The Russian-Ukrainian conflict: complexity and unpredictability


The Russo-Ukrainian conflict continues showing the horrors of war, as we were no longer used to in Europe; and one cannot remain insensitive. It's now one total war, which began when the civilian population was heavily involved in the fighting and as a result of artillery fire, indiscriminate, non-surgical and limited only to positions occupied by the military. Many questions fuel opposing sides of opinion here: defenders of Ukraine, but also supporters of non-involvement; and some admirers of the assertive policies of the new autocrats.

The point is that, at least in that part of the world that we define as the West, after having elaborated the drama of the revolutions and wars of the twentieth century; coming to the awareness that freedom and democracy are the basis of social justice; that international organizations can guarantee peace between nations, after having acquired this baggage of awareness, Russia's attack on Ukraine appears to be an inadmissible violation of international law, to be strongly rejected. So the problem moves to the strategy level: how to repel aggression without causing the conflict to widen?

For the moment, the path taken is that of condemning Russia and economic sanctions, which is associated with external support for the armed forces of Kiev.

And on the issue of sending arms to the Zelensky government, further distinctions emerge between those in favor and two types of opponents: against tout court, and opposed only to offensive weapons. The obvious fact that the news is manipulated increases the difficulty of discernment: in war the truth is the first to die.

In the continuation I will try to bring order to the picture of the situation, although I am aware that no certainty will emerge in the end, I only hope for more clarity to perfect one's ideas; and one's own feelings if one has sufficient intellectual honesty, because even those who are far from the front still have feelings for the parties involved and these influence the judgement.

Ukraine and its process of integration into the European Union and NATO

Ukraine is a republic (independent since August 1991 by secession from the USSR), member of the CIS. Ukraine and NATO have started an integration process whose main stages are: accession to North Atlantic Cooperation Council NACC (1991) et al Partnership for Peace (1994); establishment of NATO Commission Ukraine (1997). In 2008, at the NATO summit in Bucharest, Ukraine applied to join the Membership Action Plan (Map) to obtain the necessary advice from NATO to acquire the requirements for entry into the Alliance. At the Warsaw Summit of the Atlantic Alliance in 2016, more significant support was given to Ukraine through the establishment of the Global care package (CAP). Finally, in 2020, the Ukrainian government launched a strategic concept which envisages theNATO membership.

Putin, for his part, has shown that he does not like either a pro-Western policy on the part of Ukraine or the eastern expansion of NATO, which moreover came to be determined by the free choice of sovereign countries, which have seen better opportunities for development and security by turning west instead of Russia. A similar process of integration concerns the accession to the European Union. To be considered, in particular, theDeepening and Free Trade Economic and Political Agreement with the EU, which I will tell about later.

But why is there an opposition between Russians and Ukrainians? Aren't they the same people by origin, traditions and culture, finally by religion?

Ukraine, history and its national identity

The population is divided into ethnic groups, probably bearers of different perspectives on what their destiny should be: Ukrainians 78,1%, Russians 17,3%, Tatars 0,3%, Belarusians 0,6%, Moldovans 0,5% , Jews 0,2%, other 2,6% (2012). Even the spoken language is different: official Ukrainian and then Russian. Emblematic of the differences of views between pro-Europeans and pro-Russians are the troubles that have swept through the country in the last twenty years. First the Orange Revolution in 2004, when the pro-Russian Victor Yanukovych was elected president, with minimal differences in votes, with the reaction of the streets also motivated by the position taken by the challenger, Victor Yushchenko, pro-Western leader of the coalition Our Ukraine, who had alleged fraud. These frauds were later certified by the OSCE and the Western community did not recognize the president-elect. So the new elections gave Jushchenko the winner, with a pro-European government led by Julia Timoshenko. A government, this time Orange, short-lived however which, not giving a good account of itself, contributed to creating a rift within Ukrainian society and especially between the eastern regions and the rest of the country.

The serious upheavals of 2013 – 2014 followed (euromaidan), in protest of the supporters of theDeepening and Free Trade Economic and Political Agreement with the EU1, which caused one hundred deaths and many more injured, and to follow the establishment in power of the pro-European party. A dramatic fact that of Maidan Square, with such a high number of victims, of which everything and the opposite of everything has been said about those responsible for the killings, who opened fire on the crowd.

