Free The War In Donbass Essay Sample
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The paper considers the causes and the consequences of a war in Donbass, the eastern Ukraine. The relations and similarities of the war causes have been revealed. The conducted research on the political, social, ethnical and cultural inner causes of war together with the international threads have been included into a plausible model of the war. There are also provided the suggestions on resolution of the armed conflict in Donbass and advices on the negotiation between the parties as well as the steps to the conflict resolution are provided together with considering the important familiar mentalities of the citizens to be useful to assure the uselessness of the war between brother-nations.
Key words: Donbass, anti-terrorist operation, armed conflict, propaganda war, geopolitics.
International conflict is the basis of international relations in traditional geopolitics. The modern world experiences various types of conflicts, for instance, military, political, economic, national and religious due to the increased number and diversity of participants in international relations. Zartman defined a conflict as a clash between collective factors about values, status, power, or scarce resources, in which the objectives of each of the Parties shall be to neutralize, reduce or eliminate their rivals (Zartman, 2013). Considering this point of view, the conflicts have an objective content, i.e. the opposition interests, when the simultaneous implementation of the desirable goals by members of the international conflict is not possible because of their objectivity. In their turn, these goals may be achieved by the means of armed conflicts, wars, unarmed diplomatic demarches, economic sanctions, etc.
Understanding the causes of the onset of conflict may play a stabilizing role in international relations between the countries as well as the inner economic and political situations; prevent disintegration and destabilization of society by contributing to the resolutions avoiding life and material losses by both parties; stimulates the reevaluation of values, ideas and accelerates the formation of new structures; provides a better knowledge of the parties preventing crisis or loss of power legitimacy.
In modern society of the XXI century the conflicts may also occur and be held inside of the particular country or between them. The interstate and intrastate conflicts may also switch over one from to another. For example, group religious conflicts may reach regional and global levels. Since negotiations are the most effective and thus the most commonly used methods of conflict resolutions, the intermediaries participating in negotiations, should clearly understand all the consequences of political, economic, cultural and social situations between the parties. In addition, all modern conflicts are very much influenced by mass media which makes struggles even more severe and tense. Considering the above factors it is extremely necessary to take into account various internal and external factors of the conflict: the degree of openness of the political system, the level of cohesion conflicting groups, their strength, the nature of public involvement in the conflict, the emotional aspects of the behavior of leaders and their supporters, as well as cultural, historical, socio-economic, ethnic, national and other features society. These steps help display other hidden, implicit and latent conflict, put them in order to reduce the risk of development of sudden uncontrolled processes; localize socio-psychological arousal caused by political conflict and prevent its spread to other areas of society. The understanding of the consequences and taking further measures may also result in not only reducing the violence but in exhaustion of the subject matter, the change in the situation and circumstances that would lead to partnerships and would exclude the risk of recurrence of confrontation.
Why the War in Donbass is so Important to Realize?
Of course, situation in Ukraine remains the focus of attention during the last year. But considering exclusively military point of view, it has an overscaled conflict which is not comparable to the war in Syria, for instance. On the other hand, from a geostrategic point of view, Ukraine is adjacent to a kind of "military crescent" - the area that has a crescent shape stretching across the Caucasus, the Middle East to the Mediterranean coast and the eastern border of Tunisia (Gerrits, 2005). There are no war declarations between the states, but there permanent armed conflicts occur in a variety of formats: civil wars, economic, ethnic conflicts, etc.
Germany, Italy, Greece and other countries of Europe exporting large quantities of goods, particularly luxury ones, including oil and gas, suffer from sanctions put on Russia. The main oil and gas pipeline transmitting these goods to Europe lies on the Ukrainian territory. The extending war may be switched over other territories outside Ukraine and become even the global level conflict.
