Ukraine and Opportunity for V4 to Reject Cheap Nationalism

John Martin: The Great Day of His Wrath (ca. 1853) // Public domain

In the age when disinformation penetrates the mainstream of political discussions, the Ukrainian conflict has worked as a wake-up call, undoing decades of propaganda by the Kremlin. Even more so, it may have turned the tides on cheap economic nationalism, which has plagued the discussion over the last few years.

The result may be that the crisis will ignite an appreciation for the free market, vis-à-vis the regime representing the ghost of the USSR.

War Is a Harbinger of Socialism

The Russian aggression and invasion of Ukraine has introduced the horrors of the modern war to the V4 region for the first time since the 1968 occupation of Czechoslovakia. Even though Russia has been deploying a propaganda in the region for years, the effect has been a unity with the democratic regime in Ukraine.

Wars are associated with a cry for the governments to intervene and take over the economy and available resources. With the NATO countries in Europe facing an unprecedented threat in the post-Cold-War era, we can expect the spending on the military will follow, with new countries applying to join the Alliance as well.

A New Dawn for the Central Europe

Central Europe has been fighting a different form of threat for the past few years. It has been a growing trend of economic nationalism and protectionism that has prevented these countries from opening their economies to the new digital trends.

Not only anti-migrant sentiments have been strong. Some countries, like Hungary or even Slovakia, have seen a strong portion of their political spectrum, or even the governing party (Fidesz), flirt with pro-Russian and authoritarian sentiments that have been growing (according to a recent research).

Farewell to Socialism and Nationalism

The early weeks of the crisis and the wave of asylum seekers who appeared on the borders in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and moving West to the Czech Republic, these countries have expressed a will to lead by example. And not just in terms of solidarity that has been ignited, but also by calls to help the asylum seekers with legislation that allows them the find residence as well as secure workers’ permits and stipends at local universities.

Furthermore, the solidarity between the V4 countries and Ukraine can help support the process of the economic integration between the economically struggling regions of the V4 with its new Eastern partner. The new conflict with the Russian regime, which is reviving its Soviet ambitions, has unified Europe and reminded the countries in the V4 region to realign its interest as well as economic solutions away from the East (Russia and China), and back to the Western Europe and the U.S. spheres of influence, with a focus on economic changes that otherwise would take decades to achieve.

Martin Reguli