World News: Russia and Post-War Options

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If the conflict in Ukraine has revealed a form of dependence of the West on Russia, the question of the post-conflict is now raised, which will be conditioned by two options: Definitive rupture or normalization. But what about Vladimir Putin?

 

After six weeks of war, it now appears that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine could easily drag on for months or even years. A scenario that many Western countries, starting with European capitals, are struggling to imagine, but which nevertheless seems to be of burning topicality.


 

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Somewhat hidden in France by the electoral campaign linked to the presidential election, the conflict is nevertheless present in the daily lives of all, starting with that of Ukrainians. But in terms of consequences, in addition to the gradual weakening of diplomatic relations between Western Europe and Russia, it is mainly the long-term effects that worry many governments.

If the energy crisis, which had not waited for the conflict to break out but which used it to multiply, remains significant and among the first concerns, the question of economic balances within the continent is not neutral. No matter how undesirable it may be, Russia has long been an economic partner, if not a major one, at least not negligible for many Western companies or countries.

Dependency and Rupture

Brands such as Renault, Leroy Merlin and other Decathlon to name but a few had made heavy investments in a country known to be difficult to access. However, if the access routes to the Russian market are now closed, no one knows how long they will remain closed and whether they will ever reopen.


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The Ukrainian conflict thus revealed, not a dependence of the West on Russia but highlighted all the economic and financial networks that passed through or left Russia. And let's not talk about those who in the aftermath of the Russe invasion resigned from their positions on various boards of directors of Russian companies. In fact, two solutions are necessary to date.

The first is to gradually sever all economic relations with Russia during and after the conflict in order to mark our disagreement with the ongoing war and incidentally contribute to the suffocation of the Russian economy.

The second option is to imagine a post-conflict period that will be marked by a return to normal diplomatic and economic relations or those in the process of normalization with a country which, whatever one may think, plays a role on the European and world economic scene, if only from an energy point of view.


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Political and Diplomatic Game

The dilemma is complete and is not necessarily ready to be decided because any decision would in turn have its share of consequences to assume in social and economic terms. However, before this question arrives, another problem emerges: What to do with Vladimir Putin? Trying to impeach him? Keep him out of the political and diplomatic game?

Condition the normalization of post-conflict relations on his departure? The issues are multiple and are all related to the withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine and the immediate cessation of fighting, which for the time being does not seem to be the case. The master of the Kremlin does not seem inclined to leave office and continues, all past excesses, to taunt Europeans and Westerners.

In general, the Ukrainian conflict has highlighted all the contradictions and realities, sometimes silenced or simply ignored, that united and still unite Western Europe with Russia today and that explain this form of caution or restraint in the face of Moscow.

For if an armed conflict is a radical solution here to a pseudo-disagreement between Russia and Ukraine, the consequences or the realities surrounding it are much more complex. And Western Europeans are in the process of understanding it, if not at least experiencing its effects.


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Bio: Olivier Longhi has extensive experience in European history. A seasoned journalist with fifteen years of experience, he is currently professor of history and geography in the Toulouse region of France. He has held a variety of publishing positions, including Head of Agency and Chief of Publishing. A journalist, recognized blogger, editor, and editorial project manager, he has trained and managed editorial teams, worked as a journalist for various local radio stations, a press and publishing consultant, and a communications consultant.

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