Russia-Ukraine relation before the Maiden
Russian Federation always had interests in Ukraine. Russia now have active military forces on the ground inside Ukraine, but Russian government does not call it invasion of Ukraine. In reality, Russia has invaded part of Ukraine. Annex of Crimea and Russian operation during the Ukraine crisis is known as new type of warfare. However, it’s essential to shortly describe and analyze how the conflict have started and what was the context.
Political situation and tensions in Ukraine were mostly organized by Russian support of orchestration. It’s essential to shortly explain situation in Ukraine and historically divided nation and country does not have cohesive national identity. Ukraine is ethnically split between east and west (Shkolnikov, 1998). This division is known as ‘ethnically and linguistically Ukrainian west and ethnically and linguistically Russian east. This division is strategically used by Russian Rederation and most of the time has been behind the confrontation between two groups.
According to some scholars, Russia’s hybrid warfare and information campaign were extremely successful in Ukraine, because they are pretty similar countries and the most importantly, they have shared history (Müür, Mölder, Sazonov, & Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt, 2016).For instance, during the informational campaigns, Russia have effectively used shared historical narratives or symbols in order to have influence on the peoples cognitive domains. Russia also uses shared history to justify annex of Crimea and generally usage of power against Ukraine.
Historical similarities were always transformed into politics. Russia have constantly nostalgic feeling towards Ukraine. After collapse of Soviet Union Russian Federation actively tires to interfere in the Ukraine’s internal policy and uses various influential tools. Throughout Ukrainian independence one of the methods of interference was to support a candidate, who holds pro-Russian views and eastern Ukrainian Russians are seen as a huge support for pro-Russian candidates. Pro-Russian presidents like Kuchma or Yanukovych were directly supported form president Putin. Russian Federation was always against pro-Western Ukraine.
Political situation in Ukraine – Euro-Maidan and Russia’s hybrid interference
The Crisis in Ukraine stated in the late 2013, which was the caused from president Yanukovych’s decision to abound the European Association Agreement (EAA). Small students group stated the first movements and the protest in the Independence Square in Kiev, which developed into thousands of people’s demonstrations in the Ukraine. Massive protest and demonstrations in Ukraine was cause from several reasons. Ukrainian people were against corrupted government, which choose the foreign policy towards Russia and Eurasian Union (Yuhas, 2016; The Guardian).
The peaceful protest in Maidan increased into violence; a gunfight erupts between Protestants and police resulted in death of dozens of people. Violent anti-government protests stark the Ukrainian Revolution but finally result was the ousting of president Yanukovych (Thomson, 2017 CNN).
Russian was actively interfered in the Euromaidan protest. Russian informational campaign was working against Ukrainian pro-European ideas. Whole Russian information space was focused to express threats connected to EU and Association Agreement. Russian media created myths about future unemployment and fall of the Ukrainian industry. Information about friendly Russia, historical, cultural and religious similarities was one of the main sensitive topics in the debates about EU partnership and refuse to Eurasian alliance.1 Russian TV channels represented disaster for Ukraine in case of cutting ties with Russian Federation.
Another part of Russian information campaign during the Euromaidan was conspiracy theories about Western interference in the protest and ideas that demonstrations were stimulated by “the hand of the West2.
Russia’s hybrid operations in Ukraine go beyond the informational warfare and anti-EU campaign. After Yankuovych’s ousting from the country Russian Federation started new strategic operations in the pro-Russian Regions in Ukraine. Protest for independence started from eastern cities of Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkov. Russian hybrid war in Ukraine after Maidan had two phases. First was occupation and annexation of Crimea and second, invasion of Ukraine’s industrial region Donbas. Russian Federation properly packed stimulated protest in Eastern Ukraine, in order to interfere in Ukraine’s internal affairs. This is one of the most important parts of Russian hybrid operation, to use time properly, especially when there is chaos in the country. Confrontations in eastern regions was represented as ‘violence against Russian-speakers’ by Russian officials.
1 ?????????????? ????????? ??????? European integration has divided
Ukraine, http://www.vesti.ru/doc.html?id=1147080 (last visited 25.12.2017).
2 ??????? ? ??????????????: ?????? ?? ????? ?????? Ukraine and European
integration: the EU efforts crumbled, http://www.vesti.ru/doc.html?id=1161927#
(last visited 25.12.2017).