30.11 - 1.12
Lviv Security Forum


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Security is trust

Trust does not tolerate hesitations rooted in uncertainty. The global security system cracks under its own incapacity to call things by their proper names. Inability to face the reality and to call wars – wars, and the aggressors – aggressors, undermines trust of people towards international security institutions. Without this trust security agreements become meaningless, alliances depreciate, and guarantees do not have power.

Without trust the legitimacy of the international security order will melt away. Disintegration processes within the EU, partiality charges against the OSCE, chronic deep concern of the UN are all consequences of the institutional legitimacy inflation.

It is inevitable that a new model of international security will replace the current one, which was supposed to protect people from the specter of the world war. The resilience or fragility of this new model is subject to the level of trust it will enjoy by people who remain trapped by uncertainty and fear.

Lviv Security Forum
is a platform for discussion in pursuit of finding the answer to question what the new international security order wood look like.

November, 30 (Thursday)
Day 1
09.15 – 10.00
Welcome coffee
10.00 – 10.30
Introduction speeches
10.30 – 12.30
Discussion #1 Whether the war in modern Europe was inevitable?
Unresolved legacy of the WWII – was the distribution of responsibility after the WWII just? Were the international security order instruments resilient to the breakdown of the bipolar world and are they still relevant to the current realities? Did ‘Russia admiration’ influence the fate of the post-soviet countries? Is international community ready to discuss the true reasons of Russian troublemaking in Europe?
12.30 – 14.00
Lunch
14.00 – 15.45
Discussion #2 Taking war seriously
Who is the true enemy in a hybrid war and why is this question important to answer? How the legal status of combat operations influences combat effectiveness of an army and motivation of a soldier? How the legal status of combat operations influences the legitimacy of the state leadership and state institutions? War and budget – how to assure sufficient resources and accountable spending? Civil control over defense and security in time of war.
15.45 – 16.15
Coffee break
16.15 – 18.00
Discussion #3 How not to empower the aggressor?
Who is eligible to take part in the negotiations on conflict settlement? Does a trade with an aggressor legitimize its actions? Are sanctions a self-sufficient instrument to deter the military aggression? How to ensure the balance between human rights and security in time of war? Will fulfillment of the positive obligations under international humanitarian law bring justice or will it freeze the conflict?
19:00
Dinner for forum participants
09.30 – 10.00
Research presentation: The Ukrainians and Russian aggression
10.00 – 10.30
Coffee break
10.30 – 12.00
Discussion of research results
12.00 – 13.30
Lunch
13.30 – 15.15
Discussion #4 Sovereignty and responsibility
Identifying the moment when no further fights are possible and the moment when the sovereignty could be restored. Do these moments coincide? What does the conflict settlement imply when a war is hybrid? Mechanics of de-occupation, demilitarization, and reintegration Is reconciliation after the end of a foreign aggression possible without punishment of perpetrators and their accomplices? Who shall bear the responsibility for a war, which is not called a war?
15.15 – 15.45
Coffee break
15.45 – 16.15
Closing session

Speakers

Dr. Ralf Roloff

Senior German Professor George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies

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Dr. Ralf Roloff is the Senior German Professor (since 2003) at the College of International Security Studies at the Marshall Center in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. He is also the Director of Master in International Security Studies Program (since 2010) and Professor, Universität der Bundeswehr München (since 2015).

He previously worked as Associate Professor, Universität der Bundeswehr München (2011-2015), Acting Professor of International and European Politics, University of the German Armed Forces, Hamburg (2000- 2003), Acting Professor of International Politics at Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz (1999-2000), Assistant Professor and Executive Officer at the Research, Institute for Political Science and European Affairs at the University of Cologne (1994-2001), Lecturer and Assistant to the Director of the Department of Political Science, University of Trier (1991- 1993)

Dr. Roloff received his Dr. phil. in Political Science at University of Trier, M.A. in Political Science and German Literature and Linguistics, University of Trier. Dr. Roloff has widely published in German, English, and French on international relations, international security, EU integration and EU foreign and security policy.

Vital Rymashevski

Co-chairman of the Belarusian Christian-Democratic Party

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Mr. Rymashevski has been actively engaged in political life in Belarus since 1996, working for oppositional United Civic Party, Youth Front organization, Belarusian People`s Front, Belarusian Union of Young Politicians, “Young Democrats”,  Youth Christian-Social Union, “Za Svobody!” (For Freedom) organization.

In these capacities he actively took part in organization of pickets and rallies for support of the oppositional leaders in Belarus. In 2010 he ran for presidential elections as a single candidate from Belarusian Christian Democrats. Since 2009 he has actively represented the party in European People`s Party, Euronest and other international institutions.

Vital Rymashevski graduated Belarusian State Polytechnic Academy, receiving degree in construction engineering.

Melinda Haring

Editor of the UkraineAlert blog

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Melinda Haring is the editor of the UkraineAlert blog, which is the Atlantic Council’s most popular publication. Its articles are regularly republished by Newsweek, Kyiv Post, Novoe Vremya, Huffington Post, Real Clear Defense, and World Affairs Journal. In 2017, UkraineAlert articles have received more than 2.7 million views.

Haring is a longtime observer of political developments in the Eurasia region, and her analysis has been featured in The Washington Post, Foreign Policy, Newsweek, The Kyiv Post, PRI, and broadcast and published by NPR, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and Voice of America. Haring is the author of the report Reforming the Democracy Bureaucracy and a contributor to Does Democracy Matter? (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017). Haring has worked for Eurasia Foundation, Freedom House, and the National Democratic Institute, where she managed democracy assistance programs in Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Russia.

A graduate of Georgetown University, she holds an MA in government with a certificate in Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies. Haring is a member of the board of East Europe Foundation in Kyiv, Ukraine, and a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. She is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations (USA).

Giorgi Kandelaki

Member of Parliament of Georgia

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Giorgi Kandelaki was elected to the Georgian Parliament in 2008. He currently serves as Deputy Chair of the European Integration Committee from opposition and is a member of both Parliamentary Minority and the European Georgia party.

Mr Kandelaki is an active member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

In 2002-2003 Mr Kandelaki was co-founded of an anti-corruption student campaign and then youth movement Kmara (Enough) that is believed to have played a key role in the Rose Revolution in 2003.

In 2012 he also coordinated a working group to transform the Stalin Museum in Gori into Museum of Stalinism (project stopped after Georgian Dream came to power).

Serhiy Harmash

Political analyst

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Serhiy Harmash, a political analyst and  Ukrainian journalist, the president of the Donbas Center for Social Perspective Research, the founder and the editor-in-chief of the information agency “OstroV.”

In May 2014, he was forced to flee Donetsk because of the beginning of the war.

Mr. Harmash was born in Yenakivo, Donetsk region,  graduated the Institute of Journalism of Kyiv National University named after  T. Shevchenko. From 1996 till 2004 worked as a correspondent at Radio Liberty in Donetsk region, from 2001 till 2003 he also worked as a  correspondent at Interfax-Ukraine in Donetsk region.

Valbona Zeneli

Doctor of science in political economy, Director of Black Sea and Eurasia Program, George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies

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Dr. Zeneli joined the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in August 2011 as a professor of national security studies. She is also the Black Sea and Eurasia program director, overseeing the Marshall Center’s outreach activities in this region. Previously she also served as deputy director for the Central and Southeast Europe program.

Valbona Zeneli is member of the teaching faculty for the Program in Applied Security Studies (PASS), the Program on Countering Narcotics and Illicit Trafficking (CNIT), the Program on Cyber Security Studies (PCSS), the Senior Executive Seminar (SES), and the Seminar on Regional Security (SRS). She is also involved with Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes as a member of the working group on Southeast Europe, and of the security sector reform working group.

Before joining the GCMC, Valbona Zeneli was a professor of international economics at the European University of Tirana from 2009-2011 and associate professor at the New York University of Tirana from 2006-2011. From 2003-2005, Dr. Zeneli has served as chief of protocol and later economic adviser to the Albanian prime minister. Prior to that, she worked as adviser to the minister of economy of Albania from 2002-2003. She has also worked in the private sector advising companies on marketing and international relations.

Dr. Zeneli holds a doctor of science degree (PhD) in political economy from the University of Studies “Aldo Moro”, Bari, Italy (2011), as well as a postgraduate studies degree on international marketing from Georgetown University, Washington D.C (2006). She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Bologna, Italy, where she graduated with honors (2001).

 

Natalia Sokolenko

Deputy Editor-in-Chief Hromadske Radio

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Natalia graduated from the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv with a degree in journalism. She is also an alumna of Internews-Ukraine School of Journalism and the Ukrainian School of Political Studies. Besides, she listened to special courses Understanding Human Rights and Digital Journalism of Future.

