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Oksana Bashuk Hepburn: Winners and losers of Russia’s war

May 21, 2022 6:37 AM 4 min read
Ukrainian serviceman inside the basement of Azovstal steel factory in Mariupol, Ukraine, amid the Russian invasion. Photo released on May 20, 2022 by Dmytro Kozatskyi.
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The unprovoked war that Russia unleashed on Ukraine has far-reaching consequences. If he wins, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin will be elevated to godhood. Russia’s false historic claims to entitlements will explode. Its global propaganda machine will spin arrogant superiority sans pareil to push Russia-style dictatorship even further on countries beholden to Moscow like Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Angola, Hungary.

More industrious ones like internet-savvy India will move closer to the winner too. Very few will reject Kremlin’s funding dedicated to undermining democracies. The biggest losers will be the west’s leading countries, above all the United States. It will fall below China and Russia as a global power. Serious economic repercussions — shifts to the dollar standard, energy and other trade disruptions — will follow. Pro-Russian Americans will gain power and influence to advance Moscow’s interests in Washington. Supporters, like Germany, France — will work to ingratiate themselves to a powerful Russia. The sanctions regime against Russia will collapse.

It will dominate the EU. Watch for the emergence of pro-Russia state leaders with anti-democratic values.
Political rapprochement with Russia greased with its money, cultural exchanges, massive internet propaganda
will abound. Europe will be demilitarized. NATO will be marginalized first by Russia-orchestrated internal
dissent then by “no-longer needed” arguments. Putin will take draconian measures to deal with
states — the Balts, Poland, Slovakia — that helped Ukraine in the name of “maintaining peace” and expanding
Russia’s clutch on Europe.

Democratic states and global institutions will be overrun by Putin’s oligarchs, their minions, and his ideology. Political influence — as in the 2016 US election — or economically — as in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline — will
expand. Russian immigration will be state-run to ensure mixing up of nationals to establish Russian
dominance throughout Europe and onwards. There will be no dissent in Russia. Sanctions against it will
disappear. NATO will cease to exist its boast of current unity notwithstanding.

For a time, the U.S. and Canada will be spared robust Russification however Russia’s churches and institutions
already here will be generously funded to create unrest and weaken the state against opposition to Kremlin’s
values. Special attention will be given to NGOs, think-tanks, media, institutions of learning, labor unions.
Russia’s victory will lead to democracy’s demise world-wide.

Should that happen, there will be no need to help Ukraine. It will be “exterminated” according to his plan. He
will find sadistic pleasure in ensuring that its heroism, love of country and dedication to freedom is punished
with unimaginable brutality. He will move to realize the “final solution to the Ukraine question” started by the
czars and end its “genetic insubordination” to Russia. Torture, execution squads, slave labor exile to Russia,
re-education concentration camps, ethnic cleansing to repatriate vacated territories by Russians, janissaries —Ukrainians twisted into Russians to work against themselves will be put into effect with genocide in mind. Ukraine’s agony will be fiercer than historically Russia has bestowed on Ukraine to ensure complete “eradication”.

Russia's victory spells the end to Ukraine’s freedom, again, for many generations. More importantly to the rest
of humanity, it spells the end of the world order as we know it with the added fact that there will be no heroic Ukraine to stand up to it. No finger-in-the-dyke against Russia’s ultra-nationalism — advancing Ruskij Mir globally as “Russia is where Russian is spoken”, and no Ukrainian Black Sea to stop Russia from encircling Europe via the Mediterranean to link the Atlantic to Russia’s northern water.

The alternative to this scenario is Ukraine’s victory. Winning against Russia will finish its global advances. The globe’s dangerously high political temperature will decrease. Victory will invigorate democracies and strengthen commitment to international law and order. Dictators will think twice before forcing their will on foreign states with guns or other illegal acts. International relations will be more stable and predictable; void of grandiose historic claims coupled with hyped-up doomsday threats.

Without a victorious Moscow imitator-states — Iran, Syria, North Korea — will be less aggressively inclined.
Formerly pro-Russia states will become more judicious as much of Russia’s energy-generated revenue will
divert to Ukraine for reconstruction. Global shortages—energy, food — will start returning to normal. Supply
chains and stock markets will settle down.

Ukraine’s victory is vital to stabilize the world. Its achievement will have wide and positive repercussions starting with the greater respect for heroism, sacrifice, patriotic love. It will be imitated as will its steadfast dedication to western values. It will become a beacon of freedom for the world at the edge of Europe’s eastern frontier; a model for a new Russia and some of its one-hundred constituent nations imprisoned in its current federated political order.

Ukraine will be recognized as a strong defender of international law, sovereignty and territorial integrity and well on its way to building a prosperous future among global democracies without the overhanging threat of Russia’s aggression to all. Ukraine’s victory will be democracy’s victory and a huge win for humanity.

The speed and commitment to normalcy after the war ends will depend on the punishment Russia receives and
the peace plan Ukraine negotiates. Should Russia lose the war as is expected but receives an off-ramp or
face-saving graces as some are advocating instead of a severe punishments like those handed Germany after
Hitler’s horrors — it will be a win for Russia; a smaller one but a win non the less with all of the negative consequences associated with such an undeserved victory. The punishment, therefore, must be most severe.

But first, Ukraine must win.

Where is the West’s heavy military equipment and airpower needed for the job?

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