Following the violent dissolution of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, there had been a shared sense of hope for a more peaceful future for the European continent. Unfortunately, this comfortability disappeared after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to march against the Ukrainian forces throughout the border on 24 February 2022. This marked a turning point not only for the region but for the whole settings of the international system. Considering this importance, we decided to highlight the “Consequences of the Russian Aggression on Ukraine” in our first All-Digital Issue. To reflect the changing trends in global affairs faster and more precise, we will focus on publishing more digital issues alike.
The Russian attack brought several significant challenges to international affairs. To understand the longer-term effects of this aggression, one should pursue a multi-dimensional approach to the multiple aspects of this move, including economic, geographical, judicial, and strategic means. Our authors provide a large perspective over these numerous aspects. Nine valuable contributions enlighten us more on their respective research concerns.
Brendan Humphreys, a Senior Researcher at the Aleksanteri Institute at the Finnish Center for Russian and East European Studies, centralizes his article on the longer-term consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Russia. He argues that “Historical wisdom may be asking too much in this case, but historical resentment is more likely. No matter the eventual outcome, this conflict will deepen anti-Western feelings in Russia.” Moreover, he believes that “Measuring itself against the U.S., its old Cold War rival, Russian foreign policy makes exceptionalist claims for itself, but these are not accepted or validated by third parties in the way American exceptionalism is.”
Dimitris Tsarouhas, a Visiting Associate Professor at the Department of Political Science, at Virginia Tech and Associate Professor at the Department of International Relations at Bilkent University, concerns about the geopolitical consequences of the Russian aggression on Ukraine. He believes that “Given how intertwined Russia’s economy is with that of several EU member states, the rationale espoused by Brussels was that attacking Ukraine would be clearly counter-productive for President Putin.”
Michael Brenner, a Professor of International Affairs Emeritus at the University of Pittsburgh and Fellow of the Center for Transatlantic Relations SAIS/John Hopkins, prefers to provide another perspective by focusing on the possible reasons behind the Russian decision-making on pulling the trigger. Besides discussing the decisions of American policymakers that might had a role in the increasing tension between these two former Soviet republics, he emphasizes on the inefficiency of Western sanctions on Russia by claiming “Russia has blunted everything we have thrown at them – to the shock of Western planners. Every assumption underpinning their scorched earth assault on the Russian economy has proven mistaken."
Jonathan Story, an Emeritus Professor of International Political Economy at ISEAD, discusses the Ukraine’s political history and underlies some of the most striking points that marked a transformation period for the country. He believes that “It became evident over the course of the first two post-1990 decades that attitudes towards Moscow in Paris and Berlin developed at considerable variance to those in Washington DC. Neither capital wanted confrontation with Moscow; their businesses considered Russia a prime market for expansion, as they did for China; the German population furthermore reverted to the deeply held pacifism of the Nie Wieder movement following the disaster of the World War.”
Natalia Arno, the President of Free Russia Foundation, vocalizes the position of Russian opposition in the context of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. She provides an institutional framework on understanding what can the European decision-makers do by stating “Whether the EU can reassert a consensus on shared values, perceptions of threats and priorities, would determine its relevance as an institution for decades to come.” Furthermore, she gives an intriguing account of the Kremlin’s disinformation campaigns by underlying “With its billion-dollar budgets, the Kremlin’s propaganda and disinformation machine had failed to obfuscate the gruesome reality of Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine.”
There are also many other interesting articles we have received for our first-ever digital issue. Dina R. Spechler and Martin C. Spechler, John Rennie Short, Juan Lucero, and Serdar Ş. Güner all give us an excellent analysis of this unfortunate conflict from their respective point of views. We would like to thank all contributing authors who invested a great deal of time and effort. It has been an exciting journey for the TPQ team to bring you the first-ever digital issue.
We hope this unjustified conflict to come to an end as soon as possible. Not only for Europe, but for the whole world, the guns should never speak, and countries should rather focus on improving the capabilities and effectiveness of international organizations for a more sustainable peace.