- Russia’s behavior in the international arena has several dimensions, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has three goals that he wants to achieve. They all also have a direct or indirect impact on Poland
- First of all, Putin wants to divert attention from the many troubles that are consuming modern Russia. Hence the demonstration of power and threats to the West and its neighbors. – The rhetoric of the Kremlin is absurd – we hear
- According to prof. Kozerawski, we are not witnessing a dialogue between NATO and Russia. – This is a presentation of positions that turned out to be divergent – he says. The US believes that the concept of spheres of influence advocated by Moscow should be thrown into the dustbin of history
- According to the expert, the time of “diplomatic tug of war” is coming. “A compromise greater than that necessary may be treated by Moscow as a sign of weakness,” he says
- – Russia, which has been pursuing a policy of fait accompli for years, takes into account, above all, strong players in the international arena, argues the interlocutor of Onet
- You can read more similar stories on the main website of Onet
Three goals of Vladimir Putin’s Russia
The members of the North Atlantic Pact affirmed “the right of countries to decide their own fate”. “Russia has no veto over Ukraine becoming a member of the Alliance,” said Jens Stoltenberg.
“NATO is in dialogue with Russia, but we will not compromise on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries in Europe,” he added. According to the NATO Secretary General, “there is a real risk of a new conflict in Europe”. The head of the North Atlantic Alliance also said that he had offered Moscow further meetings on this matter, and its representatives replied that they were not ready for it. – If Russia again uses force against Ukraine, we must seriously consider the need to further increase our presence in the eastern part of the Alliance – he said at a press conference.
According to prof. Kozerawski, the actions of the Kremlin should be considered in three interconnecting aspects. This is the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, influencing the eastern flank of NATO and Ukraine. – Russia’s strategic goal in the international context is to take advantage of the current situation to pursue its own interests. In the political and economic dimension, it is about the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and obtaining all approvals so that the West can be earned and dependent on energy. This is what the Russians want to win – we hear.
According to our interlocutor, the unrest in the east of the Alliance should be associated with attempts to strengthen Russia’s position in the region, including in Central Europe. – The Kremlin has an intimidation policy. He tells neighboring countries: “You are no longer as safe as you think you are.” Moscow’s rhetoric is as follows: Russia is strengthening and the West is weakening … – he says.
In turn, the analyst believes that Ukraine is “an element of the Russian political game in the strategic and operational dimension”. Moscow is to limit Kiev’s ability to integrate with Western structures and destabilize individual regions of Ukraine. – Russia flexes its muscles, concentrating troops on the border and through tactical exercises with the use of combat ammunition. This may not only be a demonstration of strength, but also the final stage of training and raking units before the invasion. The goal may be not only to intimidate, but also to possibly smooth transition to military operations, he adds.
Does such a scenario pay off for Moscow? Prof. Kozerawski points out that “a military victory does not have to mean a peaceful and problem-free occupation”. – The Russians are aware, however, that as a result of the guerrilla war in Ukraine, the losses inflicted by local armed resistance units and special services may be effective and painful. They found out about it years ago in Afghanistan and during the conflict in Chechnya. The offensive and further occupation of Ukrainian territory may not be effective in the long run, argues the scientist.
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Putin wants to distract
When asked by a journalist from Russia whether rearming Ukraine serves to de-escalate the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, Jens Stoltenberg replied: – Ukraine has the right to sovereign decisions and to self-defense. Ukraine is not a threat to Russia. Russia is the aggressor.
According to prof. Kozerawski, “the Russian journalist could be answered even more interestingly”. – A question to the question: is the collection of more than 100 thousand. Russian soldiers on the border of a sovereign state and conducting exercises with combat ammunition are also aimed at de-escalation and a typically peaceful end to the conflict of two sovereign states, i.e. Russia and Ukraine? – says.
As he emphasizes, “the demonstration of the strength of the Russian Federation is the stronger, the greater the support that is directed from the West towards Ukraine.” In December last year, the US allocated further support measures in the amount of $ 200 million. – However, the scale of the potentials and military capabilities is incomparable. However, it is worth remembering that if the Kremlin claims that it is not afraid of something, it is actually the other way around – he adds.
