Fallouts of Russo-Ukrainian War Following Putin’s Speech

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Political Observation - Fallouts of Russo-Ukrainian War Following Putin’s Speech

In a political move aimed at accentuating Russia’s position in the world’s economy and her possession of natural resources that Western countries could not do without, Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a speech during his participation in the plenary session of the 25th Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday, June 17, in the presence and participation of leaders and presidents from more than 69 countries, including the Chinese and Egyptian presidents, who attended the entire speech remotely. Putin stressed in his speech “Russia’s vision” that aims at changing the “unipolar world”; he also said the world could not be reduced to the EU states and the US, and mentioned his country’s experience in overcoming sanctions, adding that his country has managed to make the sanctions backfire on those who had imposed it as the West ended up facing price increases, downturns and a stifling economic crisis which could be the spark for domestic changes in the West.

This indicates that Putin’s gamble of reaching a diplomatic solution and a safe exit from the crises hinges on the restlessness of the Euro-American allies under the pressing need for energy. German Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, Robert Habeck, told a press conference “We are facing a gas crisis. Gas has become a rare commodity.” In a message addressed to domestic public opinion, Putin dismissed the delusions of the Western alliance against his country and elaborated the components of Russia’s strength despite the harsh sanctions imposed by the West which led to the withdrawal of most western investors from the Russian market, the expulsion of Russia from SWIFT and the freezing of some of Russia’s assets in the West. He stressed that the sanctions targeting Russia and the Russian currency in particular were turned into an element of strength as the ruble became as strong as ever; he also blamed world inflation and price increases on western monetary policies and on the West’s attempts to isolate Russia from the global economy.

The Chinese President, for his part addressed the Forum virtually and expounded China’s vision, which does not align with the Russian vision on the economic aspect due to China’s need for trade and open investment to nurture her economy. He called for a “true multilateralism” and an “open world economy” and for making “global development more balanced, coordinated and inclusive.” He added that the world needed to “reject attempts at separation, supply disruption, unilateral sanctions and maximum pressure, remove trade barriers, keep global industrial and supply chains stable, tackle the worsening food and energy crises and revive the world economy.”

The two presidents expressed harmony on the political aspect through their telephone conversation; The Chinese president said “China is also willing to work with Russia to promote solidarity and cooperation among emerging market countries and developing nations, and push for the development of the international order and global governance towards a more just and reasonable direction.” Meanwhile, Putin was quoted as saying that Russia supported the world security initiative proposed by the Chinese side, and objected to any meddling in China’s domestic affairs by harnessing the so-called issues of Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, among others, as a pretext.

At a time when his country is engaged for the third month in a war in Ukraine to achieve a host of political aims, the most important of which is Ukraine’s neutrality and preventing her from joining NATO due to the threat it would pose to Russian national security, Putin announced through a “questions and answers session” with the Kazak President, Kassym Tokayev, who seemed averse to Putin’s call for the right of self-determination of Russian communities living in the former Soviet republics, that “the situation will return to normal, sooner or later”, adding that with regard to Ukraine’s EU membership “Unlike NATO, the European Union is not a military organisation or a military-political bloc. So, we have always said, and I have always said that our position is consistent and clear: we have no objections. It is a sovereign decision of any country whether it wants to join an economic association and it is for the economic association to decide whether it accepts new members.” His words carried an implicit warning to the EU against continuing to submit to the US, knowing that he had previously accused Europe of having completely lost her sovereignty.

Putin’s speech at the Forum is deemed an attempt by Russia to underscore her international weight after she had faced military difficulties and political isolation. Despite having destroyed the Ukrainian infrastructure, as she did in Syria, she however failed in her bid to impose her dominance over the capital Kiev and change the Ukrainian regime; she was compelled to focus her efforts on dominating the Donbas province, i.e., eastern Ukraine. This could expose her to a lengthy war of attrition if she failed to reach a diplomatic solution, especially as the Ukrainian President, incited by America and Britain, rejects any solution on the grounds of land for peace.

