- Historically, there was an ancient empire, the ancestor of modern Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus - Kievan Rus- dominated by the city of Kiev. Founded in the 9th century, the empire prospered for another 300 years and became per se a cultural and religious foundation of the three nations.
- Later, throughout the existence of the Soviet Union block, three countries were treated much better than same Armenia or Moldova and managed to retain warm relations between each other after dissolution of the block in 1991. One of the examples of such ‘friendship’ includes Russia-Ukraine/ Russian- Belarus gas relations, when customers paid just $50 per 1, 000 cubic meters till the early winter 2006.
- My family is half Ukrainian and half Belarusian. I was born in Kiev, spent 16 years of my life in a small town that locates in the southwestern part of Belarus. Once or twice in a year my family has a tendency to go for a holiday trip in Russia, or we meet our Russian aunts and uncles here. We share a common identity, common religion, customs, and cuisine. Today, it has become difficult to differentiate whether Borsh is a soup of Ukrainians or Russians, or what’s the origin of the first human to travel into outer space. Our language is similar. Our history is shared. This unity constitutes our identity, but in a different way from EU countries, which share something called ‘European identity’, what itself sounds absurd since it is clear that it is much easier to find contrasting differences between Germany and Romania than even a few small points of similarity between them. At the same time Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus, besides language, religion, culture, and history, share the same blood, though for somebody it may sound too pathetic.
The position of the Ukrainian government is clear: become a NATO member, achieve Western funding, and yet separate itself from a position of a Russian dependent; the less extreme goal, however no less demanded, - is to become an EU member. Simultaneously, East of the country is more favorable to Putin and his politics, otherwise how would you explain thousands of refugees in the border areas of Russia and Belarus?
The position of Russia is also understandable: any rational country strives to defend its territory, and once a foreign threat increases to the possible enhance of NATO presence around its borders, - its politics of defense might evolve into somewhat offensive. Plus, Putin and Lavrov made it clear: if Ukraine receives EU membership, it cannot expect previous economic benefits from Russia. Altruism is obviously a good thing, but each state is interested in its own economy first, and a permit to trade with Ukraine under the old conditions could cost Russia loss of its own market, since cheaper European products would be transferred to the country through the Ukraine that would serve as a trading bridge.
An attempt to explain the reason why Mr Poroshenko procrastinated with the conflict resolution might take longer than one article, but what’s more important is that on the 5th of September both conflicting sides signed a ceasefire resolution in Minsk, and a proper peace settlement has begun. In its turn, Western media called this document – ‘Putin’s victory’ (even though there is no official proof of a physical presence of Russian soldiers on the foreign territory); the Ukrainian president was also accused for being too soft to ‘terrorists’. It seems like people do not learn from the mistakes of the previous World Wars: there are no winners at war: the longer it lasts - the more casualties in brings.
My personal forecast for the conflict termination sort of reflects the recent changes on the negotiating table: Russia and Ukraine will return good relationship to each other, however, this time it might take a bit longer than usual, since first and foremost now it is important to reconcile East and West of Ukraine and destruct almost a six-months wall of hatred.
By Hanna Kuchar
Russiapedia ‘Russian history: Kievan Rus:
TFF ‘ Ukraine, Crimea, Georgia: The West and Russia’ by Johan Galtung:
Reuters News 11th January 2009:
NATO military bases around the globe:
Military Times, 2014:
BBC News 3rd April 2014:
Disclaimer: All statements in this report are an opinion. Act at your own risk.