The Parties Involved in the Armed Conflict in Donbass
The war in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine, which began in April 2014, involves the armed forces of Ukraine and rebel forces mostly consisting of self-proclaimed supporters of Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republic (DPR and LPR respectively). In addition to the armed forces of Ukraine in the battles against the supporters of the DPR and LPR are also involved other militant insurgent and non-governmental groups. European Union, NATO, Council of Europe, the USA, Ukraine and a number of other states blame the Russian Federation in participating in the conflict, particularly, the use of regular troops on the rebel side, arms and financial support as well as willing to conquer the Ukrainian territories rich in gas, coal, iron ores and other mineral resources. Russia's participation in hostilities is not limited to the supply of weapons and soldiers, but also manifests itself in participating in the organization of the military command and political decision-making. Russian participation is evidenced in the form of general informational and propaganda war, which is as much dangerous as a usual war, since it interferes with attempts on reconciliation and confidence building. According to the official position of the Ukrainian leadership, separatism in Ukraine purposefully fueled by Russia, and many radical “supporters of federalization” appear to be the visiting Russians engaged in Ukraine sabotage activities (Kurcov, 2015).
According to the statements of self-proclaimed leaders of DPR and LRP, their states faced with a direct armed aggression of Ukraine aimed at the suppression of their sovereignty, and funded by Western countries. Moreover, the DPR did not recognize the new government in Ukraine, and did not aim to carry on with any dialogue with it. Under the guise of false statements about the alleged conduct of anti-terrorist operation, Ukrainian government, in fact, declared war against the people, with the involvement of heavy military equipment and aviation. The leaders talk about the involvement of a possibility of application of large-scale bombing attacks on cities. The leader of the rebels states, “A fascist regime in Ukraine, supported and funded by the United States and Western Europe, is in fact genocide against Russian-speaking population on the territory of the People's Republic of Donetsk.” (Ostrov)
Given the military superiority of the Russian Federation, its leadership position on the classification of foreign military aggression as internal threats, in order to prevent the further introduction of regular Russian troops on the territory of Ukraine, on April 14, 2014 Ukraine began anti-terrorist operation without imposition of martial law. Zone of the antiterrorist operation covered Donetsk and Luhansk region (from 14 April 2014), and Izyumsky district and the city of Izym in Kharkiv region (April 14 - September 7, 2014).(OSCE)
The war in its classical sense as a clash of states or systems is not represented in Ukraine. So many parties involved in conflict resolution still cannot do anything to stabilize the situation. NATO, EU, USA, OSCE missions are referring exclusively to economic sanctions against the invader.
Causes of the War
The severe political instability in Ukraine during carrying out a decision on joining the European Union has is one of the most specific consequences of the current war in Donbass and resulted in mass demonstrations by opponents of the government. The former President of Ukraine Victor Yanukovich signed the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union. The point is that the population in Ukraine is extremely specific by its origins and traditions. The western part with the Carpathian Mountains has been under the reign of European countries like Poland, Hungary and Lithuania, so they surely tend to join the EU. The western part of the Ukraine joined the Ukrainian Soviet Socialistic Republic only in 1919, and the people on different sides of the country still remain very different. In addition, the Ukrainian-speaking population has been cruelly diminished by the USSR government. The other part, mostly Russian-speaking people tend to join their blood brothers on the east, since the thousands of families remain separated by the borders of two countries after the USSR collapse. They were negatively biased against joining the European Union and this fact resulted in Euromaidan – the protests that took place on the biggest square in Europe – the Independence Square – especially against corruption, lawless, and to support the European vector of Ukraine's foreign policy. This protest ended with thousands of victims, wounded and resignation of President Victor Yanukovich (Kurcov, 2015).
Corruption, lawlessness and permissiveness of government influenced the masses of citizens to loose and as it is a little hope for a brighter future. The brief loss of control over crime resulted in the formation of groups, who ruled the cities in the times of governmental crisis.
The early symptom of the Russian unfriendliness to Ukraine was the export blockade of Ukrainian goods to Russia in 2013. February 20, 2014 was marked with invasion of Russian armed forces to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Ukraine Sevastopol with subsequent occupation of the peninsula. Russian Federation had several significant presuppositions for starting a war. Both Russia and Ukraine support raw materials and energy to Europe, so after signing the Ukrainian Association with EU, Russia may lose positions. Also, the great investments coming to Ukraine in the result of joining the EU may make it more powerful and prosperous. Controlling over the resources in eastern Ukraine is beneficial for Russian industries. In addition, the possibility of absolute consolidation of Russian society and distracting the attention of internal problems were available through creating a particular enemy image in the face of Ukrainians and their government.
