Thinking that no Putin means democratic Russia is a mistake: expert

TVP World’s correspondent in Paris, Stanisław Jegliński, interviewed Nicolas Tenzer, a political analyst, academic, publicist, and editor, to ask some important questions about France’s policy towards Ukraine.

Mr Tenzer has a positive assessment of Macron’s recent visit to Ukraine. The French President had a chance to clarify his stance on the Russo-Ukrainian conflict and make up for some of the ill-advised comments about not humiliating Russia and the brotherhood between the Ukrainian and Russian people. While earlier accused of trying to balance between Ukraine and Russia, this time he clearly said that Ukrainian territorial integrity must be restored, and that also means the return of Crimea and the entirety of Donbas to the control of the government in Kyiv.

The French scholar also pointed out that several days earlier Macron delivered an important speech which may have eluded many. He said that the French economy must turn into a war economy in order to be able to support Ukraine. Mr Tenzer believes that all countries supporting Ukraine should approach the current situation like this.

All that makes for the re-assessment of the French position. Many have criticised France and Germany for trying to serve as liaisons between Russia and Ukraine in order to safeguard their particular interests at the expense of Ukraine, which caused friction between them and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Macron’s firm support for Ukrainian territorial integrity and sovereignty can change that. And, what is noteworthy, the Kremlin now begins to blame France for the trouble it found itself in.

As Mr Tenzer said, French people usually display little interest in such matters as foreign policy. Russian aggression and the plight of the Ukrainian people might change that: now they have a better idea of what a threat Russia is.

The question now is, what will happen after Putin. Mr Tenzer stresses he has no doubts that a Russia without Putin does not mean that it will automatically become democratic or liberal. Therefore, he says, the sanctions against Russia should not be lifted until Russia leaves Ukraine, but also the territories it occupies in Georgia, the breakaway Moldovan region of Transnistria, and stops supporting the regime of Bashar Al-Assad in Syria.

Mr Tenzer also believes that the conflict can consolidate Europe, under the condition that western countries recognise that Poland and the Baltic States were right in their assessment of the Russian threat.