Then followed in rapid succession the proclamation of secession by the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and annexation to the Russian Federation, confirmed by referendum (secession not recognized by the international community); and the occupation of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics of Donbass in the east, with the introduction of para-military units by the Russians.

This crystallization of a conflict situation between Ukraine, Russia and the European Union - the latter applying sanctions to Russia together with the USA - lasted until 24 February 2022, even though the Minsk agreements were in place (two rounds) and on the ground there were deployed observers from the OECD, as well as various NGOs, to verify its application.

Since 2014 the conflict allegedly provoked 14.000 victims, most in the initial moments.

Going further back in time, let us remember that the Ukrainians have undergone a treatment by the Russians which cannot fail to have left a trace in the collective imagination. Around 1933, they fell victim to Stalin's policy of repressing the nationalistic spirit and at the same time imposing a rapid collectivization of the farms, the kolkhoz. The result was the extermination by starvation of five million individuals. Therefore, at the base we find, in addition to the desire to collectivize crops, also the contrast to Ukrainian nationalism, to the recognition of that people in a nation.2 The European Parliament has now recognized theHolodomor genocide of Ukrainians caused by Stalin's policies (risoluzione 2022/3001 15/12/2022).

In terms of culture, since there is a different Ukrainian language from Russian, to cement the Ukrainian identity in the seventeenth century we find the philosopher and mystic Gregorio Skovoroda (1722 - 1794). It is important for nationalism because his work takes place in the era that will also open that land to the movement of nationalities, which in the nineteenth century generates new states. Thus, following this common thread, the secret society was born around 1848 Brotherhood Cyril and Methodius of a nationalist tendency. At the same time, the poet and writer Taras Sevecenko (1814 - 1861) will express the soul of the Ukrainian people, its aspiration for a national rebirth, and its yearning for freedom.

Therefore, the Ukrainian identity is a fact and its roots appear solid, indeed tenacious, if we consider the geographical and historical aspects of that region. A geographical area without natural borders is subject to invasions and annexations by neighboring states, a constant for the vast region north of the Black Sea and Sea of ​​Azov, between the Carpathian Mountains to the west and the Volga River to the east.

Further back in time, the Cossacks derive from the most ancient stock of the Tatars, nomads who then settled down in villages, governed by atamans, who, if necessary, also represented the military authority. Villages sometimes in conflict with each other, as there are Ukrainian Cossacks and Russian Cossacks. Therefore, that large region never had stable political borders. Lithuanians, then Poles arrived there, with the constant presence of Muscovites, also defined Great Russians, North.

In order not to submit to Polish hegemony, in 1654, with the treaty of Perejaslavl', the Ukrainians will seek the protection of Tsar Alexis (1629 - 1676). Shortly after, another ataman, Mazepa (1639 - 1709), will seek independence from Moscow by allying himself with Charles XII of Sweden in war against Peter the Great, but the outcome of the campaign (Great Northern War 1701 - 1721 and battle of Poltava) will be inauspicious for Cossack weapons. Peter I the Great (1672 -1725) will rule over Ukraine and Catherine II (1729 - 1796) will suppress the authority of the atamans.

Only in 1905, also following the first Russian revolution, the Ukrainian language will once again be accepted as a language of current use. With Russia's exit from World War I, Ukraine sought its independence. Significant here is the figure of the hetman Symon Petljura (1879 - 1926) because his action, throughout his life, expresses Ukrainian nationalism. He was an intellectual and man of action who led Ukraine between 1918 and 1919 against the Red Army and counter-revolutionaries opposed to the independence of the Ukrainian People's Republic. Having concluded the enterprise of his life with an unfavorable outcome, he takes refuge in Paris. There he is killed by a Jew because he is believed to be involved in the pogrom anti-Jewish attacks that had taken place in the Ukraine during his time as military leader.

Today's Ukraine is a country rich in agricultural and mineral resources and is intensely industrialized. Historically, the East holds the primacy of heavy industry and today there are also based companies engaged in the production of cement, yarn, tobacco, paper and electrical equipment. This potential, if well channeled, would lead to the creation of well-being and wealth.

According to the Democracy Index, Ukraine is not yet a democratic country (2019 survey). And now, with the ongoing conflict, it seems clear that the country is experiencing a situation of suspension of the virtuous path towards pluralism and fundamental freedoms.

