Modern Diplomacy
Blind Spots of the Moral Position of the West in the Ukrainian Crisis

A few years ago, while walking in Tallinn’s old town, my American colleague and I went to a souvenir shop and saw awards and medals for soldiers of the German Reich and SS units. What we saw shocked us. As a descendant of Holocaust survivors, my colleague couldn’t help but look at the fact that the same of Nazi symbols was not prosecuted in Estonia. He asked, “Am I the only one who has a problem with what I see?” I replied that I felt the same way.

Such a dialogue between Russian and American experts is almost impossible today.
Most analysts in the West have developed a special kind of moral blindness, which is rooted in the feeling of being chosen; the ideological, moral superiority of the Western model of development.

They believe that they are advancing at a high speed along the path of progress, that there is a right side of history, and that the movement along it justifies the means by which this progress is achieved. They value civilian deaths quite differently depending on which side they represent. This is a special type of hypocrisy — to divide people into those who are on the right side of history and who are on the wrong side of history.
Modern Diplomacy
Clash of Diplomacies in the Transforming Global Order: Messianic Ideology Versus Pragmatic Realism
Gregory Simons
The global geopolitical configuration continues its transformation away from the embattled hegemony of the Western-centric US unipolar order towards a non-Western centric multipolar order. As such, the level of competition and conflict is likely to increase as the US is a declining hegemon seeks to arrest the rise of competing are perceived to grow at their expense.
Expert Opinions

At the initial stage of the current phase of the crisis in the West, analysts began to play the role of activists and rhetorically exclaim: “how is that?”, “no war”, and “we are for peace.” For them, there is only one participant in the conflict worthy of support — Ukraine, which is on the right side of history. Accordingly, its missile attacks on Donbass and Russian territory are righteous. There was not a single sympathetic statement in the West regarding the murder of pro-Russian citizens in Odessa on May 2, 2014. With a worried face, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany Steinmeier, left only a vague comment: “The parties to the conflict should not add fuel to the fire, and bellicose rhetoric will only aggravate the situation.” For the minister, this was an abstract tragedy, which has no culprits, and which was the result of “tragic circumstances.” President Macron, in the transcript of negotiations with Vladimir Putin made public by the Elysee Palace on February 20, stated in an ultimatum that “we are not interested in the proposals of the separatists.” Against the background of reports in the Western media about the strikes of Russian troops on civilian targets, reports about the Armed Forces of Ukraine Tochka-U missile strike on Donetsk were lost.

In each of my Western media interviews, I talk about the tragedy in Odessa, emphasising how powerful an explosion it was for Russian public opinion and how deeply it affected the dynamics of the conflict, effectively making Russian intervention only a matter of time. However, in none of my interviews did this episode end up in print. None of my Western interlocutors raised their voices when the government in Kiev cut off Crimea’s water supply, while making snide comments that the Crimeans could drink rainwater. There were no voices of sympathy or condemnation when the former President of Ukraine Poroshenko verbally crucified the residents of Donetsk and Lugansk in Odessa: “We will have a job — they won’t. We will have pensions — they don’t. We will have support for children and pensioners — they do not. Our children will go to schools and kindergartens — their children will sit in basements. Because they can’t do anything. This is how we will win this war.” My Western colleagues did not make any remarks when language laws were introduced, the political opposition was persecuted, when Ukrainian opposition members mysteriously perished, entire printed publications were closed, or when many journalists were forced to emigrate.

What is happening today in Ukraine is a real tragedy for Russia, it is a postponed civil war. Eight years of hostilities have separated tens of thousands of families in both countries, because many in Russia have relatives in the neighbouring country. That is why historians will inevitably provide assessments of the current acute phase of the conflict.
When the dust settles and the crisis in Ukraine becomes the subject of a diplomatic rather than a military dispute, the humanitarian tragedies associated with the current escalation phase will be analysed without blind spots or “special morality”.

However, while the Western media are elevating the fighters of the nationalist battalions to the rank of heroes, showing their military prowess during the “hunt for Russians”, one cannot hope for this. Although some Western politicians have said the right words — about the need for an inclusive government in Ukraine, about the fact that a divided house will not stand — these words were never uttered to achieve their goal. It was said without pressure, it was believed that the problem with the Russian diaspora in Ukraine would eventually be solved by itself. This tacit acceptance of a consistent defeat of the rights of Russians in Ukraine is completely unacceptable for Russia, and Western experts will not find understanding in Moscow until they stop looking at the problem selectively.
Modern Diplomacy
Legitimation of War and Ukraine’s Potential for Endurance
Andrey Sushentsov
Zelensky is fully invested in the “warring Ukraine” project, and today he personifies the party of war. However, being the president of war and a president of peace are completely different modalities, between which it is often impossible to move, writes Valdai Club Programme Director Andrey Sushentsov.
Expert Opinions
Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.