Since 2000, Natalia Sokolenko had worked as a reporter in news programms for 10 years. After winning the television award Teletriumph, Natalia decided to quit. It was her protest against censorship in the news channel.

In August of 2012, Natalia started looking for like-minded people to create an independent media source from private owners and state media. In the autumn of 2013 and winter of 2014 Natalia became one of the hosts of Radio Marathon Euromaidan Online and after this she became the host and editor of the talk show Hromadske Khvylya.

Natalia Sokolenko is an active member of the movement Stop Censorship!

Demian Karaseni

Moldova Republic MP

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Honored Coach of Moldova and Master of Sports in Freestyle.

Graduated from Chisinau State Pedagogical Institute named after  Ion Creanga, Academy of Public Administration under the President of Moldova.

Demian Karaseni had Master degree of International Relations.

Jean-Yves Leconte

Member of the Senate of France

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Jean-Yves Leconte, born 31 October 1966 in Paris, is a member of the Senate of France, representing the constituency of French citizens living abroad. He is a member of the Socialist Party.

Leconte lived more than 20 years in Poland and was a member of the Assembly of French Citizens Abroad from 1994.

Senator is a member of the France-Ukraine Friendship Group in the Senate of the French Republic.

Mary O’Hagan

Global Associate Senior Country Director, NDI-Ukraine

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Mary O’Hagan first began working for NDI in 2001, when she was invited to contribute to the NDI Croatia program as a consultant. In early 2003 she joined NDI full time in Slovakia, moving later in the year to direct NDI’s programs in Serbia. In 2005, Ms. O’Hagan moved to Moscow where she served as NDI’s country director in Russia. In 2006, she moved to Tbilisi and served as NDI’s country director in Georgia, running parliamentary and election programs.

Ms. O’Hagan moved to Nairobi in 2009, where she ran political party and other programs for NDI until 2013. In 2014, she set up a new program for NDI in Nigeria and then moved to lead NDI Ukraine, where she is running political party, civil society, and parliamentary programs with a strong emphasis on strengthening women’s political participation.

Prior to joining NDI, Ms. O’Hagan served as the head of research for the Liberal Democrats in the House of Commons in the United Kingdom. She was also responsible for their internal communication and led a team that developed the party’s first on-line intranet. Her first political job was as a political advisor in the European Parliament on foreign affairs, institutional issues and Northern Ireland. She later represented the merged EDG/EPP political group in London.

Ms. O’Hagan was born and educated in the U.K. She obtained a number of academic awards and a first class degree at Oxford University, specializing in political geography. While a graduate student, she taught various related subjects and co-authored a book on the first direct elections to the European Parliament.

Maria Zavyalova

Journalist and correspondent

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Maria Zavialova has a huge experience of working as a war correspondent, e. g.  in the Crimea during the annexation and along the entire frontline2.

Maria was the regular anchor of the “Donbas Chronicles ” at Hromadske Radio during 2015-2016.

In the course of her professional life, Maria has covered more than 500 news and has prepared over 150 stories of various formats.

She holds a degree in English Translation from the Kyiv International University.

Mark Voyger

USAREUR Special Advisor on Russia and Eurasia

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Mr. Mark Voyger serves as the Special Advisor for Russian/Eurasian Affairs to the Commanding General of US Army Europe (USAREUR) in Wiesbaden, Germany.

Prior to that he was the Cultural Advisor and Senior Russia Expert at NATO’s Allied Land Command (LANDCOM) in Izmir, Turkey. Previously he worked for the US Army as a Social Scientist in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mr. Voyger was a member of the Russia Advisory Group at Mitt Romney’s 2012 Presidential campaign. He is currently a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Potomac Foundation, Washington, D.C.

Mr. Voyger holds a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy (MALD) degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and a Master of Public Administration (MPA2) degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He has also done Ph.D. work in Middle Eastern Studies at Cambridge University, and has studied Arabic in Jordan.

Mr. Voyger is fluent in Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Arabic, Turkish, French, Spanish and Italian.

Mykhaylo Basarab

Political scientist

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Political scientist,  member of the Presidium of the Public Commission for Investigation and Prevention of Human Rights Violations in Ukraine.

In 1999 he received a diploma with honour, having graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy of the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv.

The scientific degree in political sciences he obtained at the Institute of Political and Ethnonational Studies named after I.F. Kuras National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.

Mykhaylo Basarab is author and expert for leading editions of Ukraine. He is also one of the founders of the research company “First rating system”.

Victor Rud

Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of Ukrainian American Bar Association

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Victor Rud is an international lawyer with 35 years’ experience. Before the fall of the Soviet Union he represented, in the West, political prisoners persecuted by the KGB.

He also served as Special Counsel to a member of the US Delegation to the Madrid Review Conference on Security & Cooperation in Europe. After the fall of USSR, Mr. Rud advised members of the new Ukrainian Parliament, and has written and addressed various audiences on issues of US/Ukrainian/Russian relations. He is past Chairman of the Ukrainian American Bar Association, and currently chairs its Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Mr. Rud received his undergraduate degree in international relations from Harvard College, and his Juris Doctor degree from Duke University School of Law.

Stephan Bierling

Professor of International Policy and Transatlantic Relations at Regensburg University (Germany)

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He was a lecturer at the University of Ludwig Maximilian in Munich / LMU (1989-1999) and at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (1999/2000), further on lectured at prestigious universities in South Africa, Israel, the United States, Australia, China and Chile. Since 2000, he has been the head of the Department of International Policy and Transatlantic Relations at the Institute of Political Science at the University of Regensburg.

He was moderator of the Munich Security Conference.

Since 2000, he has been organizing international conferences at the Regensburg University in partnership with Hans Seidel Foundation.

According to UNICUM PROFESSIONAL magazine in 2013, Stefan Birling was awarded the title “Professor of the Year” in the category of humanities, culture and social sciences.

Vladimir Socor

 Senior Fellow of Jamestown Foundation

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Vladimir Socor is a Senior Fellow of the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation and its flagship publication, Eurasia Daily Monitor (1995 to date), where he writes analytical articles on a daily basis. An internationally recognized expert on the former Soviet-ruled countries in Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus, and Central Asia, he covers Russian and Western policies there, focusing on energy policies, regional security issues, secessionist conflicts, and NATO policies and programs.

Mr. Socor is a frequent speaker at U.S. and European policy conferences and think-tank institutions. He is a regular guest lecturer at the NATO Defense College and at Harvard University’s National Security Program’s Black Sea Program (JFKennedy School of Government). He is also a frequent contributor to edited volumes. Vladimir Socor was previously an analyst with the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Research Institute (1983-1994).

 

Roman Bezsmertnyi

Ukrainian politician and public figure

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Roman Bezsmernyi is a Ukrainian politician and public figure, the Member of Parliament of 4 convocations ( 1994-2007), vice- prime minister of Ukraine (2005), extraordinary and plenipotentiary ambassador of Ukraine to Belarus (2010-2011), member of the political subgroup of trilateral contact group in Minsk negotiation process 92015-2016), one of the authors of the Constitution of Ukraine, member of the order of merit.

During his work as MP at the Verkhovna Rada he was the member of the committees dealing with state building, regional policy and local governance. From January 1997 till October 1999 and from December 1999 till April 2002 he was the permanent representative of the President of Ukraine in the Parliament of Ukraine.

He graduated from the history faculty of the Kyiv pedagogical institute, received PhD at Institute of national relations and politics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (Thesis title “Social and political system of Ukraine according to Dontsov theory)

James Sherr

Associate Fellow of the Chatham House, Russia and Eurasia Programme

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James Sherr is an associate fellow and former head of the Russia and Eurasia programme (2008-2011).

He was a member of the Social Studies Faculty of Oxford University from 1993 to 2012; a fellow of the Conflict Studies Research Centre of the UK Ministry of Defence from 1995 to 2008; and director of studies of the Royal United Services Institute (1983-85).

He has published extensively on Soviet and Russian military, security and foreign policy, as well as energy security, the Black Sea region and Ukraine’s effort to deal with Russia, the West and its own domestic problems.

Andrii Kulikov

Chairman of the board of the NGO “Hromadske Radio”, radio- and TV-host

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Having an international relations/interpreter from English background, Andrii Kulikov is better known as the host of the ICTV TV program “Svoboda Slova” and as an expert of the EU project “Development of media skills”, as well as the lecturer at the Kyiv Institute of Journalism and Mariupol State University. Several times, he was the winner of the “Teletriumph” award as a member of “Svoboda Slova” team.

In 2013 Andriy was one of the co-founders of “Hromadske Radio”, the radio, created by the group of independent journalists, who refused to tolerate censure, unfair “editorial policies”, or opaque ownership schemes of the media outlets.

