Photo: Ukrainian Opposition politician, Viktor Medvedchuk.

Victor Medvechuk: “The Ukrainian Situation Is Catastrophically Complex And Dangerous, But It Has Nothing To Do With What Zelensky Says Every Day.”

Viktor Medvedchuk is a Ukrainian lawyer, businessman and opposition politician who was released in a prisoner exchange in September 2022. In Ukraine, the politician is accused of treason. Large parts of his assets were confiscated by the Ukrainian judiciary in 2022.

Medvedchuk now lives in exile in Russia. He is chairman of the Political Council of the Opposition Platform for Life, which is banned in Ukraine. On Wikipedia, he is described “as a pro-Kremlin Ukrainian politician and a personal friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin.”

In an article titled “Ukrainian Syndrome: Anatomy of Modern Confrontation”, Medvedchuk gives his perspective on the reasons for the war in Ukraine. The article was originally published on Izvestia. TCE has translated the article in English.

If you listen to many Western politicians, then it is absolutely impossible to understand the meaning and mechanisms of the conflict in modern Ukraine. Here, US President Biden denies the direct participation of the US military in the conflict, but at the same time, he reports on every corner that the States are supplying billions of dollars worth of weapons there. If billions go to the military needs of Ukraine, then it turns out that Ukrainian interests are extremely important for the United States. But if the American army does not want to fight there, then perhaps they are not so important. But what are these multibillion-dollar deliveries? Gratuitous help? Profitable business? Investments? Some political combination? There are no answers, a continuous fog.

Or here are the latest revelations of former German Chancellor Merkel that the Minsk agreements were only a delay for Ukraine, from which it follows that no one was going to establish peace. Then it turns out that Russia was deceived. But for what purpose? Protect Ukraine or attack ourselves? And why was it necessary to deceive, if you could simply do what Germany itself recommended? Or did Germany recommend in advance what it was impossible to fulfill? So you can get to the question of whether political cheaters can get a candelabra, but today it seems much more important to start dispelling the fog around the current situation. After all, it turned out this way, and not otherwise. What led to this, what are the reasons? And how to get out of this situation, because it is becoming more and more dangerous? Therefore, we begin the analysis from the origins of events.

How did the Cold War end?

The beginning of any new war usually lies at the end of the last one. The Ukrainian conflict was preceded by the Cold War. The answer to how it actually ended will bring us closer to understanding the meaning of the current conflict, which is not limited to Ukraine , but affects many countries. The fact is that the countries of the West and the countries of the post-Soviet space, primarily Russia, perceive the results of this war differently.

The West unequivocally appropriates the victory in this war, and considers Russia the loser. And since Russia is supposedly the defeated side, then the territory of the former USSR and the socialist camp is the legitimate booty of the United States and NATO, which, according to the principle of “woe to the vanquished,” come under the control of the West. Hence Ukraine is the territory of influence of the USA, NATO, and not Russia at all. Therefore, all claims by Russia to at least some influence on Ukrainian politics, the protection of its interests in this region are “groundless”, a clear attack on American and NATO interests. “We no longer need to look at the world through the prism of relations between East and West. The Cold War is over,” said Margaret Thatcher in the early 1990s. That is, the position of the East of Russia is no longer important. There is one vector, one master of the world, one winner.

Russia looks at this process in a completely different way. She does not consider herself the loser in any way. The exit from the Cold War was brought about by democratic reforms in politics and the economy, and military confrontation was replaced by trade and integration with the West. That is, if your former enemy became a friend today, then isn’t this a victory? At the same time, the USSR, and then the Russian Federation, did not aim to win the Cold War, but to get out of the military confrontation between East and West, which could end in a nuclear catastrophe. Moscow, together with Washington, found this way out, having achieved not so much goals for themselves personally, but for the whole world in general.

This exit did not at all imply the absorption of the East by the West, the economic, legal and cultural subjugation of the post-Soviet space. It was about equal cooperation and joint construction of a new political and economic reality. So we clearly see two approaches to the end of the Cold War: the triumph of the victors, on the one hand, and the construction of a new world, civilization, on the other. It is on the basis of these approaches that events will develop in the future.

New world or new colonies of the West?

In 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed, but in 1992 the European Union was created, with which the post-Soviet space, including Russia, pinned great hopes. It seemed that here it is a new world, a new supranational formation, a new turn in the history of European civilization. Russia, like other states from the former socialist camp and the USSR, sees itself in the future as an equal member of this union, the doctrine “Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok” is being built.
In this situation, Russia welcomes not only the unification of Germany, but also the entry into the EU of its former allies and even the former republics of the USSR. Economic integration with the West in the 1990s was in the first place for Russia; Moscow sees it as the key to its success as a modern state. At the same time, the Russian leadership does not feel any particular desire to tie the former Soviet republics, including Ukraine, to itself. Most of the Soviet republics existed on subsidies from the center, read – from Russia. The leaders of these countries give a friendly pat on the back, but try to get rid of their economic burden as soon as possible.

