Wednesday October 1, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
28o C
16o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Historical baggage

Soldiers from the Ukrainian Army sit atop combat vehicles as they are blocked by people on their way to the town of Kramatorsk, on Wednesday.

By Costas Iordanidis

In Ukraine, which is on the brink of civil war, it’s not just whether the former Soviet republic will join the Western camp or retain a neutral status reminiscent of Finland before the breakdown of USSR that’s at stake.

Beyond the suffering of ordinary people in the country, at the heart of the bloody conflict lies the question of Russia’s place in the international system; that is, the system which emerged after the end of the Soviet regime and the spread of free market capitalism around the globe – and the ensuing promotion of a uniform political way of doing things.

European countries had held a rather ambiguous stance toward imperial Russia for centuries. As an authoritarian and conservative power, czarist Russia was a precious ally in the survival of the Ancien Regime from the tsunami of the French Revolution and the ambitions of Napoleon Bonaparte. A destabilizing force for the Ottoman Empire, Russia was primarily a threat to the interests of Britain and France.

The problem was solved, as it were, with the victory of the Bolsheviks in 1917, which severed the ties of the Russian Empire to the West. The question returned with renewed intensity with the collapse of the communist system and the end of the Soviet empire.

A first bid to isolate post-communist Russia from the West came in Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations.” That was 1993, and the bid was of course, theoretical. Huntington’s positions sparked controversy in Greece too because, in his understanding, Greece, in cultural terms, did not belong to the European system.

Of course, the Russians were hardly interested in the theories of Western analysts. With Vladimir Putin’s rise to power, they sought to strengthen their economic ties with Europe. Germany is their key partner, and not only because of its energy dependence on Moscow. Berlin appears to have hit a ceiling in its penetration of Western markets, which means that any Teutonic economic expansion will need to be eastward. It is in that context that we need to look at the Eurasian geopolitics recently in vogue among Russian analysts.

Ukraine is in now in turmoil because of its geography and historical baggage. The presence of oligarchs hijacking the political scene utilizing the Russian and Western factors for their own gains has not made things any easier. The international tension is gradually exposing the interests of Germany and the US, which must at some point converge, also taking Russian sensibilities into consideration. Until that happens, the crisis in Ukraine will remain unsolved.

ekathimerini.com , Wednesday April 16, 2014 (22:06)  
Truth before the battle
Bending the rules
Next-day jitters
No sweet debt deals
Illegal migrant flows to Greece ‘have tripled’ minister says
The number of undocumented immigrants entering Greece illegally is expected to triple by the end of the year, Merchant Marine Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis said Wednesday, blaming mounting...
Six jailed for heist but not terrorism
An Athens court on Wednesday handed prison sentences ranging from 15 to 16 years to six men found guilty of carrying out a double armed robbery on a bank and a post office in Velvento, north...
Inside News
Bank gains fail to prop up benchmark
Reports about the European Central Bank being ready to factor the Greek banks’ restructuring plans into the stress tests, and to include junk bonds – such as those of Greece – in the ABS bon...
ECB set to grant Greek banks restructuring plan bonus
Greece has won an important concession from the European Central Bank that could help its top four lenders pass a landmark review of the eurozone’s banking sector, three sources familiar wit...
Inside Business
SOCCER
All team sports suspended next weekend in memory of dead fan
The government announced on Monday the suspension of all team sports events in Greece scheduled for next weekend, October 4 and 5, in the memory of the Ethnikos Piraeus fan who died a few ho...
SOCCER
Karamanos punishes Michel for deeming him surplus
Atromitos forced Olympiakos’s first loss this season in all competitions on Saturday to allow PAOK to go alone on top of the Super League table on Sunday. Odds-on title favorite Olympiakos l...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Illegal migrant flows to Greece ‘have tripled’ minister says
2. Six jailed for heist but not terrorism
3. Bank gains fail to prop up benchmark
4. Greek government to ask for confidence vote next week
5. ECB set to grant Greek banks restructuring plan bonus
6. EBRD eyeing fresh deals in Cyprus banking sector
more news
Today
This Week
1. Air-raid sirens to go off all over Greece at 11 a.m. in drill
2. Truth before the battle
3. Mario Draghi to push ECB to buy Greek, Cypriot 'junk' loans: FT
4. Smallpox decimates sheep stocks in northern Greece
5. Thessaloniki transport gets more expensive
6. Bending the rules
Today
This Week
1. Greece may opt for unusual president to avoid snap polls, Venizelos says
2. Woman allegedly buried alive by accident in northern Greece
3. Salaries in Greece continue to slide, dipping 1.4 pct in Q2
4. Should you bet with Kissinger on where the world is heading?
5. Cypriots divided by 1974 war seek Shariah hub
6. The shocking thought of euro-dollar parity
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.