The emerging trend is therefore that Ukraine is using information warfare to accelerate the unification of Poland’s “Three Seas Initiative” and Turkey’s “Neo-Ottoman” visions in order to more effectively “contain” Russian influence in the broader region.
A combination of 45 national and organizational entities will participate in Ukraine’s inaugural “Crimean Platform” event on Monday. The Presidents of the Baltic Republics, the European Council, Finland, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia plan to attend as do the Prime Ministers of Croatia, Georgia, Romania, and Sweden. Kiev’s convocation is intended to function as a permanent form of multilateral pressure on Moscow according to the Polish Foreign Ministry. Even though it’s incapable of reversing Crimea’s democratic reunification with Russia, this provocation still deserves to be analyzed more in depth, particularly with respect to its interconnected geostrategic and infowar dynamics.
On the surface, the “Crimean Platform” is all about promoting Kiev’s interpretation of the game-changing events from spring 2014, namely in reminding the international community of its stance that Crimea’s reunification with Russia was allegedly an “anti-democratic and forceful annexation”. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov is concerned that the participants “will continue to foster the neo-Nazi and racist attitudes of the current Ukrainian authorities”, which adds a deeper dimension to the event’s infowar dynamics. This is especially the case after Ukraine shamelessly embraced those views as its unofficial ideology to contrast itself with Russia’s multicultural society that Kiev regards as a threat to its post-Color Revolution leadership’s legitimacy.
Quite clearly then, while the “Crimean Platform” might rhetorically espouse so-called “Western values” and whatnot, it’ll actually in practice promote the same ethno-fascism that the West unconvincingly claims that it’s against but is really weaponizing as a form of Hybrid War against Russia’s regional security interests. This makes the “Crimean Platform” more dangerous of an event than some observers might have realized at first glance. Furthermore, it should be pointed out that President Zelensky plans to hype up Russia’s alleged discrimination against Crimea’s Muslim Tatar community, which can be considered an attempt to replicate the Uyghur model of pressure by claiming that a targeted Great Power (in this case Russia instead of China) is abusing Muslims.
The purpose in doing so is to complicate Russia’s “Ummah Pivot” of recent years after the Eurasian Great Power comprehensively expanded its relations with majority-Muslim countries. Just like China relies on these countries as crucial partners in its Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), so too does Russia rely on them in the security sense when it comes to protecting its comparatively vulnerable southern flank from terrorist threats. It’s worthwhile noting that Turkey will also participate in the “Crimean Platform” and has consistently supported Ukraine’s stance towards Crimea as part of its so-called “Neo-Ottoman” (NO) policy of gradually restoring its influence over its former imperial domain, including in the recently reunified Russian peninsula via the Tatars.
This adds a geostrategic dimension to the aforementioned infowar dynamic since Russia and Turkey are actively involved in a “friendly competition” all across their expansive and at times overlapping “spheres of influence”. Of particular importance is Turkey’s military engagements with the “Lublin Triangle” states of Lithuania, Poland, and Ukraine, the last two of which recently reached deals to purchase its armed drones. The “Lublin Triangle” forms the core of the Polish-led “Three Seas Initiative” (3SI) which is aiming to restore Warsaw’s historic hegemony over large swaths of Eastern Europe. The 3SI and NO are already converging in Ukraine and in particular over Crimea, which makes the “Crimean Platform” especially dangerous in the geostrategic sense.
The emerging trend is therefore that Ukraine is using information warfare to accelerate the unification of these two anti-Russian blocs so as to more effectively “contain” Russian influence in the broader region, especially in the event that the US reaches a so-called “non-aggression pact” with Russia sometime in the future to free up some of its forces to redeploy to the Asia-Pacific in order to “contain” China there. To simplify, this is the practical manifestation of the US’ “Lead From Behind” stratagem of outsourcing regional strategic goals to shared stakeholders like Poland and Turkey in this case by appealing to their respective hegemonic interests through Ukraine’s “Crimean Platform”.
The US’ partial abandonment of Poland and Ukraine over the past year counterintuitively advances this goal by incentivizing them to do more on their own in order to promote their common interests in this respect out of fear that they can no longer fully rely on America to do the so-called “heavy lifting” for them. The US is politically empowering them to take the lead by approving of the “Crimean Platform” after dispatching some high-level delegates to attend this event. It’s now up to Ukraine, Poland, and Turkey to take everything to the next level if they have the political will to do so, which all three of them clearly do even if their plans might not fully succeed.
Russia’s response to this provocation might be to explore a “non-aggression pact” with Poland in their shared borderlands of Belarus and Ukraine in parallel with more effectively managing its “friendly competition” with Turkey. This could be advanced by appealing to Poland’s pragmatic desire to focus more on defending itself from the joint US-German Hybrid War against its conservative-nationalist leadership, which it can only do by freezing its heated competition with Russia and thus freeing up its security services to focus on more pressing domestic matters instead. As for dealing with the Turkish dilemma, this could be done by jointly founding a platform for their governments to regulate all interactions between the “Russian World” and “Turkic World”.
That said, these proposals require two to tango so to speak and might not amount to anything at all if Poland and Turkey aren’t interested in them. Nevertheless, it would still be wise to approach them even if only informally to gauge their interest in these ideas. Their possible refusal to explore these proposals’ viability would speak to their unfriendly intentions and send the signal to Russia that it must more assertively defend its interests in these partially overlapping “spheres of influence” which all converge on Ukraine in this case, including through leveraging its seat on the UNSC. Far from resulting in Ukraine’s stability like Kiev hopes that it’ll do, the “Crimean Platform” might therefore counterproductively destabilize the country by making it an even greater object of strategic competition.