Europe and the war in Ukraine: DE-PL-UKR perspectives
The essays provide insight on the impact of the war on the Ukrainian economy, Russian neo-imperialism, Kremlin propaganda, identity and memory politics and the security of Europe, including the historical changes currently taking place in German foreign policy. The German-Polish Roundtable annually invites experts to dive deep into Polish and German policies towards Eastern Europe, highlighting why a good cooperation between the countries is needed to effectively respond to the emerging challenges and opportunities in the region.
The report „Europe and the war in Ukraine: DE-PL-UKR perspectives” report begins with Olena Snigyr’s essay „The future of the European security order: Russia’s imperialism versus democracy”. This piece argues that any democratisation in Russia after a regime change would be impossible without completing the decolonisation process in this part of Eurasia. Moreover, Russia must finally act like a normal state obeying the basic principles of international law—no more, no less.
However, Nedim Useinow, in his article „The national question in Russia. What should be the Ukrainian reaction?”, believes that the current conditions in the Russian Federation do not support the idea of the country’s disintegration in the short-term perspective. In his opinion, „Instead of reckless narratives about Russia’s 'decolonisation’, Ukraine should promote more legitimate, clear and realistic liberation rhetoric.” Indeed, Russia wages its war against Ukraine not only on the battlefield but also in the minds of Russian citizens and through propaganda directed at people worldwide.
As Jan Piekło writes in his article „Frozen historical trauma – how to deal with it?”, Russia’s narrative „is a hybrid mix of tsarist Russian imperialism, Soviet mythology and religious elements connected to Orthodoxy. Currently, its dominant aspect is fighting „Nazis” and NATO”.
Agnieszka Bryc, in her text titled „Time to pursue a Zeitenwende on Russia”, stresses that Russia’s aggression in Ukraine is not an episode but a process with profound historical roots grounded in imperial ambitions. In her opinion, the international order needs a profound reshaping so that it will make Russian aggression an improbable scenario in the future. Of course, this is undoubtedly a crucial task for Berlin and Warsaw, which can support Ukraine and thereby take responsibility for Europe’s future sustainable security.
On the other hand, „How real is the Zeitenwende? Explaining the gap between rhetoric and action”, written by Susan Stewart, describes extensively the Zeitenwende, namely a political rethink triggered by Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. It includes essential questions on European and transatlantic security, EU reform and enlargement, military expenditures and economic adjustments within Germany.
Mattia Nelles, in his contribution „The weak link? Germany and Russia’s war against Ukraine”, assumes that most probably the war will continue for many months and that this is why the West, including Germany, must provide Ukraine with all the equipment that Kyiv needs to maintain this high-intensity war over the next few months or even years. According to Nelles, Germany’s commitment is considerable but often considered insufficient. Moreover, the German reaction to the war provoked serious discussions, tensions within society and the political elite, and criticism from other allies. Indeed, the war brought a dramatic deterioration in the economic situation in Ukraine. Nevertheless, its economy, supported by the West, has managed to survive and defend itself against Moscow.
Yurii Gaidai analyses the condition of Ukraine’s economy after the full-scale Russian invasion in his article „The war and Ukraine’s economy: its perspectives and Western assistance”.
Finally, Justyna Gotkowska’s article titled „Security in the Baltic Sea region and the Russian invasion of Ukraine” argues convincingly that „the sustained will among NATO countries to strengthen the collective defence of the Alliance and to enhance deterrence and defence in the Baltic Sea region represents a key issue which will define the security of Europe in the coming years.”
Table of contents
Adam Balcer, Introduction 3
Olena Snigyr, The future of the European security order: Russia’s imperialism versus democracy 5
Nedim Useinow, The national question in Russia. What should be the Ukrainian reaction? 10
Jan Piekło, Frozen historical trauma – how to deal with it? 16
Agnieszka Bryc, Time to pursue a Zeitenwende on Russia 22
Susan Stewart, How real is the Zeitenwende? Explaining the gap between rhetoric and action 29
Mattia Nelles, The weak link? Germany and Russia’s war against Ukraine 36
Yurii Gaidai, The war and Ukraine’s economy: its perspectives and Western assistance 43
Justyna Gotkowska, Security in the Baltic Sea region and the Russian invasion of Ukraine 51