. The fact they were made publicly available seems to be the Russian government trying to set the record straight before the narrative is twisted by the media. It shows Russia did try to keep the peace, that it did communicate clearly with the West in order to avoid an escalation of conflict. Yet the proposals, although highly sensible and reasonable, and completely honest about Russia’s position, were immediately branded as ‘tough demands’ by the media and all indications are that they will be rejected. The West will not stay out of Ukraine and the post-Soviet bloc. It will continue to meddle and stir up anti-Russian feeling.
So as we prepare to greet the New Year, and hope it will be one of peace and prosperity, the people of Donetsk and Lugank sit on tenterhooks as the threat of a full-on war, provoked by Zelensky, becomes real. If Ukraine does engineer an escalation in the conflict, it can relax in the knowledge that it has the full support of the western political class and media who have already written down how this story will play out. As usual, evil Russia and its dictator President are to blame. And western military war hawks, as they sit down to Christmas dinner in their cosy abodes, will rejoice as they think not of the people in war-torn, devastated Eastern Ukraine, but of the financial rewards that can be made at their expense. The Russian threat pays; but will this be a gamble too far for the West?
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