Should Russia expand beyond Crimea and further into Ukraine. Introduction.
Tension in Ukraine began to rise when then the president Viktor Yanukovych rejected a deal proposed by the European Union regarding trade agreements. Late last year when this deal was in consideration, Viktor Yanukovych began to express his doubts in the final stages about signing the trade agreement. For everyone in Ukraine it was clear that Vladimir Putin pressured Viktor Yanukovych so much that essentially Putin made Yanukovych reject the deal. Just days later on 17th December Putin agrees to buy 9bn pounds of Ukraine’s debt and reduce the price of Russian gas supplies by about a third. Just hours after Yanukovych rejected EU’s proposal, thousands of protestors stormed the streets of Kiev calling for the immediate resignation of Yanukovych. The conflict quickly escalated with riot police, armed guards and military personnel getting involved. On February 21st Yanukovych fled to Russia after his residence was invaded by the protestors while also facing charges from the opposition for the killing of protestors. Shortly after Yanukovych disappearance to Russia, unmarked guards began appearing on the Ukrainian – Russian border. The unmarked military personnel were believed to be the Russian army carrying out military drills. The ‘unmarked soldiers’ quickly began to advance into Crimea. Before it was announced that a referendum will be held in Crimea concerning the peninsula becoming part of Russia once more, there have been a number of clashes between Russian and Ukrainian military. After an unsurprising outcome of the referendum in Crimea, Putin did not let up and kept sending military personnel to Crimea and Ukraine. Nothing has been established currently between Russia and Ukraine with clashes and conflicts still apparent in Kiev, Odessa and various other parts of Ukraine.
Now that Putin has reclaimed Crimea, he will be looking at the most innovative and non provocative way to go further into Ukraine starting with the southeast part. There are a few reasons why Putin wants to expand further into Ukraine. His main motivations are ideology, social base and economic stimulus. Putin has long upheld a KGB style Cold War mentality mixed with Conservatism of Russian thinkers from early twentieth century such as Berdyaev, Solovyov and Ilyin. All of these thinkers, in one way or another, were patriots as well as socialists and wanted Russia to be independent from any western ideas which they claimed were manipulative in a sense that, western ideas would shape rest of the world for their own interests. The mixture of ideas presented by these thinkers is exactly what Putin needs to unite the legacies of both the Russian and Soviet empires into a solid path dependant ideology. This ideology roughly says that Western countries spread some liberal and deleterious ideas essentially hostile to Russia’s tradition, and deliberately aims to destroy Russia’s historically unique culture that combines autocracy, orthodoxy and Slavic brotherhood. For this reason, Putin has no other choice but to protect the historical Russian borders from such civilization challenge. Putin has retained his ‘thug’ image from his time in Leningrad. This ‘thug’ image still shows today through his vocabulary, the criminal bureaucratic system he built in Russia and his bold aggressive behavior on the international stage. Putin has gained a lot of support from presenting himself in this way, albeit mainly from the middle class and Russian elites. His supporters can relate to him because of the communist past which a lot of the Russians experienced and therefore will fight for Putin’s sacred mission. Putin’s ‘thuggish’ mindset doesn’t encourage negotiation; this is the logic of ultimatums and aggression. The aggressive rhetoric cannot be exploited for long. Thus, in the absence of adequate Western responses, Putin will go deep into Ukraine...
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