Ukraine: A Contrarian Approach

The current war in Ukraine has provided an outlet for the aspirations of Russian nationalists. President Vladimir Putin has deftly exploited it to strengthen his position in Eurasia and divert the growing dissatisfaction with his administration. However, this nationalism isn’t the exclusive domain of the Kremlin and could be an instrument for Western stakeholders if they take a contrarian approach to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. The U.S. and West European attempts to model Ukraine into a liberal European country have been a failure. The continuation of past policies will fail too. A contrarian and simpler strategy would be to foster an ethnic Russian civil society in Ukraine to serve as an alternative model for the broader “Russkiy Mir” (Russian World). Such a Russian society could draw on historical legitimacy in the ancient land of the Rus’ and challenge the Kremlin’s prerogative to represent the Russian people. There is an important historical...(Read Full Article)