 

Hryhoriy Seleshchuk

Department director for conflict affected persons assistance Caritas Ukraine

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Since 2015 Department director for conflict affected persons assistance Caritas Ukraine. 2013-2015 Director of Migration service of Caritas Ukraine. 2007-2013 Head of UGCC Commission for Migrants. 2008-2010 member of Caritas Europe Migration Commission. 2001-2007 researcher of migration topics in deferent structures (Lviv Laboratory of Social Studies, Institute of Religion and Society UCU, Justice and Peace UGCC Commission)

Studied Physics (1993-1995) and a Law (2000-2006) at Lviv National University.

                        

Mykola Kapitonenko

Director to the Center of International Studies

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PhD, is an Associate Professor at the Institute of International Relations of Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University. Director to the Center of International Studies, an NGO, specializing at regional security studies and foreign policy of Ukraine. He has also been invited as a visiting professor to the University of Iowa, and was teaching at the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. Co-editor of UA: Ukraine Analytica.

An author of a textbook on international conflict studies, a monograph on power factor in international politics, and more than 80 articles on various foreign policy and security issues. In 2012 he was awarded National Prize of Ukraine in science.

Brian Bonner

Сhief editor of the Kyiv Post

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American Brian Bonner became chief editor of the Kyiv Post on June 9, 2008. He also held the job in 1999, three years after first arriving in Ukraine to teach journalism.

Bonner spent most of his career with the St. Paul Pioneer Press in Minnesota, where he covered international, national and local news for more than 20 years as a staff writer and assigning editor.

Besides Ukraine, he has also reported from Russia, Belgium, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Laos, Norway, Poland and the United Kingdom.

In 2007-2008, he served as associate director of international communications at the Campaign For Tobacco-Free Kids in Washington, D.C. He also worked as an election expert on six observation missions with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan between 1999 and 2013.

He was a regional coordinator of the Danish-funded Objective Investigative Reporting Program from 2013-2017. He is a member of the supervisory board of the Media Development Foundation, a non-profit group founded by Kyiv Post journalists in 2013 to promote investigative journalism, training of journalists and exchanges.

 

Ambassador John Herbst

Served for thirty-one years as a foreign service officer in the US Department of State, was the US ambassador to Ukraine from 2003 to 2006.

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Ambassador Herbst served for thirty-one years as a foreign service officer in the US Department of State, retiring at the rank of career-minister. He was the US ambassador to Ukraine from 2003 to 2006. Prior to his ambassadorship in Ukraine, he was the ambassador to Uzbekistan from 2000 to 2003.

 

Ambassador Herbst previously served as US consul general in Jerusalem; principal deputy to the ambassador-at-large for the Newly Independent States; director of the Office of Independent States and Commonwealth Affairs; director of regional affairs in the Near East Bureau; and at the embassies in Tel Aviv, Moscow, and Saudi Arabia. He most recently served as director of the Center for Complex Operations at the National Defense University. He has received two Presidential Distinguished Service Awards, the Secretary of State’s Career Achievement Award, the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Distinguished Civilian Service Award. Ambassador Herbst’s writings on stability operations, Central Asia, Ukraine, and Russia are widely published.

Myroslava Gongadze

Main redactor and head of ukrainian department of “Voice of America”

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She often serves as an expert on Ukraine, Eastern Europe and freedom of speech in the post-Soviet space.  Miroslava’s articles are published on the pages of such world famous publications as the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, Journal of Democracy.

The journalist’s talent is to ask questions that will make not only interlocutors and spectators, but also politicians and statesmen think:

  • “Why is everyone is talking about “DPR/LPR” and forgot about the Crimea?”
  • “The Budapest Memorandum. Did the international community enough to protect the sovereignty of Ukraine?”
  • “It is important to identify and understand the essence of propaganda. But what methods can be effective to fight it?”

Now in the United States, “Russia” and “danger” have become synonyms, says Myroslava Gongadze. Patrially thanks to her work.

 

Valeriy Pekar

Co-founder of The New Country civil platform

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Entrepreneur since 1992. A member of the board of directors of the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI). Lecturer of Kyiv-Mohyla Business School (kmbs) and Lviv Business School (LvBS). Author of more than 250 articles and two books on management, marketing, IT, futurology. Co-founder of The New Country civil platform. Member of the National Reforms Council (2014-2016), adviser to the minister of economic development and trade (2014-2016).

Stephan Bierling

Professor of International Policy and Transatlantic Relations at Regensburg University ( Germany)

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He was a lecturer at at the University of Ludwig Maximilian in Munich / LMU (1989-1999) and at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (1999/2000), further on lectured at prestigious universities in South Africa, Israel, the United States, Australia, China and Chile. Since 2000, he has been the head of the Department of International Policy and Transatlantic Relations at the Institute of Political Science at the University of Regensburg.

He was moderator of the Munich Security Conference.

Since 2000, he has been organizing international conferences at the Regensburg University in partnership with Hans Seidel Foundation.

According to UNICUM PROFESSIONAL magazine in 2013, Stefan Birling was awarded the title “Professor of the Year” in the category of humanities, culture and social sciences.

Nona Mikhelidze

Head of the Eastern Europe and Eurasia Programme at the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) in Rome

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She holds a PhD in Political Science from Scuola normale superiore (Pisa), and a M.A. in Regionalism: Central Asia and Caucasian Studies from the Humboldt University Berlin (HU), where she was awarded with the Volkswagen Foundation Scholarship as a Research Fellow. She holds also B.A. and M.A. degrees in International Relations from the Tbilisi State University. Her research interests include the ENP and conflict resolution in the South Caucasus, the Wider Black Sea and regional cooperation, Turkey and Caspian Region, and Russian foreign policy in the ex-Soviet space.

Denys Kazanskyi

Ukrainian journalist, blogger

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Born in 1984. In 2006 he graduated from Tugan Baranovskyi Donetsk National university of economy and trade. Became famous as blogger under the nickname Frankensstein. He also worked in Donetskaya Pravda magazine, which published his journalistic investigations and analytics.

Denуs is in journalism since 2011. Until 2014 he worked in Donetsk in the “Ostrov” online magazine. Since 2014 he writes for the “Ukrainian Week” magazine, and is also the editor-in-chief of the “4 Vlada” website.

Denуs has left Donetsk after the beginning of Russian occupation, but he continues to follow events in the occupied territories and has reliable information about the true state of things in the so-called “DPR/LPR”

“Occupation of Donbass by russian mercenaries and regular soldiers is certainly a crime. Therefore, like any criminal, Russia tries to convince the world community that it is innocent and does not participate in the war. To do this, it does everything possible to show only the “DPR/LPR” pseudo-republic as a party of the conflict.” – Denуs writes in his blog.

Therefore, while following the developments in the Donbass, it is important to understand that what the media show us is not facts from the front, but a reality show with a large budget, which has its own directors and producers. That’s why taking the Russian version of events seriously is like watching the “War of the Worlds” and believing that the Americans were attacked by aliens. The war in the Donbass is a war between Russia and Ukraine and nothing else. And “DPR” and “LNR” are like the stillborn “Finnish Democratic Republic”, which was formed by USSR authorities in order to cover the invasion of Finland in 1939.

Dr. Michael Carpenter

Senior Director of the Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement at the University of Pennsylvania.

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He holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley and a B.A. in International Relations from Stanford University.

Dr. Carpenter served in the White House as a foreign policy advisor to Vice President Joe Biden and as Director for Russia at the National Security Council. Prior to his service at the White House, he was a career Foreign Service Officer with the State Department. Dr. Carpenter also served abroad in the U.S. Embassies in Poland, Slovenia, and Barbados.

Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense with responsibility for Russia, Ukraine, Eurasia, the Balkans, and Conventional Arms Control.

He is also a nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council and a member of the board of the Jamestown Foundation.

Lieutenant General Ben Hodges

Commander of NATO Allied Land Command

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A native of Quincy, Florida, Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges graduated from the United States Military Academy in May 1980 and was commissioned in the Infantry.

After his first assignment as an Infantry Lieutenant in Germany, he commanded Infantry units at the Company, Battalion and Brigade levels at the 101st Airborne Division and in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. His most recent operational assignment was as Director of Operations, Regional Command South, in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Lt. Gen. Hodges has also served in a variety of Joint and Army Staff positions to include Tactics Instructor at the Infantry School; Chief of Plans, 2nd Infantry Division in Korea; Aide-de-Camp to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe; Army Congressional Liaison Officer; Task Force Senior Observer-Controller at the Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, LA; Coalition/Joint -3 (CJ3) of Multi-National Corps-Iraq in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM; Chief of Staff, XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg; and Director of the Pakistan Afghanistan Coordination Cell on the Joint Staff; Chief of Legislative Liaison for the United States Army.

He has been the Commander of NATO Allied Land Command from 2012 to 2014.

