Kathmandu – ESI presentation on Ukraine, Russia, and the shadow of European Imperialism

15 June 2023
Video: NIICE Nepal

ESI’s Gerald Knaus was invited to give an online presentation on “Ukraine, Russia, and the Shadow of European Imperialism” organised by the Nepal Institute for International Cooperation and Engagement (NIICE).

Gerald argued that the impact of Russia’s war on Ukraine has been dramatic, with casualties, destruction, and refugees reaching levels not seen since the 1940s. The discussion extensively covered the EU and global actors’ role in the conflict, highlighting the flight of more than 5 million Ukrainians to other European countries in the wake of the Russian invasion.

The threat of a revanchist Russia’s has led formerly neutral Finland and Sweden to apply for NATO membership and that there are growing concerns about Russian threats towards Moldova. All of this has resulted in European democracies supporting Ukraine militarily and economically.

The experience of European imperialism has demonstrated the futility of imperial wars, the benefits of integration over conflict and the viability of cooperative sovereignty. If defeated in Ukraine, there could be a rethinking in Russia that imperial wars cannot be won.

Gerald also highlighted the success of post-Soviet countries’ integration into the EU, bringing them peace and economic growth. He stated that as the Western Balkans moved closer to the EU, they too reaped benefits, such as the absence of wars. Gerald advocated for their swift further integration, particularly through Single Market access and the four freedoms.

He further highlighted Ukraine’s ambition to become an EU member post-war, suggesting that by 2030, the EU might grow to include 37 democratic nations.

Gerald cautioned against simplistic conclusions, emphasizing that the effects on sovereignty, food and energy are complex and still evolving. Careful, nuanced analysis is required to understand the short and long-term consequences of the war.