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Why is Ukraine gritty in the eyes of Russian President Putin?

Russian President Putin
Russian President Putin

When Putin attended the closing ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympic Games on the evening of February 23, 2014, he had a distinct smile of satisfaction on his face. Early that day in Moscow, he offered flowers to the tombs of unknown warriors.

No one who saw him had any idea that he had taken a big decision about Ukraine at an important meeting in the early hours of that day.

Those closest to him were Defense Minister Sergei Shoegu, Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrusheff, FSB Director Alexander Bortynikov, and President’s Chief of Staff Sergei Ivanoff.

Later, giving details of this meeting at Putin’s Nava-Ogarevo residence, Putin said, “This meeting ended at seven in the morning. Then I asked everyone to go to sleep. On the way, I told my four companions Such a situation has arisen in Ukraine that it has become necessary for us to start working to reunify its part of Crimea into Russia.”

Decision on sending army to Ukraine in the meeting

The secrecy of this meeting can be gauged from the fact that Prime Minister Medvedev, Foreign Minister Lavroff, and Finance Minister Silvanof were not even invited.
Robert Seva writes in Putin’s biography ‘Kremlin Winter: Russia and the Second Coming of Vladimir Putin’, “This meeting can be compared to a meeting convened by the ailing party general secretary Leonid Brezhnoff in December 1979 at which Afghanistan The decision to send troops was made in the year 2015. The meeting was attended by then-Defense Minister Dmitry Ustinof, KGB chief Yuri Andropoff, Foreign Minister Andrey Gromiko, and Politburo member Mikhail Suslof.

“Prime Minister Alexei Kosygin was not present in this meeting. The difference between the 2014 meeting and this meeting was that Foreign Minister Gromiko was called to that meeting. Putin was completely healthy compared to the ailing Brezhnoff.”

Nikolai Patrusheff believed that Russian forces should be sent to Ukraine without delay. At the same time, Sergei Shoegu was advising caution given the experience of Afghanistan.

Perhaps the reason for this has also been that the responsibility of the performance of the Russian army in this campaign will be theirs only and only.

Crimea annexed to Russia

After this, he also took control of other important buildings of the peninsula. After this, pro-Russian lawmakers elected the head of the Russian Unity Party, Sergei Aksanoff, as prime minister.

This vote was a violation of the Constitution of Ukraine because any such vote required the permission of the President of Ukraine.

Aksanoff’s first task as soon as he took power was to conduct a referendum on the merger of Crimea with Russia. On 16 March, the voters of Crimea with a large majority put their stamp on the merger with Russia.

Two days later, Putin went to the Federal Assembly in Moscow with a proposal to merge Crimea with Russia. Only one MP, Ilya Ponomaref, opposed Putin’s proposal. Putin avenged this by ending his membership in the Duma. They eventually took refuge in Ukraine. On February 27, 2014, Russian soldiers in disguise and masked captured Crimea’s parliament, the Supreme Council of Crimea, in Simferopol, Ukraine.

The tension between Russia and Ukraine was going on for many years

Tensions between Russia and Ukraine have a long history. From the time of Gorbachev, voices of rebellion against Russia were beginning to rise in Ukraine, but people did not take to the streets.

Former Russian Prime Minister Evgeny Primakoff writes in his book ‘Godi versus Bolshoi Politik’, “After the failed uprising against Gorbachev in 1991, some influential Russians wanted Russia to annex the parts of Ukraine bordering it with Russian-speaking countries. The people were in the majority and where Russian security interests were at stake. But something happened that Russian President Boris Yeltsin avoided this possibility by talking to Ukrainian leaders Kravchuk and Leonid Kuchma.”

In 1994, an agreement was signed between Russia, Ukraine, the United States, and Britain under the name of the Budapest Memorandum, under which both Russia and Ukraine reaffirmed their commitment to each other’s sovereignty and borders.

Under this agreement, Ukraine gave up all its nuclear resources. Because of this, Russia’s influence on Ukraine increased as Ukraine became completely dependent on Russia for its fuel supply.

Closer to the EU, Russia angry

Tensions between Russia and Ukraine were further fueled when Viktor Yushchenko won the presidential election in Ukraine in 2004, and he began talking about closer relations with the European Union and becoming a member.

There was also such a discussion that Ukraine also wants to become a member of NATO. As a result, Russia started encouraging Russian-speaking people in Crimea to fight for their rights inside Ukraine.

At a security conference in Munich on February 10, 2007, Putin complained that NATO had not fulfilled a 1990 guarantee that it would not expand eastward.

Putin’s anger also increased from the fact that President Bush agreed to the Kosovo government’s demand for complete independence. The US recognized Kosovo on February 18, 2008, bypassing Russia’s opposition.