Glen Howard

President of Jamestown Foundation

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Mr. Howard is fluent in Russian and proficient in Azerbaijani and Arabic, and is a regional expert on the Caucasus and Central Asia. He was formerly an Analyst at the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) Strategic Assessment Center. His articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, the Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, and Jane’s Defense Weekly. Mr. Howard has served as a consultant to private sector and governmental agencies, including the U.S. Department of Defense, the National Intelligence Council and major oil companies operating in Central Asia and the Middle East.

Denis Cenușa

Associated expert at the Independent Economic Think-tank “Expert-Group”(Chisinau)

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He is a weekly contributor at the “Info-Prim” News Agency, where between 2015 and 2017 he published more than 100 analytical articles related to European integration and EU-Moldova dialogue.

He is the author of many analysis and researches published in Moldova and abroad. His areas of research comprise: EU-Moldova dialogue, economy of European integration, EU-Russia relationship, EU’s European Neighborhood policy, and energy security.

He is co-editor of the book ‘Deepening EU-Moldova Relations: What, why and how?’. Currently, Denis works closely in projects related to implementation of the Association Agreement between Moldova and EU and energy security.

Denis obtained a Master diploma in European Interdisciplinary Studies at the College of Europe Natolin.

Pavlo Kazarin

Journalist, publiсist

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Born in Crimea. Graduated from Taurida National University, specialized in Russian language and literature. Works in journalism since 2004.

In 2012-2014 worked in Moscow. Cooperated with “Rosbalt’, “Slon.ru”, “Novaya Hazeta”, “New Times”.

Since 2014 lives in Kyiv. Cooperates with ICTV and 24 channels. Columnist at Ukrayinska Pravda, Liga.net, Radio Liberty.

Spheres of professional interests: post soviet driftage, occupied territories, Eastern Europe, the evolution of Ukrainian-Russian relations.

James Bezan

Shadow Minister for National Defence

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Over the course of his parliamentary career, he has chaired the House of Commons Standing Committees for Agriculture and Agri-Food (2006-2008), Environment (2008-2011), and National Defence (2011-2013).

As Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence from 2013-2015, Bezan was active on files dealing with military procurement, mental health issues in the Canadian Armed Forces, the war against ISIS, and Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. Bezan currently serves in the Official Opposition Shadow Cabinet as the Conservative Defence Critic.

Bezan has also been a very outspoken critic on the issue of Russian aggression in Eastern Europe, and protecting Ukraine’s democracy, sovereignty and human rights. As a result, he was one of thirteen Canadian officials sanctioned and banned by the Russian government in 2014. For his work on Ukrainian issues he has been recognized with numerous awards both in Canada and abroad, including the ‘Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise’ (Ukraine’s highest civilian award) for his private members’ bill to recognize the Holomodor as a genocide.

Sergey Datsuk

Philosopher, theorist, thinker

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He is author of 7 books – theoretical work on fundamental philosophy, theory of ontology, logic, semiology, semantics, structural linguistics, artificial intelligence, communication theory, theory of politics (‘Theory of virtual reality” (2008), “Ontologization” ( 2009), “Horizons of constructivism” (2010), “Theory of perspectives” (2011), “The complex new world” (2012), “Intellectual politics” (2010), “Moment of philosophy” ( 2013)). Since graduating from Taras Shevchenko Kyiv State University in 1991, he worked in analysis and expertize of political decsions, since 2002 works as Consultant of Strategic Consulting Corporation «Gardarica».

Sven Sakkov

Director of International Center for Defence and Security (Estonia)

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For the past two years he was the director of NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, an international knowledge hub specializing in research, training and exercises in the areas of technology, strategy, operations and law. As the director of CCDCOE Sven Sakkov led an international team from 20 countries and various specialities.

Between 2008 and 2015 Sakkov served as an undersecretary for defence policy (policy director) of the Ministry of Defence of Estonia. During his tenure as a policy director Sven Sakkov was responsible for policy planning, threat assessments, NATO and EU policy, international cooperation, and arms control. He was an Estonian representative to the NATO’s Senior Officials’ Group.

Previously, he had served at the Estonian Embassy in Washington and Estonian Mission to NATO, as national security and defence advisor to the President of Estonia and as the director of Policy Planning of MOD.

Sven Sakkov has studied at the University of Cambridge (M.Phil. in international relations), University of Tartu (B.A. cum laude in history) and Royal College of Defence Studies (course of 2011-12).

Oksana Syroid

Vice Speaker of the Parliament of Ukraine

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As an MP worked on draft laws on judicial reform, reform of police and prosecution, local self-government reform, as well as actively participated in the work of the Constitutional Commission established in March 2015. She dedicates much of her time to defence and security issues, having contributed a draft law “On the Territory of Ukraine temporary Occupied by Russian Federation”.

Oksana Syroid has previously has worked as Director of All-Ukrainian Charitable Foundation “Ukrainian Legal Foundation”. In 2004-2012 she was the National Project Manager and the Head of Rule of Law Unit at OSCE office in Ukraine. In 2001-2002 she worked in Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. She is a lecturer at the National School of Judges of Ukraine, co-author of handbooks in the area of administrative justice, as well as associate professor of the Law Faculty at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy and a co-founder of Kyiv-Mohyla School of Public Administration.

Oksana Syroid holds Master degree in Laws at University of Ottawa, Ottawa and Taras Shevchenko Kyiv National University and Bachelor degree in Political sciences at National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy.

Jill Sinclair

Senior Advisor, Dept of National Defence

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Jill is currently a Senior Advisor at the Dept of National Defence and is the Canadian Representative to the Ukrainian Defence Reform Advisory Board. She served as Assistant Deputy Minister (Policy) at DND and Assistant Secretary Foreign and Defence at the Privy Council Office. During her career at Foreign Affairs, Jill led the Ottawa Process to ban anti-personnel mines; was the Executive Director of the Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty which led to the creation of R2P; was Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process; worked extensively on arms control, disarmament and human and regional security and had postings to Prague, Havana and the Middle East. She is a Senior Fellow at the University of Ottawa Graduate School of Public Service and International Affairs and volunteers with the Friends of the National Arts Centre Orchestra as the Director of Communications and Outreach.

Dumitru Alaiba

Economist, Projects Director, CPR Moldova

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Five years of experience in international consultancy (Finland, Romania, Latvia and Austria). Coordinated projects in the Balkan and CIS countries, in the field of economics, finance and business climate.

Seven years of experience with the Moldovan Government.

Between 2013 and 2016 – Head of the Secretariat to the Economic Council of the Prime Minister (EBRD project).

Since January 2017 – programme director at CPR Moldova.

Mykhaylo Honchar

President of the Center for Global Studies “Strategy ХХІ"

More InfoBack to speakers list

Mykhaylo Honchar has over 31 year of professional experience which include service in air force, civil service in National Defence and Security Council of Ukraine, scientific work at National institute of strategic studies and National institute of the problems of international security at the National Defence and Security Council of Ukraine. In 2000s he worked on several positions in oil and gas industry. He holds the honorary award from the “Naftogas Ukrainy” for his work.

He was also the expert of the ukrainian part of the intergovernmental commissions on economic cooperation with Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey. He is the author, co-author and editor of numerous publications dedicated to energy sector issues, energy security and international relations.

Since 2016 he is the member of the National Commission on industry. Since 2017 he is the acting editor of the ”Black Sea Security” magazine. He holds the status of the associated fellow of Razumkov Center and the Center of Russian studies.

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12 January

Why Putin Likes the West?

“Why Putin Likes the West” may seem to be an anomalous title for my remarks. …

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“Why Putin Likes the West” may seem to be an anomalous title for my remarks.  After all, what we incessantly hear is that Putin is blaming the West for everything.  We hear about Russia’s “lost pride,” that it is “humiliated,” “embittered,” “insulted,” “lost,” “confused.”  One of the advisors to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in the last presidential campaign said, “Putin has been trying hard to find love, appreciation and recognition.”

The demonstrable facts are opposite.  Fiona Hill is formerly from the Brookings Institution, a well-recognized think tank in Washington, and is now with the National Security Council in the White House. She is recognized in many circles as a Russia and Putin expert. A few years ago, she wrote a book about Putin where she said that Putin is “unable to understand the mindset of Americans and Europeans and their political dynamics.”

For someone who doesn’t understand us, however, Putin has done quite well. Let’s just take one example. We have his money in our bank.  We hold the key. Yet he steadily expands his aggression.  He doesn’t feel that his money is at risk, or shows any concern about sanctions. Why not? Where does he get his self-assurance from?  We gave it to him.

Putin is not brilliant. But he knows and understand very well the hundred history of relations with the West. He has identified patterns of Western behavior, thinking and emotions that are clear and predictable, and therefore reliable.  His  conclusions, based on those patterns, are also reliable.  He sees repeated strategic blunders by the West, squandered opportunities, and an inability and absence of political will to think and act strategically, in an affirmative, and not a reactive, manner. But how can this possibly be the case if, as we tell ourselves, it was the West that “won the Cold War”? We’ll return to that question later.

