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History Politicised: Russia, Ukraine and the West

Strategic Security Analysis - 2016 n°6

Release Date:

May 2016

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Key Points

  • Conflicting history and its perceptions are key factors in the origins of the Russo-Ukrainian conflict and in the consequent Russo-Western tensions, as well as key drivers of their evolution.
  • Russia has more effectively ‘weaponised’ both information and history to support its case, and to support the arguments of efficient and influential opinion relays in the West, who argue for a resolution of the crisis that satisfies Russia’s terms, in effect freezing the conflict.
  • Allowing a frozen conflict to persist in Ukraine endangers regional security and allows for its reignition, therefore there must be effective narrative and historical counterarguments to support Western negotiations that will lead to a more balanced and definitive settlement of the crisis.
  • The current Russo-Ukrainian conflict also involves neighbouring countries belonging to the European Union (EU) and to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). The crisis is perceived as the most serious crisis in both European affairs and East-West relations in general since the end of the Cold War.