Suchard wrote:Putin believes that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a disaster and he particularly wants Ukraine back under the Russian boot. In any military conflict, Russia cannot be beaten and since Ukraine is not in any formal alliance with the West, it is in the Russian crosshairs and the finger is on a hair trigger. Ukraine might as well surrender or make a move to be protected by the Americans. Even if Ukraine were to seek and get membership of the European Union, since this is not a millitary alliance as such, that will be no good.
From the perspective of the Kremlin- Czarist, Bolshevik, or post communist- it is undeniable that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a disaster. In that sense Putin's observation was more a statement of fact than an opinion. It was astounding. A massive colossus just went puff. I can imagine the stern Putin pacing the halls of the Kremlin muttering darkly, "I get it, communism had to go, but did every gain Mother Russia had made have to go along with it?"
Worse it was not just that the Soviet Union went puff; a rival military/economic alliance- which before the collapse was thousands of miles away in Germany- crept up all the way to Poland and the Baltics. As if that was not enough to choke the Russian bear, same military economic alliance, under the guise of a folder called MAP Membership Action Plan, was now knocking at the doors of Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan!
That would have left just rump Russia. But would that have been enough? Even rump Russia is still a nation with non-Russian nationalities, Chechnyans and Dagestanis coming to mind. All ocassionally showing indications of a willingness to bolt if given the opportunity. Can Putin be faulted if his estimation is that after the rival military alliance had rolled up Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, would they not knock on the doors of Chechnya and Dagestan offering membership?
So Putin is not mad. Of if he is mad, there is a method to the madness.
That leaves Ukraine in a hell of a fix.
Personally, I think Ukraine is one nation too far. The eastward sweep of Nato was opportunistic and possible as long as Russia was comatose in the hands of the naive Gorbachev and the drunk Yeltsin. But at some point the Russian bear was bound to bestir itself.