What is the history that Putin sees? In 1918, Ukraine declared independence, was recognized by Lenin and was promptly invaded. Ukraine turned to the West, requesting aid in the form of surplus WWI equipment and medication. Ukraine was denied. Ukraine warned that in a generation the West would be confronted directly by Russia. Ukraine was ignored. Moscow of course conquered and occupied Ukraine, and its control of Ukraine was pivotal to the formation and viability of the Soviet Union.

In 1933, the United States extended diplomatic recognition to the Soviet Union at the same time that Moscow was using starvation to break the back of Ukrainian resistance. In the eyes of the world, recognition represented America’s legitimization, acceptance and approval of Stalin’s murderous regime. Furthermore, this was legitimization, acceptance and approval by America, the Satan of the capitalist world, the intended victim of the very regime that had declared itself the leader in the world campaign to destroy capitalist America.  How do we expect Putin to interpret this?

In World War II, the West liberated Europe, but only part of it. We allowed one tyrant, Hitler’s partner, to replace another.  The West in effect measured the dimensions of the Iron Curtain.  America’s Lend/Lease program delivered far more equipment and material to the Soviet Union than necessary for military needs. Unfortunately, Moscow used the “Made in America” label to crush the underground resistance movements in Ukraine and in the Baltics, and also the uprisings in the GULag in the early 1950’s.

From the late 1940’s and for 40 years, the West–essentially the United States–pursued a policy of containment, seeking to contain Soviet expansionism. Containment, however, did not contain.  Compare the relative position of the United States and the Soviet Union after WWII, and then 40 years later.  There was a dramatic shift, with the Soviet Union having massively increased its global influence and military capacity, compared to the US.

The problem with containment was that it was exclusively reactive, with no sense of the West undertaking any affirmative measures to bring about the dissolution of the USSR.  We surrendered situational control to the Kremlin. We concluded that the only way to deal with a pyromaniac was to build a very expensive, very large and very mobile fire department that would run around the world, putting out fires that were set by the Kremlin, at its choice of time, place and intensity.  Containment was based on hope.  But if hope is not a policy or strategy for the stock market, how can it be the basis for national security?  Not surprisingly, the prominent American journalist at the time, Walter Lippmann, described containment not as a strategy, but as a “strategic monstrosity.”

But containment’s most fundamental flaw was that it didn’t recognize, in the least, the multi-national structure of the Soviet Union, that it was a colonial empire.  Containment perpetuated the “Russia”/”Soviet Union” equivalence that distorted Western thinking from the very first days of the Soviet Union. This was a massive continuing blunder, one that helped Moscow’s repression of the captive nations of the Soviet Union.  Today, a full generation after the fall of the USSR precisely because it was not simply “Russia,” the same “Russia”/”Soviet Union” equivalence is still repeated by US government officials at the very highest levels.

The Reagan Administration broke the mold, and went beyond the reactive framework of containment. He undertook affirmative measures to cause the dissolution of the USSR.  After the election of George Bush, Sr., however, the US reversed.  Astonishingly, we worked to preserve the USSR intact. Jack Matlock, the US ambassador to the Soviet Union at the time, said directly: “The common assumption that the West forced the collapse of the Soviet Union and thus won the Cold War is wrong. The breakup of the USSR into 15 separate countries was not something the United States caused or wanted.”  As we know, Ukraine ignored Washington, declared independence, and the rest is history. So, the question is, was the Cold War “won” because of, or in spite of, American policy?

What happened after the fall of the USSR? We never implemented or even conceived of establishing a “Marshall Plan” to secure the independence and security of the former captive nations as a bulwark against Russia. We did not do what we did with the Marshall Plan in Europe in WWII, even though the necessity for doing so after the fall of the Soviet Union was ten times greater.  Unlike the devastated economy and military capacity of Germany, the Soviet economy, though in poor shape, was intact. And its military capability was very much intact as well. But most critically, while Germany came to terms with its past, and admitted, apologized for its crimes, Moscow went in the opposite direction.  It celebrates its crimes.

Why did we take such a passive attitude? Because, again, we simply “hoped” that things would change.  How, why? What, exactly, did we think the millions in the KGB, in the nomenklatura, would do, where would they go?  They would somehow become democrats overnight?  Why? How? What about the secret people making secret poisons in secret laboratories in secret cities?  How could we possible consider that that vast repressive system, with such a bloody history, would simply suddenly change.  Again, we simply “hoped” that it would. This total lack of responsibility by Western democracies for their very own security, the passivity and refusal to face reality and anticipate the future, is startling.  Unfortunately, it was not the first time.

History is another name for experience, and experience is another name for a book of lessons.  What lessons does Putin draw from all this?  His first conclusion is that the West itself has learned no lasting lessons.  We have not learned from our experience, and therefore have no predictive capacity.  Our experience was never sufficiently painful to leave a lasting imprint on our societal memory or political institutions.  Thus, for example, President Obama came into office wholly innocent about Moscow, but at the end he was hopefully at least somewhat more aware. But the revolving door in politics preventing the solidification of lessons to be learned. What conclusions do we expect Putin to reach?

Furthermore, Putin knows that we don’t have any understanding that Russia is a predator state.  We have no conception of the Soviet system, and cannot grasp the significance of Putin’s background and his resurrection of Stalin, and how that impacts us.  In 1999 he celebrated Stalin’s birthday, and in that year, we also saw the Moscow’s false flag operations in the Moscow apartment bombings, serving as a pretext for Moscow wage a war against Chechnya.   His so-called Millennium Speech at the end of that year was an unmistakable blueprint for his future.  Only months later, in 2000, Condoleezza Rice was asked at a conference in the US what was the key issue that would indicate to her what kind of person Putin was, if he would be the kind of person that the US “could work with”. She replied that it would depend on what kind of tax reforms he would undertake.

Later that year, we saw no significance to Putin’s celebration of Felix Dzerzhinsky’s birthday, the notorious founder of the Cheka, precursor to the NKVD and KGB.  And that was on 9/11, the day of the destruction of the World Trade Center towers.  In February 2002, Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, Putin, in his typically probing manner, carefully introduced Soviet symbolism. No reaction by the West. In the following year, in 2003, Michael McFaul, President Obama’s future ambassador to Russia, published a book predicting that Russia was no longer a threat to the West.

We don’t bat an eyelash over the fact that there is a “KGB Bar” in New York City, or that Jay Kearney, President Obama’s press secretary, has Soviet propaganda posters in his home, and splashed on the pages of a major Washington magazine with no objection by anyone. By April 2005, when Putin lamented that the fall of the Soviet Union as a “tragedy”, he had already for six years been celebrating its bloody past.  The West ignored it all.  Today, Che Guevera remains a fashion statement.

Putin sees the West as caught in a self-imposed requirement “not to offend” or “not to antagonize the Russians.”  On July 2, 1934, the British Foreign Office received an inquiry from the House of Commons about Moscow’s starvation of Ukraine.  The internal memo circulated within the Foreign Office read: “We do not want to make it [information about the Ukrainian genocide] public, because the Soviet Government would resent it and our relations with them would be prejudiced. We cannot give this explanation in public.”

George Orwell’s Animal Farm was rejected by 14 publishers because they “didn’t want to offend the Russians.”

In the 1970’s and 80’s, Western intelligence knew that the Kremlin was organizing, directing and financing Middle East terrorism against the West under the name of “Arab Nationalism”.  Later it also extended to terrorism by local actors in Germany, Italy and Ireland. Yet Western politicians wanted to keep this quiet, not wanting to “offend the Russians.”

The United States, in particular, seems to be particularly compelled to “make nice.”  “Can’t we just get along and be friends?” President Truman is generally recognized as having been more hard headed than President Roosevelt, but even Truman wrote in his diary, after the war was over and when it was already clear that Stalin had deceived the West about Eastern Europe: “I’m not afraid of Russia.  They’ve always been our friends, and I don’t see why they shouldn’t always be … So let’s just get along.” The same approach we see repeated by Presidents Carter, Bush and Obama.  Only months after Putin invaded Georgia, President Obama initiated his infamous “reset” with Russia.  How can it be that it is we who made the overture to Putin, and not the other way around?

Putin sees us trying to transfer our commercial genetic code and our deal making culture to our relations with the Kremlin.  That does not work.  The words “stability” and “management” appear endlessly in Western writing and commentary about Russia.  That is what “doing business” requires.  But that has never been the way that the Kremlin operates.  It thrives, needs and therefore creates instability.  It is always on the offensive. It exerts a hydraulic pressure of pushing, accusing, blaming, distorting, demanding and attacking. Relentlessly. The West, on the other hand, is reactive only, perpetually responding from one crisis to another to another.  We are Pavlovian. 