Prof. Kozerawski reminds that when pointing to an external threat, the Russian president is actually doing it for the needs of the domestic policy of his country, which is dealing with both economic and demographic problems.
– The president of Russia is looking for an external enemy. It is the West. He is also looking for a pretext to escalate the international situation and focus the attention of Russian public opinion on it. Ukraine is such a pretext. Third, the Kremlin has loudly stated that re-arming Ukraine is a threat to Russia. That sounds like an excuse for a possible attack. Moscow will claim that by attacking it will de facto defend itself. Such rhetoric – given the overwhelming military advantage of the Russian Federation – is absurd, but in the propaganda dimension it can work – we hear.
Onet’s interlocutor points out, however, that “this is not only a game with the West, but also an attempt to gain the support of one’s own society”. – All of this is designed to distract from real internal problems. Part of Russian society (especially the young generation) is aware that neo-imperial aspirations and distance from democracy are a road to nowhere. The authority lacks arguments more and more, he says.
NATO is a wall behind the USA. It wasn’t always like that
As the expert emphasizes, the US has completely abandoned the “transactional” model of foreign policy proposed by Donald Trump. – For him, “America First” had a strictly business dimension and that was his approach to politics. Biden’s administration looks at it differently. There are no transactions here. It is about the Alliance, values, democracy, etc. These were not negotiations and dialogue, but only presenting positions that turned out to be divergent – he adds.
Twenty years ago, when the invasion of Iraq took place, NATO disagreed on the appropriateness of carrying out this military operation. Today, the Alliance is a wall behind the United States. – Even Germany, whose interest is the protection of Nord Stream 2. Berlin realizes, however, that the stakes are much higher – argues a professor associated with the Jagiellonian University.
What’s next for US-Russia relations? According to the analyst, both sides “will meet from time to time and seek agreement.” – It will be a kind of diplomatic tug of war. Putin must be aware that any invasion of Ukraine will have political and economic consequences. However, I would like to emphasize one thing – the Alliance will not engage militarily in the defense of Ukraine. Instead, it will strengthen Kiev and NATO’s eastern flank militarily, because Russia is becoming a less and less predictable player, he says.
– As long as the society of the Russian Federation is ruled by authoritarian rulers steeped in post-communist imperialism and no democratic changes take place, this “near abroad” and “soft underbelly”, that is, for example, Ukraine will not find itself in Western structures such as NATO or the EU. The West will not allow it then either, because disregarding Moscow’s will could end in a vast conflict of a regional, or even broader character, and this is what nobody wants – we hear.
Prof. Kozerawski believes that Moscow realizes that reaching for military tools and starting an armed conflict with sovereign Ukraine, despite short-term military successes, “may have negative consequences in the medium and long-term strategic perspective.”
– Severe economic sanctions (including the lack of benefits from Nord Stream 2) from the West, the isolation of the country in the international arena and prolonged military activities may significantly worsen the already difficult situation in Russia – he enumerates.
– Hence, maintaining a permanent dialogue with Moscow, on the one hand, and simultaneously increasing its own military capabilities by the West, on the other, seem optimal in this difficult and complex situation.
At the same time, the analyst notes, it should be remembered about the consistency and determination in such relations, “because any manifestation of compromise greater than necessary, may be treated by Moscow as a manifestation of weakness”. – Russia, which has been pursuing a policy of fait accompli for years, takes into account, above all, strong players in the international arena, summarizes Onet’s interlocutor.
Prof. related dr hab. Dariusz Kozerawski – employee of the Department of National Security (Institute of Political Science and International Relations, Faculty of International and Political Studies) of the Jagiellonian University. Reserve colonel of the Polish Army, former rector-commandant of the National Defense University, member of the Brotherhood of Veterans in Poland and the UN Peacekeeping Veterans Association. He conducted seminars on strategy and security at the European Parliament, the EU Military Staff, and NATO Defense College in Rome. He participated in international operations, conducted research in zones of war and stabilization in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Moldova, Jordan and Armenia. He managed NATO training in Baghdad and Kiev. Researcher / expert dealing with international security, security strategy and studies on armed conflicts.
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