ISSUE 1-2017
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DEVIL ON THE WALL?
By Pavel Vitek | Researcher in Politics, the Czech Republic | Issue 1, 2017

Ever since Russian president decided to enter history as Vladimir Sobiratel”, he took a few steps that remind us of some tragic events happened in last century. Occupation of Crimea connected with military provocations and call Heim ins Reich –embodied by so called referendum– have evoked associations with Czechoslovakia in 1938.  In the violent effort to impose on Ukraine how to live events in Hungary 1956 or Czechoslovakia 1968 have echoed. [1] However, Vladimir Vladimirovich is not afraid of analogies.

By the way, why he should be afraid if with help of aggression against Ukraine he managed to distract attention of majority of Russians from failure of his economic politics and his declined popularity started again growing.     

Therefore it cannot be ruled out that we will live to see that day when we will witness new events evoking other analogies.  Nobody wants to paint the devil on the wall but let´s try to consider analogy with occupation of Baltic States by the U.S.S.R. under the auspices of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. Baltic States –members of the European Union and NATO– cannot be summoned to Moscow to submit to stronger neighbour dictates as it occurred then. However, it is possible to arrange demonstrations asking change of policy towards Russia as well as some incidents having victims in Russian minority.

Russia thoroughly looking after its citizens living abroad will be forced to act as Germany did in the case of Gliwice provocation in 1939, prepared by itself. Overnight one or two capitals of Baltic States could be occupied by Russian paratroops with help of local fifth column. Russian divisions in the frame of accidentally ongoing military exercise invade neighbouring territory. Such operation is not a matter of days but hours. The occupation is presented to NATO as a fait accompli.

In such case Article 5 of Washington Treaty should be invoked; one or more member states were attacked and occupied. Would NATO really launch military operation against aggressor? An ambiguous answer to this question could tempt Putin –deeply convinced that Europe is decayed disunited and not able to fight– to take such step. He knows very well that any possible wavering in this question would mean the end of the Alliance and the European Union as well.    

Clearly defined red lines by NATO are not only the question of defence of its members it is also the question of its further existence as a reliable force. Moreover, these lines should not be put on borders of any NATO member only. They should exist anywhere where people try to build society fundamentally different from today´s Russia where Putin´s conditions rule.. It does not mean to start war tomorrow it does mean to find efficient ways how to prevent any further aggression and stop ongoing one.

Threat of these another aggression is very high. Putin is not able to turn Russia into prosperous country therefore he is forced to prevent any effort to develop neighbouring countries and at the same time to demonstrate to Russians how strong their leader and motherland are. It is pity but this gimmick works in current Russia.  Therefore, necessity to react now and uncompromisingly is so substantial. 

This reflection was opened by analogy so it should be closed in the same way. Sir Winston S. Churchill was personality who was fit to tough times and we experience such times now. Let´s recall his famous remark commenting Munich agreement in 1938: You were given the choice between war and dishonour. You chose dishonour and you will have war.

There is a crucial question today: who among current European politicians could becоme new Churchill?  

 


 

[1] There is not any problem to find other analogies. Sinister similarities between Putin´s speech on 18 March 2015 and Nazi German´s public advocacy American expert Anders Aslund finds.

 

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