And, of course, doing business means entering into agreements.  In our psyche, an agreement is a roadmap to resolving a problem. Agreements with Russia do work, but in the very opposite direction and with the opposite result that the agreements are meant to achieve. We scrupulously comply with agreements.  Russia scrupulously does not. Indeed, the one exception to our trying to superimpose our commercial heritage in dealing with Russia is that we tolerate and encourage the very kind of behavior that we would never tolerate in a business setting–endless breaches of agreements by the other side of the table.  The only exception to our lack of predictive capacity that I mentioned earlier is that we have superb predictive capacity about Moscow’s breach of the very next agreement. But we simply do not care. Inexplicably, we always come back for more. After WWII, the US was #1 in the world, the sole superpower, economically and militarily.  Only the US had the atomic bomb.  After forty years of containment and dozens of agreements with Moscow, what was the result?  The USSR had expanded its global influence immeasurably, and its military/nuclear capacity had at least reached parity with the US. So much for agreements.

And finally, there is the question of money. Since day #1 of the Soviet regime through today, the West has transferred untold amounts in economic value to Moscow, whether in forms of credits, technology, know how, or other economic benefit. Without the West having propped up the Soviet Union economically throughout its existence, it would have collapsed much, much earlier.  The other side of it is that it is we who are captive to Russia’s money, and not the other way around. In 2006, a British citizen was assassinated by a miniature nuclear device in the front yard of Buckingham Palace, so to speak.  Alexander Litvinenko, a British citizen, was the victim of nuclear warfare on British territory. What did three successive British Prime Ministers do?  Nothing. Russian money purchased London.

So, what are the consequences when the West has such a character profile? We are hugely susceptible to what I call “strategic deception”.  George Orwell called it “reality control.”  The late historian, Robert Conquest, was more direct and call it simply “mind slaughter.”  When dezinformatsia, maskirovka, provokatsia, kompromat, agitatsia combine together and superimpose a total disorientation, a false framework of perception, whether on a person or on an entire nation, it creates not just an alternative reality.  It creates a total reality reversal.  It’s doubly dangerous, because it’s in our subconscious.  I sometimes give the example of your waking up in the middle of the night and finding yourself in the wilderness.  You look for the bright star in the sky, the North star, in order to get your bearings.  You see the star, or you think you do.  However, you do not realize that while you were asleep you were transported to the Southern Hemisphere. All of your decisions and actions are correct, based on the assumption of that bright star that you see is what you assume it is– the North Star.  But it’s not.  You wind up walking in the opposite direction. You don’t even think about questioning the accuracy of the assumption because you’re not even aware of it.

What is the first reality reversal that we confront?  That Russia is merely being “defensive.”  You’ve heard it all before, and I know that no one here shares that view.  Nevertheless, it remains an enormously powerful one, regardless of the fact that Russia’s most recent intrusion into the electoral processes in Europe and the US.  You all know the litany–that Russia has “security needs,” that it requires “spheres of influence,” that it is “afraid of NATO encirclement”, that it has “legitimate interests” and “historic claims,” that it feels “victimized” by World War II, that it needs a “buffer,” etc.

This is nothing new.  President Roosevelt assured us: “Stalin doesn’t want anything but security for his country, and I think that if I give him everything I possibly can and ask nothing from him in return, he won’t try to annex anything and will work with me for a world of democracy and peace.”  That, obviously, was during the war. But after WWII, and similar to what President Truman had said, Secretary of State Dean Acheson added: “To have friendly governments along her borders is essential both for the security of the Soviet Union and the peace of the world.”

Much credit is due to Mitt Romney and his advisers, when during the first presidential debate with President Obama Romney identified Russia as America’s primary geopolitical foe.  Unfortunately, Mr. Romney later wrote an article in The Wall Street Journal where he said that America should give the Kremlin assurances that we wouldn’t threaten Russia’s influence in Kyiv. This is reality reversal.

“Russia’s immense contribution in World War II is part of their proud history of standing up to imperialist powers.”  This is in the introduction of an extended speech that US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, gave in January of this year.  I was pleased to hear that, in the balance of the speech, and after many years Samantha Power had begun to understand some of the reality about Russia, but her statement at the beginning is inexcusable. In the 1890’s, the Russian General Staff conducted a study of military campaigns between 1700 and 1870.  Thirty-eight wars were fought. Two were defensive.  How else do you become the largest empire, and also the largest country, in the world, encompassing an entire one-third of Asia and much of the European sub-continent?  You do not do so by being “defensive.”

When we participate in such reality reversal we become multipliers in the denial of history, in the denial of the victimization of entire nations, and in the applause of the perpetrator. Why don’t they have the right to exist?  It is the victim nations that the Kremlin has persecuted for generations, and in many instances for centuries, that have the right to feel secure, who have “historic claims” against Russia, who need “spheres of influence,” and who require a “buffer.” And it was the failure of the West to recognize this, and to help secure this, that has led to the situation that now confronts us.

Part of that same “defensive” deception is Russia’s re-engineering of World War II. “Had it not been for the colossal sacrifices made by the Soviet Union in WWII–in which they lost more than 20 million people, many times more than any other nation, friend or foe–the war would have dragged on much longer.”  Again, this is Ambassador Power speaking on that same occasion. And note that Power again equates “Russia” with the “Soviet Union,” and even describes the Soviet Union as a “nation.” It was not.  It was an empire.  A quarter of century after the fall of the USSR, far too many Western politician and commentator continue to speak and think in precisely the same terms.  This is inexcusable, and again illustrates that we have never grasped the very essence of the USSR, or the meaning of Putin’s celebration of it.

As to World War II, itself, let’s be clear that Stalin and Hitler were not simply allies.  They were equal partners, joint venturers.  When Hitler was appointed Chancellor in January 1933, the German armaments industry was already far along the path toward being rebuilt.  In the Treaty of Rapallo between Germany and Moscow in the 1920’s, the Soviet Union provided critical materials for the rebuilding of Germany’s military capability, much of it plundered, ironically, from Ukraine.  German military maneuvers took place on Soviet territory.  Tours of the growing GULag were provided. And this was at the same time that Western, particularly American, industrial assistance was flowing to the Soviet Union. How does Putin assess our strategic acumen?

How many decades have passed since the end of World War II?  Why don’t we ever hear about Hitler’s purpose for the war?  It was to colonize Ukraine. Only during this past summer did Yale’s Professor Timothy Snyder address the German Bundestag reminding Germany of its history.  It’s an astonishing distortion when Germany feels guilt about WWII and “Russland”, when it was “Russland” that started the war together with Germany, and when it was not “Russland” but Ukraine that was Germany’s target and greatest victim.  The number of Allied troops that invaded Normandy was 132,000.  The number of Wehrmacht and other troops that invaded the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa on June 22, 1941, was 3.2 million.  And that did not just include Germany troops, but Hungarian, Rumanian, Slovakian, Finnish, and Italian troops as well. Do we refer to those countries today as “Nazi”?  It’s no wonder that Ukraine suffered more than any other country during World War II, whether measured in terms of loss of humanity or physical destruction.  Four time more Ukrainian civilians were killed in World War II than the combined military deaths of the United States, France, Italy, Great Britain, Canada. Millions more Ukrainians were killed serving in the military and taken as slave laborers to Germany.  Ukrainians are Nazis? It’s another massive reality reversal, another strategic deception.

Yet another example in the strategic deception that Russia is merely being “defensive” is the drumbeat of NATO “encirclement”. First, I suggest we look at a map. How many NATO countries border Russia? “Encirclement,” even partial “encirclement”, is a geographic impossibility. And even if it were possible, we are to somehow feel guilty about it?  Second, Putin knows that NATO is defensive. He knows there that is no chance, whatsoever, that NATO will somehow invade Russia.  Stalin knew about NATO and its purpose before it even formally existed. Third, we never exhibited the psychology of affirmative, “take the offensive” thinking about Russia during the last 100 years even where there was never any military component. Fourth, if there was ever a time for fear of an invasion, it was during WWII and immediately thereafter.  That never happened, and could not have, given the absence in the West of any understanding of Moscow’s threat.  Fifth, how, exactly, will more than two dozen nations be coordinated?  For what purpose?  To achieve what?  Finally, for us to believe that “fear of NATO encirclement” is something that Putin actually believes, would require that we simply ignore the hard, demonstrable truth that he in fact knows and understands our societies, cultures, and political institutions better than we do.  He has proven that.  Does anyone here in the room really think that public panic (due to what, exactly?) in the West about Russia will rise to the level that it translates into political decisions for a coordinated military invasion of Russia? This is nonsense.  Putin and Lavrov may beat that drum for domestic and foreign consumption, but they know reality well enough.  So should we.

