During one of the battles between the Greeks and Romans, which occurred between them during the Punic Wars, the Greek king Pyrrhus said: “If we have one more victory like that over the Romans, I’ll stay without an army and we all finally die.” Since then, the term “Pyrrhic victory”, meaning victory with unreasonably large losses, became the symbol of success, so dearly bought.
Armed invasion of Russia in the Crimea, with the subsequent annexation of the enclave of Ukraine and its inclusion in Russian Federation has led many analysts in the world to remember the above expression to compare this “Pyrrhic victory” in the context of Putin’s possible implications for Russia and its political future.
In this regard, I would like to remind you that when, after the October Revolution in 1917, the Bolsheviks, led by Lenin refused to do associated with anything related to the tsarist government, including payment for the tsar’s debts. This demarche of Lenin was the reason that between the civilized world and the USSR in the years of its existence was an “iron curtain”, which has gone through several generations of people. Unlike Lenin, the first Russian President Yeltsin came to the Kremlin after the collapse of the Soviet Union, made a statement that Russia is the legal successor of the USSR, and will comply with all international treaties, including the payment for the tsar’s debts as well.Only when an “iron curtain” collapsed and the door to the civilized world for Russia opened, including the transfer of the entire Soviet property abroad, which, by the way the West could have then annexed against Soviet debts, including tsarist ones.
And now the most important thing: to remind readers that the December 5, 1994 in Budapest there was signed a memorandum on security assurances in connection with Ukraine’s accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons – an international treaty concluded between Ukraine, USA, Russia and Britain on the nuclear-free status Ukraine, where in the agreement are the main points that provide assurances to Ukraine’s sovereignty and security on the part of the signatory countries, then all nuclear weapons from the territory of Ukraine was moved to Russia.
It took only 20 years and what we saw in March 2014? Russian President Vladimir Putin, this latter-day Hitler, to the whole world making statements that are not much different from what was said by his predecessors in 1917. Modern “gatherer of the Russian land,” says that the collapse of the USSR, Ukraine’s withdrawal from the Union, the transfer in 1954 of the Crimea in the Ukraine, this Budapest memorandum and many other things were not quite right, and therefore require a significant historical review today!
I already wrote an article called “Deja Vu” and therefore will not repeat here the main points and draw parallels between Hitler and Putin, comparing German Anschluss of Austria and the Sudetenland in 1938, with the annexation of the Crimea in 2014. I want to draw another and parallel to remember the tragedy of Katyn, which today separates Poland and Russia, because Kremlin, despite the succession of Russia, still stubbornly assumes no legal responsibility for all of the genocide of the Polish people, with the corresponding payments of the material compensation to the families and relatives of the victims of Polish officers and soldiers, as it is made the same way by the Germans, after Nuremberg trials, paying compensation to the present day Holocaust victims and their families.
I would like to ask “jingoes” entrenched in the Kremlin, all deputies of the State Duma and the Federation Council that you want the same animosity between the two brotherly nations, or you do not understand that the annexation of the Crimea will be for many years the same chasm between Ukraine and Russia and would be tantamount, in its psychological component, the above tragedy in Katyn? Do you think that Ukraine and the millions of people that came to the Maidan and spoke in favor of European integration, laid on the altar of freedom many lives would agree with this aggression, including the humiliation, through which Russia made Ukrainian army and its navy, arranging this barbarous outrage with the seizure of military units and naval bases? And you can count on the fact that the Crimean Tatars, who are the indigenous people of Crimea, Russia agree on new “hug”, knowing well their price? And can you depend on stolen billions that are incidentally in Western banks? Or do you hope that Europe’s dependence on Russian gas supplies will be able to stem the tide of EU sanctions and the U.S.? So, it is not over yet and the answers to these questions won’t have to wait for long.
On sanctions, by the way, well was said by Zbigniew Brzezinski, former U.S. presidential advisor on national security, “it is just an appetizer before dinner,” and this great political advisor on world politics never says that for nothing. And if you forgot who he is, so I will remind you that this is the ideologist of U.S. foreign policy, which led to the collapse of the Union, after its similar aggression in Afghanistan in 1979. And considering the fact that Putin’s Russia in its capabilities and scale far from the USSR, then wait until the whole corrupt and authoritarian system starts to fall apart, we do not have to wait for long, as the Kremlin withstanding economic sanctions of the West won’t simpl afford. On this, satirist Zhvanetskiy wisely said: “Russia is attacking tanks and the West is attacking with banks”.
And what to do for ordinary Russians? Is there really way out or they will have to go through again the whole new country disasters, as it has been after the collapse of the USSR in 1991? Is there no way softer for Russia’s return to the bosom of the civilized world, or again the citizens of this unfortunate country awaits a new Cold War and the “iron curtain” with all the consequences? Is there an antidote for it?
The great Dante Alighieri has wrote one of the greatest poems of all time “The Divine Comedy”, which was written by him in the early 14th century and according to Christian tradition Afterlife consists of three parts, Hell to fall forever for condemned sinners, Purgatory – the seat of redeeming their sins of sinners, and Paradise – inhabited blessed. Knowing good long history with Russia and looking at where again these fans of “Iron Felix” with his “Pyrrhic victory” in the Crimea, are taking this country, I advise Russians to recall here these lines of his immortal poem, which I hope will help them go through their own Purgatory and find answers to many questions articulated here:
“…To a greater force, and to a better nature, you, free, are subject, and that creates the mind in you, which the heavens have not in their charge. Therefore if the present world go astray, the cause is in you, in you it is to be sought…”
Ramis Yunus is political expert, former Chief of Staff of Government of Azerbaijan and former Chief of Staff of Parliament of Azerbaijan.