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Russia’s Crimea

The historical perspective

From ESA No 56 Spring issue

 

VladimirPutin.jpg

  Ukraine is now a massively indebted failed state, the result of accepting loans from the International Monetary Fund. It was stitched up after the illegal Kiev revolt deposed a democratically elected President, friendly towards Russia. It could have been otherwise. Instead, Kiev chose usury over Russian friendship.

Russia has recovered from the latest attempts to destroy its economy, first the sanctions and then the rapid slump in oil  prices. It is now an important part of BRICS, the alternative global economic system with some very big players ... notably China and India. They want to form a powerful alternative to the IMF, turning the post-war Bretton Woods agreement on its head.

This angers the United States. It fears its hegemony being seriously challenged ... and so it is.

Secretary of State, John Kerry flies here and there, meeting foreign ministers and trying look as if he means business. It is all an act, the act of a desperate man. The problem with Americans is they don’t know when they are beaten.

The subject of this column is Crimea. It was recently restored to Russia by President Putin. Eastern Ukraine was under threat from Kiev’s Ukrainian ultra-nationalists who want to return to the fanaticism leading to wartime mass murder. These people are murderous thugs, their Prime Minister is a Nazi (“Russia invaded Germany”) and the President talks big with nothing with which to back it up. United in their hatred of Russia and the beleaguered Russian-speaking people in Eastern Ukraine.

Crimea was the excuse the American-led West dreamed up in order to confront Russia with economic pressure. It hurt Europe but not the United States. Why the hell do we Europeans obey every order the Americans dictate? Simple answer: our governments are all separate and divided and easily pressured. Britain pretends to be a big player on the world stage but it exists within a mindset of nostalgia for an imperial past. It is a willing accomplice, serving American interests. Servile and deluded. We are simply a set of little isles in the North Sea. We no longer command an Empire around the world on which the sun would never set.

Russia is the natural ally of Europe, being on the same land mass. It has never threatened us. Putin does not threaten us. It is only those people who talk like actors in a Western cowboy film with absolutely no idea of diplomacy. When Americans speak, they sound like John Wayne or Clint Eastwood, always ready to draw a gun. Not for the first time has Russia needed to defend itself from external threat.

Russians are not like gun-toting Americans. Nor are Iranians, come to that.

The issue of Crimea is purely a Russian matter. Crimea’s history is therefore of interest to us.

Crimea was first conquered in 1783 by Russia’s Catherine the Great and from that time became part of the Russian Empire. Under the Soviet Union, it remained a part of Russia until Nikita Krushchev transferred it to the Ukrainian Republic in 1954, still within and part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Ukraine retained Crimea after being established as an independent state.

It was Krushchev’s transference of Crimea within the Soviet system that presented an injustice, according to Russian President, Vladimir Putin.

He declared the Krushchev decision as unconstitutional and sought to reverse what was originally an internal matter within the Soviet Union. Crimea was to be brought back into Mother Russia’s fold and the principle of Russian unity restored.

The majority of Crimeans identify with Russia and believe Ukraine, Russia and Belarus have common ancestors under Orthodox Christianity. They are not separatists but the opposite ... Russian unity is the ideal and the hope of all Russians.

In fact, there was no invasion of Crimea as Russian troops were established there quite legally. Rather, it was a defensive role on the part of Russian troops in Crimea with the support of the majority of the population of Crimea.

The real provocation comes from NATO, an American-led military coalition with political intent. Against previous promises, it has encroached upon former communist countries like the Baltic states and sought to contain Russia.

But Putin’s Russia is a first rate power and not shamed by its Soviet past. In fact, they recently celebrated the victory over the Nazis in 1945 with a massive military parade in Red Square, the iconic red flag that was raised over the Reichstag being paraded with an honour guard. Pure Russian pride!

Russians again feel they are being challenged no less than in the days of Operation Barbarossa. They will hold Eastern Ukraine which is populated by Russian speakers with a Russian identity. They do not forget the role of Ukrainian fascists/ultra-nationalists in the liquidation of Ukraine’s civilian Polish community and other minorities. Russians were also targeted under Nazi rule then.

This time round, Russian integrity and honour are restored.        

copyright©Robert Edwards 2015

 

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