Russia: The Diversion Ukraine Needed?

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.

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4 thoughts on “Russia: The Diversion Ukraine Needed?

  1. Hidden features of Ukraine- something I did not know about. I hope Ukraine can push themselves to become a force that Russia stops intervening with, so that Ukraine can become apart of the EU and take on more democratic ideals within their political structure. If they are given that $40 billion in aid, then they most likely will be pushed towards democracy and a government that blends well with international institutions; possibly even giving the UN and other institutions more legitimacy! The more countries that are aligned with international institutions’ ideals, the more authority they are likely to have…

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  2. This is a really interesting take on the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and I particularly like the first source that you cite that looks further into the motivations of fighters that are taking part in the conflict. Especially so because of our discussion this week in class about what motivated fighters in Sierra Leone’s civil war and the difference between fighters that voluntarily join a conflict as opposed to those that are forced into doing so. This rally around the flag effect that has been created either on purpose (if it is in fact a diversionary war as you posit) or by accident has definitely resulted in the kind of volunteers that the Ukrainian military needs in such a situation. I wonder what a similar survey of the Russian separatist fighters would find though and whether or not we would find that any fighters on their side have felt compelled to fight for similar reasons.

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  3. You bring up a great point by saying if it is beneficial or not. This could be beneficial for Ukraine to make a stronger national identity and to earn them a position in the economically powered European Union. The question you raised that concerns me as well is, for what reason is Russia involved for? Does Russia have good or bad intentions? We will not know because Russia will always do questionable things. I do not think Russia has good intentions for Ukraine. Russia is just taking an advantage of an opportunity to “flex” and show the world how powerful they are; the Russians thinking that they will earn more respect on a global scale.

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