Beyond the Referendums

With eastern Ukraine’s four areas annexed by Russia through what the western critics call ‘orchestrated’ referendums the 9-month-old war is likely to escalate further. It’s no longer a special military operation. It’s a full-scale war between Russia and America-led coalition of 36 countries while Ukraine is just a proxy. For one thing despite the referendum the contentious Donbas region is yet to be totally controlled by Russia. The preponderance of Russian speaking people in Donbas republics and other adjoining territories dates back to Soviet era development. The massive industrialisation in Donbas took place during the Soviet rule. In every war real estate matters and for Russian Federation the battle for full control of Donbas is strategically crucial.

The repeated setbacks of the Russian army on the ground is mainly due to overwhelming majority of Ukrainian forces and sophisticated western and American weapons they use; in the Kharkiv region the Russians were outnumbered in the ratio of 1:8. Lack of boots finally decides the outcome of the bloody conflict. For one thing Ukraine is now using offensive arms, not defensive ones and courtesy-America. It has changed the war situation radically in recent weeks, tilting the balance towards Ukraine.

With every passing day the confrontation zone is expanding while the major powers, America and NATO to be precise, show no urgency to end the war. Instead they are doing everything possible to make the third world war a reality.

No doubt there are Russians who oppose Putin’s war campaign but Putin is not isolated. Russian nationalism, rather Great Russian chauvinism, is very powerful and there lies Putin’s strength. The hard fact is that Putin unlike Yeltsin, is not ruling through decrees. He is ruling by laws promulgated by a bi-cameral parliament constituted from several parties. They think Putin is doing the right thing to protect the borders of Russian Federation, now extended after the amalgamation of Donbas region. As the situation stands today the course of war is not in the hands of Ukrainian leadership, they are being dictated and briefed by the White House. Peace can return to Ukraine if America decides against war. No, the US won’t allow that to happen anytime soon.

At the summit of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Putin was asked why he has shown so much restraint in the face of Ukrainian counter-offensive. He said bluntly that Russian attacks on Ukraine’s electric facilities which followed the defeat in Kharkiv territory were just ‘warning shots’ and there would be more such ‘impactful’ actions to come. In other words massive destruction of Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure is on the card. Perhaps Zelensky will have to rule a country that would require decades to re-build, again with the mercy of the West and America. At the time of writing of 461 cities and towns of Ukraine 300 were without power and yet Zelensky was demanding more advanced air-defence systems. God father America is likely to oblige because America’s military-industrial complex is the real beneficiary.

Meanwhile, fresh exodus of Ukrainians has started because of relentless nuclear rhetoric from both sides. Everybody knows nuclear war is not winnable. It makes no sense to compare the nuclear parity between Russia and America. Who owns how many tactical‘toys’ kept in silos for decades matters little in this mutual annihilation game.

The impact of Russia-Ukraine war is being felt throughout the world. People in Europe and third world countries are suffering in the face of soaring inflation and rising cost of living across various sectors. In Europe the summer of discontent has been transformed into an autumn of disaffection. The people are protesting the war but no western government is ready to stop this war; they have vested interests in continuing the war. NATO is said to have chalked out a 10-year strategic plan to keep Russia bogged down in the quagmire of war.

A nation-wide strike has disrupted the French energy supply, taking a large chunk of the nuclear power production offline, as workers push for a pay hike amid rising tensions between unions and the government over a planned pensions reforms. Britain also faces its largest rail strike. Workers abstained in disputes over pay and job security, shutting down most of the nation’s railway network on October 8. In Germany farmers are demanding withdrawal of sanctions imposed on Russia; they say they won’t die to help Zelensky win the war. In Italy unions are demanding a wage hike of over 8 per cent to be paid in 2023. Strikes and staff shortage have affected airlines across the continent. Indian economy badly dependent on imported oil is equally affected by the war. Without a powerful peace movement in Europe where the war is being fought there is every possibility of further escalation leading to a nuclear holocaust. The real problem lies in the fact that war is not being fought on American soil.


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Vol 55, No. 18, Oct 30 - Nov 5, 2022