Yaroslav Hrytsak, Melvyn Levitsky, Ronald Suny, Yuri Zhukov, and moderator John Ciorciari discuss the future of Ukraine and the Donbass conflict. November, 2015.
>> Hello, everybody. Welcome to Ukraine Post Conflict Strategies. Thank you, very much for coming. I'm John Ciorciari. I'm the co-director of the International Policy Center here at the Ford School. I'd also like to thank our co-sponsors, the Center for Russian, Eastern European and Eurasian Studies and also the Wiser Center for Emerging Democracies, both at the university's International Institute. I want to thank Will Lamping [assumed spelling], who's an MPP student here at the Ford School, and also our IPC administrator, Thaya Rowe, for helping to pull this event together and organize it. I am joined by a distinguished panel. They're going to discuss the ongoing conflict in the Ukraine, some of the challenges that stem from the conflict, such as needs for reconstruction, resettlement and demobilization in the event that the conflict winds down or even if it continues, and the roles of major external powers. I'll introduce them with one line biographies. You can see much more about their impressive backgrounds on the website. Ronald Suny, the William H. Sewell, Jr. Distinguished University Professor of History, here at the University of Michigan will lead off. Then we'll have Yaroslav Hrytsak, Professor of History at the Ukrainian Catholic University and Lviv National University. Third will be Yuri Zhukov, an Assistant Professor of Political Science, also here at the University of Michigan. And last, but not least, our own Ambassador Mel Levitsky, who is a professor of international policy and practiced here at the Ford School. Panelists are going to start by giving brief remarks. While they do, if you have questions, please write them down on the note cards that were handed out to you as you entered. And please, pass them to one of our team members in the aisles who will walk along these sides and make themselves known with their show of hands. They will then bring the cards down to me and to Will Lamping and we'll ask, we'll do our best effort to ask a representative a sample of your questions to the panel. So without further ado, let's welcome our panelists and get started.
>> Thank you, John. Thank you all for coming. This should be a very interesting evening, indeed. My task is, Will is my student and my TA and he gave me this task, basically I'm going to try to explain what does Putin want Russia and the crisis in Ukraine. In a real sense, in my view, the Soviet Union did not collapse in a single moment of catastrophic, colossal disintegration in 1991. In my view, it's still collapsing. The fibers, the networks, the integrated populations, the Diasporas, the discourses and understandings that held the largest country on the globe together, are still in the process of fraying and unraveling as the current war in Ukraine shows. Conflicting ideas of ethnicity, nationality, of disputed histories, of how coherent the Slavic world is, nationalizing efforts by those dedicating to building a new independent Ukrainian state and nation, and anxieties by Russia and Russians of their geopolitical and cultural vulnerability, all of these together have lethally combined in a toxic mix that has exploded into open warfare. Thousands have died, more thousands have been wounded, crippled, displaced from their homes, their lives turned upside down. Old anxieties and attitudes, emotional attitudes and views towards friends and enemies, however, remain. In my view, you can take Russia and the Ukraine out of the Soviet Union, but you can't take the Soviet Union out of Russia and the Ukraine. So how did the world get into this mess? It's a fascinating question. And I think, to be very crude, there are two major narratives, master narratives, one more dominant in the West and one in Russia. In the Western narrative, the events on Maidan two years ago were a democratic revolution, people rising up to resist corruption and dictatorship, a reach by ordinary people for freedom, independence and a closer alliance with Europe. In this view, Ukrainians yearned for a better life and saw the possibility for that life in closer relations with the West. There was, in this view, very little genuine support for the rebellion in eastern Ukraine, which was largely an artificial calamity encouraged and supported by Russia. So it is Russia that is the sole perpetrator of the conflict, given it's support for the former President of the Ukraine, Yanukovych, and later, of course, when it brazenly annexed Crimea and invaded Ukraine. Thus, the Western, in the Western view, the crisis is largely the creation and responsibility of Putin and the Russians. The Russians, of course, have their own counter narrative. What happen there, in their narrative, is a coup d'etat was carried out in Kiev, orchestrated by the West, particularly the United States, and influence by fascists. Within Ukraine, there was real, genuine opposition to Maidan and to this rise of fascism. This was particularly strong in Donezk and Lugansk, where genuine, spontaneous, grass roots resistance to the illegitimate regime in Kiev exploded in deadly warfare, largely because of Ukrainian government and paramilitary aggression. Russia has played, in it's view, a supporting and largely humanitarian role in protecting the independence and freedom of eastern Ukraine. Now there are variants and versions of this less crude than the ones I've mentioned. I was particularly taken by the views of my friend and fellow historian, Timothy Snyder, who indeed believes that this is more than just a clash between Russia and Ukraine, it is a clash of civilizations, that is Putin is out to destroy Europe, the European union. In an especially egregious misuse of history, Snyder equates Putin with Stalin's actions during the infamous Nazi Soviet period. Just as Stalin sought to turn the most radical of European forces, Adolph Hitler against Europe itself, so Putin is aligned with his grab bag of anti European populists, fascists and separatists. His allies on the far right are precisely the political forces that wish to bring an end to the current European order, the European union. Unquote. I subscribe to the Jon Stewart school of Hitlerology, of Naziology, that is Jon Stewart said wisely, let's all agree that the only thing we're going to call Hitler is Hitler. So I don't think these are very helpful kinds of analogies. Now what is this Russian narrative and how can one flush it out? And it seems to me we can find a lot in Putin himself to try to explain what, indeed, he is about. Vladimir Putin has several sort of big elements in his general narrative. And they go back, of course, to the late Soviet period, and indeed to the Yeltsin period. You can find many of the things that Putin's saying in the Yeltsin period as well, but they weren't acted on. Russia was still weak, Russia was closer to the West, and Putin didn't act on many of these things. One is that Russia is the [inaudible]. It's a great power and it should be treated like it's a great power. And therefore, the second element that he worries about is that Russia has not been given it's due. It's not adequately respected by it's European and American partners. And in February 2007, in his speech at the Munich Conference on Security power, he put this quite bluntly, sometimes this speech is called the Introduction to a New Cold War. Putin was upset by the United State's emergence as the single hyper power, or uni power in the world. And he's against this idea of uni-polarity. He rejected the notion that force could be used internationally if it were simply sanctioned by NATO or the European Union and proposed, instead, that the only legitimization for armed force against another state was through the U.N., which of course, the United Nations, where he would have a veto. Another point in the armor of Putin is a new confidence that wasn't there in Yeltsin's years. The new wealth, as well as American over extension of it's capabilities, enabled the Putin administration to embark on a more assertive policy independent on what the United States might prefer. You could say that Putin's foreign policy closely mirrored his domestic politics. If anything there are three elements to that, state-ism, realism and, increasingly, nationalism. His international policy was the corollary of his domestic policy, stronger state, preservation of the present internal distribution of power, economic prosperity, though too little investment in the future, stability and continuity, most importantly. Putin has made it clear, though, people in the West often use this, that he does not want to restore the Soviet Union. His foreign policy in this view is not imperialist or expansionalist, rather it is about having stability and, I would argue, regional hegemony in the near abroad, the countries around his own country. Regional hegemony, security, stability. He's not a radical. He was ready to deal with any kind of regime, no matter how [inaudible] thin of his