As for the possibility of reaching a diplomatic solution, it depends on the American aims for which Ukraine was offered to the Russian Bear as a sacrificial lamb; and it also hinges on the threats posed by the continuation of the war and its repercussions on the US-European alliance against Russia, considering that reshaping American foreign alliances is at the heart of the US strategy which has been repeatedly stressed by President Biden, his Secretary of State and National Security Adviser; in fact, Biden reiterated it two days ago at the G7 Summit by saying “Putin has been counting on it from the beginning that somehow the NATO and the G7 would splinter. But we haven't and we're not going to…”.

In reality, America wants to: ensure that Europe is undertaking practical steps towards doing away with her dependence on Russia in the energy sector, dismantle Europe and Russia’s interests, orchestrate their relationship on the principle of animosity between them, dissipate the notion of an independent European force and a united political standpoint, ensure that NATO remains the only option in guaranteeing the security of the eastern European and Baltic states, and not to bank on France and Germany whose political approach is built on their economic and security interests, which are linked to Russian energy.

It is clear from Putin’s speech and his conversation with the Chinese President that he is waging a psychological war on the West in an attempt to undermine the confidence of other states in the policy pursued by America in leading the world, and to insinuate to the European states that their economic and security interests lie with Russia rather than America.

Hence, Putin’s actions are geared towards undermining confidence in the world order and mobilise states against American unilateralism; however, her influence necessitates proposing an attractive alternative to the American model. However, no one, not even China, thinks that Russia has either the alternative vision that compensates for the European and American markets or the attractive charisma to let other states view it as a role model worthy of rallying around, and thus sacrificing their interest, evoking the wrath of America and incurring the inconsequence of doing away with the legacy of American singlehanded dominion of the international situation.

America anticipated this attempt by focusing her campaign on “western alliance” which includes all the countries adopting the values of democracy, freedom and free trade, and working towards establishing a worldwide alliance including countries from Asia, Europe and north America.

The West has attempted to topple the regime of Putin through economic sanctions, international isolation and soaring inflation to evoke the apprehensions of the masses and incite them to rebel and get rid of Putin’s regime. However, Putin settled the domestic situation through his security services, who quelled the protests against the war, and by portraying the war as being necessary and vital for Russia’s security and future and describing it as a national war targeting the Russian identity.

It is also clear that Putin has relinquished the option of toppling Ukrainian President Zelensky and occupying Kiev; focusing his efforts on east and south Ukraine has provided him with the means of a safe exit out of the crisis and the means of resistance in the face of America’s strategy of perpetuating the war and depleting Russian economy. He could now harness the perpetuation of the war in deepening the European energy crisis to weaken the Euro-American alliance and soaring inflation and prices of world commodities to corroborate Russia’s international standing. It has now become difficult to defeat him despite the huge support given to the Ukrainian President by the US and Britain. The visit of European leaders to Kiev on 16 June, granting candidate status for membership in the European Union to Ukraine, the UK prime minister’s announcement that his country was prepared to train thousands of Ukrainian military personnel and America’s delivery of long-range missile systems to Ukraine, in addition to Lithuania’s provocation of Russia by blocking the transit of EU-sanctioned goods through its territory to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad and America’s reemphasis of NATO’s Article 5 in the defence of Lithuania, all this is but an American message to Russia and the Europeans, in which America is persisting on shaping the Russo-European relationships on the grounds of animosity, and entrenching the security climate according to the American strategy which has borne fruit in the shape of luring Sweden and Finland into NATO, and undermining France and Germany’s ability to attract the European states to their rank, a narrative recently acknowledged by President Macron who has been stripped of leadership even in France as his party lost most of the parliamentary seats to his opponents in the far-right.

27 Thil Qi’dah 1443h                                                                      hizbuttahrir.org
27 June 2022