When the USA negotiates the future of Ukraine with Russia over the heads of the EU Commission, Switzerland plays a not insignificant role.
Ukraine, like Kosovo, is a priority foreign policy country for Switzerland. On the 4th/5th An official Ukraine reform conference is scheduled for July in Lugano, where the future of the country is to be determined with the help of Swiss diplomats.
Anyone who rubs their eyes at this information and asks what we are doing in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, in western and eastern Ukraine, will be even more amazed to find that we have been supporting the government in Kyiv with 109 million Swiss francs for three years since 1999.
This amount is not part of the EU cohesion "billion" that we are now paying for the second time. It's actually 1.3 billion flowing into the EU and heading East.
But what are 300 million francs at a time when only billions count?
Ukraine will receive an additional amount of millions "to support fundamental socio-political and economic reforms there".
Now that quite a few are of the opinion that Russia will invade Ukraine in the next few days, weeks at the latest, but definitely before Easter, Switzerland wants to “support processes to promote democratic institutions” with this budget of over 100 million.
As part of this program, which is almost unknown in Switzerland, she has already influenced Ukrainian legislation in order to initiate the introduction of a referendum à la Suisse.
Some money has also flowed to farmers in the east, and other money to modern ventilation systems. Trustees in Ukraine believe that not a little of it ended up in the pockets of the all-powerful Ukrainian potentates.
Elisabeth Schneider-Schneiter, a member of the Foreign Policy Committee of the National Council, has made multiple statements from the Basel region, ex-CVP and now a member of the National Council.
She called on the Federal Council not to close the Swiss embassies and missions in Eastern Europe "because this would only serve Russia". And she made it clear that Switzerland's services to Ukraine will be provided "according to European-American standards".
To put the Swiss figures in perspective: the EU has so far committed 410 billion euros for aid to Eastern European countries, 15 billion of which for Ukraine, which was intended to prepare it for EU membership.
Now Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, is interfering. He wants written confirmation from the US that neither the US nor NATO is making any attempt to draw Ukraine into Western alliances.
US President Joe Biden, who is on the defensive domestically, can already see the red hordes moving into Kyiv. The leading Western European media, including the Swiss, draw the picture of the rapacious Vladimir in their journals.
Is that all true, or are we subject to a one-sided propaganda?
Normal residents of our country have little chance of escaping the pressure of opinion from NZZ, Tages-Anzeiger, CH Media, NZZ and SRG.
What is written and broadcast there dominates public opinion. Smaller media can still afford the SDA (Swiss News Agency), which is not characterized by the strength of its opinion.
The normal resident of our country reads one or two daily newspapers, a Sunday newspaper, maybe even a weekly newspaper.
Those who are more politically proactive look to TV France I and II or to ARD, ZDF or ARTE. Gourmets switch to DLF, the radio station Deutschlandfunk.
“Der Spiegel”, “Die Zeit” and “Handelsblatt” are far too expensive for more than a few thousand Swiss people to subscribe to.
Without the “Wall Street Journal”, “The New York Times” and the “Financial Times” one lives in semi-darkness when it comes to foreign policy. I'm now excluding special magazines like "The Atlantic" and "Foreign Affairs".
"Republik", Nebelspalter, Infosperber and Inside Paradeplatz are often better informed and therefore gain subscribers.
Then there is the time factor. When should you read all this?
As a result, nobody understands why Nord Stream 2 is really important, even crucial, as a gas supplier for Western Europe. That's why no one understands that Vladimir Putin wants his own security zone.
He remembers: Russia was invaded by Napoléon I in the last 200 years, then by the Japanese Emperor and by Adolf Hitler. The German Kaiser Wilhelm II had also attacked the huge empire in the east.
It lost the Cold War when Boris Yeltsin and Mikhail Gorbachev laid down arms. Now Putin doesn't want to become the new victim of the "Free West".
He is not the aggressor, because NATO and the EU have advanced further and further into Eastern Europe. Switzerland bravely participated.
Just as the United States failed to westernize China, as the Nixon-Kissinger team intended, Western capital is failing to bring Russia under the control of the US dollar.