relations with Assad. So in his view, and actually in my view as well, Moscow's policies can be interpreted to preserve existing influences in the region for the purpose, in his view, of greater stabilization, rather than imperial control. The Kremlin is drive by these ideas of security and stability because of it's own sense of vulnerability, of it's own weakness. Russia's foreign policy cannot be understood if you just look at Russia or just look at the Ukrainian Russian conflict. It has to be understood in the larger international context looking at the entire international arena. I mentioned it's general weakness, it's vulnerability of [inaudible] via the West, and the global ambitions of the single super power in the world, the United States. Russian realism contrasts with and has to learn to live with the liberal internationalism and often liberal interventionism of the American government, which has been particularly evident for the last two decades. While Russia aims for a regional hegemony in the so called mirror abroad, the United States, most forcibly under George W. Bush, has promoted it's own ambitions for global hegemony and the active prevention of any rival Hegemon from rising and establishing it's influence over any region. American foreign policy, as many of us know, has been largely ideological, driven by a vision of the world in which security can be achieved only be creating a benign world of democratic capitalist states with Western values of tolerance, civil rights and economic individualism. American leaders believe that America has a special positive role to play in world affairs. That is, in the words of Madeleine Albright, we are the indispensable nation. It's on vision of it's own unique position privileges it's own freedom of action. For American interests are seen to be magically consonant with those of other peace loving states. In this vision, Russia then is constructed, then, as materialistic, venal, self interested, antidemocratic, naturally authoritarian and expanionists. She is simply an international mischief maker. The Russians, of course, think that they've been cheated, think that they've been neglected, and even that they've been lied to by the West, most importantly on the issue of NATO. When Gorbachev negotiated in negotiations around the unification of East and West Germany, he agreed to withdraw Soviet troops from the country's of the Warsaw Pact, with assurances, at least he thought so, that East Germany would not be militarized, and as Secretary of State Baker promised him on February 9th, 1990, there would be no extension of NATO's jurisdiction one inch to the east, unquote. German foreign minister Genscher told Edward Shevardnadze, one thing is certain, NATO will not expand to the east. But, of course, they did. Promises that were made, not only were other countries brought into NATO largely because they really wanted to be in it, but to larger Soviet Republics, notably Georgia and Ukraine, that eventually, they too, would gain eventual membership. NATO, in expansion, was not seen as Russia as a benign act, of course. It's seen by many of it's members, however, as enhancing their security. I wonder about that. I wonder, I fact, by bringing those countries into NATO we haven't, in fact, created a serious security dilemma. By increasing one side's security, NATO is then seen offensive by the other side, by the Russians, who then have to react by increasing their security, sometimes through reckless acts. While the West saw it's moves eastward as benign and non threatening, we know that the Kremlin felt that the west thought and acted as if it's interests, alone, were legitimate, never considering whether Russia would see the movement of a potentially hostile military alliance closer to its borders, indeed into the former Soviet space, as a serious threat to it's national security. These ideas, as I say, go back as far as Yeltsin, but Putin is the one whose acted upon it. And he acts from Russian weakness. He knows that the European Union is 12 times larger economically than Russia. The United States, 13 times larger. China, twice the size. America's defense spending, greater than all other nation's combined. And NATO's, 70% of which is financed by the United States is 10 times larger than Russia. Yet, to spite his weakness, Putin repeatedly stated that Russia, a nuclear arms state, must be taken seriously by the West. What he wanted in Ukraine, I believe, was a neutral, benign Ukraine, that would be friendly to Russia. And he almost got it, before the fall of Yanukovych. But then he did certain things, which in my view were neither realistic, were impulsive and were reckless. By, if you wanted a Ukraine that was, in fact, pro Russian or neutral, what you don't do is annex part of it's territory. The Crimea thing, which was done quickly without wide consultation, in fact, changed the whole game. The European security system was changed. We are now in this deep crisis. Thank you.
>> Since the beginning, Ukraine events have been traveling [inaudible] there is only three days in a row where I'll be staying in the same place, most in the same bed, so I thank you so much for inviting me here, because providing this luxury, a stay in [inaudible] for 5 days [inaudible]. Thank you, so much, for that. And I would like to use this opportunity to just to say some of my thoughts, because basically [inaudible] moving that much, not because the political current situation, but [inaudible] as intellectual and historian trying to make sense of it, so to say. And so therefore we have to be both here and there. So I've been to [inaudible] and Kiev, been to [inaudible], now I am in Ann Arbor. And my impression, [inaudible] impression, is that we have no chance as to make sense of this calamity, so to say. And the first thing is why it cannot make sense is because it's unprecedental. This is my first point. Even the way they defined this war as a [inaudible] war says a lot, because basically [inaudible] it's an unprecedented war, it's something we have for the first time or one of the first times, so to say. My idea is here, so my point, that we don't have any kind of book we can grab from the shelf and to read to get some idea, to get a sense of the events. More so we don't even have a vocabulary to speak of these events. Because we're back basic concepts. One example will do. And here we'll probably come to my major point. There is a mere concept that emerged recently in the social sciences, probably you know of this concept, it's called precariat. This is the concept launched by the British social scientist Guy Standing. It's about a very global phenomenon and I believe many people sitting here today are precariat [inaudible] they are along for this class. It basically describes some kind of new emergent class, which is global, it is mostly people who are [inaudible] objective data, but their education level, but their skills, but their values, they belong to middle class. But for their academic careers, or any careers [inaudible] to be secure, so [inaudible], so they're very precarious positions, so to say. Now this is [inaudible], which is global [inaudible] very much about that. They have a recent discussion about this fundamental in Poland and there are many people who are discussing this idea and [inaudible] invented has nothing to do this pattern of [inaudible], bu then you had, in Poland, political, presidential elections. It turned out to be this specific class, which is precariat, this sided, determinate, the outcome of the elections, so to say. Because basically they felt the current president, Komorowski, but now days in Poland, nobody discusses this [inaudible] because it's taken for granted. It's there. Basically it's a [inaudible] which is very much like generation or as [inaudible] tell me the year you were born, I'll tell you how poor you will be. So this is the whole idea about the [inaudible] class. So my point is, is that in many sense what happened in the Ukraine related exactly to this term, the precariat. Just gie you an idea from data, Ukraine never [inaudible] belongs to the top most educated countries in the world. [Inaudible] the people who after the high school entering the universities, unbelievably high, approximately 80%. Even more than Israel. I'm not saying they have good education, their education is very bad as to equality. But quantity [inaudible]. And basically they're going to [inaudible] some kind of idea to get knowledge, but because basically they're hiding from employment, so to say. So this is what you have there, you have a people, a young generation emerged the last 25 years who have no perspective for the future, and increasingly so under this extremely corrupt regime. And [inaudible] corrupt regime as in the college. So my understanding, to a large extent, I'm not saying this is the only definition, Ukraine [inaudible] of this class, of this young people. I could go on to some characteristic, probably come [inaudible] special values, because of others of important. It's not [inaudible] ideological [inaudible] differences between the older and younger generation in Ukraine. So what I'm saying here, that if you won combat, if you think that you, wa ror your [inaudible] and the war which ensued is about nation, nationalism, identity, you are wrong. It's not about that. It's exactly how Putin wants to see it. It's about nation building [inaudible], it's not about that. It's about changes. It's about modernization by the [inaudible] for the people who live there. This is important, essential to me, this point I'm going to make. Because we're using old vocabulary of empowered [inaudible] I believe he accepted the Putin beliefs [inaudible] because he's misjudging Ukraine. He still believes Ukraine is a divided country, [inaudible], and this is nonsense. You have to be in Ukraine, you have to travel Ukraine to see the [inaudible] don't really matter. What really matters is corruption. This is the high point. Security and corruption is the high spot, nobody talks about language [inaudible] this kind of rubbish, excuse me for saying, that we've been conducting before these things. So basically, this is my point, you have to get this, you you change this view, you're going to say you understand Ukraine, but you start understanding better what is the state. My second point [inaudible], Putin was, has to pay for this mistake, for this ignorance. Because basically, if he would be right, if he would be right, his project of the Russian strength would be successful. Again, here in my point, my point discontent is [inaudible]. The Russian scenario [inaudible] Ukraine, Putin, I don't believe [inaudible] way, because Russia scenario, possible Russian Ukrainian scenario, [inaudible] scenario has already been liberated in 209, a year after Georgia. And there's been a lot of analysis, there has been publications [inaudible], if you look at publication 209 and look at what was going on there at the U.N., you will see this is kind of carbon copied, what was done. Basically, the whole idea was of Putin is if Ukraine would move to West and it was not talked about NATO, again, that's very important, it was talked about the European Union. Agreement was with European Union, which has long term commitments, it's a technical agreement. But it was considered from the point of view as a kind of threat of the strategical interest of Russia, so what's [inaudible]. If this Ukraine would move West, there is a plan of say, of this integrating Ukraine into parts. [Inaudible] to tell you more for your knowledge of Ukraine, it goes about the industrial heart of Ukraine. [Inaudible], it also, which is very important, have access to the world through the Black Sea. So in this sense, if Ukraine wants to go to Europe, it can go, but on a smaller case, like [inaudible] a cultural state, [inaudible] kind of thing. This was strategized, this was [inaudible] in 209. I know that, because I was, at that time during Miadan I was working closely in the [inaudible] team and we already knew that in December 16 of the first weeks of Miadan what is coming. Most of the people in the [inaudible] knew that it's not [inaudible] who is the main danger, it's Putin who is main danger. They know what is coming. What is coming in the event when Miadan would be succeed. So it's a long term gain, it's something different it can gain. Still it's a gain scenario which is based on the very wrong persumption, that identity matters, Ukraine is divided Russian land, which matters. So once Putin will enter Crimea, all the other Russians [inaudible] would meet Russian army [inaudible]. It never happened. So basically I would say Putin was punished for his failure of the Russian war, of Russian [inaudible].
[ Inaudible ]
That said, that said, I don't claim that Putin has failed completely, no. In a large extent, to some extent [inaudible] Putin has been successful, because by imposing the war on Ukraine, and this is imposed war, I believe, given this perspective, long term perspective, it's still a chance for Ukraine [inaudible], that's basically what the resolution was about. Because for him, the [inaudible] Ukraine, introducing radical, political and mostly economical reforms is a threat, a level threat, because [inaudible] legitimacy, for providing these politics, for keeping this [inaudible] whatever he says, the [inaudible] is nothing else but to claim as [inaudible], which is basically to say that it's accepted as a failure of the Russian organization. Again, there's been [inaudible] done by Polish scholar, who tried to compare [inaudible] and Putin discourses by their presence. So what is interesting in this case that core element or simple term from [inaudible] organization [inaudible], the core element or central element in Putin was security. So see what has happened here, basically this is say, denial or say refusal to make.
[ Inaudible ]
By face value. So by imposing war on Ukraine, Putin to a certain extent steal the chance for Ukraine for reforms, and, which I have to admit, it also provides Ukrainian government, which is very inefficient and corrupt, for a very convenient excuse not to do reforms. Because once you have a war it's very hard to do, to embark on reforms. And this is actually what [inaudible] in his speech basically says. It basically says it's not about the reform, it's about the survival of Ukraine. And they would say it's suicidal politics because it plays in the hands of [inaudible]. This is very short term. It's not strategy. It's [inaudible] because you're losing this kind of big picture. So what could be suggested [inaudible], I know that time is running, let me check [inaudible] 4 minutes. I'll try to put the [inaudible] short. I believe to a large extent that Ukraine has lost its chance for radical reforms. Because the opportunity was very short. The [inaudible] was about a year or so. There was much expectations, there were very strong social, rather strong social support while Ukraine. [Inaudible] talking about they base this on the surveys that we did. Now it's lost. I know it's not lost completely, but it's lost. Let's forget it. I don't believe that Ukraine will go with radical reforms, successful reform, even so [inaudible] no claims he will start with reform and [inaudible] support, additional support. But again, it's probably, it's too little and too late, so to say. So basically we [inaudible] Ukraine in the long term period of crisis, of political crisis, of political instability and this is very bad story without economic reforms, I'm sorry to tell. [Inaudible] results are as unpredictable. So that said, I also have to say that Ukraine, for Ukraine the window of opportunity is closed. But what I believe, that still, Ukraine has a corridor, so to say, a new corridor, one way to go. It's like a 20 20 [inaudible]. In my calculation and expectations, [inaudible] or not is based on two new fundamentals, which are evident in the Ukraine. First is a younger generation. But probably the main advantage of Ukraine for the last 25 years is the young generation. You may call, you may, what Professor Suny put it nicely, you may take Ukraine out of Soviet Union but you won't take Soviet Union out of Ukraine. You can take it and talk about young generation. But there's not much to say about them. They don't remember certain things. I'm just talking about the basics of the social [inaudible] so to say. So what I'm saying here, that since this is people who now days are the ages of 18 and 29, you have to provide them with a chance to get older, say for the next 20 some years, when they'll be in the middle age, and this is the period when people of this age take responsibility for this country. And I believe there's a chance the smartest people would be in this age, this may be a new country. So they have a, Ukraine, another sprinter, another star who does the long runs, slowly, to say, but rather surely. That's what happened with the [inaudible] circumstances, which I could not predict. But, and here's coming to my final point, the vast support is very important. Because we have to think differently about Ukraine because let's think about, again, [inaudible] you're losing the point. You're losing this issue of this new fundamental. And my second fundamental is a civil society, which is thriving in Ukraine, because without the society, believe it or not, Ukraine would collapse in the first year of the [inaudible] military war. Because basically it was them who provided the main support, [inaudible] simply because, not because [inaudible] because there were some daughters or sons, brothers, husbands, this you have to be there. So [inaudible] you need a strategy. But you'll need a strategy to take this, to help this change. But to have a strategy they have to think differently, and to think differently, they have to [inaudible]. Thank you, so much.
>> While we pull up our next speaker's slide deck, let me remind you, please if you've got questions you'd like to ask, write them down, and please prepare to pass them over to the aisles, where we'll have folks to collect them. Thanks.
