In regards to Poland… The plan to hand Western Ukraine over to Poland existed even before the start of the Special Military Operation (SMO) in the Ukraine, when the West was only considering the possibility of such a conflict. NATO believed that Russia would destroy the command center in Kiev at the very beginning of the SMO, and this would be the cue for Poland. The transfer of embassies from Kiev to Lvov was linked to this.
Russia’s strategy of focusing on Donbass and liberating Novorossia, with some delay in the operation as a result of Kiev-sanctioned terrorist (Syrian) strategy by the Nazis in eastern Ukraine, as well as the withdrawal of Russian troops from Kiev, modified the initial plan. For a moment, it seemed to the West that the Russian attack had fizzled out. In this situation, the Polish scenario was postponed.
It was revived after the sorry surrender of the neo-Nazis from the Russian-banned Azov Battalion. It became clear that Russia would sooner or later liberate Donbass and then Novorossiya, and that the Nazi front was about to fall. It was at this point that the West again turned to the “Western Ukraine as part of Poland” plan. Duda’s visit and Zelenski’s unprecedented moves to integrate Ukraine with Poland—in fact, the abolition of the border—are a watershed moment. The plan, ready from the start, has become valid again.
On the one hand, this greatly simplifies Russia’s task. Now it is obvious to everyone that the Western line in Ukrainian politics has reached a critical point, and the choice is no longer between a “non-independent Ukraine” and the return of Novorossia to Russia, but where Ukrainians will live—in Russia or in Poland. This is how the dream of the EU and NATO is realized.
But for Eastern Ukraine it is not acceptable at all. It will finally become clear to everyone here what Russia came for. And this means that the pro-Russian underground will revive, and the patriots will begin to exterminate the gravediggers of Ukraine little by little on their own.
There will also be some resistance in the west of Ukraine, but it is not yet clear what will come first—the slavish aspiration to join the EU and NATO, or straightforward Ukrainian nationalism. However, this is of secondary importance: Kiev is controlled from Washington, and the local population and its sentiments are irrelevant. Russia acts as the liberator of the united Russian people, which is what it has been since the 17th century.
Apparently, that is why the question of the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) and the banning of the deputy of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine has become so acute. Everything indicates that integration into Poland is being prepared at an accelerated pace.
This could have been advantageous, if it were only about Novorossia for us. We will liberate the territory from Odessa to Kharkov, and in one way or another we will annex it. This is already beyond question. Western Ukraine as part of Poland is, at first glance, acceptable. For us it is ours; and the other half of the failed Ukraine goes back to what it was hoping for.
But there is another side.
First, NATO will still expand in our direction, and significantly. Even if not to the full extent, but half as much.
Secondly, the introduction of Polish troops would mean the direct participation of NATO in the conflict, which means that everything moves to a new level of escalation. The likelihood of the use of nuclear weapons increases. The question again arises about the red lines, which Russia has established with such difficulty and at such a price. And the borders between Eastern and Western Ukraine, or more precisely between Poland and Russia, will have to be defined in battles with the NATO contingent. This is highly problematic and risks moving the situation into the category of World War III.
And finally, in the third place. Russia, by agreeing to Poland’s annexation of Western Ukraine, loses its status as friend and liberator of the fraternal Ukrainian people, albeit a status that is not yet obvious to many. The state “Ukraine” no longer exists. But there are Ukrainians; and there are Orthodox Ukrainians; and in Western Ukraine they are still a majority. This is a problem. It turns out that we exchange “our” half of the Ukrainians for “someone else’s” half. And that is a trade transaction, not the fulfillment of a liberation mission.
As a private matter: the withdrawal of Western Ukraine to Poland can serve as an excellent argument for captive Ukrainians to take our side with fervor and rage and liberate what they consider “their land” under our command.
After Duda’s visit, Moscow has to solve a new dilemma. How should one deal with the direct involvement of Poland in the war against us?
Historically, the Russian Empire and then the USSR expanded westward in stages. One zone after another was conquered from Poland and the Ottoman Empire, right up to the Great Patriotic War, when Western Ukraine was also included in the USSR. Of course, this is not a linear process—there were also partitions of Poland, which for centuries ended up under the direct rule of Russia. And even earlier, there were battles for Kiev between the princes of Vladimir and Galicia. There were also repeated attempts to establish in Western Ukraine a metropolis, separate from the Great Russian metropolis. Ukraine is a frontier; a zone between two civilizations—Russian (Eurasian) and Western European; and earlier a zone between three—the Turkish-Islamic, from which the Russian Empire recaptured Novorossia, populating it with its own—both Great Russian peasantry and brotherly Little Russian Cossacks.
Therefore, changing hands was the fate of Ukraine. Hence the dual identity of being Russian, or anti-Russian. Hence the loyalty and betrayal deeply rooted in frontier culture. Taras Bulba and his son. Bogdan Khmelnitsky and Mazepa. The border runs through families, through hearts.
The activation of Poland’s role in the conflict aggravates the degree of the war between Russia and the West, civilization against civilization.
Theoretically, there are two solutions:
Agree to partition Ukraine, while trying to take as much as possible, and allowing Poland to act for itself rather than on behalf of NATO;
or go all the way with the risk of escalating the confrontation to the level of nuclear confrontation.
From the beginning of the SMO, I assumed that we would come to exactly this dilemma at some point. But it seemed to me that it would come to the fore during the fighting for Kiev. Events are unfolding according to a somewhat different logic, which does not cancel the basic geopolitical regularities, only framing them each time in an original and unpredictable way. This is what living history is all about—both to follow the lines of destiny and to deviate from them. If one raises the question of ending the SWU and any negotiations before the complete liberation of Novorossia, it is pure betrayal—only a “foreign agent” can advocate this. But the question of Western Ukraine is not so clear.
If it were not for the risk of nuclear war, I would be inclined to establish control over the entire territory of Ukraine. This would coincide with the president’s stated goals of demilitarization and denazification—in order to realize them, full control over the territory is necessary. It is clear that we would get a time bomb inside our territory. But after the excesses inevitable during military operations, normalization of both eastern and western Ukraine would require extraordinary efforts, from our side in any case. Things have become too brutal and bloody to hope for simple solutions. All of Ukraine is a challenge to our very being, and if we can deal with Eastern Ukraine, we will somehow deal with Western Ukraine as well. And, very importantly, we will preserve the church.
But at the same time, to limit ourselves to liberating Novorossia—with or without Kiev—would not be a direct “betrayal.” This plan can be considered, without betraying Russian destiny. There is room here for political realism, weighing the pros and cons, and considering the consequences. But at the start of the SMO—there was no such opportunity. It is a question of to be or not to be; and it is decided in favor of to be. The foothold of traitors is undone; and most importantly, the decision is irreversible.
With Poland the situation is different. And in some ways, it is no less complicated. If the duty of a patriot is to demand from the authorities the complete liberation of Novorossia, no matter what, then, in my opinion, in regards to the situation with Poland, the duty of a patriot is to accept the decision that the Supreme Commander-in-Chief will make.
A true victory begins with the liberation of Novorossia. After that, it’s up to God.
Alexander Dugin is a widely-known and influential Russian philosopher. His most famous work is The Fourth Political Theory (a book banned by major book retailers), in which he proposes a new polity, one that transcends liberal democracy, Marxism and fascism. He has also introduced and developed the idea of Eurasianism, rooted in traditionalism. This article appears through the kind courtesy of Geopolitica.