Russia, faster than Ukraine, is beginning to integrate into the European market. After all, Russia has a huge amount of energy resources that are in demand in Europe, while Ukraine, on the contrary, is not able to buy energy resources at European prices. The independence of Ukraine could well have ended in economic collapse, if not for the southeast, where fierce fighting is now taking place. The southeast has built Ukraine into the international distribution of labor with its huge production capacities and developed industry. It is not customary to talk about this, but in the 1990s, it was the Russian-speaking southeast that saved the economic, and with it the political independence of Ukraine.

Let us now turn our attention to something else: since the 1990s, a series of serious ethnic conflicts and wars have begun to emerge in Europe and on its borders, in which millions of people have been involved. Until 1991, such a number of ethnic clashes were not observed. All this led to the collapse of Yugoslavia, the loss of the integrity of Georgia, Moldova, Syria. From the point of view of the European unification paradigm, this is meaningless. After all, the meaning of this unification is not the fragmentation of Europe into many small states, but, on the contrary, the creation of a huge supranational union of peoples, and these peoples do not need to exterminate each other, do not multiply borders, but build a new common world together. What’s wrong here?

This is based on the concept that Russia previously adhered to. But if we proceed from the concept of victory in the Cold War of the West, then ethnic conflicts have a completely different meaning. And this meaning has been repeatedly voiced – for example, at a meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on October 24, 1995, US President Bill Clinton will say: “Using the mistakes of Soviet diplomacy, the extreme arrogance of Gorbachev and his entourage, including those who openly took a pro-American position, we achieved what President Truman was going to do with the Soviet Union with the atomic bomb.”

From this we can conclude that not all Western politicians wanted to create a new just world. Their task was to destroy the enemy of the USSR, Yugoslavia, and other countries. And then the aggravation of interethnic conflicts is quite logical, they weaken the enemy, and in case of victory they help to dismember his country for the convenience of absorption by the winner.

In such circumstances, the real state of affairs does not matter. The situation is deliberately shaken. Representatives of a national minority living compactly in certain parts of the country are declared separatists and a threat to the state. This tactic has been known since antiquity and was used by ancient Rome. But it seems like now there is no talk of building a new slave-owning empire? Or is it, and in Washington, for example, the post-Soviet space is considered as some provinces of a large empire that already have their own metropolis and must be protected from the encroachments of barbarians who do not want to submit to this empire?

So, we have two political strategies – the economic and political integration of countries, where mutual benefit is at the forefront, and the absorption of others by one country, where the interests of the absorbed countries are not taken into account. And these countries themselves can be dismembered, declared outcasts, conquered.

As for the Russian Federation, as it emerges from the crisis caused by a sharp change in political and economic course, it is increasingly faced with a clear desire to weaken, humiliate, and put it in a disadvantageous position, it is increasingly declared a pariah state, despite the fact that its economic potential is growing. The growth of economic potential should increase the influence of the country, and this should be welcomed in the Western world. But the opposite is happening. The influence of Russia is not only not welcomed, but is declared wrong, criminal and corrupt.

This is where we should stop in more detail. So, Russia takes Western democracy as a model, carries out reforms and begins to integrate into the Western world. From the point of view of building a common European home, this should be welcomed and encouraged. Europe gets a peaceful and economically prosperous partner, its markets, resources, which undoubtedly strengthens it by an order of magnitude. But if we are guided by colonial thinking, then we will not tolerate economic growth and independence of a distant colony. Provinces should not overtake the mother country financially, politically or culturally.

There is the EU, which was engaged in the construction of a new economic reality. And there is NATO, created in 1949, which opposed the East, primarily the USSR and Russia. Let us recall the words of the first Secretary General of NATO, Hastings Ismay: “Keep the Soviet Union out [of Europe], the Americans in, and the Germans in a subordinate position.” That is, the ideology of NATO is the United States in Europe, and even in a dominant position, but Russia is not.
And how should Russia treat this? After all, she honestly ended the Cold War, but the United States, NATO, it seems, did not. It turns out that the unification with the West prepared for it is not on equal terms, but on conditions of economic and political absorption. Hence the demands of Moscow to stop moving towards the borders of Russia and to revise positions and agreements. And now we are seeing that the NATO concept has destroyed not only Russia’s integration into Europe, but also put an end to the expansion of Europe and its development. That is, of the two approaches that we present here, one clearly defeated the other.