The second example of reality reversal, and the success of it, is Western talk about “engaging” Russia in fighting ISIS.  Where is the logic of that, however, when the roots of ISIS and Al Qaeda reach back to the genetic code for “Arab nationalism” that the Kremlin created in the 1970’s and ’80’s at Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow and the surrounding KGB training camps?   Today, Moscow does not have to be directing or controlling ISIS. It simply gets the benefit of a weakened, disoriented, disheartened and dispirited West.  Furthermore, consider the “genius” (a word hard to use in this context) that it took for Moscow to be able to turn the Middle East against the West a generation or more ago.  First, the Soviet Union was an atheistic state.  Second, it –and before that, the Russian Empire–had a violent history of suppressing the Muslim nations of the Caucasus and Central Asia. And yet the Kremlin prevailed, and a Nobel Prize was awarded to its creation, Yasser Arafat. Truly, a remarkable achievement.

Finally, Ukraine.  I know there are those present for whom Ukraine is not on the mental map as are other “traditional” countries of Europe, such as Poland or Italy, for example.  I will not get into the distortions of Russian historiography that were put in place in the 18th and 19th centuries, and will only mention that Russian historiographers who emigrated to the West after the Bolshevik coup d’état established the foundation of so- called “Russian studies” in the West.  Though the historiographers may not have been supportive of the Bolshevik regime, they nevertheless transplanted to the West the imperial history that they themselves fashioned and absorbed.

We’ve all heard the arguments: “Russia traces its 1000 year history to its beginnings in Kiev”, “Ukraine is a historic part of Russia,” “Kievan Russia was the beginning of modern Russia,” “a thousand years of Russian Christianity.” As a result, as Putin whispered in President Bush’s ear, Ukraine does not exist. Neither did it for Hitler, who identified Ukrainians in the camps as either Russians or Poles.

So let’s examine the reality reversal, the strategic deception that is grounded in the anomaly of the periphery of the Kyivan Rus’ state, Russia, pre-empting and laying claim to the center, Kyiv.  And remember, at that time the amount of Russian territory that was part of the Kyivan Rus’ empire was only some 3% or so of Russia that we know today.

Firstly, I know of no other instance in history or geography where the creation of an artificial 1000 year pedigree is used to justify war, invasion and terrorism today and accepted so totally uncritically by the West. Indeed, it is more logically and intellectually consistent to justify Kyiv’s “historic claim” to Russia, as part of Kyiv’s former empire.

Secondly, even if we accept the “thousand year history” argument, then what is the result?  Because of the Viking influence in the establishment of the Kyivan Rus’ state, Ukraine today can claim Oslo, Stockholm or Copenhagen as the beginnings of Ukraine?  Norwegians, Swedes and Danes are “really” Ukrainians”, or “Little Ukrainians” or “younger brothers”? The same holds true with the influence of Byzantium on Kyivan Rus’, complete with the Cyrillic alphabet and religion. Ukraine “really” began in Byzantium/Istanbul? Today’s France, as Spain, Germany and Israel, were part of the Roman Empire, as was part of Russia a part of the Kyivan Rus’ state. Does that mean that France can claim that Rome is “really” French, and that Italians are Frenchmen?  And what of Romania, which appropriated even the name of Rome, as Russia did with “Rus'”? What is the German word for France?  Frankreich.  Land of the Franks, a Germanic tribe.  What are we to conclude from that?  France has a claim to Germany, or is it the other way around?  I will not belabor the point.  Ignorance of history, and the lack of critical thinking on something that is not very deep, makes the West, again, a prime target for such reality reversal.

So why does Putin like the West?  First, the West does not understand how and why it finds itself in the situation that it is in today.  One country, with nothing to offer to the world, has managed to put the Western democracies on the ropes. How, why, is any of this possible?  And why are we suddenly so very surprised.  But where do we see any self-examination? Second, Western attention to Ukraine has historically been at the opposite end of the spectrum compared to Moscow’s razor focus.

Even today, Western concern doesn’t even begin to approach the degree of seriousness that is necessary, given that Ukraine drove the nail into the coffin of the USSR, and in a very real sense saving the world from it.  In addition, as we know Ukraine surrendered its nuclear arsenal, in large part to its historic persecutor.   What do we think that Putin makes of all this?  What conclusions does he draw? His money is safe with us, and existing sanctions are and will remain inconsequential in impacting the situation on the ground. Force controls.

I suggest that in the next two days we seek to benefit from the Forum so that we can return to our respective countries in order, ultimately, to work for their national security interests. And that is achieved by anchoring the security and independence of Ukraine as the best chance we have of turning Russia inward. We must think strategically and escape from the perpetual defensive, reactive position that the Kremlin has frozen us into.  And let there be no mistake. This is of global consequence, as tyrants in the Middle East, China, North Korea see that the West both recognizes and has the will to act in its own self-interest.

 

Victor Rud, the Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of Ukrainian American Bar Association

16 December

Why Putin Likes the West?

Victor Rud. Long read. Part 1.   “Why Putin Likes the West” may seem to…

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Victor Rud. Long read. Part 1.

 

“Why Putin Likes the West” may seem to be an anomalous title for my remarks.  After all, what we incessantly hear is that Putin is blaming the West for everything.  We hear about Russia’s “lost pride,” that it is “humiliated,” “embittered,” “insulted,” “lost,” “confused.”  One of the advisors to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in the last presidential campaign said, “Putin has been trying hard to find love, appreciation and recognition.”

The demonstrable facts are opposite.  Fiona Hill is formerly from the Brookings Institution, a well-recognized think tank in Washington, and is now with the National Security Council in the White House. She is recognized in many circles as a Russia and Putin expert. A few years ago, she wrote a book about Putin where she said that Putin is “unable to understand the mindset of Americans and Europeans and their political dynamics.”

For someone who doesn’t understand us, however, Putin has done quite well. Let’s just take one example. We have his money in our bank.  We hold the key. Yet he steadily expands his aggression.  He doesn’t feel that his money is at risk, or shows any concern about sanctions. Why not? Where does he get his self-assurance from?  We gave it to him.

Putin is not brilliant. But he knows and understand very well the hundred history of relations with the West. He has identified patterns of Western behavior, thinking and emotions that are clear and predictable, and therefore reliable.  His  conclusions, based on those patterns, are also reliable.  He sees repeated strategic blunders by the West, squandered opportunities, and an inability and absence of political will to think and act strategically, in an affirmative, and not a reactive, manner. But how can this possibly be the case if, as we tell ourselves, it was the West that “won the Cold War”? We’ll return to that question later.

What is the history that Putin sees? In 1918, Ukraine declared independence, was recognized by Lenin and was promptly invaded. Ukraine turned to the West, requesting aid in the form of surplus WWI equipment and medication. Ukraine was denied. Ukraine warned that in a generation the West would be confronted directly by Russia. Ukraine was ignored. Moscow of course conquered and occupied Ukraine, and its control of Ukraine was pivotal to the formation and viability of the Soviet Union.

In 1933, the United States extended diplomatic recognition to the Soviet Union at the same time that Moscow was using starvation to break the back of Ukrainian resistance. In the eyes of the world, recognition represented America’s legitimization, acceptance and approval of Stalin’s murderous regime. Furthermore, this was legitimization, acceptance and approval by America, the Satan of the capitalist world, the intended victim of the very regime that had declared itself the leader in the world campaign to destroy capitalist America.  How do we expect Putin to interpret this?

In World War II, the West liberated Europe, but only part of it. We allowed one tyrant, Hitler’s partner, to replace another.  The West in effect measured the dimensions of the Iron Curtain.  America’s Lend/Lease program delivered far more equipment and material to the Soviet Union than necessary for military needs. Unfortunately, Moscow used the “Made in America” label to crush the underground resistance movements in Ukraine and in the Baltics, and also the uprisings in the GULag in the early 1950’s.

From the late 1940’s and for 40 years, the West–essentially the United States–pursued a policy of containment, seeking to contain Soviet expansionism. Containment, however, did not contain.  Compare the relative position of the United States and the Soviet Union after WWII, and then 40 years later.  There was a dramatic shift, with the Soviet Union having massively increased its global influence and military capacity, compared to the US.

The problem with containment was that it was exclusively reactive, with no sense of the West undertaking any affirmative measures to bring about the dissolution of the USSR.  We surrendered situational control to the Kremlin. We concluded that the only way to deal with a pyromaniac was to build a very expensive, very large and very mobile fire department that would run around the world, putting out fires that were set by the Kremlin, at its choice of time, place and intensity.  Containment was based on hope.  But if hope is not a policy or strategy for the stock market, how can it be the basis for national security?  Not surprisingly, the prominent American journalist at the time, Walter Lippmann, described containment not as a strategy, but as a “strategic monstrosity.”