Crimea was once part of Russia in Putin’s eyes

Does the question arise that why did Putin decide to annex Crimea to Russia by attacking Ukraine?

Putin’s biographer Steven Lee Myers writes in his book ‘The New Tsar: The Rise and Rain of Vladimir Putin’, “Putin said several times that Crimea was once part of the vast Russian Empire. In 1954, Nikita Khrushchoff annexed Crimea. Ukraine.

“Putin also kept saying that Ukraine was an artificial political entity whose western part was part of Poland before World War II. On the other hand, Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is based and his second argument is if America can attack other countries. So why can’t Russia?”

Fiona Hill, a US intelligence officer who tracked Vladimir Putin’s career, writes in her New York Times article Explaining Putin’s Decade Long Obsession with Ukraine that “Putin has been trying to take control of Ukraine for years. In 2006 He had stopped gas supplies to Ukraine. He has been in power for 22 years, and all this time his mind has revolved around Ukraine. He wants to be the person who can be credited for bringing Ukraine back under Russian control. “

Putin was always in favor of bringing Ukraine into Russia

When asked whether Putin has decided Ukraine without thinking, Fiona Hill says, “From his perspective, it is not so at all. His way of thinking is completely different from ours. We see them as the leaders recorded in the history of Russia. In their view, they have to bring the lost Ukraine back under Russian influence at all costs. Second, Putin has always been against the expansion of NATO. He wants America from Europe. Get out.”

US diplomats in Europe, including its ambassadors to Russia and Ukraine, have repeatedly warned that attempts to enroll Ukraine into NATO will prove disastrous for Putin.

But Franklin Foer writes in the Atlantic magazine, “Putin is less concerned that Ukraine will become a member of NATO. He fears that it may become part of Europe.”

Forbes magazine named Putin the most powerful person in the world

All the European leaders that Putin has met recently on the issue of Ukraine, he has talked to them sitting at a twenty-feet long table on the pretext of social distance.

The New York Times’ Moscow bureau chief Anton Troyansky writes, “Indeed, the 20-foot-long table is a symbol of his distance and isolation from the world. Putin has been rarely seen in public places for nearly two years. State television has often shown him in a room.” I have shown teleconferencing. He has even kept his cabinet members away from him and has invited them to him on a few occasions.”

Millions of Russians see Putin as a patriotic son of Russia who has raised the country along with himself.

At the beginning of this millennium, he became the President of Russia and in March 2018, he was elected President of Russia for the fourth time. Forbes magazine has declared him the most powerful person in the world in 2017 and 2018.

Putin, the owner of excellent health

Putin takes his fitness very seriously and has participated in judo events for decades. His interest in ice hockey has increased in recent years. They have often been seen riding horses and hunting fish.

He is not averse to even posing for a bare body picture. In the year 2011, he has also tried his hand at scuba diving in the Black Sea.

In an interview with Tass, Putin himself admitted that he rarely drinks alcohol and that tea is his favorite drink. Her habit of not drinking alcohol has made her very popular among Russian women.

Robert Service writes in his biography, “Stalin, Brezhnoff, Andropoff, and Yeltsin, and even Gorbachoff, have had health problems to such an extent that people wanted him to retire because of his ill health. But Putin is an exception.” It is part of their public relations policy to give the impression to the people of Russia that their leaders are quite healthy.”

Putin’s desire to bring Ukraine with Russia

Putin has been in favor of honesty in public life. According to a Kremlin website, in April 2015, Putin himself declared that his income was equal to hundred and twenty thousand dollars. He owns two small flats and a garage. He has three cars and all of them are made in Russia.

But, he is fond of wearing expensive watches. Some photographers have photographed his expensive Lounge & Söhne Tourbograf watch with their powerful lenses. His watches are so expensive that a Russian newspaper has even written an article on them.

Putin has always emphasized the common national identity of Russia and Ukraine.

In a June 2017 interview with Oliver Stone, he said, “We love Ukraine. We treat the people there as our brothers.” But whenever Ukrainian politicians have expressed their willingness to join the European Union and NATO, Putin has taken it as an alarm bell.

Russian commanders consider the Sevastopol naval base in Crimea to be very important to Russian security. Vladimir Putin, like many Russians of his generation, has viewed the disintegration of the Soviet Union in the 90s and its diminishing influence in world politics as a personal defeat.

The Kremlin has always thought that the West, taking advantage of its weaknesses after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, tried to approach its borders. Russia’s attack on Ukraine can be seen as an attempt to stop it. Now it remains to be seen whether Russia succeeds in this effort or not.

By Rehan Fazal
(Courtesy of BBC)

Thinker Babu Web Stoeies

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