Russia and Ukraine – the tragedy of relations

Let’s move from the general picture directly to the relations between Russia and Ukraine. Let’s start with the fact that the relations of these countries have their own specific history. These relations are closer than the interaction between England and Scotland or the northern and southern states. Ukraine has been part of Russia for more than 300 years, which has affected the culture, ethnic composition and mentality. Ukraine gained its independence in 1991 not as a result of a national liberation struggle, but by agreement with Moscow. The new economic and political reality prompts the Russian elite not only to grant independence to Ukraine, but also to push for it. Then no one saw an armed clash between the two new states even in a nightmare. The Ukrainians saw Russia as a friendly power, and the Russian people as a brotherly one, and these sympathies were mutual.

It turns out that the unification with the West prepared for it is not on equal terms, but on conditions of economic and political absorption. Hence the demands of Moscow to stop moving towards the borders of Russia and to revise positions and agreements. And now we are seeing that the NATO concept has destroyed not only Russia’s integration into Europe, but also put an end to the expansion of Europe and its development. That is, of the two approaches that we present here, one clearly defeated the other.


In Russia, Ukraine has long been dominated by the concept of “another Russia”, which implies a much closer relationship than, for example, Britain and Canada. There was a popular saying in everyday life: “We have one people, but different states.” Ukrainians and Russians were very interested in the political life of their neighbors, which you can ask, for example, the current President of Ukraine Zelensky, who made money on political satire, usually about the politics of both powers.

However, it is precisely on the example of Ukraine that one can clearly see how the concept of creating a common political and economic space is defeated by the concept of squeezing Russia out of Europe. Since the first Maidan in 2005, Ukraine has been building an anti-Russian policy at the level of state ideology. At the same time, it is clearly seen that this policy has a pattern of the Cold War. That is, psychologically, the Ukrainians were turned against the Russians by the support of certain politicians, changes in the educational program, culture and national media broadcasting. And everything moved away under the guise of democratic reforms, positive changes that were supported by all kinds of Western and international organizations.

Calling it a democratic process was difficult. The dictates of the pro- Western forces were simply established in politics, in the media, in the economy, in civil society. Western democracy was established by completely undemocratic methods. And today, more than ever, the question becomes important: is the political regime of Ukraine a democracy?

Since 1991, two countries have existed inside Ukraine itself – anti- Russia and Ukraine as another Russia. One does not think of itself without Russia, the other does not think of itself with Russia. However, such a division is very artificial. Most of its history, Ukraine has passed with Russia, is connected with it culturally and mentally.

Integration with Russia to Ukraine is clearly dictated by the economy. After all, if there is such a huge market and resources nearby, then only a very narrow-minded government can not use it, let alone block it. Anti-Russian sentiments brought nothing but grief and poverty to Ukraine. Therefore, all pro-Western nationalist movements consciously or unconsciously preach poverty and misery to the Ukrainian people.

Calling it a democratic process was difficult. The dictates of the pro- Western forces were simply established in politics, in the media, in the economy, in civil society. Western democracy was established by completely undemocratic methods. And today, more than ever, the question becomes important: is the political regime of Ukraine a democracy?

We have already mentioned that it was the southeast that, with its production, helped the country fit into the global distribution of labor. It turned out that the east, a large Russian-speaking region, earned the main currency for the country. Naturally, this could not but affect the political representation in the Ukrainian government. The southeast had more both human and financial resources, which did not fit into the pro-Western picture of Ukraine. Too proud, too free, too rich people lived there.

Both the first and second Maidans were directed against Viktor Yanukovych, the former Donetsk governor, leader of Donbass and non-nationalist centrist political forces. The electoral support of such forces was very significant, Ukraine did not want to be anti- Russia for a very long time. President Yushchenko, who came on the wave of the first Maidan, very quickly lost the trust of the people, mostly because of his anti-Russian policy.

And then an interesting trend is observed in Ukrainian politics. The elections after the second Maidan are won by President Poroshenko, who promises peace with Russia in one week. That is, he was elected as the president of the world. Nevertheless, he became the president of the war, did not comply with the Minsk agreements and lost the next election miserably. He was replaced by Vladimir Zelensky, who also promised peace, but became the personification of war. That is, peace is promised to the Ukrainian people, and then they are deceived. Having gained power under the rhetoric of peacemaking, the second Ukrainian leader is now taking an extremely radical position. If he had such a position at the beginning of the election campaign, no one would have elected him.

And now we will return to the general concept of this article. If someone says that he is going to build a new world with his neighbors, but simply pushes through his interests, regardless of anything, even war, even nuclear war, then obviously he is not going to build anything. This is how the ex-president of Ukraine Poroshenko behaved, this is how the current president Zelensky behaves, but not only them. This is how the leadership of NATO and many American and European politicians behave.

