Seriously, it seems This Writer is more politically-aware than we all thought.
We have already seen that part of Vladimir Putin’s plan for peace between Russia and Ukraine – and a part that has been agreed – was in line with a “naive” set of ideas I published a few days ago: that Ukraine should give up its bid to join Nato, but be able to rely on outside help.
Now other details have been revealed after a phone conversation between Putin and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Allied to the first condition – and elements that I didn’t envision – are the following: Ukraine would have to undergo a disarmament process to ensure it wasn’t a threat to Russia. There would have to be protection for the Russian language in Ukraine. And Ukraine would have to condemn all forms of neo-Nazism and promise to clamp down on them.
I wasn’t convinced by the disarmament demand because it seemed that Russia was effectively calling on Ukraine to deliberately make itself vulnerable to a Russian invasion. Closer inspection, though, makes it seem possible; Ukraine isn’t being asked to terminate its ability to defend itself – just to reassure Russia that it won’t attack that much large country. Doable.
Protection for the Russian language doesn’t seem to be an issue at all.
The neo-Nazi issue is thorny because Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy – a Jew whose relatives died in the Nazi Holocaust – hotly disputes that his country has anything to do with Nazism of any kind. But if that’s true then, logically, he shouldn’t have a problem with promising to ensure that this vile ideology won’t gain a foothold in his country.
We also have details of more contentious matters – and yes, Yr Obdt Srvt raised them days ago:
Something will need to be agreed about the disputed, breakaway eastern regions of Ukraine – Donbas, Donetsk, Luhansk are the names you’ll know. The question is whether Russia will try to take them over altogether. I suggested referenda to let the people there decide whether they want to be Ukrainian, Russian or independent. To me, that seems the only democratic way.
And Russia will want formal acceptance that the Crimean peninsula is Russian, not Ukrainian. While this may be a bone of contention, there are many reasons the Crimean should go back to Russia. Besides – in real terms, there’s nothing Mr Zelenskyy can do about it.
And that’s the lot – from the Russian side, at least. I expected more.
I’m now avid to learn what Ukraine’s conditions might be. I suggested that Russia would need to offer help of some kind in repairing the appalling damage Russian troops have done to that country.
But what else? We’ll have to wait and see.
For This Writer, the bottom line is: if the writer of a tiny political website could see what peace conditions were likely to be, then it shouldn’t be too hard for the powerful people at the head of the two countries involved to bring those conditions about.
Let’s hope it happens soon.
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