>> Thank you, Jon, for inviting me to be on this very distinguished panel and to talk to all of you about such an important topic. And although the title of our panel, the theme, is extensively post conflict strategies, I'm actually going to argue that it's premature for us to talk about that. Because I think the conflict is still very much ongoing. It has partially frozen. It has quieted down, but there are bullets still flying. And, in fact, just this morning the OSC sent out a report about a sharp increase in cease fire violations. And a lot of this has had to do with, those of you who have been following Ukrainian politics may know that last week I believe the head of a Ukrainian political party, [inaudible], the head of the [inaudible] was arrested by Ukrainian authorities. And after his arrest, some of his supporters, about 1,000 of them, including about 300 right sector militants, protested in [inaudible], after which the OSC saw some of these groups, along with some units of some volunteer battalions, including [inaudible], they took up firing positions, they deployed to northwest of [inaudible], which is where a lot of cease fire violations, mainly small arms fire and explosions have crossed the line of control and happened. And the reason I'm telling you this, and I'm going to come back to this in the end, is that this episode underscores just how fragile the recent reduction in balance has been. So overall, the level of fighting in the Dunbas has dramatically decreased since a high of about 296, I believe, of individual, unique [inaudible] per week in January to about only a couple of dozen last month. But what we have now is these third party groups, these spoilers that are using cease fire violations or threats of cease fire violations on both sides, they're using these kinds of violations as a leverage on the government, in this case to respond to what they thought was a selective application of justice. But it does underscore just how fragile the current situation is and how easily we can return back to the vials of previous months. Now this topic has gone on for about 18 months, I want to begin by showing you how the balance has unfolded since Yunokoych's departure in February of 2014. This is some of the data that a research team and I, someone from our, in the audience tonight, have been collecting. So as you see, this is an animation that shows rebel violence, this does not include political protest. So during much of March of last year, there were a lot of what was initially peaceful protests, which then escalated to the seizure of government buildings throughout the Dunbas, the seizure of police stations and eventually several towns falling under rebel control. And then in the beginning of May, on May 11th, the rebels held what the Ukrainian government called a pseudo referendum of independence, and on the creation of the sol called People's Republic of [inaudible]. And as you see those gray areas are the territories that the rebels controlled at that point. And there are flare ups of violence throughout this area. The Ukrainian government initially hesitated in responding to it, but then in mid July they sent 4 battalions, actually 4 brigades, to sweep that southern border area to restore control over the border crossings. And then in the middle of July the 95th Air Assault Brigade of the Ukrainian armed force, which is the most capable unit that it has carried out this massive armored raid, which they basically split this whole territory in half and broke the front. And at that point, it kind of looked like the rebels were finished. Then the Russians intervened militarily, there was an armored assault down south extending the reach of their territory over to the border of [inaudible]. They initially had to pull back because they outran the logistics, they also tracked large concentration of the Ukrainian troops in a pocket around [inaudible] and then, after September 5th there was a forced [inaudible] cease fire granted, which is what you're seeing right now. There was technically a cease fire on the ground, as you can see, it's not holding. The line of control is relatively static at this point. The fighting has evolved into kind of static defensive warfare, kind of think western front after World War 1. And then there's another renewed rebel offensive in December and January of this past winter, in which the rebels initially wanted to take control of these two provinces of [inaudible]. What the ended up capturing was [inaudible] port, as well as this pocket in [inaudible], which is where, right between, kind of at the midpoint between [inaudible]. It's a major railroad crossing. If you control that crossing, you reduce the travel time from [inaudible] by several hours. And then eventually the rebels closed the cauldron, they overtook that territory and now what you're seeing is the second cease fire agreement, which has been enforced ever since, and since then the front line has remained relatively static, as you probably see there are a few territories that are still contested, a couple small cities changing hands every now and then, but overall the level of violence has gone down with the exception of a small spike, as you see there, towards the end. In June, some artillery duels happened there, and there was serious concerns that it would flare up again into another large rebel offensive. And that has not happened. I'm going to move on to the next slide because it kind of keeps going like this for awhile. But that's essentially the distribution control as it currently stands. This is the distribution of violence over the entire period of the war so far. It actually goes until the end of, the end of July. We're currently collecting data to bring us up to the present. But I want to talk about some of the main drivers of the violence. So in the early stages of the conflict, during the protest days and the early insurgency phase, the early stages according to the data, were largely economic. They were not ethnic and linguistic. The strongest predictor of violence on the ground in these early stages, violence is most likely and most intense in municipalities that are either heavily dependent on trade with [inaudible] or that were uniquely exposed to trade shocks or other types of economic negative shocks due to either the EU association agreement or Russian import substitution. And so these are merely machine building company towns, basically towns where almost everyone's employed in a single factory that exports locomotive engines to one customer, Russian Railroads. And we saw a lot of the same things happen in coal mining towns. Those towns switched sides very early in the conflict. And they switched sides, for the most part, without a shot being fired. They did not resist the pro Russian separatists when they moved in and took control over these towns. So contrary to the way this conflict has been portrayed both in the Russian press and in the Western press, this is not an ethnic conflict. And if there's one point that I want you to take away from tonight, it is that. Russian language and ethnicity and how many Russian speakers reside in a given town does not predict violence. I've run thousands, literally thousands, of predictive models of this. It does not come out as significant. The only instance where Russian language does predict rebel control are in towns where these economic incentives were not very strong, where there's not a large industrial workforce. And as Ukrainians, of course, know there are Russian speakers on both sides of this war. There are many more of them on the pro Kiev side. And, of course, there are, in the later stages, when we transitioned away from protests and insurgency and into the full spectrum maneuver war, the causes of the fighting have changed a little bit. And this may seem so ontological, but the best predictor of violence is violence. And what I'm talking about here is artillery duels. So rebels launch an artillery barrage against government fighting positions. Government and volunteer battalions respond. Rebels respond in turn. And after this artillery return, other units on the front line are being placed on alert and similar things spread out throughout the territory. And that kind of self perpetuation dynamic is the main driver of violence over this entire period. And compounding this problem is our basic problems of thematic control on both sides. There are simply too many actors on the ground and too many of them are not within the command structure by the Ukrainian government or the Russian armed forces or even the self proclaimed People's Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. And, of course, on the Ukrainians side we have a lot of volunteer battalions, some of them in the early stages of the war were formed out of self defense protest units in the [inaudible] Miadan, Kiev, they took up arms. Some of them, like the one battalion was financed by [inaudible], the governor of [inaudible], worked like a private army, like a private militia run by [inaudible]. Some of them have an openly, nationalist, right wing agenda. Some of them, like the now disbanded [inaudible] battalion have been accused of human rights violations. Most of them, at this point, have been now subordinate to the administrator of the interior, but that, of course, has not prevented the kinds of things we saw last week, even though they are formally in the command structure of the Ukrainian government, they're still very much autonomous actors. And all of that, of course, pales in comparison to the problems of the rebel side. On the pro rebel side, in addition to locals, basically local units formed out of either french political parties in Donetsk and Luhansk, or from former coal mining labor unions, we also have a lot of volunteers from Russia, a lot of ultra nationalists from Russia, a lot of [inaudible] mercenaries, a lot of Chechnyan mercenaries, who no one really controls. Again, a lot of these units have been now subordinate to the so called armed forces of [inaudible], but