Historian Felshtinsky: If Putin makes us very angry, we will arrange it with Lukashenko that Belarus will join the NATO
Photo: From Yuri Felshtinsky's personal archive
The Nash Format publishing house in Kiev published my Russian-language book "The Third World War: Fight for Ukraine" written in co-authorship with Mikhail Stanchev. It was being written during the hardest months in Ukraine, in March and June 2014, the world was shocked by the occupation of the Crimea and was waiting for something to happen. Eleven months have passed. First conclusions may be drawn now.
We will not let Putin seize Ukraine. I would like him to understand it sooner than later. While Merkel and Hollande are engaged in diplomatic and political negotiations, the USA start arms supplies through the United Arab Emirates, and the British send first troops, 75 instructor officers. We have distribution of duties. Everyone minds their own business.
Having crushed two eastern regions with tanks, Putin has lost influence in the neighbouring country that will never want to become part of the "Russian world" and speak Russian, the language of the aggressor
Russia has only one leverage in relation to Ukraine now, the military one. It is a powerful tool, but it is not enough even to seize Ukraine only. Putin has lost all the rest of his influence, both cultural, political, diplomatic, and economic for the first eleven months of the war that he unleashed in March 2014. He made his gravest tactical mistake when he invaded the pro-Russian part of Ukraine and destroyed his own fifth column with missiles and artillery. Having crushed two eastern regions with tanks, Putin has lost influence in the neighbouring country that will never want to become part of the "Russian world" and speak Russian, the language of the aggressor.
We have not started using the economic leverage because we have not applied sanctions yet, and the downfall of the rouble is caused just by the decreased oil price
Speaking about the liberal world, we have not even started to exert pressure on Russia. We only use diplomatic and political mechanisms so far (in the format of generally useless negotiations between Putin and the European Union). We have not started using the economic leverage because we have not applied sanctions yet, and the downfall of the rouble is caused just by the decreased oil prices.
The economic pressure in the form of disconnection from the SWIFT system, closure of air space for Russian civil aviation, termination of foreign flights to Russia, annulment of visas for Russian citizens, annulment of foreign passports for persons that are citizen of or reside in Russia, freezing of all assets of Russian citizens and Russian companies abroad until the end of the conflict and return of the Crimea to Ukraine – all this is yet to come. And we need not even strain ourselves to do that because banning is easier than creating.
If Putin makes us very angry, we will close our eyes, make a compromise with our conscience and will make a pre-emptive attack in exchange of a little multi-billion low-interest loan by arranging it with Lukashenko that Belarus will enter the NATO until it becomes Belorussia again.
And we will not use military resources because these are our last resources in the conversation with Putin.