To understand Putin’s intentions with the Ukraine crisis, one needs to crack the riddle what exactly makes the EU and Nato—or the West—a party in the crisis. I keep asking this question because I think it is really essential.
Since the very outset of the new Maidan, Russia has been very emphatic on blaming “the West” for orchestrating and financing the anti-Yanuk protests. Russia keeps consequently using the figure of Western interference as a principle line of defending its war on Ukraine.
The Russian commentators are just waving “the West” into their talking as something that goes without saying, does not need a proof or explanation, like “of course the West has deeply planted interests in Ukraine”. What are they? No one seems to have a clear answer.
What I view as a more serious problem is that the commentators on the, so to say, Western side are falling into the trap carefully set up for them by Putin’s talking shitholes. They easily let the Russian propaganda rhetoric seduce themselves and uncritically reproduce this same noxious cliché.
It is noxious because by not fighting back against the lies but instead using it as a starting point you are very quickly losing the ground under your feet. Even before you notice it, you are getting involved into discussing something perverse, like: “Why are you are hating us so much?”; “Russia is protecting the moral virtues against the decaying and twisted West”; “All the West wants is to kill or enslave the Russians and seize our lands.”
This is supposed to excuse the Russian military buildup against Ukraine and who knows what other countries. Russia’s principle response, if someone accuses it in pursuing its expansionistic interests, goes like: “Everybody does it. Filthy interests? So what? Look at them, Kosovo, Irak, Libya, you name it. If they can, why can’t we?”—meaning they are only as dirty as the West is.
The only immediate “interest” I detect on the part of the West, or let me put in a term of a humanistic 21st-century civilisation, is the need to exert solidarity with a fledgling democracy.
The fact is that, unlike Putin, the EU was not trying to buy Yanukovych in November. The US seems to be peace-broking for the sake of safeguarding the basic principles of decent behaviour in the international relations.
If you do fight back against the lies and not accept the bullshit about the West pursuing some sort of “filthy interests”, you will leave Russia confronted with its own silly propaganda and starkly exposed as a sadistic bully tormenting Ukraine, harassing the rest of the post-Soviet and pouring tonnes of Goebbelsian lies on its own population.