they retained a lot of autonomy and there's no real switch that Putin can flip to turn off the violence at any given point. And so once violence breaks out it becomes very difficult to contain in this kind of environment. We have so many third party spoilers. And then, of course, what also predicts violence is simple matters of geography and logistics. It's hard to fight in a town that you cannot access the roads, the closer you are the the Russian border the more supplies you'll receive from Moscow and so on. Now I want to talk about why violence has declined. If we do think that it has declined, when in fact it goes up and down, but relative to the very intense level of activity that we saw last August and last January, it has declined. One potential argument is that the cease fire is working. But as you can see right there, after Minsk One and Minsk Two, it's really hard to make that argument. In general, this case study very nicely illustrates the fact that countries do not, combatants do not stop fighting because it's a cease fire. They sign a cease fire because they want to stop fighting. And as we saw in Minsk two, before Minsk Two, that agreement happened because the rebel winter offensive failed. They initially wanted to take control of [inaudible], the entire territories of Donetsk and Luhansk. They failed. They captured the airport, they captured the railroad crossing to [inaudible] and they could not take any more territory without a huge increase in Russian military support, Russian armored units going across the border, which Putin did not have any appetite for at the time. So cease fire success, not really. Perhaps the sanctions are working? Well, they are and they aren't. If you look at Putin's approval rating, they have not made a dent. Right now, I think he's at about 90%. And there's also logic, a very flawed logic, in how these sanctions have worked. The way that sanctions work is if you have compliance on the other side, if the side that's being sanctioned has the opportunity to comply, and if a condition of these sanctions is get out of Crimea, no Russian leader, or anyone else, can do that without losing power. He'll have to run out of the country like Yanukovych did in Ukraine. And so there's a sense in Russia that these sanctions are there to stay. There's also the question of Russian operations in Syria, whether they are, in fact, a big distraction from the fighting in the Ukraine, get Ukraine off the front line of the newspapers, get Russia back to the negotiating table. [Inaudible] have had this affect, but the military opportunity costs of these operations is actually very small. Here we're talking about basically 34 fighter jets, a few ground attack helicopters, some marines to protect the base, air crews, combat service personnel, all units that are not used in Ukraine, where the fighting's mainly done by mechanized units on the ground. And, but I think the main reason why Donbas has gone down a bit, has gone down is there are many more stake holders now in the status quo than there were previously. And, by stake holders I mean, primarily, at the official level Poroshenko, Putin. From Putin's standpoint, now, in the Ukraine, we have a frozen conflict which is essentially a veto of NATO integration for the Ukraine where he can flip off, he can turn up the heat whenever he wants. But also, on Poroshenko's side, Ukraine is a 50/50 country electorally. Traditionally that's been the case for most of the election cycles. So in the U.S. now, imagine of California or Texas secedes, what will that do to the outcome of presidential elections. If California secedes what will that do to the probability that democrats will win in the national election? And, it's, and of course, there are also some fiscal savings that will come into play. You didn't have to pay the salary of state workers in Ukraine for a while, not since last summer. Of course, the fiscal savings cost have now been completely offset by the increased military spending. But still, reintegrating the Ukraine is much more costly than, potentially, just keeping the status quo intact. Of course, the people who are not real stake holders in the status quo are the locals. The rebels on the ground in [inaudible] and also a lot of the volunteer battalions. And so, I'm just going to pass forward from this slide straight to the conclusion. How do we this [inaudible] down? And so, particularly during the flare up of [inaudible] last winter, this [inaudible] talked about sending U.S. Military aide to Ukraine in our forces. And, the people manning these kinds of static positions, in an open front, facing armored units on the Russian and the rebel's side certainly want anti-attack ammunitions anti-tank guided missiles, that's been a main request that they have. And, the problem here is that U.S. military aid to Ukraine, the idea is that it will deter the rebels from any future offenses. But, the problem is, its paradoxes is too much and too little. It's too little to change the balance of power on the ground. Military experts, those that have been following the [inaudible] of the battlefield know that Ukraine's military defeat is not due to any deficiencies of technology. It's due to poor logistics, inexperienced commanders, or a lot of difficulty maneuvering battalion and brigade sized units in the field due to poor intelligence and a complete breakdown of command and control but to the regular army and these volunteer battalions. And injecting sophisticated weapons into this kind of operating environment is very risky. I'm not going to mention the fact that javelin missiles are about a quarter of a million dollars each. And, it would also entail U.S. training personnel being on the ground in harm's way. So, if we want U.S. troops on the ground in Donetsk, that's potential strategy we could take. But, will probably won't change the balance of power on the ground. A key to any kind of [inaudible] will be to keep third party supporters in check on both sides. And probably, this is the problem that [inaudible] are making, the most capable units. Russia has gone through an entire restructuring in the past ten years. They've increased their alliance on professional soldiers on what they call a [inaudible] contract personnel. But, that's merely applies to specialized units, technical units such as armor, artillery, airborne, that does not apply to infantry. Infantry is merely cost groups and they have mothers who complain when their sons ascend into battle. So, Russia has relied on third parties like a lot of locals, a lot of mercenaries, these people are hard to control. And, Ukraine has also had a simple problem of mainly due to the fact that at the beginning of the conflict they only had 6,000 combat ready troops. So we need to keep these third party spoils in check. I don't know how, hopefully so we'll figure that out. Also the current economic blockade of Donbas is counterproductive. If we want to increase the alliance of the four million people who live there who have not yet fled on Russia, if you want to increase their alliance of humanitarian aid from Russian, go ahead, keep them blockaded. That's not the best idea if we want to successfully reintegrate these territories in the Ukraine. But, the bottom line is that Kiev needs to create an attractive vertical economic model in the territories that it controls. It needs to create incentives for the people who live in the Donbas to look to Kiev to see the future in Kiev rather than in Moscow. Of course, this is the same prescription that was recommended for Georgia and for Moldova not really [inaudible]. But, I think this is a strategy for generations. This is not something we can diplomat in two or three years. The [inaudible] is long term but that's where we currently are. Thank you for your time. You know, there's an advantage to speaking last and a disadvantage. One of the advantages, I could just say dido and we could have a discussion because I agree with the number of points of view but I agree that all of them are valid based on research, based on history. Some of them are educated guesses. I'm going to take off my professorial robe and put on a diplomatic ambassadorial sash for a minute and try to be a hard boiled realist about this issue because I think it's important not to, let us say, from the standpoint of the U.S. Government, also I can't speak for the European Union. But, at least from the standpoint of the U.S. Government, you, the situation of the Ukraine has to be put into a much broader framework. And, one of the questions in that broader framework I what are the Russians up to? What are their national interests? Are there parallel interests with ours? Are there conflicting interests with ours? Can we have a grand dialogue with them? Because, it certainly doesn't pay for us or for the rest of us to have another cold war begin. It's more expensive, it's dangerous, they're all the reasons that we fought for 70 some years, well I wouldn't say 70 years but at least after the Second World War to contain the Soviet, the Soviet Union at the time. That was my period of time in government. I have to say, when I served in Moscow in the 70s, I visited the Ukraine several times. And, one of the things I took away from that was that the KGB surveillance of them was much heavier in Ukraine than in Moscow. It was much heavier than any place I'd been. It kind of is an indication of the mutual distrust in both sides and the idea one might call paranoid. But, you know what Henry Kissinger or somebody said about paranoia, paranoids is, even paranoias have enemies. So, the sense, the sense that they're, that Ukraine was different because it was an important part of the soviet union, big population, you know the breadbasket, so called, of the Soviet Union, etcetera, it's an important, it was an important country. But, I think, so, I think we want to put this in under the context of U.S. national interest, U.S. strategy. I think the Russians, under Putin especially, have been very strategic in what