Will there be a Ukraine when the war launched by Russia ends? Right now, it looks like Ukraine is surviving and Russia is taking an unexpectedly bloody beating. Thousands of Russian soldiers have been killed, hundreds of tanks and armored vehicles destroyed and even worse for Russian morale — abandoned because of poor maintenance, lack of fuel, or incompetence and poor training (no, a T-90 doesn’t go far in mud). Some Russian soldiers have been filmed trying to steal chickens, clubbing and tossing them in a bag. Others are looting supermarkets for food. What else could be expected when given rations for just a few days and “best before” the late 1990s?
At some point there will be an end to the conflict. Hopefully, Russia will have achieved none of its imperialist and revanchist aims. Ideally, all Russian troops should be withdrawn, the current Russian and Belarus leaderships deposed by any means necessary and those (still alive?) tried for war crimes. Russia must be forced to pay reparations to Ukraine, perhaps with its oil and energy resources under international stewardship for many years. For some years, the Russian population should also quarantined from most international travel and limited in their economic activity (a collective punishment of the middle-class electorate and oligarch supporters of the Putin regime). It could be a kind of revived Morgenthau Plan for Russia 2022 instead of Germany 1945. A Morgenthauski Plan in Russia’s case would have little impact on the near-Third World living standards for many Russians outside the big cities. So, there is no “they will all suffer” argument against doing something like that.
A reminder: the Morgenthau Plan was drawn up by the wartime US Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Morgenthau Jr. and envisaged a postwar Germany as an agricultural, deindustrialized country which would be divided into a northern and a southern half, with the Rhineland, the North Sea coast, and other important strategic or industrial areas coming under international control. It was never implemented. But in Russia’s case, the country could also be divided by regions or into independent states.
What about the Ukraine of the future? Its historical consciousness in the second half of the 20th century was formed by the Holomodor, the starvation of millions under the Communist rule of the Georgian Stalin, but executed in practice by Russians and some Ukrainian collaborators. Now, Ukraine’s historical and security policy…