Standing against putin’s imperialist project

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Standing against putin’s imperialist project

  • As Europe unites against the Russian president’s aggression, India must realise that Putin and Russia are not the same.

Current scenario

  • Just a week ago, Germany was weak link in Western coalition trying to persuade Russian President to dial down the crisis in Ukraine.
  • Today, Germany - richest country in Europe and with greatest political empathy towards Russia, has thrown its lot with its European and American partners to stand up against Putin’s war in Ukraine.
  • German Chancellor in speech declared that Russian invasion of Ukraine marks a turning point in Europe.
  • Putin is not just seeking to wipe an independent country off the map.
  • He is demolishing the European security order that had prevailed for almost half a century

The outlined five-pronged response

  • Military solidarity with Ukraine

  • Punitive measures against Putin’s Russia

  • Vigorous commitment to European collective defence through NATO,

  • German rearmament

  • Reduction in Germany’s energy and economic interdependence with Russia.

  • Germany has provided European parallel to India’s political warmth towards and strategic dependence on Russia.

  • As Germany and Europe rise up against Russian aggression, Delhi too will have to come to terms with the impact of Putin’s reckless course on India’s long-term interests.

Russia’s ambition

  • In India and beyond in global South, Russia’s traditional image was that of a natural ally against Western imperialism.
  • Today, many developing countries will join West in UNGA in voting against Putin’s attempt to destroy another nation.
  • In one of his recent speeches, Putin denounced founder of Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin, for emphasising importance of autonomy for various nationalities in revolutionary Russia.
  • Lenin, who saw Czarist Russia as a prison house of nationalities, insisted that Soviet Union must be federation of national republics rather than simply a communist version of Russian empire.
  • Putin said he is not trying to resurrect USSR. He is trying to revive Czarist Russia.
  • This would involve making Ukraine and Belarus satellite states and constructing a sphere of influence beyond Central Europe.
  • Putin’s overweening ambition rooted in Great Russian chauvinism is already running into trouble.
  • Russian President’s claim that Ukraine was never a nation and that it can be sovereign only in association with Russia is of course challenged by nationalist narrative in Ukraine.

Response of European Nations

  • Russian adventurism in faraway land might not have stirred Russia’s European neighbours.
  • But the attempt to wipe out sovereignty of a European nation has produced a sweeping backlash in the continent.
  • If Kremlin had bet that Europe would be deeply divided in dealing with Russian attack on Ukraine, European response has been swift and hard.
  • EU has agreed on sweeping financial sanctions against Russia, many European countries have closed their airspace to Russia, and are isolating Moscow on multiple fronts, including football — a sacred ritual in Europe.
  • Some European countries have begun to supply arms to Ukraine; many offering significant economic and humanitarian assistance.
  • The EU plans to buy $550 million worth of arms for Ukraine.
  • Obsessed with dividing Europe and distancing it from the US, Putin’s Ukraine aggression has united Europe and consolidated Western alliance.
  • Even as German Chancellor chose to devote Germany’s massive resources to defeating Putin, he has left door open for diplomacy with Russia.
  • He also made it clear that Germany and Europe have no quarrel with Russian people and that problem is with Putin’s messianic agenda.
  • Few European countries have been as empathetic to Russia as Germany.
  • Despite Germany being a critical member of NATO, country’s elites have nurtured deep political, cultural, and economic links with their Russian counterparts.
  • German trade last year with Russia was close to $66 billion
  • India, of course, is tied to Russian military supplies in a manner that Germany is not.

India and Russia

  • The issues at hand are not just about weapon supplies and regional balance of power where interests of India and Russia have tended to converge in the last many decades.
  • For a century, Indian progressives of all hues saw Russia as a natural ally in building modern India;
  • They brought Russian literature and culture as well as political and economic ideas into mainstream Indian thinking.
  • After independence, Moscow was for long seen as a positive factor in India’s geopolitical and security calculus.


  • Like Germany and France, Delhi too would like Russia to take its rightful place in European and global order.
  • That now appears impossible under President Putin.