July 10, 2021
The Jamestown Foundation
In 1952, Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin offered West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer a chance for the reunification of Germany. Adenauer would only have to agree that all the institutions the communist east had at the time, such as the Stasi police, the communist party, and the Soviet forces, would remain in place inside a reunited Germany.
Adenauer at the time replied that he preferred to remain the chancellor of half of Germany than become a political prisoner of the USSR in a reunited one, Russian political Andrey Piontkovsky says, arguing that the US must see that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin is offering exactly the same “deal” to Ukraine (echo.msk.ru/blog/piontkovsky_a/2865916-echo/).
Moscow has been pushing this idea under the guise of the Minsk Agreements for six years, the Russian commentator says; and after the Geneva summit the Kremlin leader has implied that US President Joe Biden is at least sympathetic to the notion of sticking to the Minsk Accords, if not necessarily in the way Putin reads them.
But the reaction to Putin’s claims in the United States has been overwhelmingly negative, he continues. Indeed, even the liberal media there has been critical of the inherent and fundamental contradiction in the two policies Biden says he supports: “unwavering support for Ukraine” and “stable and predictable relations with the Russian Federation.”
Support for Ukraine makes those kinds of relations with Moscow, as long as Putin is in power, impossible, and the pursuit of such ties with Moscow undermines the very possibility of supporting a country that the Kremlin leader has made as clear as Stalin did with regard to the Federal Republic of Germany that he wants to destroy, Piontkovsky argues.
The fact that there are divisions in Washington and possibly even in Biden’s mind about dealing with Ukraine and Moscow means that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky must come to the US to press for a decision like the one Adenauer and the West made more than half a century ago.
In that event, like Germany, Ukraine will eventually be reunited but not in the way Putin wants; and Zelensky will thus achieve what historians are likely to record as his “finest hour” in office.