Espreso. Global

If you want peace, surrender. Why Russians are unable to negotiate

23 September, 2023 Saturday

Sooner or later, all former USSR republics will be at war with Russia. To avoid war, there is one way – to join Russia by diplomatic means. It was stated by United Russia MP, Yevgeny Fedorov

He has recently developed and submitted a draft law to the State Duma of the Russian Federation, in which he proposes to restore the USSR to the borders it had before December 1991. That is, before the official liquidation at the Viskuli residence, Belovezhskaya Pushcha, Belarus. The MP is convinced that all former Soviet republics gained independence illegally. 

Although I took the date with a certain degree of conventionality. After all, the Baltic States left the Soviet Union a year earlier. But it is a historical fact that in January 1991, Russian special forces were deployed to Latvia and Lithuania at weekly intervals to bring the rebellious ex-republics back. There was an armed confrontation, there were casualties, and thus there was a local war. This proves the rightness of the Russian MP Fedorov: it is better to surrender, or Russia will go to war. 

Before the Revolution of Dignity, I was talking to a business partner who was awarded the title of Honoured Artist of Ukraine. He sincerely, quite seriously stated that the UPA soldiers and other members of the resistance movement, including dissidents of the 1960s and 1980s, were repressed absolutely legally. After all, they were violating the laws of the USSR, on whose territory they were operating. The Soviet Union was a state on the world map with stable, fixed borders, recognized by everyone, including the United States. Imagine, my interlocutor told me, if a group in America started a movement for the independence of one state from the whole country. It would also put up armed resistance, killing police and military personnel. Here, my colleague said, it was the same: the Banderites violated Soviet laws. And he did not want to hear about the occupation regime, he dismissed it. 

I am convinced that people with such beliefs will never leave Ukraine.

And if Russians take the floor, then wherever they are, they say the same thing: everyone around them is acting illegally and unfairly with Russia. Even before the annexation of Crimea, during the Maidan, Putin himself commented to an international audience: Russia has its own interests and the right to its own integration processes. Ukraine is being provoked by the West, and lured by empty promises, leaving Russia no right to drag our country under its own power. 

The problem is that this rhetoric is partly working. Both the collective West and individual countries are actually not so much afraid of Russian nuclear weapons as they are of violating the principles of democracy to some extent. It's a bit of a head-scratcher, but it's true: it's commonly believed that Russia is relaying an alternative point of view. A different view of the world that has the right to be heard. Against this backdrop, statements by Western leaders about the inadmissibility of violating the territorial integrity of an independent state by force are just words. Because Russian speakers have an irresistible counter-argument: recognize the new reality, the new borders, and then the war will end. 

So, the victim is to blame for the rape. If she had not resisted, everything would have been consensual. Who knows, maybe the victim would have been satisfied. No one knows, because she didn't try, instead, she scratched, bit, screamed, and asked for help. This is the way of thinking in Russia, and there is no discovery here.

All negotiations at all levels come down to a formula: "Either our way or no way". But if all sane people understand this, then one day they must finally admit that no discussion with any Russian on any topic is possible.  Just as it is impossible to influence Russia in the traditional, familiar ways known in history.

For example, from time to time, the information space starts to talk seriously about Putin's terminal illness and predicts his death in terrible pain. If you are not lazy, you can find an explanation: these rumours are spread from Russia and are a typical example of an information operation. No man, no problem, is a well-known expression. So why solve something, why bother, when Putin, as the root of all problems, will soon die

Hence, the recognition of the ineffectiveness of Western sanctions and the unwillingness to really strengthen them. Why bother if Putin is going to die soon, and it will be easier to come to an agreement with others? Hence, the claims that the war in Ukraine will last for another 5-7 years. He hasn't died yet, he will last for some time, let's do nothing, it will dissolve. 

Russia has adopted the rules of behavior of a school bully, who is easier to give up on because he is irredeemable. You can't keep him in school forever. The bully takes advantage of the fact that he has set himself up correctly: it is impossible to negotiate with him, so it is better not to interfere. No matter what processes are going on around him, he will continue to break all the rules, knowing well that he will not be physically destroyed, because the rules of decency do not allow it, but you will have to reckon with him. It's just like the author of the USSR anthem, Sergei Mikhalkov, once said to his critic: "My anthem is shit, but you will listen to it standing up." 

It would be a mistake to assume that the Russian State Duma deputy Fedorov, mentioned at the beginning, is a banal political and geopolitical troll. He is absolutely sincere in his beliefs. His voice is the backing vocals of the supreme Russian authorities and all those who are considered public figures in Russia. 

They really are not ready to negotiate or retreat, only to dictate terms. So is there a way out in a situation where the only way to stop the bloodshed and destruction is to recognize the aggressor's rightness, surrender to his mercy, and quickly forget about what he has done? 

This is the case. It is useless to advise the collective West and all people of goodwill. You cannot shout to them, they will not hear. Instead, it is worth advising those Ukrainians who are able to influence something to stop trying to engage in dialogue with Russia and Russians at all levels, at the smallest of platforms. There is nothing to talk about with them as long as they demand that their opinions be taken into account and their views respected. At the same time, we must do everything we can to strengthen awareness-raising efforts within the country. Not a single "good Russian" on any air, on any page, on any social media page. They have no voice. As soon as 100% of our society understands this, those whom we consider partners will realize it. And only then will Russia slowly lose weight for them. This will definitely bring victory closer.

Specially for Espreso.

About the author: Andriy Kokotiukha, writer, screenwriter.

The editors do not always share the opinions expressed by the authors of the blogs.
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