Luc Brunet - 25 February 2022
As events develop very fast in Ukraine, many people in the US or Europe may have difficulties to understand the feeling of people in Russia about what happened over the past 7 years in Ukraine and Donbass - events that lead to the dramatic decision this week.
As I did already in the past, I shall use a fictional scenario taking place in Europe, but following the same geopolitical schemes as the real situation in Donbass. I call it the Swiss Donbass.
Here is the scenario spreading on 7 years, including comments making the links with the real Donbass.
Switzerland is a country in the middle of Europe, that includes several ethnic and language groups. The 3 primary groups are, in the north, the German-speaking Swiss, with the state capital in Bern, then the French speaking part in the western part of the country, bordering France, and finally the Italian speaking Ticino in the south, bordering Italy.
The stability of that multi-cultural country was very good and people lived together without conflicts. Lets note that the situation in Ukraine at the time of the end of the USSR was also quite stable and people could freely speak the language they wanted and tensions between regions was minimal.
Such a peaceful situation ended in 2014, when the German speaking part of Switzerland, heavily supported and pushed by Germany, initiated a more radical political move to cut the country from Italian and French influence, The situation became chaotic, with large demonstrations in the streets of Bern and Zürich. Deadly shootings took place, attributed to the government in power, although many questions are still not answered about who exactly did the shooting. After a few days, the government was overthrown and a new government was illegally put in place.
After the coup
The new government included people coming from extremist all-German groups that flourished in the north of the country over the past few years. Such groups showed an insane attraction to Nazi symbols and considered as heroes the people who served in the Waffen-SS during WW2.
A number of crimes were committed by those groups, notably the killing and beating of Ticino residents on their way back to Lugano after a pro-government demonstration in Bern just before the coup. Similarly, several were killed, burned alive in an administration building in Geneva, as they demonstrated their opposition to the coup.
Lets note that the above events mirror events in Ukraine, like the people shot dead on Maidan, a bus full of Crimean people attacked on the way back from Kiev, or the infamous arson of the House of Syndicates in Odessa.
Begin of the civil war
The new government from the beginning demonstrated a clear anti-latinos orientation, latino being now the term used for the French and Italian speaking citizens of Switzerland. More demonstration took place in major cities of the north, accusing latinos to be lazy, dishonest, drinkers and a lot more, like frog-eaters or macaronis. A prime Minister in Bern even called latinos "non-people". The reaction in the two regions was unavoidable, as people understood that the German speakers really meant what they said and were dangerous. Of course only a small majority of German speakers really supported that violence, but the others just closed their eyes, by fear, cowardice or interest.
The cantons of Geneva, Vaud and Jura voted for independence as well as the canton of Ticino. The government however did not accept it and sent the troops, including several groups of fighters, using neo-nazi symbols and openly saying that all latinos had to either go or be liquidated.
Ticino could stop the Swiss military but lost half of its territory. The French speaking side lost Jura and a big part of the Canton of Vaud, Lausanne being 10km away from the stabilized front line. Both of course had some material support from France and Italy, but both countries refrained from sending troops, keen to preserve their relationship with Germany.
7 years of pain
Over the next 7 years, and in spite of a peace agreement signed between the parties, the Swiss army regularly shelled the so called rebel territories, with regular civil casualties, for example in the eastern suburbs of Lausanne.
France and Italy, both at leadership level and within the population spent those 7 years complaining about the situation, asking for real implementation of the peace agreement, but both the Swiss capital and Germany did not take real action. Other countries also showed a total indifference about the civil casualties. But France and Italy still had hope that a peaceful solution was possible.
Note that regular meetings in Ukraine, especially the west of the country made fun of the Russian, called Moskals. The shelling on Donass killed a few thousands of civilians including 110 children, The "non-people" word was used by Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.
In 2022, the Bern government sent a large amount of troops and material to the east of Lausanne and to the north of Ticino. An attack is expected in the coming days, people start to flee.
Now stop the story here.
You are now the government or a citizen of France or Italy. What do you think of the situation? Shall you stay sitting and do nothing when people of Ticino or Vaud/Geneva get killed, wounded and ousted of their home? Shall you turn your back to it and go shopping?
Think a few minutes about that. Thank you.