News / Europe

Russia's Ukraine Policy Part of Broader Shift

Russia's Ukraine Policy Part of Broader Shifti
|| 0:00:00
...  
🔇
X
April 25, 2014 2:38 PM
Russia’s intervention in Ukraine has surprised many experts, but some say it should have been expected based partly on its interaction with Armenia last fall
Al Pessin
It was all smiles for the cameras when Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in September and expressed his intention to join the Russian-led Customs Union.
 
In doing so, Sargsyan abandoned more than two years of negotiations on an association agreement with the European Union.

While Russian pressure seemingly worked in that situation, it backfired two months later when Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych did the same thing, sparking months of protests, a violent crackdown and his ouster by the parliament, where members of his own party voted against him.

With Ukraine, Putin was faced with a choice -- accept the changes and potentially lose his special relationship with more former Soviet states, or take action and sacrifice his relationship with the West.

Russia’s intervention in Ukraine has surprised many experts, but some say it should have been expected based partly on its interaction with Armenia last fall.

“Russian policy has significantly shifted, where limits and restraint no longer apply.  And more importantly, Russia is now firm and committed to pushing back and pushing out EU engagement in the so-called ‘near abroad’,” said Richard Giragosian, director of the Regional Studies Center in Armenia.
 
The shift surprised European leaders, but it shouldn’t have, particularly regarding Ukraine, said Nina Schick of London’s Open Europe research center.

“Some would say that it was a mistake that [European leaders] made that they didn’t take the Russian position more into account.  The reality is that the Russian sphere of influence in Ukraine is far greater than perhaps they’d like to admit,” Schick said.

But Giragosian disagrees, saying it was reasonable, 25 years after the fall of the Soviet Union, to expect Russia to accept a turn to the West by its former satellites.  He says Russia’s current policy runs counter to its own interests.
 
“It’s a shortsighted and short-term pursuit of raw power.  In effect, they are recreating a new Iron Curtain through the former Soviet space,” Giragosian said.

Or trying to.

Giragosian said former Soviet states will resist such moves and the West will impose significant economic costs if Russia continues to use force to try to impose its will on Ukraine or other neighbors.

You May Like

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Not Again from: Canada
April 26, 2014 8:56 PM
The Armenian expert, and many other experts, are correct in indicating that the EU leaders were caught unaware of RUSSIA.. they really have no excuse, but their ineptness in my view, clouded their senses. It was because of their shear blindness, and outright ignorance of Russian history, they are all in trouble. At least they should know/had known that Russia is the biggest country in the world; having started around Moscow controlling a few hundred square miles of terrirtory, and then progressing to its current size; which was achieved through masive military expansionist actions, over centuries, mailnly the last 4+ centuries.
Over its expansionist periods, the Russian population was willing to pay a massive cost for their gains, thus on this issue the Armenian expert's prediction is not restrictive on Russian behaiviour, on the contrary, sacrifice for Mother Russia, is a common ideology and borders in fanaticism.
None of what has occured is a surprise. The new Czar has placed Russia back on its normal historical expansionist path/track, from which it was derailed by the Regan administration.
The EU demilitarized, completely reduced its forces and capabilities, this faulty situation came about after the Regan administration's success in overcoming the Soviet Union, with its massive force build up. Concurrently, the EU leadership took a free security ride on the back of US taxpayers, and used the peace dividend to rebuild its industry; this was especially the case for Germany. On the back of US taxpayers, Germany was able to completely run down its security forces, and re-invest the savings into becoming one of the largest modern industrial exporters in the world.
The faulty situation was a leadership failure for the US, well before the Obama Administration came into power, in that successive administrations did not demand from its NATO allies to carry on the fair share of the security load.
Given the size of the EU's population, and the size of its collective GDP, the EU should have security forces almost at par to the US. The US continued carrying the security load, without being able to modernize/re-industralize and re-engineer its economy; it left the US in its current situation of having a struggling economy, with never ending defence cuts; with EU allies not carrying their fair load, some of them not capable nor even willing to close ranks during crisis situations, as they face now, in a rapidly deteriorating global security environment.
The way ahead is clear = the need exists to restore a credible deterrence level, by each US ally; and each ally must not be allowed to continue to expect the US to carry them on its back. To acheive this objective, a strong US Administration will be a critical requirement, not just demagogery, but directive leadership; something that we have not seen in a US administration for quite some time 25+ yrs. If it is not achieved, the West will face greater global instability, involving more authoritharian regimes, pushing beyond the expected risk envelopes, causing/resulting in WARS. Ineptness/ blindness will not raise the deterrent value of the West, to avoid wars..

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid