The United States, which is vitally interested in including Ukraine in the orbit of its interests, after the Maidan revolution of 2014, made incredible efforts to accelerate the European integration of this country, but the process, as Washington did not expect, dragged on incredibly. Both during the reign of President Poroshenko and the current President Zelensky, the US leadership lobbied for Ukrainian reforms and constantly expressed their dissatisfaction with their slow progress and the excessive influence of the oligarchs on the country’s political vector. The fight against corruption received the most criticism. Approximately $40 billion allocated by the IMF, as well as additional assistance through other channels and projects, the landing of Georgian reformist President Saakashvili in Ukraine did not produce tangible results. Zelensky’s power in the face of uncertainty and all previous efforts were in danger of falling of the vital parliamentary elections in 2023 and the presidential elections in 2024 due to unfulfilled expectations, promises by voters, and on the other hand, the ongoing consolidation of the oligarchy, ready to take advantage of the situation to tilt the Ukrainian ship towards the Russian coast.
Following the NATO summit on June 14, 2021, US President Joe Biden said: “We must prove to the whole world that democracy continues to operate and successfully cope with the challenges of today. We must eradicate the corruption that saps our strength and act against those who seek to sow hatred. Strengthen our own institutions, including an independent press and an independent judiciary. All this is on the agenda. This is how we prove that our Alliance can cope with the challenges of today… A few years ago, I spoke in the Verkhovna Rada and said that Ukraine has the opportunity to do something that has never happened before in the history of Ukraine – to produce a democratically elected, non-corrupt non-oligarch-led government.”
In this sense, the intensification of the confrontation between the United States and Russia for influence on Ukraine cannot be called accidental. The accumulation of the Russian military fist on the Ukrainian border, ready to restore Russian order in the Ukrainian political field, met with unprecedented pressure on Moscow and the colossal political and military solidarity of the Western alliance. The concentration of troops of the Western allies on the near approaches to the living space of Russia, the threat of murderous sanctions, will inevitably force Moscow to withdraw its troops and leave the Russia-oriented oligarchy alone with the alliance.
The flight of knowledgeable oligarchs is a clear hint that Moscow is ready to compromise with Washington and is not against democratic reforms in Ukraine, provided that NATO does not use its territory in a tactical perspective.
Evidence that Moscow and Washington, despite the difference in views, have an agreed line of conduct in relation to a number of regions where the interests of the US and the USSR once clashed. Witnesses of such interaction can be called the Middle East, Afghanistan, the former space of the Soviets. The war between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the fall of 2020, as we have seen, did not come as a surprise to the West, which was expressed in its non-interference in the events, although all the mechanisms for blocking hostilities were in place. At that time, the United States and allies did not oppose the Russian military presence in Karabakh and, moreover, supported the Aliyev-Putin-Pashinyan statement of November 9, 2020. They also do not express concern about their presence and the threat to influence the course of political processes in Armenia and Azerbaijan. And quite recently, when all world politicians and the media were talking about the high likelihood of a threat of Russian aggression against Ukraine, at the other end of Russia’s underbelly in Kazakhstan, where Russian troops were actually brought in, no one seriously expressed fear that part or all of Kazakhstan would be under Russian occupation . Most of the experts were mistaken in the motives for the introduction of Russian troops and the time of their stay in Kazakhstan. That is, the reaction of the West was inadequate from the prism of the relationship of events in the Ukrainian direction.
It should also be noted that the situation of the expression of Russian military power arises periodically during periods of exacerbation of domestic political tension caused by the deterioration of the socio-economic condition of Russian society. The imperial essence, which continues to be the ego of the Russians, as well as the Turks, the French, the British, continues to weigh on public sentiment, and it has served and can serve as a safety cushion in times of trial. The themes of Ukraine, the threat from the West, the smell of a new universal war, although to a lesser extent than in 1999-2001, 2008, 2014, still unite the authorities and the people, pushing the crisis of relations into the background. The traditional tried-and-tested instruments are fueling the rapprochement between the authorities and the people: the rise in prices for gas and oil (for the first time since October 2014, and the prices for Russian export Urals oil, which is usually traded at a discount to European oil, exceeded $94), which should improve the well-being of Russians and bring breath into the Russian economy, to ease social tension.
Critics of this view of events may be right in questioning the concerted actions of the United States and Russia regarding the future of Ukraine, but the latest mediation efforts by the French, Germans, British, Turks, repeating the shuttle diplomacy of previous years of crisis, may indicate that the process is developing along a similar scenario with a similar ending.
In the coming months, we can expect a détente around Ukraine, the start of negotiations on the Donbass, which is spoken by all parties, but most importantly, this is the beginning of real reforms in Ukraine, which the democrats across the ocean have been talking about for so long.