We have been warned many times recently that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a turning point in history.
And while the soaring political rhetoric may have sounded good in recent years, this week, after a series of events in Kiev, Moscow, Washington, and Ottawa, we may have truly reached that tipping point. Very sensitive.
We may not like what it turns out to be.
In early November 1942, after the British victory at El Alamein, the war-scorched wasteland of western Egypt (and the simultaneous American-led invasion of North Africa), Winston Churchill attended a Mayor’s Day lunch at his London mansion. I stood in front of the audience who attended the meeting. .
It was a watershed moment in a war that had previously gone very badly for the Western democracies and the Soviet Union. In the haze of World War II nostalgia and self-congratulation, we tend to forget.
Churchill, a wartime leader often compared to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, recognized El Alamein as a turning point.
“This is not the end. It’s not the beginning of the end. But it’s probably the end of the beginning,” he told the audience.
There may be no better way to describe the situation we find ourselves in today.
As it turns out, Churchill was right. There were still many major turning points, including the Battle of Stalingrad and his D-Day. However, the tide was definitely changing.
It’s hard to walk away from this week’s events without a vague sense that something important has changed.
President Zelenskiy’s firing as military commander-in-chief, the dramatic collapse of a U.S. military aid package, the solidification of a deadlock in the U.S. Congress, and a sign that a growing number of conservatives believe Ukraine is in crisis in Canada. There are many things to consider, including public opinion polls.Excessive aid and ultimately propaganda powerful An interview between former Fox News host Tucker Carlson and the rambling Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“We are at a tipping point,” says Dominique Aller, director of Ukrainian studies at the University of Ottawa. “But I can tell you that change is happening. [the U.S.] meeting. “
Replacing the longtime commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s military, Gen. Valery Zarzhiny, with the older, Soviet-trained Col. Oleksandr Shirski is important, but pales in comparison to the political machinations in Washington, Aler said. . He said it would be “difficult to find a way out” of the political deadlock in Washington, leaving the impression that the United States was on the verge of abandoning Ukraine.
The lifting of a block on 50 billion euros ($54 billion) in European Union aid was a positive sign. This shows that even though we are at a tipping point, it does not mean we are headed for a catastrophe in the war in Ukraine, Aler said.
“We face uncertainty and increasing suffering in the coming months and throughout the year,” he said.
“I’m not talking about the possibility of a complete collapse of the front line. No, I don’t think so. But I’m concerned that the bombing of cities is intensifying.”
Silski said in a statement Friday that he intends to take a tougher approach to the war, saying his immediate goals are to improve troop rotation on the front lines and harness the power of new technology.
Oleksandr Mushenko, head of the Kiev-based Military and Legal Research Center, said Zarzhniy’s removal would not lead to a loss of confidence in Zelensky’s government within the military.
“Some may be disappointed by this decision, but I think more soldiers are waiting for reforms in the military,” Musiyenko said. “In general, I think everything will be fine.”
Musiyenko said he and others are keeping an eye on who will be appointed to the new commander-in-chief team. That’s because it will determine the direction of the war more than political debate in Ukraine — a president whose polls show Zarzhni is more popular and trusted than Ukraine’s president. .
Canada’s support for Ukraine begins to decline
Meanwhile, in Canada, the Angus Reid Institute released research this week suggesting that support among Canadians for supporting the war in Ukraine is waning, especially among conservatives.
Nearly a quarter of Canadians believe Canada is providing “too much aid” to Ukraine in its fight against Russia, up from 13% of those asked the same question in May 2022. .
Among Canadians who voted Conservative in the last election, the proportion who say Canada is doing too much to help Ukraine has doubled from 19% in May 2022 to 43% now. It has increased more than that.
Angus Reid’s findings reflect what is happening in American politics. A recent Pew Center poll found that 48 percent of Republican voters believe their country is giving “too much” aid to Ukraine.
Aller said there are still very important differences between Canadian and American political opinions. Although there is a sizable Ukrainian diaspora population in the United States, it does not have the same political influence as the Ukrainian community in Canada.
Aller said the six to 12 racetracks in Canada (mainly in Ontario and Western Canada) are competitive, and with the Ukrainian and Canadian constituencies, the political weight can be felt.
“So people think, [in a close election] “It’s a check on the Conservative Party of Canada going down the same path as the Republicans on this geopolitical issue,” he said.
it might explain what gloves and mail Asked in an op-ed this week if he agreed that Canada is providing significant aid to Ukraine, he called Conservative Leader Pierre Poièvre’s “evasive exaggeration.”
Answering this question is difficult for Poièvre to answer, especially given how Carlson, a self-confessed Russia admirer (as the Globe also pointed out), has a fervent following among some Canadian conservatives. It is not in the interest of
Much commentary and analysis has already been done on the interview between Mr. Karlsson and Mr. Putin. But for Aller and other experts, one moment stood out in particular during the Russian president’s lengthy history lesson.
“First of all, this was not an interview, because you cannot refute what President Putin said,” Aler said. But what was really interesting to him, he said, was that Putin came “dangerously close to saying that Germany had a right, or at least a cause, to invade Poland in 1939.”
When he heard this statement, he thought, “Ah, I see.”
“One step beyond the Soviet Union”
Soviet history and propaganda have always been very selective about the Nazi narrative. For example, it is often forgotten that before the German invasion of 1941, Moscow and Berlin were allies who carved out an independent Poland.
“So [Putin] “As I almost said yesterday, it’s one step beyond the Soviet Union,” Arrell said. “Soviet propaganda will never reach that level.”
Another expert – perhaps also sensing an inflection point and reacting to the shift in political discourse – emphasized in the harshest terms on Friday what Russia’s victory in Ukraine meant. A report was published.
“The war in Ukraine is primarily a war for control of people, not land,” writes Karolina Hurd of the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War.
“Russian President Vladimir Putin has invaded Ukraine twice. The main reason is not because he wants Ukrainian land, but rather because he wants to control the people. Putin’s plan is , clearly stated in a 2021 article he published to justify a full-scale invasion in 2022, is the destruction of Ukraine’s unique political, social, linguistic and religious identity. I am expressing it.”
In her report, Kremlin occupation strategyMr. Hild said President Putin “falsely believes that Ukrainians are simply confusing Russians with an invented identity, language and history that a Western-backed minority is trying to impose on the majority population.” “They are trying to turn their ideological beliefs into reality.”
Hurd pointed to a “hypothetical” Russian victory as the end, warning:
“Russia’s war against Ukraine has always been a war aimed at eliminating the Ukrainian state and will not end until Kiev itself becomes a Russian city and all of Ukraine becomes a Russian oblast.”