Russia Wants Vichy Ukraine?
By Correspondent Andreiy Voloshyn in Ukraine.
It is popular now to compare Putin to Hitler. The occupation of Crimea is most often compared to how Hitler occupied the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia in 1938 under the pretext of protecting the Sudeten Germans. But if Putin follows the example from the history of those days and is inspired by Hitler, it is important to draw another analogy.
The Strange War
Russia is not seeking a large-scale military action. It occupied Crimea without the sacrifices from its side by using pseudo-referendum to legitimize accepting Crimea as part of the Russian Federation. If Russia plans to attack the rest of Ukraine, it is likely that it will do so following a pattern of a “Strange War.”
“The Strange War” is used to describe a period of hostilities between September 3, 1939 and May 10, 1940 on the Western Front. After that war that the French recall with shame, France was occupied and divided into two parts: the occupied territories and the Vichy region, which was more or less friendly to Germany.
The events in the Crimea seem strange to most people. The invasion of the occupants began so suddenly that the new Ukrainian authorities simply did not have time to properly respond to these events. Using the green men, described by propaganda as “polite people,” the imitation of the local self-defense, using Russian Cossack and pro-Russian social activists and even women and children who were in front of armed men marching to seize Ukrainian military bases – it all seemed surprising to most Crimeans all Ukrainians, to say the least. We were not prepared for this, while Russia was getting ready to seize the Crimea for a long time. The regime change and instability in Ukraine offered Putin an opportune moment, one that may never happen again.
Russia is interested in dividing Ukraine
It’s no secret that the division of Ukraine and opposition between the West and the East have been fueled by the Russians, especially during elections. The latest trend of convergence of Eastern and Western Ukraine, enhanced communication, collaboration and cooperation from all Ukrainian districts posed a dangerous trend to Russia. After the escape of Yanukovych, only 100 people took to the streets in Donetsk, being a real indicator of the low support for the former president in what he considered the main district that backed him.
However, Russia has been using Yanukovych as a “legitimate” president, who must be reinstated in his office as a reason for a possible invasion. At the same time, Putin fuels separatism in all the eastern and southern regions by sending Russian political “tourists.” Without them, there would be no demonstrations and no illusion of confrontation.
The plan of Russian invasion through the eastern regions and up to Kyiv was voiced by Zhirinovsky and by some other politicians. No one wants war, but we should know that there is such a plan that could not have avoided the attention of Putin. In this case, the “strange war” (also called the “sitting war”) would be the best strategy for the Russians.
If Ukraine were successfully invaded, the question of Crimea would not have been raised. For Russians, Crimea exemplifies historical return of Russian lands. And Ukraine would be divided according to the “French script” from World War II. East and South would have been the occupied territories, where only collaborators could hope for a more or less normal life. Collaborators would be armed with the ideas of Pan-Slavism, Eurasianism, and post-Soviet nostalgia. Central and Western Ukraine would be the prototype of Vichy France, there would be a regime loyal to Moscow in one or another way.
Vichy regime is a separate topic; for some French nationalists Marshal Petain is still a hero; at least there is no denying that he was a hero of the First World War in which he fought with the Germans. In those days Petain could not pursue an independent politics, but anyway Vichy was considered a paradise compared to the occupied territories of France, including Paris. Moscow will do its best to include Kyiv as part of the occupied territories, and the Vichy Ukraine would be located to the west of Khmelnitsky or Vinnytsia.
I do not know if anyone has already made this analogy. But if such a plan is implemented we will be left with no other choice than leading a guerrilla war, headed by the Ukrainian De Gaulle. But it was not only the efforts of De Gaulle that liberated France but also the collapse of Germany on another front. Therefore, the collapse of Putin’s Russia will depend on whether U.S.A, European countries or, say, China, enter the war. Given a set of conflicts that may be happening at the moment, it is not impossible.
So, should we prepare for war?
Si vis pacem, para bellum. If you want peace – prepare for war. We want peace, so we must prepare for war in any case, especially when the war is already going on. Russians themselves say in their propaganda – “Ukraine is to blame because its weakness provoked us to invade their territories.”
But if to engage in a real war, in my opinion, the order should be the following:
1) In the front rows should be those members of the internal troops, the former “Berkut,” and other police units who opposed Maydan. Besides the fact that they have the proper training, they must redeem themselves before Maidan by serving Ukraine and shedding their own blood.
2) Then should follow the regular army, and in general all the military people who have received appropriate training. It is also important to maximally involve specially trained volunteers from around the world and professional mercenaries. Regardless of the cost, the lives of our citizens are more precious than any money. Russia has already involved “ideological” volunteers in the Crimea; believe me, we have no less ideological allies, those who regard this confrontation as a civilizational war.
3) And finally, in the last ranks should be Ukrainians who have little training or have no relevant experience or knowledge.
Still, I hope that internal and external, diplomatic, and economic pressure on Russia will work as intended and no direct aggression will be used. But now, after the Maidan, Ukrainians must remember that our best friends are our army and ourselves; thus, we must do everything to strengthen our military and to foster economic prosperity of the nation.
Photo by Lera Burlakova.
Translated from Ukrainian by Oksana Parylo.
Andriy Voloshyn - Ukrainian writer, political and marketing expert.
Since 2009 he is the head of Ukrainian Traditionalist Club and ARFA Art association.
Assistant of Ukrainian member of parliament.
Founder of Maidan.IM web-site