A diversionary war – sometimes referred to as “wag the dog” – is generally waged by a nation to hide a greater issue plagued by that country. A war may be fought against a neighbor for perceived infractions to hide a government’s abuse of human rights, tax rates, or even food shortages. What happens, however, if the common enemy makes the first move?
In the case of Russia invading Crimea, it may have been just the catalyst Ukraine needed to take a step forward. Ukraine has had economic issues for years. It has consistently had to borrow money from international sources such as the International Monetary Fund, and has been forced to buy gas from Russia which it sells back to its people and businesses at an extremely subsidized rate. The nation has also been plagued with corruption, political violence and unjustified imprisonments.
However, since Russia invaded Crimea, it has seen a flood of volunteers for its military after sending out letters to young men soliciting the same. Many of these young men say they are joining “to help restore law and order to Ukraine,” but they believe that others are joining “to take revenge against the enemies of Ukraine.” Whatever the soldiers are joining to affect, it appears the a stronger national identity is forming.
This identity looks to be taking the form of Western ideology, as President Poroshenko appealed to the world for $40 billion in foreign investment over the next few years to aid the Ukrainian economy and hopefully earn them a spot in the European Union by 2020. In further testimony to their Western ambitions, a recent election has completely ousted the Communist Party from its parliament.
This diversion by Russia could set Ukraine on a path to be completely free from its former motherland and garner much more support from the world theater in general.