Ukraine and Russia. The Tragedies, Histories, Hubris and Hypocrisies.

I have had an interest in history since I could read words on a page, but in truth I am no more a scholar than anybody else and I often struggle to understand the many ways in which the past has led to the present. Conversely, our friend Roger, well-versed in the history of our world, has an analytical mind that never ceases to amaze me. Today, I share his analysis of the Russian war against Ukraine that I found very enlightening and I think you will, too. I was not surprised to find that he put over 22 hours of work into this excellent post. I do hope you’ll take a few minutes to read and ponder his words, for they have value in understanding what is happening, why it is happening, and the likely outcome. Thank you, Roger!

The World As It Is. Not As It Should Be

UkraineAn Introduction

The 24th February 2023 marks the 1st Anniversary of the War between the nations of Ukraine and The Russian Federation. In military terms this is a continuation of The Russian Federation’s annexation of the Crimea and support of ethnic russian separatists in what was the south-east of Ukraine both commencing in 2014. An anniversary commentary though is not one which lends itself to shortness, not when History weighs in.

The Tragic Tides of History

History is not something that simply happened decades ago, but has cause and effects that stretch back over the centuries. If you cannot accept that don’t read anything further. This is not a post for the blinkered. We are looking at another chapter in the annals of Human Tragedy. One whose pages arguably were already laid out and just waiting for words to be written, in of course red; no not ink.

Each war, …

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17 thoughts on “Ukraine and Russia. The Tragedies, Histories, Hubris and Hypocrisies.

  1. I read the whole article. Thanks for the link.
    Most people in the West see Ukraine as completely blameless in this war. If that’s what they want to think, that’s fine. Russia attacked them, seemingly unprovoked, so I can see why they feel that. The media in every Western country continues to portray the war in simple terms. Russia is evil, Ukraine is a brave country defending the interests of the West alone. But I am also very interested in history, and the history of Ukraine up to 2014 is worth reading about.

    Ukraine: The Historical Timeline

    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are right that nothing is ever cut-and-dried, black-and-white. No nation is without flaws, without a past that contains some good, some bad. However, in the current situation, I do blame Russia/Putin. There is NO excuse for bombing hospitals and schools, for intentionally taking the lives of innocent civilians. And from what I know, Putin is hoping to re-establish an empire … by treading on people, whether in Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, or wherever he sees an opportunity. So, I do side with Ukraine. That said, I will read your post tomorrow and keep an open mind!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Hello Pete.
      Somewhere along the way I seemed to have lost contact with your posts (Looking at you Word Press). Anyway.
      It was with interest I read both your comments on Jill’s Blog and your own post on the subject and felt a reply was in order. More an exchange of perceptions than anything else. Apologies first for the tendencies for Realpolitik and International Relations ‘Realism’ school thoughts which will arise, just my style, that’s all.

      It is to be agreed that many folk would not have known where and how big Ukraine is. Nor would they know that WWI did not end with the Western Armistice, but in effect continued well into the 1920s / 30s as all nations east of Germany fought literally in many cases for land and persecuted in some way or another their own minorities; all against the backdrop of the establishment of the USSR. The commencement of WWII cementing the rise of fascist groups. Something the Nazi forces left in their wakes wherever they went.

      In Ukraine, as in Greece, what was Yugoslavia and Nazi controlled Russia vicious wars, pogroms and general behaviours line with The Thirty Years War went on unbated and were set to continue after May 1945; in Ukraine until the 1950s there were separatist groups. I personally believe those ghosts still stalk the lands (As the end of Yugoslavia indicated). We’ll not go into the Hungary / Rumanian question.

      Step back further and the region which we could call Ukraine has been fought over, rebelled and so forth between Poland, Poland /Lithuania, Russia, Ottoman Empire, Cossack quasi-states and arguably Sweden, Prussia and Hapsburgs and Napoleonic France over 400 years, until finally Russia came out on top and felt Ukraine was hers.

      History does not stand still though does it? Nations rise, fall, rise again or vanish and are re-born as something else. With the end of The USSR Ukraine along with a clutch of other regions slipped away from Moscow, some more than others. It seemed at one stage as if Estonia might be a flare-up point due to Estonian handling of Russian resident there as a result of Soviet Union relocations; it still might.
      But History deemed the show-down building up with the reassertion of Russia was to take place over Ukraine, which until the Orange Revolution had been quiescent under a Kremlin friendly government.
      Russia had cause to think it could handle this. Generally Russia had had a free hand in the complex Syrian War and everyone turned a blind eye to its covert relation ships with Israel (a shoot at who like as long as it’s not us agreement, and Putin shakes hands with Netanyahu-literally). Apart from hand wringing in the West Russia had got back the Crimea (not a lot to do with Ukraine really) and had ‘come to the aid’ of Ethnic Russians in the Donbas region, which in the Geo-political sense was possibly and arguably justified, if you want to stretch a point on ethnic grounds (now there’s a dangerous ground)

      Where things went wrong is I would suggest a very old story, not always Russian, you could go back to the Peloponnesian Wars. In this case, who in the West could really say what happened. Did the old echoes of the fears of Western Intervention stir up, or was it simply a case of ‘Hey Hands Off, this is our backyard’, or did Putin cease being the astute player and started to brood on his place in History as The One Who Brought Ukraine back into the fold? With the USA tearing itself apart under Trump and American right-wingers waving out of date USSR flags….well?
      Maybe he felt there was no time to play the long game, the insincere ancient Iron Fist in the Velvet glove and say to the Ukrainians ‘Hey. Look we go way back. OK mistakes made on both sides. It happens in families. You can’t trust those westerners, they’ll buy you up and sell you out. Let’s talk,’
      The Kremlin should have read its history, the recent ones. USA in Vietnam. West in Iraq. And everyone in Afghanistan or Lebanon. This one had been talking with Poland.
      Maybe if they had stuck with the South East and not driven into true land of the ‘Tufti’ (The English translation of the Russian slang for ethnic Ukrainians – based on an old hair style). Maybe if the KGB orientated Kremlin had let go of its usual paranoia about secrecy and let the Army plan the whole thing from start to finish (Stalin learnt that lesson by 1943). Maybe they could have got away with something. Except Russian internal security forces would be fighting a long-term insurgency for a long time.
      But no, they sent badly supplied, uninformed conscripts right where the opposition was the thickest, with a chain of command that had to pass up the line every query and wait for an order on high. It was like Finland 1939 all over again, except this time the opposition nation was getting supplies and support.

      I don’t think that the Ukrainians are lily-white noble democrats to a person. There’s no such example as innocent peoples or communities on this planet, with the possible exception of aboriginal folks out on the fringes. But it was The Russian who, this time went into a place soaked in histories, and no one expected, a prepared, professional and motivated army.

      And the war will drag on, at what scale and under what rules. Who knows? At best a sullen, bad tempered, often broken truce while folk gather around tables, as they do. Hopefully a deal gets brokered and the loser tries to convince everyone there was ‘peace with honour’.

      Big nations. Personally they often annoy me, disappointment me, enrage me. But they never surprise me. Three, maybe four thousand years and it still goes on.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you. Sadly no. Large nations embarking on military approaches to policy very rarely realise their errors early on. The Franco UK alliance over Suez in the 1950s only did because the USA threatened them with diplomatic hellfire….History and its ironies.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Ukraine and Russia. The Tragedies, Histories, Hubris and Hypocrisies. | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

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