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.
- 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,
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.
- 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.