عنوان مقاله [English]
Competition, conflict, and confrontation between the great powers in some parts of the world, which are of considerable strategic importance in terms of geopolitics and geo-economics, are among the salient features of the international system. So that usual in the occurrence of crises in regions and countries that have such characteristics, the effective hand, and role of great powers can be seen in the creation, extension, and management of crises. Ukraine is one of those countries that has always been influenced and competed by Russia and the West due to its unique characteristics. But the competition and confrontation between Russia and the West (the European Union, the United States, and its executive arm NATO) have escalated significantly since the Soviet collapse and Ukraine's independence. Because on the one hand, Ukraine has always been in the spotlight for Russia due to geopolitical, geostrategic, geoeconomic position, as well as its historical, cultural, racial, linguistic, and religious ties with Russian society. On the other hand, from the very beginning of the independence of the former Soviet republics, Western governments and institutions pursued expansionist policies in Eastern Europe, and due to the post-collapse turmoil, tried to membership of Eastern European countries in Western institutions, countries of the region, especially countries located in the Near Abroad region to align with themselves and In this way to prevent regional influence and Russia's use of the position and characteristics of these countries in order to regain lost power. In the meantime, the duo to Ukraine's neighborhood with Russia and its geopolitical, and geo-economic importance, as well as its strong desire to move westward after independence provided an opportunity for the West to accelerate the process of Russia's geopolitical siege, thereby preventing Russia from regaining power. Therefore, these conflicting goals and power struggles have caused Ukraine to always be the scene of competition and confrontation between the West and Russia after independence and to witness serious conflicts and political-security crises such as the events of the 2004 orange revolution, the 2006 blue revolution, and the crises of 2014 and 2022. Therefore, the main purpose of this article is to use the approach of offensive realism to answer the question of what is the importance of Ukraine for Russia and the West, which has always been the scene of competition and confrontation between Russia and the West after independence?
The research method in this article is qualitative which with a descriptive-analytical approach has answered the main question of this article in the conceptual context of the theory of offensive realism. Authors to answer the main question, while describing and analyzing the reasons for the importance of the Near Abroad region in general and the reasons for the importance of Ukraine for the conflicting goals of Russia and the West in particular, Ukraine's western policies have also been analyzed and in this way, we have explained the role of this importance and Ukraine's western policies in the competition and confrontation between Russia and the West in Ukraine. For data collection, reference has been to library resources, including books, articles, theses, documents, and authoritative Internet sources. The data collection tool has been also taking notes.
Results and Conclusions
Ukraine is one of those countries that, due to its unique characteristics, has always been influenced and victimized by Power competitions between different countries and has never been able to determine its own destiny independently. In the 14th and 16th centuries, Ukraine became the scene of competition between Polish and Lithuania. Then in the 17th century, it became a sphere of influence between Russia and the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, which continued until the end of the 18th century which Austria replaced the Polish in the western regions of Ukraine. The domination lasted until the end of World War I. With the formation of the Soviet Union and Ukraine's membership in the Union, the country once again became an area of Soviet influence on the one hand and Poland on the other. With the start of World War II, Ukraine was not spared from the fire and was occupied and destroyed by the Nazis. During the Cold War, it was versus the Western bloc due to its membership in the Eastern bloc. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine finally gained its independence; but because of its special position and importance for the conflicting strategic goals of Russia and the West, from then until now have always been the scene of serious competition and confrontation between the West and Russia and various political-security crises. According to the offensive realism approach, the ultimate goal of the great powers is to achieve hegemony, and they try to achieve this goal by maximizing power and preventing rival powers from gaining power. Accordingly, Russia's strategic goal since the collapse of the Soviet Union has been to return to the greatness of the Soviet era and regain lost power, and to achieve this goal it has sought to take advantage of republics in the Near Abroad region. Ukraine is one of these republics that the best way possible can bring Russia closer to this goal due to its identity, geopolitical, geoeconomic, and economic characteristics. On the other hand, the West's understanding of this capability has led the West, especially the United States, as the current hegemon, to make every effort to prevent Russia from regaining power and Reaching the position of hegemony and A rival for this country, to get this country out of Russian influence and put it on its front to prevent Russia from achieving its strategic goal. In this regard, Ukraine's western policies since the collapse of the Soviet Union and its independence have also helped the West to get closer to this goal. Therefore, the findings of the article show that the importance of Ukraine's identity, geopolitics, geo-economics, and economics in achieving the conflicting strategic goals of Russia (regaining power and returning to the greatness of the former Soviet Union) and the West (preventing Russia from regaining power), as well as Ukraine's western policies have caused this country to after independence, always be the scene of competition and confrontation between the West and Russia, and to witness serious conflicts and various political-security crises such as the events of the 2004 orange revolution, the 2006 blue revolution, and the crises of 2014 and 2022.