The title of Mr Putin’s article is a misnomer

Ukraine matters to Russia, and Russia – or Putin if you will as both are currently inseparable – means it.

This is in substance the message carried by the deployment of about 100.000 soldiers along the Ukrainian border. To make his message clearer Mr. Putin not only deployed some of its best trained units or nuclear, biological, and chemical reconnaissance vehicles but also its latest and very dangerous Iskander ballistic missile launchers – as Janes reports.

The alleged ‘historico-philosophical’ basis for this deployment is to be found in the long article entitled ‘On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians’ signed by President Putin himself. It is freely available in English on the Kremlin’s website and, having read it from top to bottom, I found it fascinating at multiple levels.

For a start because Mr. Putin, to justify Russian-Ukrainian ties, goes back to the princes of the Rurik dynasty. The latters named after the legendary Rurik, chief of the Rus, who reigned in 862 and whose current titled heirs includes one of my very good friends who was until a few months ago the Ambassador of Switzerland to the Republic of Latvia, Republic of Estonia and Republic of Lithuania. I wonder what, now back to Switzerland, he would make of this paragraph of the article:

At a new stage of historical development both Lithuanian Rus and Moscow Rus could have become the points of attraction and consolidation of the territories of Ancient Rus. It so happened that Moscow became the center of reunification, continuing the tradition of ancient Russian statehood. Moscow princes – the descendants of Prince Alexandre Nevsky – cast off the foreign yoke and began gathering the Russian lands’.

It is clear, reading the above, that Mr Putin does not only eye over Ukraine but also Lithuania and the article’s title is hence a misnomer as it should have been to the very minimum: ‘On the Historical Unity of Russians, Lithuanians, Belarusians and Ukrainians’. Mr Putin in fact adding: ‘Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians are all descendants of Ancient Rus’.

That Mr Putin wishes the ancient frontiers of the Russian Empire to be restored is nothing new. One question which could be asked is whether, as Franco did for the king of Spain, he would wish to see any of the many existing other Russian princes back to the throne of Russia? Perhaps is this, we can muse, his ultimate and as yet unforeseen plan? The aforementioned ambassador of the Baltic states would certainly not relinquish his diplomatic career for this task as he is faithful to the Swiss federation, but others we know very well would accept wholeheartedly.

* Christian de Vartavan is an eminent scholar and now CEO of a London blockchain consulting company.

Read more by or more about or .
This entry was posted in Europe / International and Op-eds.


  • Brad Barrows 13th Dec '21 - 11:21am

    There is a great danger than Putin may believe that a historic opportunity exists now that be not repeat for several generations, if ever: a chance to reunite a large part of Ukraine with the Russian Federation while Ukraine, militarily, stands alone. On Putin’s mind will be both the cost of a significant military invasion, both in human and financial terms, set against the cost of not doing so, in terms of future risks should Ukraine join NATO, and loss of this window of opportunity. Putin will realise that seizing territory is one thing but holding it against the wishes of a large, hostile population is another – therefore his best strategy would be to seize half the more ‘Russian’ part of the country (by language at least) and allow those to flee who wish to escape Russian rule, leaving the possibility of an independent ‘Russian’ Ukraine to act as a buffer to the West, or even a candidate entity to merge with the Russian Federation as was done with Crimea. Before Putin departs the scene – he is already 69 – I’m sure he would like to see Belarus and half of Ukraine absorbed. He would then feel he had achieved a lasting legacy similar to some of the Russian Tsars of the past.

  • Christian de Vartavan 13th Dec '21 - 11:44am

    @Brad Barrows. Indeed.

  • nigel hunter 13th Dec '21 - 11:49am

    Is this not like Hitler when he annexed CZECH land cos they spoke German? An excuse, ‘justification’ for an ‘invasion’ when the west is in turmoil.A propaganda exercise to justify later actionsl

  • @nigel hunter

    It’s a little more cynical than that, though there are similarities – like the Baltic States, the USSR imported and exported whole populations to adjust ethnic mix in populations.

    In the Ukraine we have, including war effects and deliberate killing::

    Several hunred k killed in Ukranian War of INdependence 1918 ish.
    Approx 2 million killed by Stalin in I think the Ukraine in the great terror – 1928.
    A further 4-5 million starved to death by Stalin in the Holodomor.
    Impacts of WW2 (eg 1m Jews killed, about 6m others lost).
    2-3m expelled or imported after WW2.

    I’d say they will fight to the death, and the Ikr armed forces are far stronger. But certain Western countries (notably Germany) have been blocking defencive weapons exports via NATO.

    To em Putin’s line now sounds like the broadcasts of Radio Moscow circa 1980.

    He wants to rebuild his Empire and sphere of influence.

    The agenda for the West has to be to build strong, defensible democracies looking West , rather than the penumbra of failed states Putin wants.

  • Oops

    Ukr armed forces far stronger than they were.

  • Charles Smith 15th Dec '21 - 11:29am

    NATO strategists are currently unsure whether or not Belarussian leader Alexander Lukashenko would support an invasion of Ukraine.

    However, their involvement would be significant. If Belarus offered itself up as a starting point for Russian attacks, it would make it strategically easier for the Kremlin to encircle Kiev.

    Speaking at a meeting of G7 leaders in Liverpool last weekend, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said that an invasion of Ukraine would be “a strategic mistake” with “severe consequences” for Moscow

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • David LG
    @Geoffrey Payne I believe the 50 seats figure was for if Farage enters the race. The MRP polls I mention (two this year so far) will be based on polling data fr...
  • Katharine Pindar
    @Peter Martin. I feel your pain, Peter, in that no party is committed to redistribution, since I also would like to see the ratio in industry between workers' p...
  • Geoffrey Payne
    @David LG, look again at the first paragraph, it does mention 50 seats! With our voting system it is a bit of a lottery trying to predict how many seats we will...
  • David LG
    I really don't care for the pessimism of the first paragraph. Most recent MRP polls have us winning around 50 seats already, and the only reason it's not higher...
  • David Raw
    Yes, indeed, Mary Reid, I most certainly do, and after nearly sixty years of doing that I hope you will allow me to reply to that. It's not what's stated on...