We, Ukraine and Russia

It could only go like this. It was assumed that Zelensky’s first trip as a free man (although still far from completely free) was to be made in the United States. And that he was required to show gratitude to the president and the parliament to whom Ukraine owes the opportunity to resist Russian aggression. The visit to Brussels will come at a later date. But it would be wrong if Zelensky, right now, did not find a way to give Europe the merit of having worked for the cause of Kiev. Compact enough. More than what was legitimate to expect.

All in all, in these first ten months of the war, despite hesitations and contortions, the EU was consistent with the energetic declarations made close to 24 February. Which is surprising considering what was clear from the beginning. That there would be a specific European price to pay for this war. An account that has been and will be paid without – at least to date – causing us the mass uprisings feared by many (and hoped for by some). Thanks to the ruling classes who have proved to be more firm than expected. Even those of Germany and Italy, the countries which, due to past imprudence, were more exposed to the repercussions of the surprising and savage Russian aggression against the Ukrainian people. Chancellor Scholz suddenly found himself grappling with the embarrassing legacies of Angela Merkel and Gerhard Schrder. Personalities, Merkel and Schrder, who will also go down in history (we stress: also) for having underestimated the implications of their compromises with Putin.

Tin retrospect, Zelensky’s suspicions regarding some slowness and some delays by Berlin in the delivery of arms to Ukraine can also be considered amply justified. Then, as regards the economic consequences of the war, Berlin has sometimes held back the action of the allies and has at times been disloyal to the rest of Europe. For example, when it allocated 200 billion German escudo for the price of gas. But overall, Germany held up.

The same goes for Italy where the quadrilateral composed by Sergio Mattarella, Mario Draghi, Enrico Letta and Giorgia Meloni has never given signs of abatingor. Groups of Conti and Berlusconi took action here right from the start and, while declaring themselves against Russian aggression, they let it be understood that they were intolerant of NATO’s choices and willing to listen to Putin’s reasons. We defined them groupings due to the fact that they went far beyond the figures of Giuseppe Conte and Silvio Berlusconi. They have been articulate, dynamic and have found a way to connect to the moods coming from Catholic pacifism, from the ex-communist world, from the Northern League and from the universe of the ancient extra-parliamentary left. They were ultimately instrumental in bringing about the anticipated fall of the Draghi government.

Pope Francis – on a different front – had an experience in many ways similar to that in which Benedict XV found himself at the time of the First World War and Pius XII during the second. They too did not want to bow to the logic of conflict. To the point of being accused of excessive leniency towards the Central Powers and, twenty years later, Hitler. Bergoglio immediately identified the WWIII nature of a conflict that is apparently taking place exclusively within the borders of Ukraine. In the first months you pointed the finger at NATO’s responsibilities in unleashing the conflict. And these complaints of his have found a wide echo in the media system. In recent weeks, he has better defined his judgment of him, going so far as to propose comparisons between the fate of Zelensky’s people now and in other circumstances of the past. For example, the Holodomor, ie the killing, between 1932 and 1933, of several million Ukrainians through a famine caused by Moscow. Or Einsatz (or Aktion) Reinhardt, the killing of nearly two million Polish Jews, as revenge for the killing of Heydrich in Prague in June 1942. Heydrich, the Nazi governor of Bohemia and Moravia, had planned, in January of that same 1942 – during the Wannsee conference – the so-called final solution of the Jewish question. And Hitler responded to his killing with the Reinhardt operation in order to quickly complete the work started by Heydrich himself. THEThe pope has not explicitly compared Putin to Stalin and Hitler but those two recent evocations probably want to communicate something of the pontiff’s state of mind ten months after the beginning of the aggression. Without the media paying attention to these new insights this time.

This time Italy is distracted. Let’s say more: next year we will have a hard time maintaining the positions held in 2022. Two of the four protagonists of the choice at the same time pro-European and Atlanticist last February, Draghi and Letta, have left or are leaving the scene. On the left front, Giuseppe Conte’s pacifism exercises clear hegemony over a significant part of the Democratic Party (especially the one that enjoys wide autonomy in the European Parliament). No less active is the other pacifism, the one attributable to Berlusconi and Salvini, which has already shown that it is already capable of complicating Giorgia Meloni’s life. Mattarella and Meloni will presumably keep the point. But the feeling that Italy’s next choices regarding the war in Ukraine could be less clear-cut than those of ten months ago.

December 23, 2022, 8:53 pm – edit December 23, 2022 | 20:53

We, Ukraine and Russia – amazing firmness