But containment’s most fundamental flaw was that it didn’t recognize, in the least, the multi-national structure of the Soviet Union, that it was a colonial empire.  Containment perpetuated the “Russia”/”Soviet Union” equivalence that distorted Western thinking from the very first days of the Soviet Union. This was a massive continuing blunder, one that helped Moscow’s repression of the captive nations of the Soviet Union.  Today, a full generation after the fall of the USSR precisely because it was not simply “Russia,” the same “Russia”/”Soviet Union” equivalence is still repeated by US government officials at the very highest levels.

The Reagan Administration broke the mold, and went beyond the reactive framework of containment. He undertook affirmative measures to cause the dissolution of the USSR.  After the election of George Bush, Sr., however, the US reversed.  Astonishingly, we worked to preserve the USSR intact. Jack Matlock, the US ambassador to the Soviet Union at the time, said directly: “The common assumption that the West forced the collapse of the Soviet Union and thus won the Cold War is wrong. The breakup of the USSR into 15 separate countries was not something the United States caused or wanted.”  As we know, Ukraine ignored Washington, declared independence, and the rest is history. So, the question is, was the Cold War “won” because of, or in spite of, American policy?

What happened after the fall of the USSR? We never implemented or even conceived of establishing a “Marshall Plan” to secure the independence and security of the former captive nations as a bulwark against Russia. We did not do what we did with the Marshall Plan in Europe in WWII, even though the necessity for doing so after the fall of the Soviet Union was ten times greater.  Unlike the devastated economy and military capacity of Germany, the Soviet economy, though in poor shape, was intact. And its military capability was very much intact as well. But most critically, while Germany came to terms with its past, and admitted, apologized for its crimes, Moscow went in the opposite direction.  It celebrates its crimes.

Why did we take such a passive attitude? Because, again, we simply “hoped” that things would change.  How, why? What, exactly, did we think the millions in the KGB, in the nomenklatura, would do, where would they go?  They would somehow become democrats overnight?  Why? How? What about the secret people making secret poisons in secret laboratories in secret cities?  How could we possible consider that that vast repressive system, with such a bloody history, would simply suddenly change.  Again, we simply “hoped” that it would. This total lack of responsibility by Western democracies for their very own security, the passivity and refusal to face reality and anticipate the future, is startling.  Unfortunately, it was not the first time.

History is another name for experience, and experience is another name for a book of lessons.  What lessons does Putin draw from all this?  His first conclusion is that the West itself has learned no lasting lessons.  We have not learned from our experience, and therefore have no predictive capacity.  Our experience was never sufficiently painful to leave a lasting imprint on our societal memory or political institutions.  Thus, for example, President Obama came into office wholly innocent about Moscow, but at the end he was hopefully at least somewhat more aware. But the revolving door in politics preventing the solidification of lessons to be learned. What conclusions do we expect Putin to reach?

Furthermore, Putin knows that we don’t have any understanding that Russia is a predator state.  We have no conception of the Soviet system, and cannot grasp the significance of Putin’s background and his resurrection of Stalin, and how that impacts us.  In 1999 he celebrated Stalin’s birthday, and in that year, we also saw the Moscow’s false flag operations in the Moscow apartment bombings, serving as a pretext for Moscow wage a war against Chechnya.   His so-called Millennium Speech at the end of that year was an unmistakable blueprint for his future.  Only months later, in 2000, Condoleezza Rice was asked at a conference in the US what was the key issue that would indicate to her what kind of person Putin was, if he would be the kind of person that the US “could work with”. She replied that it would depend on what kind of tax reforms he would undertake.

Later that year, we saw no significance to Putin’s celebration of Felix Dzerzhinsky’s birthday, the notorious founder of the Cheka, precursor to the NKVD and KGB.  And that was on 9/11, the day of the destruction of the World Trade Center towers.  In February 2002, Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, Putin, in his typically probing manner, carefully introduced Soviet symbolism. No reaction by the West. In the following year, in 2003, Michael McFaul, President Obama’s future ambassador to Russia, published a book predicting that Russia was no longer a threat to the West.

We don’t bat an eyelash over the fact that there is a “KGB Bar” in New York City, or that Jay Kearney, President Obama’s press secretary, has Soviet propaganda posters in his home, and splashed on the pages of a major Washington magazine with no objection by anyone. By April 2005, when Putin lamented that the fall of the Soviet Union as a “tragedy”, he had already for six years been celebrating its bloody past.  The West ignored it all.  Today, Che Guevera remains a fashion statement.

Putin sees the West as caught in a self-imposed requirement “not to offend” or “not to antagonize the Russians.”  On July 2, 1934, the British Foreign Office received an inquiry from the House of Commons about Moscow’s starvation of Ukraine.  The internal memo circulated within the Foreign Office read: “We do not want to make it [information about the Ukrainian genocide] public, because the Soviet Government would resent it and our relations with them would be prejudiced. We cannot give this explanation in public.”

George Orwell’s Animal Farm was rejected by 14 publishers because they “didn’t want to offend the Russians.”

In the 1970’s and 80’s, Western intelligence knew that the Kremlin was organizing, directing and financing Middle East terrorism against the West under the name of “Arab Nationalism”.  Later it also extended to terrorism by local actors in Germany, Italy and Ireland. Yet Western politicians wanted to keep this quiet, not wanting to “offend the Russians.”

The United States, in particular, seems to be particularly compelled to “make nice.”  “Can’t we just get along and be friends?” President Truman is generally recognized as having been more hard headed than President Roosevelt, but even Truman wrote in his diary, after the war was over and when it was already clear that Stalin had deceived the West about Eastern Europe: “I’m not afraid of Russia.  They’ve always been our friends, and I don’t see why they shouldn’t always be . . . so let’s just get along.” The same approach we see repeated by Presidents Carter, Bush and Obama.  Only months after Putin invaded Georgia, President Obama initiated his infamous “reset” with Russia.  How can it be that it is we who made the overture to Putin, and not the other way around?

Putin sees us trying to transfer our commercial genetic code and our deal making culture to our relations with the Kremlin.  That does not work.  The words “stability” and “management” appear endlessly in Western writing and commentary about Russia.  That is what “doing business” requires.  But that has never been the way that the Kremlin operates.  It thrives, needs and therefore creates instability.  It is always on the offensive. It exerts a hydraulic pressure of pushing, accusing, blaming, distorting, demanding and attacking. Relentlessly. The West, on the other hand, is reactive only, perpetually responding from one crisis to another to another.  We are Pavlovian.

And, of course, doing business means entering into agreements.  In our psyche, an agreement is a roadmap to resolving a problem. Agreements with Russia do work, but in the very opposite direction and with the opposite result that the agreements are meant to achieve. We scrupulously comply with agreements.  Russia scrupulously does not. Indeed, the one exception to our trying to superimpose our commercial heritage in dealing with Russia is that we tolerate and encourage the very kind of behavior that we would never tolerate in a business setting–endless breaches of agreements by the other side of the table.  The only exception to our lack of predictive capacity that I mentioned earlier is that we have superb predictive capacity about Moscow’s breach of the very next agreement. But we simply do not care. Inexplicably, we always come back for more. After WWII, the US was #1 in the world, the sole superpower, economically and militarily.  Only the US had the atomic bomb.  After forty years of containment and dozens of agreements with Moscow, what was the result?  The USSR had expanded its global influence immeasurably, and its military/nuclear capacity had at least reached parity with the US. So much for agreements.

And finally, there is the question of money. Since day #1 of the Soviet regime through today, the West has transferred untold amounts in economic value to Moscow, whether in forms of credits, technology, know how, or other economic benefit. Without the West having propped up the Soviet Union economically throughout its existence, it would have collapsed much, much earlier.  The other side of it is that it is we who are captive to Russia’s money, and not the other way around. In 2006, a British citizen was assassinated by a miniature nuclear device in the front yard of Buckingham Palace, so to speak.  Alexander Litvinenko, a British citizen, was the victim of nuclear warfare on British territory. What did three successive British Prime Ministers do?  Nothing. Russian money purchased London.

15 December

Victor Rud: West didn’t recognize that USSR was a colonial empire. And that helps Moscow’s repression of the captive nations of the Soviet Union

  Victor Rud, the Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of Ukrainian American Bar…

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Victor Rud, the Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of Ukrainian American Bar Association at Lviv Security Forum:

 «Containment’s most fundamental flaw was that West didn’t recognize the multi-national structure of the Soviet Union, that it was a colonial empire.  Containment perpetuated the “Russia = Soviet Union” equivalence that distorted Western thinking from the very first days of the Soviet Union. This was a massive continuing blunder, one that helped Moscow’s repression of the captive nations of the Soviet Union.

Today, a full generation after the fall of the USSR precisely because it was not simply “Russia,” the same “Russia”/”Soviet Union” equivalence is still repeated by US government officials at the very highest levels.»

 

 

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