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HomeGeopolitical CompassEurope, Russia, OceaniaThe Berlin Crisis, Ukraine, and the 5 Percent Problem

The Berlin Crisis, Ukraine, and the 5 Percent Problem

Author: Sergey Radchenko

Affiliation: Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies

Organization/Publisher: War on the Rocks

Date/Place: December  22, 2021/USA 

Type of Literature: Commentary

Word Count: 1755 


Keywords: Ukraine, Russia, America, Invasion




The author looks at the history of Russia’s struggle with the US in Berlin during the Cold War and analyzes Russia’s aggressive policies today towards the Ukraine and its tank deployment on the Ukrainian border. Russia is trying to weigh the possibility of intervention from the West with the military equipment it has deployed on the Ukrainian border, just as Russia weighed the possibility of starting a war or starting a conflict in Berlin. Yesterday, Khrushchev was making this calculation from his American counterpart Kennedy, and today when Putin thinks about the sanctions and interventions he has overcome after the invasion of Crimea, he is calculating the possibility of US intervention and the prospect of war in the Ukraine. In the Berlin crisis, Khrushchev had reduced the probability of starting a war to 5 percent, despite his great distrust of America. Today, Russia is considering the same calculation for its next move to the Ukraine, while the US is busy with China, its withdrawal from Afghanistan, and as fragilities within NATO arise. Here, the author emphasizes that he thinks that Russia can force and show America as the party initiating the war, or make America do whatever Russia wants. For this, American diplomats need to follow the developments carefully and actively. Therefore, the Berlin Crisis is an example that should be taken off the shelf and examined in an environment where Russia is trying to measure the reaction of the US against Russia’s interventions in the Ukraine.


By: Esra Ibrahimagaoglu, CIGA  Research Intern



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