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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Russia as a rival and partner: international sentiment on the invasion

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For the West it is clear: Ukraine must win. Countries like China would be happy about an early end to the war. And India and Turkey sense opportunities for themselves. A mood picture of the invasion.

“Never in history has the dividing line between good and evil been so clear” – believes Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. The people of Western countries also see it that way. In other parts of the world, however, the picture is less clear, shows a . While US and EU citizens see Russia as an adversary, Turkey sees the country as a partner, India as an ally, and China as both.

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The study thus confirms what was already apparent at UN meetings last year: in March, 141 of the 193 UN member states voted in favor of a resolution calling on Russia to withdraw from Ukraine “immediately”. In April, 93 countries voted to suspend Russia’s membership of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. And in October, 143 member states condemned Russia’s “illegal annexations” of Ukraine’s Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhia regions.

Reports from last year repeatedly suggest that the world community is united against Valdemir Putin. Countries of the Global South had often held back. There were no critical voices about the Russian invasion from South Africa, Brazil or India. At the same time, they abstained from sanctions against Russia.

Ukraine is still hoping for another resolution against Russia from the UN General Assembly. Annalena Baerbock is of the opinion: “What the world community is asking for could not be simpler: stop the Russian attacks, protect the civilian population, respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine through Russian troop withdrawal, accountability for the crimes committed.”

But it’s not as easy as Ukraine would like and Baerbock portrays it to be, according to the poll by the think tank. In December 2022 and January 2023, the researchers surveyed citizens from nine EU countries, the USA, Great Britain, China, Russia, Turkey and India about their attitude towards the war in Ukraine.

Ukrainian victory vs. imminent end of the war

Among other things, the following came out: In the EU, the USA and Great Britain, Ukraine’s victory over Russia is more important than a quick end to the war. This is the only way to achieve long-term peace. The people in Turkey, China and India, on the other hand, are united by the desire for an early end to the war. Even if Ukraine would have to give up its already lost territories for this.

European Council on Foreign Relations survey

Multipolar vs. Bipolar World Order

Leading politicians from Europe and the USA had repeatedly condemned the Russian invasion as an attack on democratic values. Meanwhile, Russia accused Ukraine’s supporters at the UN General Assembly of wanting to reach for “world domination”. Regardless of nationality, respondents agree that the Ukraine war is fueling a new global order. What this new world will look like differs: Western citizens assume a bipolar world order with China and the USA as great powers. The rest expect a multipolar world order without Western dominance. “The West will be a strong party, but not a hegemon,” the authors of the study summarize the result.

Russia as an ally, partner or rival

There are also different views on the role of Russia. China, India and Turkey believe the country has grown stronger in the Ukraine war. The West assumes that the country has been weakened. For them, however, Russia remains a rival and future relations can only take the form of confrontations, respondents believe. But there are also dissenting voices:

  • In India sees half of the respondents Russia as an ally at.
  • The Chinese vacillate between Ally and necessary partner.
  • The Turkey sees Russia rather than necessary strategic partner at.
European Council on Foreign Relations survey

Turkey and India do not want to be drawn to one side

The attitude of Turkey and India is particularly noteworthy. “In an increasingly fragmented world, countries like India and Turkey appear to be drawn to a free-floating sovereignty – where every conflict between superpowers becomes an opportunity to assert one’s relevance and ability to make sovereign decisions,” the study reads .

India sees both Russia and the US as allies with the same values ​​and interests. The country maintains economic relations with both powers. Last year Russia became India’s fourth largest oil importer. At the same time, the USA announced in November 2022 that it wanted to strengthen its relations with India.

Turkey sees a strategic partner in Russia. In the Ukraine war, President Recep Rayyip Erdogan repeatedly offered to mediate. At times he was the only head of state who had direct contact with both warring parties.

“In our view, the West would be well advised to treat India and Turkey and other comparable powers as new sovereign subjects of world history and not as objects to be dragged to the right side of history,” the study authors conclude. The two countries are aware that they do not have the same influence as the USA or China. “But they are certainly not content to conform to the whims and agendas of the superpowers.”

The Ukraine war united the West but did not promote its influence. The authors of the study write that it is unlikely that Russia will disrupt this structure. However, it cannot be ruled out either, even if the researchers assume that an election victory for Donald Trump, for example, could rather disrupt this consensus.

Source: Stern

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