Cyprus and Finnish scenarios for ending Donbas conflict

Author : Oleksiy Kushch

Source : 112 Ukraine

Cyprus model is based on the deep freezing of the conflict; Finnish assumes recognition of the aggressor’s right to defend strategic interests, while the "victim" receives a whole set of preferences
09:40, 30 August 2018

Open source

"War and Peace" is not only an epic work of Leo Tolstoy but also a key challenge of our time. Almost all sociological surveys show that the issue of ending Donbas war takes the first line of electoral preferences, ahead of such eternal and damned questions for our country as corruption and the standard of living. Actually, there is nothing surprising in this. If we take the conventional pyramid of Abraham Maslow's needs, we will see that the first level of the basic factors is the physiological criteria of life (hunger, thirst). Everything is more or less safe here: despite the unprecedented dynamics of reforms, Ukraine, fortunately, does not suffer from hunger and drought. But the second level of needs is security. And only on the third one includes the social problems and social ties (this includes the fight against corruption and the level of economic development). Thus, if an individual does not face starvation and death from thirst, he thinks of peace. This is how the collective consciousness is organized.

In addition, the issue of the end of the war is directly related to the prospects for economic development. Military costs in this case are not a stumbling block, because, on the one hand, Ukraine does not have a strong correlation between the level of defense spending and the quality of life, and on the other, given the degree of development of the military-industrial complex, any military budget becomes a small source economic growth, as it loads the work of specialized enterprises.

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If the forthcoming elections were not held in the conditions of our reality but in the paradigm of a civilized political system, then the political programs of the candidates would be full of ideas how to complete the military conflict. But it does not happen. There are promises to make "flock" happy with Tomos.

In fact, if we do not take the option of "a total win," military conflicts like ours have only two basic completion scenarios. The first can be called conditionally "Cypriot," and the second is "Finnish."

Let us start with the first one. The Turkish proverb says: "Shaitan speak about the Koran if he gets some profit from it." This fact becomes a rough truth when you think about Cyprus and its history in the last 40 years. The Cypriots live and dynamically develop, despite the fact that they are already growing the second generation, for which these terrible words as annexation, occupied territories, aggression, are not an acquired experience, but a reality received from birth.

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Studying the genesis of the Cyprus conflict, modern international scholars distinguish the following stages:

  • Preparatory - when Turkey was actively preparing for the invasion and warming up the internal Cyprus conflict (1960-1974).
  • "Hot phase" - the Cypriot-Turkish war in 1974.
  • "Color regulation" (1975-2002), when the "colors" of the conflict zones were clearly marked and the collision of these subsystems was blocked by passing a procedure for resolving the conflict to the UN site.
  • "Europeanization" of the conflict (2002 - present) - Cyprus, becoming a full-fledged member of the EU, was able to veto any Turkish programs of European integration. The significantly increased gap in the standard of living between Cyprus and the uncontrolled territories, as well as the problems of mainland Turkey, forced the Turkish side to initiate the process of reintegration of northern Cyprus. The Turks realized that it is almost impossible to develop territories that are completely cut off from foreign investments, blocked from the point of view of logistics and infrastructure. Today, the difference between the income level of the population between Cyprus and the occupied part is approximately 6: 1 in favor of the Cypriots, and the gap continues to increase, despite the banking crisis of recent years. In addition, significant natural gas deposits have been found off the coasts of northern Cyprus, but their development is impossible due to the unrecognized jurisdiction of such territories. From now on, Cyprus has received a powerful European tool in the form of numerous EU structures and their influence on Turkey's policy.
  • The forecast period. Mixed model: UN + EU includes preferences that "northern Cyprus" can get (citizenship of Cyprus, Schengen and visa-free travel, EU investments) in exchange for concessions: the reduction of the occupied territories, the return of property to the refugees. The Cypriots themselves acknowledge that negotiations with the "northern part" have become a constant routine process with a set of regularly repeated formulations and resolution mechanisms. By and large, the only practical result is the possibility of mutual private trips, which have been impossible for all 40 years and which are also unavailable now for the "northern" passports owners.

The main achievement of Cyprus over the years was an economic and geopolitical success, not only towards the northern part but also to the aggressor: GDP per capita in Cyprus is almost twice as much as in Turkey. Moreover, if the aggressive actions were aimed at destroying the Cypriot economy with the expectation that the Cypriots, who were immersed in poverty, would agree to federalization, Cyprus's response was symmetrical to the challenges. At the moment, Cyprus continues the policy of a complete blockade of the occupied territories and the freezing of any contacts with Turkey as the aggressor country.

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Finnish model completely differs from the Cyprus one. During the first Soviet-Finnish war of 1939-1940, the Finns fiercely resisted the Red Army and felt that they were victors, however, they abandoned part of the territories: the Karelian Isthmus and Western Karelia with the city of Vyborg (the border from Leningrad was moved from 18 to 150 km); parts of Lapland (Old Salla); the island of Hogland.

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During the second Soviet-Finnish war of 1941-1944, the Finns, as Germany's allies, seized part of the territory of the Soviet Union and quickly lost it a few years after the outbreak of the war. Finnish leader Mannerheim was very sluggishly leading the offensive to Leningrad. Later, when the Soviet troops switched to a successful counteroffensive, the Finns began to talk about a "Tali-Ihantala miracle," when the Russian tanks stopped at the last frontier of Finnish defense, held by the only remaining division. In fact, even then Moscow could crush the "Finnish fascists," but the heroic resistance of the Finns, as well as world solitaire, prompted Stalin to make a different decision: the Soviet Union and Finland switched to long-term "special" partnership relations based on the neutrality of the latter. The main factor of stability here is the commitment, according to which Moscow and Helsinki "undertake not to provide their territory for armed aggression against the other side and not to provide the aggressor with military support." In addition, the Finns recognized the existence of the Soviet strategic interests in the Baltic region. In return, Finland received a very favorable format for economic relations, when the Union provided raw materials, and in return bought Finnish goods with a high level of added value (for example, wood in exchange for paper). Speaking about the trading system, the clearing model was in effect – the volumes of exports/imports coincided.

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Cyprus model is based on the deep freezing of the conflict on the background of a complete cessation of any forms of interaction with the aggressor. The Finnish assumes recognition of the aggressor’s right to defend strategic interests, and the "victim" receives a whole set of economic bonuses and tactical preferences instead. In this variant, the neutral status is converted into economic preferences, and the interaction with the aggressor passes into a "preferential" format.

Related: "School ceasefire" starts in Donbas on August 29

In the post-Soviet space, Moldova resorted to the Finnish scenario, Azerbaijan (conflict with Armenia) and Georgia (partly) followed the Cyprus scenario.

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This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or 112.International and its owners.


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