Zelensky, before the armed clash, simply crushed any opposition, pushing through the interests of his party, he did not build any peace. In Ukraine, politicians, journalists, public activists who spoke about peace and good neighborly relations with Russia were repressed before the military clash, their media were closed without any legal grounds, and their property was plundered. When the Ukrainian authorities were reproached for violating the law and freedom of speech, the answer was that the Peace Party was “a bunch of traitors and propagandists.” And the democratic West satisfied this answer.

In reality, the situation was not so simple and flat. “Traitors and propagandists” represented, including in parliament, not just the lion’s share of the electorate, but also the basis of the country’s economic potential. So the blow fell not only on democracy, but also on the well-being of citizens. Zelensky’s policy has led to the fact that they began to leave Ukraine en masse due to economic and social conditions, repressions, and political persecution. Among them are a lot of Ukrainian politicians, journalists, businessmen, cultural figures and the Church, who have done a lot for this country. These people have been excluded from politics and public life by the Ukrainian authorities, although they have the right to their position no less than Zelensky and his team.

And then an interesting trend is observed in Ukrainian politics. The elections after the second Maidan are won by President Poroshenko, who promises peace with Russia in one week. That is, he was elected as the president of the world. Nevertheless, he became the president of the war, did not comply with the Minsk agreements and lost the next election miserably. He was replaced by Vladimir Zelensky, who also promised peace, but became the personification of war. That is, peace is promised to the Ukrainian people, and then they are deceived. Having gained power under the rhetoric of peacemaking, the second Ukrainian leader is now taking an extremely radical position. If he had such a position at the beginning of the election campaign, no one would have elected him.

The business of the southeast is largely tied to Russia and its interests, so the conflict has ceased to be an exclusively internal matter. Russia faced the need not only to protect its economic interests, but also international honor and dignity, which, as we have shown above, it was systematically denied. And there was no one to fix this situation.

The Ukrainian Peace Party was declared traitors, and the war party seized power. The conflict went further and became international.
It would seem that there is still European politics, but it massively supports Zelensky, dragging Europe into the war and its own economic crisis. Now it is no longer Europe that teaches Ukraine politics, but Ukraine teaches Europe how to achieve economic decline and poverty with the help of a policy of hatred and
intransigence. And if Europe continues to continue this policy, it will be dragged into a war, possibly into a nuclear one.

Now let’s get back to where we started. The Cold War ended with a political decision to build a new world where there are no wars. It is clearly seen that such a world was not built, that the current world politics has returned to where it started detente. And now there are only two ways out: to slide into a world war and a nuclear conflict, or to start the process of detente again, for which it is necessary to take into account the interests of all parties. But for this it is necessary to recognize politically that Russia has interests, that they must be taken into account in the construction of a new detente. And most importantly, play honestly, do not deceive anyone, do not let in fog and do not try to make money on someone else’s blood. But if the world political system is not capable of elementary decency, blinded by pride and its own mercantile interests, then even more difficult times await us.

The Ukrainian conflict will either grow further, spreading to Europe and other countries, or will be localized and resolved. But how can it be resolved if the party of war reigns supreme in Ukraine, whipping up military hysteria, which has already gone beyond the borders of the country, and for some reason the West stubbornly calls it democracy? And this party of war declares an infinite number of times that it does not need any peace, but it needs more weapons and money for the war. These people built their politics and business on the war, sharply raised their international ratings. In Europe and the USA they are greeted with applause, they should not be asked uncomfortable questions, doubt their sincerity and truthfulness. The Ukrainian war party is gaining triumph after triumph, while no military turning point is observed.

But the Ukrainian Peace Party is not favored either in Europe or in the USA. This eloquently suggests that most American and European politicians do not want any peace for Ukraine. But this does not mean at all that the Ukrainians do not want peace and Zelensky’s military triumph is more important to them than their lives and destroyed houses. It’s just that those who stood for peace were slandered, intimidated and repressed at the behest of the West. The Ukrainian Peace Party simply did not fit into Western democracy.

And here the question arises: if the party of peace and civil dialogue does not fit into some kind of democracy, then is it a democracy? And, perhaps, in order to save their country, Ukrainians need to start building their own democracy and open their civil dialogue without Western curators, the result of which is harmful and destructive. If the West does not want to listen to the point of view of another Ukraine, then this is its business, but for Ukraine such a point of view is important and necessary, otherwise this nightmare will never end. This means that it is necessary to create a political movement from those who did not give up, who did not renounce their beliefs on pain of death and prison, who do not want their country to become a place of geopolitical showdowns. The world must hear such people, no matter how much the West demands a monopoly on the truth. The Ukrainian situation is catastrophically complex and dangerous, but it has nothing to do with what Zelensky says every day.

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