What does Ukraine's victory look like? How can it be achieved?
Until there are clear and understandable answers to these questions for the whole society and our allies, victory will be unattainable
After all, the lack of a common understanding of where we all want to go makes it impossible to build a common winning strategy and allocate the necessary resources for it. That is why the decisions of our Western allies regarding military, sanctions, and diplomatic support have consistently seemed insufficient to us.
This situation prompted several dozen Ukrainian intellectuals to write a Manifesto for Sustainable Peace, which describes in detail the future victory, the way to achieve it, and ensure sustainable post-war peace, because a truce before the next phase of the war is not yet a victory.
So, where are we, and how do we get where we want to be?
Victories and defeats depend not only on the heroism of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, but also on the help of our allies: without their weapons, shells, money, and support, victory is unattainable.
At the same time, the Western press openly states that in this war, the West cannot afford not only Ukraine's defeat, but also Ukraine's victory, as this would lead to the collapse of the Russian regime.
In fact, the West sees only two scenarios: strengthening of power in Moscow and weakening of power in Moscow.
The first scenario leads to the continuation of the war with the threat of escalation, possible spread of aggression to NATO countries, and increased Russian dependence on China.
The second scenario is seen as much worse: the collapse of the Russian regime is associated with uncontrolled proliferation of nuclear weapons, a large-scale humanitarian catastrophe, increased influence of radical Islamism, and excessive strengthening of China at the expense of Russian resources.
The West is more afraid of the second scenario, and therefore considers Russia's defeat unacceptable and promises to help Ukraine "as long as necessary," without specifying what exactly is necessary and avoiding mentioning Ukraine's victory, let alone Russia's defeat.
However, a reasonable question arises: how can it be that both alternatives are losing for the West (the United States, Europe) and winning for China? After all, the Euro-Atlantic civilization is stronger in military, political, and economic aspects.
The answer is simple: the choice between the two scenarios of strengthening and weakening power in Moscow is a false choice - a trap that the West has fallen into. It happened not yesterday, not two or even ten years ago. This trap is Moscow-centrism, the belief that everything important in the Russian Federation happens in Moscow. The West fell into this trap decades ago, and that is why in 1991 it tried its best to prevent the collapse of the Soviet Union. Let's recall the infamous speech of the US President in Kyiv in August of that year, derisively called the "Chicken Kyiv speech," in which he called for the abandonment of independence.
Today, history is repeating itself, and we are witnessing, so to speak, a "Tatar-style cutlet," the next stage of the collapse of the Russian Empire and the West's desire to preserve its integrity against all odds.
This desire is caused not only by the above-mentioned fears, but also by the desire to return to "business as usual" as soon as possible and the hope of having Russia on its side in the confrontation with China.
In fact, for those who know history well, all this will remind them of a similar story of the West's desire to preserve the Ottoman Empire (the "sick man of Europe") in the nineteenth century in the vain hope that it would be a reliable ally. Comprehensive support then only slightly prolonged the existence of the decaying empire, so in the end it had to give up, and subsequent events in those territories were determined by young regional elites. And Greece, Serbia, and the Arab countries - all those who were born on the territory of the dead empire - became the West's allies in the First World War.
By now, it should be clear to everyone that the Russian Federation is not and will not be of any use to the world order. Russia will not become an ally of the West or a deterrent against China, as it has already become heavily dependent on it. Nor is it a safe haven for Western investment. Preserving the Russian Federation in its current form only strengthens China, the West's main geopolitical adversary.
Instead, the new independent states that will be born on the territory of the Russian Empire will become reliable allies of the West. If we consider the main risks outlined above, we will see that the new states will seek to become islands of order and security, to receive financial support and international recognition, so there is no need to fear either nuclear proliferation or ethnic cleansing. Their rejection has long been written in the joint declarations of national liberation movements. Finally, these peoples distrust, fear, and hate China because they are facing the fate of the Uyghurs and Tibetans. It makes no sense to get rid of one empire to fall into the hands of another, even more terrible one.
Returning to the strategy of the Ukrainian victory, we have to define it (according to the classic of the twentieth century, Sir Basil Liddell Hart) as a peace better than the previous one. A ceasefire before the next war is not a peace better than the previous one. The desired state is when the Russian Empire never threatens Ukraine again, and this is only possible when the empire ceases to exist.
Thus, Ukraine's victory (which will also be a victory for our allies and the entire democratic world) is directly linked to profound political changes in Russia. The Manifesto for Sustainable Peace describes these changes in detail from the political, humanitarian, military, and economic perspectives.
To summarize, the strategy of Ukraine's victory is to convince the allies that our victory is their victory, and our defeat will be their defeat, and there is no need to fear political changes in the Russian Empire, so Russian defeat is acceptable to the West. Then, with the powerful help of the allies, we can weaken the imperial colonial regime by striking at the Russian army and rear, and at the same time open a second front within the empire and help numerous indigenous enslaved peoples gain freedom and independence, whose states will become allies of Ukraine and the entire democratic world in ensuring sustainable global peace.
The material was prepared with the support of the International Renaissance Foundation. The material represents the position of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the position of the International Renaissance Foundation.
About the author. Valeriy Pekar, lecturer at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy.
The editors do not always share the opinions expressed by the blog authors.