Russia under Putin

The Russian Federation was born at the end of 1991 from the collapse of the USSR. It encompasses all former Soviet socialist republics and Russia is its political core. It holds the USSR's nuclear arsenal, even the one once based in the Ukraine. It is a state that has moved towards a market economy, with a democratic regime. The central government has also had to deal with pro-independence movements in the periphery, such as in Chechnya, where a bloody conflict was fought, the aftermath of which is still on the agenda (Russian military intervention in 1994, various terrorist acts of Islamist origin, dissidents victims known to world public opinion of the Russian reaction: A. Politkovskaja 2006, A. Baburova and S. Markelov 2009).

Then in 2009 the brief Russo-Georgian war broke out, due to the secessionist movement, pro-Russian, active in South Ossetia. The reaction of Moscow was provoked by the Georgian attempt to retake, militarily, control of the rebel province. In that circumstance, Moscow declared its right to intervene as it was conducting an operation peacekeeping. But the Russian action also crushes the Georgian aspiration to turn towards the West and to join NATO.

Contemporary to that crisis is the BRICS agreement (first official meeting between Brazil, Russia, India and China in Ekaterinburg in 2009; in 2010 accession of South Africa), of an economic and political nature, of competition with Western economic structures based on Bretton Woods agreements.

From the collapse of the Soviet Union to today, the hegemonic design of Putin, four times president, clearly emerges to maintain control over the Independent States originating from the dissolution of the USSR and to resolve conflictual issues within his own ambit, as they arise, as happened recently also between Armenia and Azerbaijan, for Nagorno Karabak (2020). As well as to conduct a great global superpower strategy, independently of the other players: the United States and China. Along this line, more recently, in conjunction with the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, a narrative of cultural opposition to the West has also emerged, seen as decadent with respect to traditional values. But this narration could only be capable of motivating theSpecial Military Operation. On the other hand, the aforementioned grouping of BRICS states already heralds a deployment inspired by political values ​​different from those of the West and shows an ideological opposition between blocks, albeit in the economic and commercial spheres.

Superpowers and global hegemony

Referring to Russia as a superpower with “first strike” nuclear capabilities3”, we must ask ourselves who is today able to exercise forms of hegemony on a global level.

For about thirty years we have seen that the USA was the only superpower capable of expressing global power, both economic and military. But now China is emerging as an economic superpower and is gearing up to be a military superpower soon.

In this context, Russia shows that it does not want to give up its hegemonic program with respect to the former Soviet republics and maintains respectable military capabilities, including nuclear ones. Finally, it does not lack natural resources which constitute a unique growth potential and capacity for resilience. But the discriminating fact is that the leaders of these superpowers maintain a Clausewitzian attitude, showing that they do not shy away from the use of military force to achieve their own interests (war as a continuation of politics by other means) and in this they differ from the European Union, in which the regimes of liberal democracy and political pluralism have effectively excluded the recourse to war from the political options. Even when the EU talked about a "European army" in support of the Common Defense and Security Policy, the format adopted did not go beyond that of battle group, i.e. no more than a brigade, mostly usable in military operations peacekeeping. Simultaneously, in the last thirty years, European countries have reduced the size of the forces that can be deployed for a possible symmetrical conflict and have equipped themselves with suitable tools for peacekeeping in UN, EU and NATO missions.

Therefore, it would be simplistic not to consider the Russian-Ukrainian conflict in the context of global conflict. This conflict is fueled by new instances. Commercial competition is today underpinned by disruptive emerging technologies that require raw materials located in a limited number of geographical areas; as well as very special industrial capabilities, from R&D to production lines. Policies for the reduction of CO2 emissions have initiated and sustain this competition, which promises to be particularly harsh because the countries lagging behind will be heavily affected. In this framework, the Belt and Road Initiative of Xi Jinping is a commercial strategy that must also be weighed in terms of the power politics of a nation of almost one and a half billion individuals.

China and the USA oppose each other in the Pacific Ocean and have interests on a global level. The projection of Chinese power in the Pacific hinges on the military use of the chains of islands that delimit it to the south and southeast, military bases for the interdiction of maritime space to the US fleet. It is the ancient confrontation between a continental power and a sea power. Taiwan occupies a central place in the first island chain and its very existence as an autonomous country carries a strong political connotation. The continuous Chinese military maneuvers involving it suggest that sooner or later it will be the object of Xi Jinping's assertive policy. On the other hand, the USA adopts the strategy of containment towards China, according to the doctrine of the same name. The Taiwan detonator could ignite a full-scale conflict in that theater. In that case, a Russia that is weak or deeply engaged in a conflict would be better than a Russia that is strong, capable of supporting and giving China strategic depth.

