Five Dimensions of the Cold War: What Putin is doing

8 January, 02:16 PM

The February 24, 2022 announcement of the holding of the "Special Military Operation" in Ukraine provoked a renewal of the dimensions of the Cold War

In 2022, politicians, civil society, columnists, historians, and political scientists began mentioning the Cold War a lot more often. In the period after the Second World War, the ancien régime of the colonial empires was replaced by two ideological super powers, the USA and the USSR. For almost half a century, these two states, due to their division of spheres of influence, proxy wars, arms race, space race, struggle in the third world, and the construction of various types of social systems (capitalist and communist), coexisted without a direct military confrontation.

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There are at least several dimensions in which the Cold War was fought:

— On the fault line of the two systems – the territory of divided Germany and Eastern Europe. The USA and the USSR considered this region as a potential zone of military operations;

— In the ideological sphere. Both sides tried to exert a direct psychological influence on the enemy. This was most clearly manifested in West and East Germany, where both systems tried to make "showcases" of the advantages of their own socio-economic structure;

— In the energy domain, especially starting in the mid-1970s and the 1973 Yom Kippur War in the Middle East. From that point, Russian gas and oil began to gain more and more influence in the energy sector of Western countries;

— In intelligence. It is in this dimension that we can talk about the hot phase of the Cold War. Eavesdropping on diplomatic missions, recruiting double agents, obtaining satellite and aerial photographs of enemy territories, and organizing kidnappings and assassinations are just a few examples of the clandestine warfare between the intelligence services of the U.S. and the USSR;

— In the countries of the so-called third world. This struggle particularly intensified in the early 1960s with the collapse of the great European colonial empires (Great Britain, Portugal, the Netherlands, and Belgium). Both the U.S. and the USSR considered themselves staunch anti-imperialists, so they often supported anti-colonial movements in weakened European empires. This led to an increase in ideological confrontation in the middle of such movements and prolonged civil conflicts.

The announcement on the morning of February 24, 2022 of the "special military operation" by Russian leadership on the territory of Ukraine provoked a renewal of the dimensions of the confrontation during the Cold War. First of all, Putin mistakenly considered, and probably continues to consider, his country to be a superpower, but Russia cannot hold this status automatically by virtue of its place on the UN Security Council. The status of a superpower during the Cold War was determined, first of all, by the role and influence of the USA and the USSR in international relations. Obviously, realizing that modern Russia does not have this influence, Putin and his henchmen turned to the history of this period and began to "play the role" of a superpower. This role was manifested in the numerous visits by Western leaders to Moscow on the eve of the invasion, which were intended to demonstrate Putin's influence and the fact that he and his regime are the world leaders in international relations. The start of hostilities in Ukraine made such visits impossible, and Putin and the Russian Federation fell into international isolation, consoling themselves only by participating in the summit of the reanimated Shanghai Cooperation Organization, meetings of CSTO or CIS member states, or most often by conversations with self-proclaimed Belarusian President Lukashenko.

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