How the Causes Complete a Logical Chain
The above mentioned factors really make sense in organization of armed conflict, but let’s consider my model of the things happening in Donbass and create a model, the so-called replay of actions and operations taking place at the very beginning of this war. To begin with, let us remember that the population of Ukraine is divided into two parties supporting the European Union and confronting this idea, there was a really good chance of using mass provocations, outrage and lawlessness which actually took place while protests on the Independence square. The government did not support the ideas of the folks, trying to forcedly strangle the will manifestation of the people. It led to the increase in the mistrust to the authorities, the loss of the leader and focused idea. The strong social and psychological impact was felt by the Russian annexation of the Crimea, and the powerful propaganda controlled media.
So, let’s turn to the official consequences of the conflict stated by Ukrainian government: fomenting the separatist sentiments in the masses. According to self-declared People’s Republics the causes are the changes in the government, the increased nationalism supported by oligarchic capital and not considering the interests of the South-East of Ukraine. What about the invading party, it still denies the communion in the war except sheltering refugees from Ukraine.
I believe the following version of events is rather plausible: the sponsored and fueled incitement and pro-Russian propaganda has managed to grow at the present armed action of terrorists with the capture and holding of office buildings, infrastructure, buildings, local law enforcement agencies and other key points due to the well-known fact that eastern citizens did not support the current government and the new-elected President. Russian forces benefited from the political and ethnical situation in the country and invaded into Donbass to cut down a great piece of land just like they did in the situation of the Crimean peninsula. Instead of the conditional division of the country geographically along the river Dnieper, the Russian forces got not more than 10-15% of the total Ukrainian population. In Eastern Ukraine there are still lots of people who are interested in normal relations with Russia, but they had to leave their homes due to the danger caused by the armed conflict. Vladimir Putin, the President of the Russian Federation, plays the role of the protector and patron of the weak and resentful (in this case the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine), which appears to be a wise strategy in doing a war – to invade armed forced into the country and at the same time desiring to protect the affected citizens.
Current Political and Social Situation in Ukraine
The interstate behavior and particularly the fact that the country originated a typical oligarchic capitalism version which was strongly manifested in the east, in the areas dominated by large industrial enterprises caused the social and economic tensions in the east of the country was usually to be more severe than in the west. Currently, Ukraine faces great political showdown regarding the distribution of power in non-invaded industrial regions (like Zaporozhe and Mykolaiv). A few oligarchs who are also involved in political activities, are actually “fighting” since they realize the possibility of annexing these regions by Russia just like it did with Crimea (among them there are such politicians and businessmen as Arsen Avakov, Igor Kolomoyskiy and Renat Ahmetov).
Although the majority of the population was able to distinguish reality from its advocacy interpretation, the propaganda still had partial success among that segment of the population that had already experienced difficulties in associating themselves with the Ukrainian national project. It is rather noticeable that the foreign aggression became a powerful rallying point motivating and enhancing the slow formation of the Ukrainian political nation. Probably, today about 85% - 90% of the population clearly recognizes themselves as Ukrainians, the citizens of Ukraine.
War in Donbass led to considerable destruction of civilian infrastructure and hundreds of thousands of refugees. The war surely caused a great move of people from the dangerous zone. Citizens leave their homes in order to save their lives because the soldiers of both sides spare neither old, nor children of women. According to IMF, the conflict in the east of Ukraine in 2014 caused the decrease in the national economy by 7-7.5%, about a quarter of the country's industry is stopped and the tenth part is destroyed. According to the UN reports on 15 December 2014 the conflict zone is home to 5.2 million people. The number of internally displaced persons is 542,080 people, and 567,956 were granted with homes in another country.
Relation to Other Wars and Similarities
The Donetsk expansion itself was a repeat of history, occurred in western Ukraine after World War II. The Soviet officers were sent to the western Ukraine from other republics to dissolve local nationalism and turn it into some other entity. This is, in fact, was an attempt to occupation. Even so the people from the western regions have brought so many sacrifices in the struggle for Independence.