The United States and "Eastern countries" such as China and Russia also express two divergent, opposing worldviews - and policies to implement them. And the different political visions are more widely implemented in numerous other states that could be grouped into blocks following the pattern of the Cold War, traveling on different and sometimes conflicting trajectories. On the one hand, the illiberal, autocratic, single-party model, but efficient at least in the short term; on the other the democratic, liberal and pluralist one, based on individual initiative and on the free market. Thus two very different social realities also take shape: on the one hand the countries which promote human rights and freedoms in their policies and on the other the countries where the people, led by autocrats, are on the way towards better forms of social equity, but at the expense of individual freedom and with a control that technology can now make iron.

So the questions to ask are: How much of the Russo-Ukrainian conflict is affected by tensions building up globally between the superpowers? And if these tensions indeed play a role in the focal point of Donbass and Crimea, how do they determine its evolution? These questions remain open because it is difficult to draw elements of certain continuity from the rapidly changing situation that is the current international scenario.

European Union, NATO and USA in the face of Russian aggression against Ukraine

L'Special Military Operation by Putin, which started on February 24, 2022, was a real military attack, initially with the aim of acquiring, in a short time, the capital and control of the whole of Ukraine.

The UN immediately condemned this act. The General Assembly of the United Nations, on the following 2 March, voted with 141 countries in favor of the condemnation, 5 against and 35 abstentions. India, China and South Africa (BRICS countries) also abstained. A series of sanctions followed by the European Union, the United States and some other western countries on Russia, but which determine negative effects also for those who apply them. Very significant in this regard is the destruction of the gas pipeline Nord Stream, on the night of 26 September last, for which investigations are still underway to attribute responsibility.

Russia, for its part, following the practice, has annexed four provinces of Donbass through a referendum. This is a critical step because now these provinces would be Russian territory. However, last October 12, the United Nations Assembly expressed its condemnation of the annexation, with 143 votes (5 against and 35 abstentions, including India and China) which in fact was not recognized.

Would the Ukrainian counterattacks to liberate these provinces from Russian occupation be attacks on Russia? The UN resolution has no binding value and therefore the matter is controversial. Critically controversial, considering Moscow's threat to use nuclear weapons to defend the national territory.

The West immediately coalesced by constituting a “Contact Group for the Defense of Ukraine”, made up of fifty-four countries, also called the “Ramstein Format”. In all of this, the European Union is expressing a well-defined policy of aid to the attacked country, in its posture and in practice. In fact, as regards the aid provided so far, the EU is the leader (52 billion euros in January 2022) together with the Anglo-Saxon countries (United States, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand)4. Never in its short history had it revealed such a clearly defined foreign and security policy, despite the potential attributed to it with the establishment of the External Service. This depended on the convergence of views of the Member States, in harmony with Great Britain, NATO and in particular the USA, whose action is now particularly determined.

The reasons for such an agreement should be well understood and stated. Is it the will to protect a friendly country, but not yet an ally and not yet a member state, or the need to contain Putin's assertiveness in foreign policy? Or, again, the will of the United States to maintain its hegemonic primacy on a global level, especially threatened by the rise of China, the latter in harmony of views and interests with Russia? Perhaps the different instances compete in a syntonic way. Then, need e will, which constitute respectively obligation e ambition, now merge generating the result of the determination that we observe as an original fact, new in our age, in European and Western politics. If this is the geopolitical frame, the picture inside shows equally significant elements.

Necessity and will, obligation and ambition find practical implementation in the support provided by the EU and NATO to Ukraine after 2014, to its pro-Western policy, to its aspiration to enter the EU and NATO area, despite the limitations of an institutional and social nature still present there. And, on the other hand, in contrast to Putin's assertiveness, who distanced himself from the West after an initial phase which, conversely, hinted at a willingness to pursue a common path. If part of public opinion here too does not understand these reasons, nevertheless they exist and materialize significant causes of the conflict. However, it would be simplistic to deny or fail to consider both the profound cultural aspects and the psychology of the masses, those which then make war an immanent, inalienable, irrepressible phenomenon.