they've been doing. And, I think, Ukraine fits into this strategic framework. What are, what are Russian national interests as we try to predict them from outside? First, and this has been mentioned before, they want to rebuild, respect, and fear, put those two together, respect and fear of the kind that the USSR that the Soviet Union had during the Cold War before, right. They want, and Putin in particular, when I say they it's not just Putin. It's a ruling lead they what one might have called the nomenclature during Soviet days. They want to be included in all the big boys clubs and to be included in decision making and important world events. Part of the problem with this is that they also are a controlling factor in terms of the way the West deals with events. It's a, it's very much a tactic that goes back to Soviet days. First, you cause a problem. Then, you make sure that you're involved in the solution. So, if you cause a problem, you're involved in the solution, you have to be, you have to discuss it at the very highest level, the G8 with the European Union with the United States. It's, Russia certainly sees its foreign policy oversees it as a kind of control factor internally as well, been very popular. You know, this is an old, an old tactic of, not just the Soviet Union but Russia. You create issues in the outside that require you to take certain controls internally because they're disruptive to the stability of the state. And, I think, we have seen, certainly, a number of examples to that in terms of the press, various trials that have gone on in Russia. And, in terms of Russia's strategic view, I think it's very clear that Putin and his group view the West, but primarily the United States, as wavering, undecided, weak, and war weary. And, that is an, so, if you're thinking from the standpoint of a Soviet policy maker, you take that into account, it gives you an open area in terms of what one can do to build influence worldwide. And, I'm sure that that, that this seems to be the case. And, one example of this was the so called Red Line. So, President Obama drew a red line, chemical weapons, etcetera. Then it was violated, pretty clearly violated. Then, he said we have to go to Congress. And then, the Russians seen this wavering, came in, and there was a negotiation, and here we are back again; my own personal view. Nobody might agree with this. I think, when the Red Line was crossed, we should've strategically bombed several places as much as we can, not civilian installations but military to show that we had well resolved and that we can be dependent upon. Because, I think, from the standpoint of the Russians now, that was a watershed. They saw that we were not willing to use force or to, and use force, I don't mean sending troops into Ukraine, but, at least arming Ukrainians going, trying to persuade NATO to do more, etcetera. Okay. So, I think the elements of Russian strategic doctrine now are at first build the armed forces, expand their reach on land, sea, and air. This seems to be happening. If you look at the number of incidents now where Russian aircraft have come close to the national territory of NATO members and other Scandinavians especially, and where their ships, particularly in the north are, seem to be in a probing expedition with submarines that are detected as well, it's clear that not only are they building the armed forces back again but they're also using them for strategic purposes and for signaling purposes in terms of not only what their intentions are but what their, what their resources are and what their possibilities are. Since we have been looking at Russia as a weakened, weak country ourselves since the end of the Soviet Union, particularly during the Olson period, when we kept saying oh we want Russia to be a normal country, which I always thought was a kind of strange expression on our part. But, in any case. Also, from the standpoint of the sanctions, which were discussed here, it's clear, and if you look at Russian history as well, it's clear that things like sanctions actually lift the popularity of the particular leader. This is what's happened with, this is what's happened with Putin because the argument is here our potential enemy is making it more difficult for you to live. That's a good excuse for not having very high standard of living in fact it's the outside that's doing this. Not us. If they understood our motives, and in a way our own ideology, then, this wouldn't be happening to you. So, it's a control mechanism. And, the idea is to denigrate the effect of the sanctions but realistically trying to also get them taken off at some point, find some conditions during this. Then, there's this issue that was discussed here before as well. Reestablish, and this has been going on for some time, it's not new, reestablish hegemonic relations with a number of near abroad countries and also not just through what I would say peaceful means, but, also by showing that what the, what the consequences of challenging Russian interests would be. Well, we've seen this in, we've seen this in Georgia, we've seen it in the Ukraine, Syria is, in a way, the same kind of thing. They're, first place, there're a lot of Russians in Syria, a lot of Russians over the years and a lot of Syrians who live in Russia who've married Russians in one way or another since they've had these military installations. And so, getting back into this strategic framework, Syria fits in, Syria fits in very nicely. So, hegemony by reestablishing some of their relationships with the former republics as well as the threat of using force, as they have, they've already shown that they can, then you have a number of places where we don't make the newspapers much, but where we have Russian troops already. So, I've looked this up. And, if you look at, for example, Armenia and the whole issue of Nagorno-Karabakh, which the Russians have, where the Russians have supported Armenia very strong. There are about 5,000 Russian personnel there. But, besides that, the Russians are clamping down on Armenians in terms of their ability to maneuver. Belarus, there are personnel in Georgia and both Abkhazia and South Ossetia, there are somewhere in the neighbor of 7,500 Russian troops, in the old, in the Stans, this is Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, we have Russian troops and Russian influence increasing. Of course, Syria, we have it, now Ukraine. And, there's even been a, even been an agreement signed recently to reestablish some kind of relationship with Vietnam because they had a basic com, they had a base at Cam Ranh Bay during the Vietnam War. And, in addition to that, the Russians have been playing the China card. This is our old China, they stole our strategy. They've been playing the China card in a way that's, I think, quite clever. It's showing that, because China and the United States and our allies have been having problems with freedom of, freedom of the seas with building of these islands, it's a perfect time for Russia to try. Chinese suspect Russian, history, history will tell you that there's a lot of suspicion between the two countries. But, you know, realistically speaking, it's not a bad deal for Russia and China to have a closer relationship. And, I think, this is what's happening. So, how do we relate this to the Ukraine this will? And what, what can the United States possibly do that will increase its own national interest? Let me address that a little bit. So, it is true. Syria has moved Ukraine to the back pages. I don't know if that's the, if that was the reason for moving, and I doubt it. There was a broader reason to establish that big boy image and show that they're, that they have, that the Russians have interest in the Middle East and need to be part of whatever solutions, whatever negotiations take place. The question of Crimea. So, Crimea has become, basically, a fact of life. You said it, it's been mentioned here before. There's no Russian leader that could possibly say okay let's negotiate maybe we can figure out a deal where they'd have more autonomy. It's not going to happen. It's going to be part of Russia and it's not going to, there are some consequences they could pay, but, it's not going to go back. You know, Ronald Reagan even said the Panama Canal is ours, we built it, we're going to keep it, and we didn't keep it. Don't think the Russians are going to do it that way. In any case, the thing that's happened most recently that I think is interesting is Putin, Putin made it, just a short time ago, a speech in which he, basically, showed the softer part of this doctrine, that is the doctrine that is the incentive. And, he said, essentially, look, we can work with our part, he always calls us partners, with our partners in the West. We, so what's going on here? We can, presumably we can negotiate on the Syria, on the Syria issues as long as we don't have to stay with Assad, that's sort of Subrosa going on. But, he needs to be there while we're negotiating. And, in Ukraine, if you need us, quiet obviously, we can talk about that as well. So, there is this very clever policy of using the fist and using the fist and the velvet glove, I think, that is coming up. Now, just briefly, what can the United States do? First place, there are some big, very big U.S. interesting going in. We do not want the policy established even, and remember, there's a, there's a bit of inconsistency here. But, as someone once said, foolish inconsistency is the hobgoblin of small mind. So, foolish, sorry, foolish consistency, I said it wrong. Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of a small mind. So, it seems to me there are several things that can be done which makes sense and which fit in even into the Obama Administration foreign policy and national security strategy, which, personally, I don't admire very much. But it, you know, we have a president. And so, let's look at what things can be done. First place, it's very important to keep the allies united on sanctions. That's going to be very hard to do. You need to make Ukraine, I think, part of the overall dialogue with Russia. You cannot handle it separately. It needs to be part of that overall dialogue and part of the deal. Call it a grand bargain if you want. But, it has to fit into it. Because, if it's handled separately, I don't think we'll get very far. We need to keep the sanctions in place, as I said, and we need to keep the allies there. We need, how are, we also need to make clear to the Russians what needs to be done to reduce the sanctions. I think they have had a, certainly have a major effect in terms of investment capital flight. You can see this in the figures and in the economy in general. We need to demand that the Russians not pull out, whatever they are, volunteers, mercenaries, Russian forces, out of Ukraine. And, we need to be careful about Crimea. And, there are some things we can do about Crimea. But, we need to be realistic about what can be done, I think. It's not going back to Ukraine. I think that's just unlikely. The example I would give is when I, when I, when I served in Moscow, but, during that whole period of time, you know, we never recognized the forceful incorporation of the Baltic countries, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. There's an advantage in keeping that principle going. It can be even toughened because you can do something like we did with Cuba in the Helms Burton Amendment where you put a notation in the passport not valid for travel to Crimea. You can punish Crimean officials by making sure they can't travel, they can't, they can't have visas, they can't get to the United States, freeze their money. You can be very tough on that. Not sure that will get anywhere given what, I think, are Russian attitudes toward maintaining control of Korea. But, Korea, Crimea. Okay. So, then, within this grand dialogue we need to press for more solid ceasefire and a negotiations between the parties. I think it's the Ukraine's that need to solve this and it needs to be solved without the pressure from either East or West but particularly from East. Then, we have to, I think, come up with an economic package for Ukraine to show the advantages of working with the West. I'm not sure that it should include membership or associate membership with the EU, but something, an economic assistance package certainly is important, particularly in balance of payments issues. Even preferences in trade like what we have in the general system of preferences with a number of underdeveloped countries. There's no reason why it couldn't be applied to Ukraine at all. And, we need to have, and this is the last point I want to make, we need to have very strategic dialogue and talks with the Russians about the full range of issues that we both agree on, not many of them at this point, but, and that we disagree on because that relationship is important. Russians are aggressive. They're forward leaning as we say sometimes. And it's not going to, and it's not going to stop. I think, some results can be had. But, I think, the negotiations themselves and the image of negotiating with what is a potential important adversary is very important in and of itself. So, that's what I have to say. And, thank you all for participating.
>> Thank you all also for offering us a number of good questions to choose from. I'm going to pass the microphone to Will Lamping and he's going to select a represented sample of your questions.
>> Our first question is for Ron Suny but of course all the panelists are welcomed to weigh in on it. You discussed the Western and Russian narratives of what has happened and is happening in the Ukraine? What is the Ukrainian narrative? Are there any differences between the Western and Ukrainian Narratives?
>> It seems to me there's several Ukrainian narratives. I mean, if you include the Donetsk and Luhansk as well in that, right. Or do you mean that, maybe the question you meant, what is the Ukrainian narrative in, on the other side? And, I think the best, the best answer for that would probably to have, have Yaroslav answer that question rather than I because I, what I see is real, in my mind, confusion and conflict among different actors, different political parties. I don't think there's a very consistent single narrative. But, I leave that to you.
>> I do agree but this is a kind of advantage for Ukraine because nobody has [inaudible]. There's not single unit dominating narrative Ukraine period. You could, if you're talking about Ukraine's [inaudible]. But there's a bit of Ukraine in a sense because [inaudible] you have a country which has to come to some [inaudible] that's basically what democracy is about.
>> All right. Thank you. Professor Zhukov, given the early stage insurgency and currently more conventional combat of this hybrid war, is military victory by either side feasible? And, if so, what might that, who's likely to win?
>> So, the military balance of the ground strongly favors the Russian side. And, I should say the pro-Russian rebel side. But, the way that, the way that works is that rebels without Russian support are capable of holding territory, they're not capable of taking territory. They're capable of manning static defensive positions. They're not capable of penetrating through the Ukrainian defenses, which, at this point, are pretty well fortified. If the situation does not change of the ground, I would say, we'll seek a tangent stalemate or we'll see general freezing of the conflict along the lines that it is coming on. If Russia chooses to intervene much more forcefully, we could potentially see deeper penetration within these two provinces is gray tank country. And, if, once Russia gets past Ukrainian defense, there's very little stopping them as they roll right across all the way to the [inaudible] river. But, currently, I think, the most likely scenario is a continued stalemate.
>> Okay. And, this question's open to the entire panel. Is there a chance of a similar conflict breaking out either from a current present conflict or in another former Soviet state? If so, could you speak to the danger for regional instability stemming from the current conflict in the Donbas?
>> Well, maybe I might just say a word. So, remember the Brezhnev doctrine, Brezhnev doctrine basically was that the Soviet Union had the right to intervene in any country, and we're talking about there the Warsaw Pact countries, essentially, that threaten socialism, was a broad. So, I respect what you said about Russian speakers and ethnicity. But, the first thing that Putin basically said was that Russia had a responsibility for protecting Russians and Russian speakers wherever they were. Right? It's, that is a pretty important doctrine if you think of the Baltics, for example, where you have numbers of, you know, upwards of 30% so and more in some of the Baltic countries. So, in terms of what principles that we need to fortify and support, I would say we need to get away, particularly from the idea that a country can invade a neighbor for what are, essentially, I guess in this case, linguistic and ideological reasons or ethnic, or ethnic reasons. You know, part of the problem is that, part of the problem and part of the good thing that's happened post war, particularly in the last ten years or so is this idea of the responsibility to protect. The responsibility to protect says that, if a dictator is abusing his own people, the United Nations has the right to do something about it under Chapter 7 of the United Nations Charter. So, the Russians, in effect, have flipped this around a little bit. There's a sort of responsibility to protect Russians. We can't allow that to happen because that will have dire circumstances in terms of our own values and in terms of our strategic interests, it seems to me.
>> Thank you. Thank you.
>> I want to get serious. That is, I think that's rhetorical. That is they make that claim. Yeltsin made this claim, by the way, originally. But, it's never acted on really. And there, even when there were real abuse of Russians in Soniah and most importantly they didn't act on it. And, most Russians, in the Baltic countries, prefer to live in those nice Baltic countries, higher standard of living and all that, than they do in Russia. So, there's no, there's no push from Russian diaspora in those countries, which, in the last 20 years, there's some work on this, have become increasingly identified as a separate nationality, almost, as a diaspora Russian people living abroad. So, I don't think this is that real a problem. And, you know, clearly a place like Kazakhstan where there are lots of Russians and Russian speakers in the north, might worry about this. But, the Russian government has not made serious moves like that. They can use it rhetorically.
>> Yeah and my comment was not made to say, was not meant to say that it was the diaspora that was asking for the Russians to come in but that the Russians were using the diaspora as a reason and could use it in other places. It's a signal, kind of signaling device be careful. That's, anyway.
>> I'd like to weigh in briefly. I think, I guess, I guess I'm more on Ron's side of this, of this question because, I think, the [inaudible] the Baltic States, and the Donbas is the local point is out there. Because the Baltic States is the ones that have, is, should be a most likely case for an ethic Russian uprising because they are treated as [inaudible]. But, the economic component is not there. The, what makes Donbas unique and what I think makes a symbol uprising unlikely in both any other part of Ukraine but also any other part of the Soviet Union is because in Donbas, there's a concentration of industries that are almost completely dependent on trade with Russia. And, by implementing this import substitution scheme that Russia has had going since even before the [inaudible], they have put the pressure on that particular, the most vulnerable the most economically vulnerable part of the Ukraine population. Russia does not have that kind of leverage in the Baltics. Okay.
