ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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An Incomplete Account of Russia’s War on Ukraine


Anuradha M Chenoy’s account of Russia’s war on Ukraine (EPW, 9 September 2023) is a strikingly incomplete jumble of tendentious pro-Russian talking points masquerading as a representative overview of the position.

The central error Chenoy makes is to deny Russia and Ukraine political and ethical agency. Chenoy never asks what the Ukrainian people want. The author could claim that her wishes are irrelevant—to Chenoy, after Euromaidan, Ukraine became “a bastion of permanent hostility towards Moscow” (p 24). That elision is only tenable by ignoring the subsequent victory of Volodymyr Zelenskyy, a Russian-speaking moderate who advocated negotiations with Moscow, over the far more Europhile Petro Poroshenko—a proof of survival of competitive electoral democracy in Ukraine, in contrast to Russia. Similarly, Chenoy ignores earlier Russian freedom of action. Once, most Ukrainians probably were happy to live in a strategically neutral state, economically integrated both with Russia and the European Union (EU). The first polls indicating a wish to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization occur only after the Russian military intervention in February 2014. That intervention and earlier pressure on Viktor Yanukovych to halt economic integration with the EU were mistakes that the Kremlin need not have made.

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Updated On : 1st Nov, 2023
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