Another expert on Putin. Where was he during Viet Nam.
The US has a history of fighting or supporting wars against folks we deem irrational and therefore, there's no good basis to negotiate a cessation of hostiles. We learned that in Vietnam and recently in Afghanistan.
It's painfully obvious that Putin is willing to negotiate. Why? Because he repeatedly says so. Vlad also knows he's not going to end up with the non-Donbas areas of Ukraine and therefore, his stated dream of a united USSR ain't happening.
What he really wants is a buffer zone, oil, natural gas, and a huge supply of Lithium to mine. He currently has those territories under control. We can either work out a deal now or let this slide on for years (like we did in Afghanistan) with the same result. Meanwhile, exports like Satter explain why we need to keep pumping money and supporting needless carnage in an all-or-nothing narrative. What an idiot!
Putin Wants Ukraine Back in the U.S.S.R.
The Soviets reassembled the Russian Empire on the basis of ideology. He seeks to duplicate that feat.
By David Satter, WSJ
Dec. 29, 2022 3:48 pm ET
A hundred years ago, on Dec. 30, 1922, representatives of the “Ukrainian socialist republic” initiated a formal agreement with Russia and the republics of Belarus and Transcaucasia to create a new nation, the Soviet Union.
The agreement was puzzling because Lenin had said repeatedly that the goal of socialism was the fusion of all nations, and his slogan was: “The proletariat has no fatherland.” But agreement to a new country, which defined itself as a union of independent national republics each with the formal right to secede, was a tactical move to contain Ukrainian nationalism. It held together for 69 years. But it couldn’t last forever, because it was based on lies.
Today’s Russian spokesmen insist that Ukraine is an “artificial nation.” Yet the only artificial nation was the Soviet Union, which re-created the Russian Empire on the basis of socialism. Russians, Georgians, Ukrainians, Yakuts and Uzbeks were citizens of one country, but the only thing they shared was the false reality of communist ideology. When that ideology collapsed in 1991, the result was the emergence of 15 historical nations, including Russia and Ukraine.
The Soviets defined class as the motive force of history and subordinated national culture to ideology. Each Soviet republic had its own government and parliament, but their only responsibility was to carry out the edicts of the Communist Party leadership in Moscow. The regime promoted national languages and cultures, but everything that was printed or performed had to treat each nation’s history as an upward struggle that culminated in becoming part of the Soviet Union.
In the 1920s, the communists needed Ukrainian-speaking cadres to strengthen their position in Ukraine, which had been the scene of peasant uprisings in 1919. Ukrainian language instruction, Ukrainian newspapers and lectures to miners in Ukrainian all increased.
Nothing, however, could protect Ukraine from the horror that was visited on the Soviet Union as a whole and reached its apex with the creation of the Gulag, dekulakization (the destruction of the most industrious peasants) and the famine of 1932-33. The last was caused when the Soviet government confiscated grain to feed the cities and for export, imprisoned peasants in their villages and left millions to die from starvation. Ukraine, the agricultural breadbasket of the nation and a potential center of national resistance, suffered disproportionately. Of the seven million victims of the famine, more than half were in Ukraine.
For more than 50 years, it was forbidden to mention the famine, but with the accession of Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985 and the policy of glasnost, what had long been whispered began to be discussed openly. Memorial services were held in Ukrainian villages for the victims, and Rukh, the Ukrainian movement for national independence, used the memory of the famine to rally support for an independent Ukraine.
On Dec. 1, 1991, as the Soviet Union disintegrated, 90% of Ukrainian voters voted for independence. In the heavily ethnic Russian Donetsk oblast, almost 77% supported independence. In pro-Russian Crimea, the vote for independence was 54%. A week later, Boris Yeltsin, Leonid Kravchuk and Stanislav Shushkevich—respectively the leaders of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus—met at a lodge in Belarus’s Belovezh Forest and signed a statement certifying that the Soviet Union ceased to exist. Gorbachev resigned on Dec. 25, and the upper chamber of the Soviet Parliament, the Supreme Soviet, ratified the union’s dissolution the following day.
The birth of an independent Ukraine realized the national aspirations thwarted after the Bolshevik revolution. But there would be no peace for Ukraine, because the moral damage inflicted by the Soviet regime outlived it. That was particularly true in Russia, where property was seized by insiders, gangsters and ex-communist officials and the leaders used war to rally the population around a corrupt regime.
The First Chechen War, in 1994-96, was started, according to a high official, because President Yeltsin needed “a short, victorious war” to increase his approval rating. The Second Chechen War began after the bombing of Russian apartment buildings in 1999 that took some 300 lives. According to all evidence, the bombings were carried out by the Federal Security Service, or FSB. They were used to justify a new invasion of Chechnya, which made it possible for Vladimir Putin to become president.
In 2014 the seizure of Crimea and invasion of eastern Ukraine distracted Russians from the meaning of the democratic Maidan revolt in Kyiv. As a result of the annexation of Crimea, Mr. Putin’s popularity reached a high of 82%, and Russia was swept with chauvinistic euphoria. The present attack on Ukraine resulted from the perception of U.S. weakness after the withdrawal from Afghanistan and Mr. Putin’s desire to restore the “Crimea effect” that buoyed his regime for five years before beginning to wane.
Some foreign-policy “realists” in the U.S. blame the present war on the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, but Russia’s desire to dominate Ukraine isn’t new. On Aug. 27, 1991, while the Soviet Union still existed, Pavel Voshchanov, Yeltsin’s press secretary, warned that Russia would re-examine its borders with any republic that didn’t want to be part of a new union. There were reports in the Moscow press based on leaks that in the event of a conflict, the Russian leadership was considering tactical nuclear strikes against Ukraine. In 1993, well before the first expansion of NATO into the former Eastern Bloc in 1997, Russia was laying the groundwork for future aggression, defining as a threat to Russia “acts against the Russian population” in any neighboring country.
When the imaginary world of Soviet ideology collapsed, all that was left in Russia was rule by criminals and the drive to dominate Russia’s neighbors to guarantee their hold on power. It is against this background that we need to weigh support for Ukraine.
Russia’s inability to rid itself of the Soviet legacy is the underlying cause of the war. If Ukraine cedes territory, the Soviet imperialist mentality will survive intact. Russia’s defeat in the Crimean War (1853-56) led to the emancipation of the serfs, and defeat in the Russo-Japanese war (1904-05) led to Russia’s first constitution. We need to support a decisive Ukrainian victory to punish aggression—and to free Russia from the burden of its past.
Mr. Satter is author of “Age of Delirium: the Decline and Fall of the Soviet Union.” He is an academic adviser to the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.