West and East, wherever these places in space are located, never separated from the spirit, not necessarily separated by clear geographical lines, materialize two opposing visions of the way of being, of politically coexisting and even of fighting5. The West has produced international law and has built international organizations to which to entrust the task of settling disputes in order to reduce the risk that disputes degenerate into wars. Liberal and pluralist democracies also prove to coexist more peacefully than illiberal regimes. In the East war, in its conception, is always total, reluctant to be mitigated by international conventions. In this, the conception of human life also plays an important role, there more subordinated to the cause and to the collective than in the humanistic, Christian vision in force here among us. Finally, even the environment, characterized by wide spaces and long distances, affects the way of fighting: as nature is often not permissive, so the fight is harsh. In addition to this, the millenary history of oriental peoples cannot fail to create a substratum of trends which, when war breaks out, emerge dictating the rules.

It follows that the reasons for a conflict, although belonging to the sphere of factual reality, motivated by contingent factors, can draw strength from the collective imagination. Being Russian, just like being Ukrainian, evokes feelings of belonging, pride and offers different perspectives. Naturally one can coexist in peace and brotherhood, just as, conversely, a triggering cause can be followed by ancestral resentment, which foments conflict and leads to war. And this is fought barbarously, without taking into account the limits of the conventions and international humanitarian law.

Now, the West supports Ukraine in its war for the defense of territorial integrity, finding the East beyond the border line, materialized by the countries that at the United Nations Assembly, in March 2022, for the motion of condemnation to the aggression they voted against or abstained.

The question is whether a confrontation between different civilizations is materializing in the context of international relations. If so, you need to be aware of this.

Western support for Ukraine

While Russia, which in a year of very intense fighting has not achieved significant successes, draws on its substantial mobilization reserves, still announcing decisive efforts by the West, to condemn the aggression, concrete actions are following in support of the Ukraine. These actions must be evaluated under the double profile, still recurring here, of necessity and will; in particular of the will/opportunity, because the national interest and the risk of the spiraling of the conflict are at stake. In fact, the impending expansion of the conflict and the risk of resorting to special weapons, of more massive destruction, are already being perceived.

So how far is it necessary and possible to go to support the Ukrainian people in defending their homeland?

Condemning or not the invasion is indicative of the position that a third country takes towards the parties involved, it is a political act and manifests a choice of sides. You can go further, of course: humanitarian support and direct military support. Humanitarian support falls under the categorical imperative. On the battlefield, medical aid is neutral, treating the wounded on both sides. Therefore, it will be provided regardless of any consideration, as well as the relief to the populations involved.

Going further in options, support for the economy and the supply of weapons and ammunition made it possible for the Ukrainian side to continue defensive operations and put the Russian armed forces in difficulty. Without support through military supplies, Ukraine would not have resisted. However, support of a military nature, due to the implications it entails, must be carefully weighed. The focus here must shift to the fact itself, to what it entails to hand over arms to support the military capabilities of a country being attacked.

The regulations in force all converge on the principle that the use of arms must be subject to reasons of exclusive necessity: the defense of the country and of free institutions. And that this need must be objectively defined (legitimate use of weapons, defined by law).

The central point on the transfer of arms to a friendly country (but not an ally, which means that there are no pact agreements of mutual military assistance with binding legal value), in conflict with a third country, is that there are no reasons of necessity to part of the ceding country, but only reasons determined by the will to contribute to its defence. A will however that possesses the requirement of legitimacy by governmental determination and through parliamentary passage. In fact this is happening here with us.

In any case, the supply of arms to a country at war constitutes an involvement in the conflict, albeit indirectly. Would it be conceivable for Russia to retaliate against countries that support Ukraine militarily? Attacks of various nature, such as cyber, or kinetic? For indirect ones - IT ones are not easily attributable - the risk of an expansion of the conflict is less. Obviously this does not apply to direct kinetic attacks, more easily attributable.

In the specific case of the conflict in Ukraine, the NATO membership of the supporting countries places them under the protection of common defence, sanctioned with theArticle 5 of the Treaty. This fact has significant weight, it constitutes a dissuasive factor in launching an attack which the entire alliance could respond to.

