The War in Ukraine: The Main Reasons
The War in Ukraine
The war in Ukraine, led by Russia, which violated all international norms and regulations, is shocking for the whole world, yet predictable. Embassies moved their offices away from Kyiv or Ukraine in general, while the regular Ukrainians continued living their normal lives. Still, no matter how shocking the idea of war was, it happened. Since February 24, 2022, Russia continuously bombs Ukrainian cities, kills civilians, and blackmails the whole world with its nuclear weapon. This paper, however, aims not to describe the state of war in Ukraine, but to understand the reasons that made the war in the middle of Europe possible. Lack of real opposition and autocracy in Russia, positive development of Ukrainian reforms, and strength of propaganda are among the main reasons that now force Ukrainians leave their homes, protects their country, and sleep in the bomb shelters.
Autocracy in Russia
The most obvious reason of the war in Ukraine is the very existence of Vladimir Putin, Russian president, who obtains power in the country during the last 20 years. Putin changed Constitution of Russia to continue his reign, killing or imprisoning anyone who could become his alternative. To maintain his power, Putin also gained serious support of Russian businessmen, who protected his interests to continue their business. Putin’s regime is built on bribes and backroom deals, mutual profit from everyone except for the regular citizens of his country. Absolute absence of democracy made it possible for Putin to be the only person to decide what to do. Those who could create real opposition to his regime are either killed, or imprisoned. The last candidate of opposition who could threaten the regime, Alexey Navalny, was first poisoned by Russian agents, and then imprisoned because of fabricated cases. As a result, even if Russian people disagreed with Kreml politics, there is no politician who could lead the protest movement. That is why, once Putin decided to escalate Ukraine, he started doing it — and no-one hindered.
Strength of Propaganda
Another reason why such a meaningless war had no protest was the strength of propaganda in Russia, which became even more powerful after February 24. Vladimir Solovyov, the icon of Russian propaganda, influences the minds of Russian people every day, supporting myths of nazis in Ukraine and threat from NATO. Having low level of education, especially in provinces, people consider TV-programs credible and the only possible source of truth, actively believing everything Mr. Solovyov and his colleagues say. That is why, the majority of Russians support war: the polls from March 2022 show that 71% of Russians agree with necessity to escalate Ukraine and nearly the same percentage supports Putin as president. Even the independent polls (as far as the polls can be independent in Russia) show the minimal number of 50%. The moods of Russians can be traced by their comments in social networks: for instance, the majority of Russians felt betrayed after Russia’s official decision to move away from Kyiv and focus the conflict on Donbass area. Even those who criticize the war (even though such thoughts are officially prohibited in Russia now), focus mainly on the impact of sanctions on their lives: high prices, absence of currency, and cancellation of flights logically influenced lives of Russian middle class. Only the small portion of Russians actively support Ukraine in war: the majority of these people has already left Russia, choosing other countries for life.
Development of Ukraine
While Russia was developing its autocracy, Ukraine had the opposite way of development: it had two revolutions, which resulted in change of politicians in power. Ukrainians were choosing the politicians on elections and Maidans, thus, making it possible to decide on the development of their country. Ukraine has never been the perfect country with clear politics or lack of bribes; however, Ukrainians have never been even close to allow dictatorship in their country. Since 2014, the state has a range of pro-European changes, which enabled its development and made it closer to European Union. Such a contrast could not help but make furious Vladimir Putin, the president of the country which economic wellbeing decreased each year. Among the post-Soviet countries, only Baltic countries and Ukraine managed to create real democracy and develop positive European values. However, while Baltic countries have always maintained distance between them and Russia, Ukrainian and Russian histories have been tightly connected. Throughout the centuries, Russia wanted to conquer or destroy Ukraine, creating myths about submission, common history, or fraternal nations.
The causes of this war are as clear as its future: the war will end with Putin’s defeat, sooner or later. However, the duration of war is the main question now as each day more and more people suffer from crazy ambitions of Russian tyrant and absolute impotence of Russian nation as possible power of changes.