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The Other Side Of the Conflict: Russia

By Anandita Nair

The Ukraine-Russia crisis is a fog of complexities, and many have polarised views about it, to increase our comprehension of this conflict, we must also consider Russia’s perspective of the war. While Russia’s violence and actions are not justified it would be imprudent to think they are without cause. The Western powers’ (mainly America and the EU) actions have often provoked Russia. Russia simply follows “realpolitiks”: the principle of a country acting in its own interest, something that is natural. Therefore, Russia has been hinting loud and clear, since 2008, that if Ukraine tries to join (North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Western alliance) NATO, Ukraine will not exist, but for a newly claimed part of Russia, as having your enemy beside you is threatening to them. But in contrast, the United States, and most of Europe, believe in a concept where no country acts for the benefit of themselves, rather the entire world. ‘Even if it ruins our economy, it will benefit ____’ type thinking, it is called liberalism. While, the optimistic principle is honourable, it is implausible to believe that humans are advanced enough to adhere to it.

Here is a map of NATO members from Europe:

The countries in orange joined the NATO in 1991, proving that not even NATO could follow its principles of liberalism. It was like a giant nerf war. Even if your enemy was on the next street, you would want some type of buffer; say your neighbor’s backyard, before the enemy reaches yours. For Russia, this buffer is Ukraine. Many troops have walked through these countries to attempt to invade Russia; the Nazis Operation Barbarossa would serve as a prime example. Thus, in 2008, when the NATO considered admitting Ukraine and Georgia as members, Russia invaded Georgia to ensure that its enemies were nowhere near it. NATO’s hopes of Ukraine joining NATO should have been dispelled when Georgia was invaded and taken over by Russia. However, they never formally abandoned their goal to add Ukraine to NATO. In 2014, Viktor Yanukovych (Ukraine’s earlier president) was overthrown. He was a pro-Russian president and replaced by Viktor Yushchenko, a president who promised western relations and threatened Putin’s dreams of Russian imperialism. Thus, Russia responded by taking Crimea.

The West had also been discreetly peeling Kiev from Moscow and installing pro-West democracy in Ukraine, simply by funding pro-West projects and efforts. Since 1991, it has spent over $5 billion funding Ukrainian projects that supported it. This also threatened Russia since they feared that the Western reforms in Ukraine could influence reforms in Russia and make Putin’s government lose its power.

‘When Russian leaders look at Western social engineering in Ukraine, they worry that their country might be next. And such fears are hardly groundless,” in September 2013, Gershman wrote in The Washington Post, “Ukraine’s choice to join Europe will accelerate the demise of the ideology of Russian imperialism that Putin represents.” He added: “Russians, too, face a choice, and Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.”’ - John J. Mearsheimer

All imperialism is harmful to the development of Earth, however when dealing with brutes like Putin it is important to realise the limits they will go to maintain their power. Thus, the threat of the West behind its back has made Russia take its severe actions, therefore, the West can be called an accomplice to this conflict as it provoked Russia by challenging its political and territorial stability.

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