The transfer of arms and ammunition has also exposed the discrimination between defensive and offensive weapons. But the controversies that have arisen showed little awareness of the topic. Helmets and protective clothing can be ascribed to the category of weapons, managed as sensitive materials, but clearly they are not weapons because they cannot offend. On the other hand, anti-aircraft weapon systems have this ability, depending on the use made by the operator. On 17 July 2014, a civil plane was shot down over the Donbass with a surface-to-air missile (trial still ongoing against the four operators of the Buk-M1 system Ural, already convicted in the first instance). Weapons and weapon systems cannot be considered exclusively defensive.

Finally, one last consideration. Anyone who transfers arms to a country at war must be aware that it is not certain that they will remain in the exclusive availability of military forces legitimated to use them. In fact, there is no form of tracking them, so they will be able to arm civilian volunteers and paramilitary bodies. This is certain for individual weapons, less so for weapon systems whose complexity requires specific training.

It is also quite clear that loss of life and destruction will be inflicted with them. Therefore, the transfer of arms, while not meaning the entry into conflict by the ceding state, constitutes a very significant assumption of responsibility.

Russky Mir (Russian peace): “the foreign policy activities of the state should aim at ensuring comprehensive and effective protection of the rights and interests of Russian citizens and compatriots residing abroad6"

Ukraine has been under attack by Russia since 2014. The hybrid warfare that began with the annexation of Crimea and the Occupation of the breakaway republics of Donbass has since evolved into war-based conflict and all-out war. The Russian aggression is a response to the democratically expressed will of the Ukrainian nation to integrate into the European Union and NATO.

The military operation is not justified by the need to defend the Russian-speaking component, as Russian rhetoric would have us believe. It also runs counter to the process of negotiation based on Minsk agreements. In summary, Putin's strategy in Ukraine is implementation, militarilyof the concept Russky Mir, already applied notably in Georgia in 2009.

And the involvement of the international community alongside Ukraine? Nonetheless, the intervention of a third country in favor of a friendly country engaged in a conflict must be decided taking into account national interests and strategy. The former determine the reasons for necessity and opportunity; the second concretizes the action starting from a feasibility study. The will is always added to the reasons of necessity and opportunity, as an expression of freedom. Indeed, political action cannot be reduced to a schematic, rigid, algorithmic procedure. Only in appearance does it resemble the game of chess on a chessboard because unpredictable, random variables intervene.

Political action in grand strategy must be a high expression of human action, exercised by elected people, which includes acts of volition based on intuition, and must also take feelings into consideration. Nonetheless, every political action that can be defined as wise pursues the national interest. It is up to the government structure to amalgamate the policies of the individual departments in an action that as a whole is coherent and oriented towards the exclusive common good, and therefore towards the national interest. The strategic approach to government action consists in bringing together in a single paradigm the goals to be pursued with the means available, following the most appropriate paths.

The national interest and the strategies to pursue it are always subject to external constraints: international agreements, transfers of sovereignty to supranational organizations. In the face of international controversies and conflicts, more than in internal events, the national interest is at stake. With one year imminently expiring from the Russian attack on Ukraine, with the spiraling of that conflict looming, the best political virtues now need to support our strategic decision-makers.

Antonio Venci

1 The key elements of the Agreement can be summarized as follows: - Shared values ​​and principles (democracy, respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms, rule of law, sustainable development, market economy); - Strengthened cooperation in foreign and security policy (focused on regional stability, weapons of mass destruction, fight against terrorism, crisis management, etc.); - Creation of a DCFTA (to offer not only more trade and investment opportunities, but also the possibility to benefit from EU assistance in reforms related to the economic-trade sector); - Justice, freedom and security (focused on the Visa Liberalization Plan, but also on migration, data protection, the fight against money laundering, drugs and organized crime); - Energy (including nuclear issues, with particular attention to security of supplies, gradual integration of markets, energy efficiency, renewable energy sources and nuclear safety); Cooperation in 28 key sectors (including public administration reform, social policies and equal opportunities, public finance management, taxation, industrial policies, maritime and fisheries policies, agriculture and rural development, energy, transport, civil protection, health, research , tourism, information society, culture, civil society, etc.).

3 A massive pre-emptive strike such as to incapacitate the enemy's potential. It constitutes a strategic posture and differs from that which envisages the use of nuclear weapons in retaliation.

4 Kiel Institute for the World Economy

5 Ernst. Junger, Carl Smith. "The Gordian Knot". Adelphi (2023)

6 Sergei Karaganov, Head of the Foreign and Defense Policy Council. Dean of the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs Moscow University.

Photo: Russian Federation MoD