Interesting piece, especially the part about the Ukrainian ambassador in Croatia, whose pieces I have read, and they are nothing to be proud of.
To get to the point, Russia sucks at soft power for several reasons. One is that Hollywood can't be surpassed when it comes to selling pipe dreams, bridges and culture.
Number two is the Soviet legacy, with everything accompanying it.
Three is the rather poor average standard of living compared to the West. All the demagogues have to do is speak about EU, French, German, American, British, Dutch standard of living, preach to the masses of unwashed former socialist countries how prosperity and rapidly improving living quality is right around the corner, waiting for them, just right after they sign some papers and agree on selling their banks, strategic companies and lifting tarrifs etc.
Four builds on number 2, and the Cold War propaganda narrative. People are fed with a distorted and factually incorrect version of previous and current events for some time, which leads to that narrative being accepted as the truth, and certain individuals appearing, who are true believers. If anyone is interested, I could go into detail for Ukrainian case.
I mean, Russian options were extremely limited in Ukraine. Both Belarus and Ukraine were lost in 1917/1918. For good, in my opinion, since the ensuing Bolshevik period created political "brotherly" nations while at the same time dissolved Russian nationalism and traditionalism.
That is not saying that things couldn't have been managed better. One option was to back pro-Russian sentiment and fund NGOs, media etc. The other was to break all economic ties and dependencies as soon as possible, and to bypass Ukraine in all transit.
The first option would mean confronting the US (and Dutch, Canadian, British etc.) efforts at same, plus the efforts of Ukrainian diaspora. To prevent a certain flavour of Ukrainian nationalism/patriotism from gaining prevalence, and certain historical retouching being done and reaching textbooks. So no Petlyura, Bandera, Shukhevych, SS Halychina being proclaimed "Heroes of Ukraine". Dubious outcome and unknown expenses. Of course, armed defence of the Crimean ASSR would be necessary.
The second option would target the major blackmailing tools possesed by Ukrainian oligarchy and leaders. Oil and gas pipelines, and industrial cooperation.
In the end, Russian discounts, subsidies, loans and purchase of Ukrainian industrial products (civilian and military) de facto fueled an ever more anti-Russian Ukraine. You guessed it right, it's the Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs interests right there.
I don't know who could have expected any different outcome after having witnessed 2004-2010 period. But it might just be me, seeing parallels with Ex-Yu events.
No, Yanukovych was decidedly not a pro-Russian or Russian puppet, and neither was Timoshenko or Poroshenko a convinced UkrOp. They are wealthy opportunistic bandits and criminals, surrounded by masses of obedient halfwits.
To sum up, do you see anyone mentioning the guarantees given to Yanukovych by certain "reputable foreign politicians"? Does anyone even mention the unconstituional and illegal events that followed?
This whole affair is tragic, but the people have only themselves to blame, for either inaction or action (voting-rioting-waging war).
Last edited by Epigon; 04 Jun 16 at 18:06..