Throughout history, for over two hundred years, in Eastern Europe, divergences among powerful countries were either solved through wars, or handled, at least temporarily, in secret arrangements. The “technology” these arrangements were based on consisted of sharing spheres of influence behind closed doors so that regional stability would be established, regardless of the will and intentions of victim countries and nations. Even at the start of the so-called “oriental matter” – the division of the heritage left behind by Europe’s “sick man”, the Ottoman Empire, who had entered a prolonged crisis – these secret arrangements were the pattern of dividing power disputes among the players who were still in the competition. The agreements reached, by example, between Napoleon’s France and Russia, in the first decade of the nineteenth century, divided the Romanian Principalities into spheres of influence.
We will provide another example of the same century by mentioning the Secret Agreement of Reichstadt, in 1876, between the Czarist Russian Empire and the Habsburg Empire, regarding the annexation of Southern Bessarabia (the counties Cahul, Ismail and Bolgrad), part of Romania’s territory at that time, to Russia – an annexation applie in 1878, and the annexation of Bosnia – Herzegovina by Austro-Hungary, finished in 1908. In the twentieth century, the most infamous example one can come up with is the division of Eastern Europe into spheres of influence by the famous secret pact signed by the Foreign Affairs Ministers of the two grand powers, J. Ribbentropp and respectively V. Molotov on August 1939, prefacing WW II. Among the stipulations of this secret agreement we must mention that Poland was historically divided for the third time and shared by the two signers, the Scandinavian countries were to be overtaken by Soviet Russia, just like Bessarabia, Northern Bukovine and Finland.
The act that preceded WWII was not the last reference to this particularity of international relations (which, actually, was a common practice in other regions of the world throughout the previous centuries). During the rocket crisis of Cuba (October 1962), when the world was under the immediate threat of a nuclear abyss, the agreement between the USA and the USSR that brought the crisis to an end also included a secret “deal”, not recognized officially so far, which stipulated that Moscow would withdraw its rockets from the Caribbean island and the US, the Jupiter rocket from Turkey. Moreover, the US assumed that they would not initiate a military invasion on Cuba. Obviously, this field is overwhelmed by plenty of conspiracy theories related to secret arrangements of the grand power, and these theories start feeding themselves on facts proved by documents in order to invent unusual, unbelievable or undocumented situations.
Analysts have wondered whether this historical “tradition” – of secret pacts, editor’s note – could be also found in the Ukrainian crisis, once it reached a twist that is extremely dangerous for world peace, once Crimea was illegally annexed in March 2014 and Russia has destabilized Eastern Ukraine by staging the self-proclamation of separatist republics, with Russian military support.
International press has already released certain information on the existence of a Russian – American workgroup which is attempting to find a solution to the present Ukrainian crisis. Therefore, on September 16, 2014, the American magazine “The National Interest” has published an article titled “Facing Reality in Ukraine”, authored by Robert Legvold. This article quotes an ample feature published on August 26, 2014 by the magazine “The Atlantic”, under a memorable title: “A 24-Step Plan to Resolve the Ukraine Crisis”. The article says:” In an effort to break the impasse, a group of American and Russian experts and former officials—including an ex-director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service and a top Russia advisor to George W. Bush—recently met on an island in Finland. Working privately, in an approach known as ‘Track II diplomacy’ they developed a plan for a possible high-level diplomatic discussion on resolving the crisis in Ukraine. In a climate of intensifying hostilities, their ideas—among others, establishing a UN-authorized peacekeeping mission in eastern Ukraine, granting amnesty to combatants who have not committed war crimes, and respecting Ukrainian legislation on the country’s ‘non-aligned’ status—chart a path to peace.”
It is quite interesting, also, that similar information regarding a plan for solving the Ukrainian crisis, created by Russian and American experts, was also published by Russian press, by the end of August 2014. What did this plan stipulate? Is it part of the historical tradition of secret agreements among the great powers in Eastern Europe?