>> Thank you. And, this next question actually speaks directly to changing identities and perception of identity, specifically in Ukraine. Professor Hrytsak, you claim that, in order for Ukraine to inform the younger generation, in order to, for reform, the younger generation needs a chance to mature, to act freely, to act freely without the memory of the Soviet past. If you could speak to this, how do you propose that this outer change should be provided?
>> The last, I haven't heard the last sentence.
>> Could you, could you propose how do you go about providing this opportunity.
>> To change.
>> To change, to allow for the generation free of the Soviet past.
>> There is a whole, thank you so much, there is a whole discourse margin for the last, I would say, seven, eight, years, since the time it was evident the [inaudible] has failed that the [inaudible] would deliver reforms. So, it would be like a new discourse margin called the third way and this goes for Ukraine which is basically [inaudible]. This is [inaudible] of Donbas and very much I should say [inaudible]. Just give me one idea, this comes closer to what was said. a year ago was [inaudible] a famous one, has suggested to accept the Russian language in Ukraine officially as a separate Russian, as a separate language the way that American and British language are, British English language in Britain and England. And the reason he says is basically that in Ukraine, Russian language in Ukraine's very much different even in vocabulary. I won't judge that about what it stands is different but [inaudible] because in Ukraine the Russian language is a language of European choice [inaudible]. So, what I'm saying here, I'm not claiming this is true or wrong. I'm claiming this is [inaudible] which tried to breach [inaudible] division and to put so called third way. And, very importantly, they have this sort of, they don't pay this much on this historical memory, that's very interesting, on the issues which are most vulnerable which is language and historical [inaudible]. Of course, if you want to have Ukraine be divided talk about historical memory, particular about Second World War and talk about language. [Inaudible] divide but it's talking about different things like corruption like inefficiency of the government you have in a different country. So, I'm saying this. This is not attempt, I don't know if it's success or fail, but there are attempts visible, probably discourse to reformulate, so to say. They go from [inaudible] identity, identity based discourse to [inaudible]. And I would say again, nobody have done some kind of studies but it's not that, [inaudible] probably which were thinking. But still, there's some claims on this line, kind of studies or hypothesis that what we're witnessing now in the Ukraine is a demolished identity politics, an identity discourses. I don't know what will be the results. But still, I'm saying what is there.
>> Thank you very much. And, speaking of Ukraine public discourse, recently, Ukraine band communist symbols within the public sphere. Given this and the rise of rightwing battalions fighting on the side of Ukrainian in the Donbas conflict, is there a serious, is there a serious risk in the rise of rightwing politics, potentially fascism in reaction to Russia's intervention in Ukraine?
>> There is. And this very serious and taken seriously could be disregarded so to say. And I would say but having said that, and actually Russia [inaudible] if you will increases the chances for this reason for this [inaudible]. But, it's [inaudible] so far I'm not witnessing this decrease when it comes to the [inaudible] and the service. There are certain [inaudible] in Ukraine which [inaudible] this kind of extremist. I mean, it's more of the same. It's more of the same, and importantly, I probably this fact it makes sense to reiterate it, after the, after the [inaudible] presidential elections and the [inaudible] elections, the [inaudible] felt just [inaudible]. They two leaders of the [inaudible] movement which was [inaudible] the leader of the private sector, get less voices together combined the leader of the Jewish community in the Ukraine, the presidential elections. So, I'm saying here, yeah, it has been taken as a risk. But, so far, we don't see this kind as a real risk. But, again, it depends very much on what's going on, what's going on in Ukraine. But what will, but, what the Russian [inaudible] because they [inaudible].
>> All right. And, thank you. And, our last question for this panel has to do more with a regional perspective. The United States and Great Britain have not adhered to the elements of the Budapest Memorandum which was put in place to protect Ukraine and Ukrainian national sovereignty in return for Ukraine giving up its nuclear arsenal in the immediate Post-Soviet period. Has the, how, in what ways has this strengthened, put in strategy with regards to Ukraine? And how has this shaped Ukrainian policies with regard to the conflict?
>> Well, it's.
>> For one thing, it's added to the image of the west not adhering to what the commitments were in the agreement. The deal was a pretty simple one. Ukraine gives up it, this is oversimplifying. Ukraine gives up its nuclear, kept its missiles, but give up nuclear capability and its borders are supposed to be respected. So, if that doesn't count anymore, again, I'm not saying that you invade as a result of the breech and then that doesn't count anymore. It says something about the resolve and the will of your opponent. You know, Russians are great chess players. And so, I think that figures into the way that they and the way that Putin assesses what kind of actions that he feels are in Russian national interests that can be undertaken in a relatively cheap cost.
>> So there is interesting twist in Ukrainian political decision making or the type of suggestions that say to [inaudible] this deal is a kind of a deal and trade, trade and deal for some kind, what we say in economics, economic assistance package, so to say. And more specifically, this is come, is discourses, public discourses a marshal like plan for Ukraine, so to say which is very much taken seriously specifically by [inaudible] Administration since recently here. And they did a lot along these lines so far they failed. But those, there's some support [inaudible] along this plan [inaudible]. but, I'm saying here, they're using this kind of an argument, a trading deal for some kind of economic assistance package because let's face it, part of the failure of economic reform is that they are very expensive, the reform itself. There must be some kind of economic, there must be some kind of budgeting. You can't, there's no, [inaudible]. and, the only budget that could come, they're very costly, is the possible is from the west, whatever it means, [Inaudible] Washington, [Inaudible] whatever you know. But still you can bet they need it.
>> Since we're almost coming to an end, I'm going to leave on a more positive or optimistic note. Maybe this will help a little bit. I actually think that Putin is in trouble. And, I think he realizes that he's gotten himself into quagmire. Now, you know, there's about 18 dozen books on Putin right now, psychological studies, his kleptocracy and so forth. So, you can almost, from the material, make any Putin you want. The way I read him, as I said, is a realist interested, basically, in stability in security and wanting, in some ways, as Mel put it as well, playing a bigger role, being one of the boys on the larger stage. My sense is he must, at some point, realize what have I gotten out of this struggle? Okay. I've gotten Crimea. Now, I got to pay for that. All right. I got that. And, that's making me popular at home. I've had some trouble at home with elections and demonstrations. That's a good thing. I got Donetsk and Luhansk, oh boy. Am I going to pay for that? I was hoping through Minsk agreement that Ukraine would pay for that. So, there's the second thing. And, he can't get out of the situation. He's estranged from Europe. He's estranged from the United States. Things are much more difficult. The economy is not doing well. And, you know, this is a neoliberal guy, in terms of his economic policies, who wants to be well integrated into the global capitalist system. And, this is costing on all kinds of levels. And so, I think, in some ways, he would like to see a way out. And, Minsk too, he got a pretty good deal in Minsk too. And he thought, maybe, if the Ukrainians would push for that, that would be a way out. I don't know what's going to happen. I can't talk about future strategy because I think it's, as Yuri put it, you know, maybe it's too early to talk about that. But, I think that, in his own realism, he may come to the realization that he has overreached. And, by overreaching, he has actually weakened Russia and weakened his position on the globe.
>> Thank you. I hope you all join me in thanking our panelists for a very nice presentation.