Ukraine has a highly polarised society, divided by social, ethnic and linguistic fractures that have led to a clear division of the country into a pro-Western northern part and the rest pro-Russian.
This opposition has also resulted in an elite level among the presidential candidates in power - pro-Russian Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych against the pro- Western Viktor Yushchenko - with the start of the "orange revolution" in 2004 and has reappeared ten years later with the protests of Euromaidan, called the "revolution of dignity”, that arose after the suspension of the signature of the Association Agreement with the European Union.
The Kremlin has always considered the colorful revolutions in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan as an American interference in the former Soviet sphere of influence, coupled with the democratic anchoring offered to the countries of Eastern Europe by the expansion of the EU and NATO to the east.
In Vladimir Putin’s prophetic speech at the Munich Security Conference on 10 February 2007, the Russian president with extreme clarity argues that the goal is a reasonable balance between the interests of all those involved in international relations. The criticism is directed at the unipolar world represented by the United States, which in practice is reduced to one thing: a single centre of power, a single centre of strength, a single centre of decision-making. It is a world in which there is only one master.
Since the Munich conference, Putin’s Russia has adopted a more assertive policy, according to Western categories, but, in reality, defensive in the doctrine of Russian foreign policy, perpetually influenced by the historical "encirclement syndrome”.
Russia has also increased its presence in different geopolitical areas (Libya, Syria, Africa) not only to prove that it is again a great world power (and not regional as it was defined by US President Barack Obama) but also as the pivot of a Eurasian project in the absence of its inclusion in the great European family.
But the question remains why now? Leaving apart the specific Ukrainian questions, and focusing on the more general context, first, President Putin wants to take advantage of the declining support for the economic management of President Joe Biden, which makes it more difficult to maintain the majority in Congress in the upcoming midterm elections, but also exploit the criticism received following the American disengagement in Afghanistan, that have undermined the image of the White House even in the international arena.
Second, Putin wants to test the degree of cohesion within the European Union and NATO after Biden said that America is back. To verify this unity among the allies the Russian president is trying to highlight some inconsistencies related to the strategic choices of some countries such as Germany and Italy, especially in the energy sector.
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