Kalev Stoicescu: A war like the ones in the movies
Ukraine halting Russia's invasion on a given line, Putin declaring 'victory', or the 'liberation' of territories and the partition of Ukraine going ahead, this time with out a new Yalta agreement. There are many possible outcomes to the current war, but unfortunately, the division of Ukraine is very likely, security expert Kalev Stoicescu writes.
In Europe, and also in other parts of the world, the memory of World War Two is rather abstract and distant.
A war that ended almost 80 years ago does not mentally oppress people in the western world. They got over the trauma of war long ago, meaning that they did not consider that happening again in the twenty-first century, either in the wider world, or within the territory of one country.
In the Soviet Union, and subsequently in Russia, the cult of the great patriotic war and of victory reigned on, reaching unprecedented heights under the Vladimir Putin regime.
The demonstrations of might that are the vast parades on Red Square in Moscow. Replacing deceased war veterans on the podium with new ones. The donning of the Ribbon of St. George. The so-called Immortal Regiment marches.
Schizophrenic military presentations involving "Germans" being beaten and humiliated.
The movement of columns of cars and motorcyclists "to Berlin".
Russian-speaking people watch over war films and "remind" mostly non-existent heroic deeds.
Kindergartners marching with tanks made out of cardboard, and wooden Kalashnikovs, Russian-speaking people staring at war-films and "reminiscing" over largely non-existent heroic deeds.
What is happening in Ukraine calls to mind the deeds of Soviet forces in the closing stages of World War Two, starting with that point at which they entered German territory (into East Prussia).
The indiscriminate murder of civilians ("fascists"), the rape of women of all ages (often in front of their husbands and children), the senseless destruction (to the extent that only rubble was left) and widespread theft and robbery.
Add to that the meaningless deaths of thousands of soldiers sent by the Kremlin itself, solely in the name of a rapid and great victory.
People from the Russian-speaking world would deny these things. Their "dedushkas" would never have done anything like that, that would be impossible – something engineered in the western world.
Some of them do admit to the Soviet Union's military's war crimes, or those of its regime, at least in part, but then concoct a variety of justifications.
The attitude towards what is going on in Ukraine is practically the same, with the difference being that a few percent of the Russian population is opposed to the war.
The Soviet military's savagery in Germany (in 1944-1945) was somehow "justified" in the light of the behavior of German invading forces on the Eastern Front earlier on in the war (in contrast to their actions in the Western European theater).
But what is the justification for the current war and its savagery? By saying this, that the West has, in the Kremlin's estimation, humiliated and "cheated" Russia, and that Ukraine simply does not want to be a protectorate of Moscow?
Russians and Russia's "compatriots" living in the Russian information space have continually been on the, so to speak, World War Two wavelength. The Kremlin clicked its fingers and, right in front of its audience, a new great patriotic war and struggle against "fascism", one which must end in a great victory, emerged, with the Ukrainians replacing the Germans.
It interests no-one that there was no war which had to be prevented and that there are no enemies or fascists. What is important is that the barbaric struggle, and the victory, will guarantee the survival of Putin's regime, even the survival of Russia, as it seems that nobody considers that Putin will not live forever and that Russia could exist after him.
Moscow is preparing to make a major offensive in the Donbas and against Kharkiv. This will apparently also move in the direction of Odesa and Transnistria (in Moldova - ed.).
Efforts are underway for the conquest of all those areas of eastern Ukraine which could not be occupied in 2014. The destruction and massacring can get gloomier still, than has been seen hitherto.
Some regions (the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts) are being annexed by Russia as "ancient Russian lands"). Others are waiting in line until they are ripe for the picking (i.e. cleansed of "fascists"). The dimensions of these areas depends on the success of Ukraine's forces, since Russia will no longer withdraw its forces from those areas Ukraine it is already occupying (northern Ukraine aside).
The scenario referencing World War Two, grotesquely, is likely to culminate in the de factor partition of Ukraine. Broadly, as was the case with Germany from 1945. The difference would be that the capital, Kyiv, would not be under (part-) Russian occupation.
Ukraine will halt the Russian invasion somewhere, at some line. Putin then declares "victory" or "liberation" of territories. The partition of Ukraine will then go ahead, without a new Yalta Treaty. The Kremlin, of course, rules out what remains of Ukraine from joining NATO, but may agree to the deployment of NATO peacekeeping forces in the area (as happened, for instance, with KFOR in Kosovo), on the condition, for instance, that the West stops smothering Russia's economy (as with the sanctions imposed from February 24). There are many possible scenarios, but, unfortunately, the fragmentation of Ukraine is very likely.
It should be pointed out that the lion's share of Russian soldiers in Ukraine consist of youngsters from the so-called people's republics (such as Buryatia, Udmurtia or Dagestan).
First, it is "easier" for non-Russians to kill and rape Ukrainians. Second, the Kremlin fears the mothers of Russian soldiers, though the national republics may start fomenting if it is recognized that their sons are being sent to the slaughterhouse.
Ultimately, the lion's share of soldiers comes from the largely criminal Russian periphery, which explains their behavior. The Mafia way of life might be at a high level in the Kremlin, but Russia's overall situation is much the same as that of a Soviet prison.
Follow ERR News on Facebook and Twitter and never miss an update!
Editor: Andrew Whyte