Millennium Post

Standing by Russia is good judgement

There is enough reason and sense in siding with Russia over the Crimean crisis and India, for once, has rightly stood its ground in this case. A principled stand by New Delhi and supporting Moscow at this difficult juncture, particularly at a time when the US-led gang of Western governments has dropped Russia from what used to be the elite Group of Eight (G8), is laudable. India’s response, that it does not and would not appreciate unilateral action by a single country or bloc against another, is well thought-out and fulfilling in the longer term. Even in the past, India has steered clear of economic sanctions and boycotts of ‘pariah’ countries such as Iraq or Iran, which had been singled out by international community and systematically ravaged, in the name of intervention or regime change. The threat of economic bans and travel restrictions, more than anything, hit the ordinary people the hardest, people who usually have no say in the arbitrary state decisions. In fact, New Delhi has done well to keep a safe distance from Washington’s shameless parroting of lies and doublespeak, given that the US itself has colonised territories such as Hawaii and Alaska in the past, even though they do not share borders with North America, besides illegally invading countries and effecting gobbling up of domestic markets in the name of neoliberalism.

The Crimean case is distinctly different and can under no circumstances be described with the same logic as has been used time and again by the proponents of liberal and just wars against ‘rogue states.’ The Crimean flashpoint has its genesis in deep communal tensions in the region, with Ukrainians and ethnic Russians not seeing eye to eye. Moreover, the resource-rich Crimea had long been part of Russia, before it was leased to Ukraine (then an autonomous republic within USSR) in 1954. Now that Crimea has voted in a popular referendum to join Russia and Moscow has put the stamp of official authority on the secession, to call the development an ‘annexation’ on the part of Russia will be not just inaccurate, but a vile lie. However, that is exactly what the G7 is hell bent on doing, isolating Russia from the world fraternity and bringing about a climate of international condemnation, which is the direct result of a deliberate misconstruing of the situation. Yet, New Delhi, which itself is trying to walk the tightrope and trying to hold on to the idea of India in the face of growing disenchantment with the nation-state, must weigh its actions carefully. Legitimate interests of Russia in Ukraine notwithstanding, Vladimir Putin’s telephonic ‘explanation’ of the Crimean flashpoint to Manmohan Singh does go a long way to bolster New Delhi’s strategic interest in siding with longstanding ally and dependable partner in Moscow.
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