There are other similar circumstances appeared, for instance, in 1992, at the beginning of the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict in the territory of Abkhazia where the from a half-million population of ethnic Abkhaz the region accounted about 20% of the population, while ethnic Georgians were about 45%. That's not counting for approximately 5 million people in other regions of Georgia. It would seem to have any chance to survive in the armed struggle with such a superior opponent, but nevertheless, the outcome of the war is well-known. In fact, this is not surprisingly, because the outcome of the armed conflict was not determined by the overall figures of the material, military, financial or other resources available with one or the other party, but the ability of the parties to a real mobilization of the population for the sake of the goal.
Resolution to War
The resolution of this war is a super-complex task to be performed for all parties, and it requires a lot of resources, effort and patience. However, the resolution of the conflict in Ukraine is a challenge for the European diplomacy, which should take into account the interests of all the warring parties. Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europa remains one of the most important tools, which must find an adequate response to the challenges of a model of democratic cohesion. The governments should also continue diplomatic methods through international consultation, mediation and multilateral meetings and negotiations.
Avoidance of force or, at least, the maximum restraint in their use is the most reasonable way of resolution; however it is difficult in a situation with both series of provocation on one hand and on the other hand a clear request for the use of force on the invasion part, when the restraint is tend to perceive as a weakness or betrayal. Therefore it is possible to formulate some guidelines that can avoid slipping situation in the worst direction:
Priority of negotiations over the armed forces operations;
Priority of long-term, but less dangerous options (relatively speaking – a priority of blockade over the assault);
Priority of defense over attack. Generally, if it is not possible to completely eliminate the use of force, it is desirable to minimize them and apply only in situations where there is a possibility of action against the armed extremist groups without risk to engage in confrontation local civilian population;
It is important to overcome the illusion that the failure or the maximum limit of force is weakness;
Taking measures to promote broad public dialogue with representatives of all political forces. The basis for such a dialogue, at the first stage can be a simple principle of non-violent methods of political struggle.
Another essential step is negotiations between the heads of the states – Vladimir Putin and Petro Poroshenko. They should negotiate with initiatives of the President of Ukraine, since it is in the interests if the Ukrainian citizens to stop violence and deaths of people on the borders between Russian and Ukraine. The intermediary must be necessarily present during negotiations; it is also worth using Alexander Lukashenka, the President of Belarus, to be the witness of the agreements and steps taking by both parties.
The last but not the least important measure is to assure the Ukrainian people that the Russians are not their enemies at all, the violence against Ukraine has been provoked and not all the Russian citizens support the war and ideas of Putin. They should also be reminded about the early days of their existence when Ukraine and Russia used to live like blood brothers and the conflicts among them can be easily resolved due to easy understanding between the folks and common interests of people.
Definitely, the war in Donbass is a terrible disaster for Ukrainian population and economy with a number of results which make suffer thousands of people. I am sure that the unarmed negotiations are going to bring positive impact on the conflict resolution since the Ukrainian society is necessary to avoid conflict at any cost, which can substitute for a constructive agenda of building a new, modern society and the state, confrontational agenda to combat external and internal enemies.
Gerrits, A. (2005). Russia, the European Union and the "Orange Revolution" in Ukraine: The East-West Conflict Revisited? International Area Studies Review, 3-21.
Kurcov, V. (2015). Ukraine is a victim. Political Issues, 35-35.
OSCE. (n.d.). Retrieved March 26, 2015, from http://www.osce.org/ukraine-smm/136061
Sasse, G. (n.d.). Conflict‐prevention in a transition state: The Crimean issue in post‐Soviet Ukraine. Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, 1-26.
The conflict in eastern Ukraine. Who has more chances to win? (n.d.). Ostrov, 49-49. Retrieved May 14, 2014, from http://www.ostro.org/general/society/articles/444484/
Ukraine conflict: Battles rage ahead of Minsk talks. (n.d.). Retrieved March 26, 2015, from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31357588
Zartman, I. (2013). Peacemaking in international conflict: Methods & techniques. Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace Press.
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