Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Major escalation in Crimea/Ukranya

Rossiya and Ukranya have strong historical ties, and america has no business interfering in their affairs. The niggers obama and rice and others in the american government, mccain usw. have already violated the agreement on 21 February 2014 by openly backing the people who continued the violence in Kiev.  If further american interference continues america deserves to get a sound defeat. Ukranya is crumbling, let it crumble to it's natural state.  Do not forget that the violence in Kiev occurred when the Sochi Olympics were wrapping up, and this may be america's revenge for getting beat in Georgia in 2008.
In the piece by juan cole though he gets many dates wrong he is better informed than his peers in America.


US tells Russia to keep troops out of Ukraine as Crimea flashpoint looms

Turmoil in Ukraine is turning attention to Moscow's claims to the Crimea, where Russia keeps its Black Sea fleet

Ben Farmer

By  Ben Farmer, Defence Correspondent

8:39PM GMT 23 Feb 2014

The White House warned Russia to keep its troops out of Ukraine on Sunday night, amid fears that Moscow may step in with military force following the overthrow of the president, its ally.

Moscow accused the Ukrainian opposition of breaking a peace deal to seize power as Russia recalled its ambassador from Kiev, blaming the “deteriorating situation” in its neighbour.

Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, said opposition leaders had broken the agreement mediated by European foreign ministers on Friday, “having in effect seized power in Kiev, refused to disarm and continued to place its bets on violence.”

Barack Obama’s national security adviser said it would be a “grave mistake” for Vladimir Putin to send soldiers into Ukraine to restore a friendly government after the upheaval.

Susan Rice said nobody would benefit if Ukraine were to split apart.

“It’s in nobody’s interest to see violence return and the situation escalate,” Mrs Rice said.

Her warning to the Kremlin followed concerns over renewed tumult in Ukraine if eastern regions of the vast country side with Russia against the overthrow of Viktor Yanukovych.

Ukraine is deeply divided between its eastern regions, which are largely pro-Russian, and western areas that widely detest Mr Yanukovych.

Tensions mounted in Crimea, in the south-east of Ukraine, where pro-Russian politicians are organising rallies and forming protest units, demanding autonomy from Kiev.

The region is now seen as a potential flashpoint because of its deep strategic significance to Moscow.

The Crimean port of Sevastopol may be part of Ukraine, but it is the Russian tricolor that flutters proudly above the port’s barrack blocks and warships.

The city’s cobbled streets are full of Russian sailors, often raucously drunk, while the harbour shelters ranks of sleek, grey, Russian vessels that dwarf their Ukrainian neighbours.

Under a deeply politically divisive leasing deal, the deep-water port is home to a huge naval base and the Russian Black Sea Fleet, providing Russia’s military with easy access to the Mediterranean.

However, many Russians believe that it is only a twist of fate that means the peninsula is not part of their country anyway — and turmoil in Ukraine could prove a perfect opportunity to reassert their claim.

Sevastopol has been a proud part of Russian imperial might since the 18th century, but in 1954 was transferred to Ukrainian control under Nikita Khrushchev, an ethnic Ukrainian.

When Ukraine broke away from the Soviet Union in 1991, it took Crimea with it. Moscow has since had to lease the strategically critical naval base.

Lilit Gevorgyan, a senior Russia analyst at IHS Jane’s Insight, said: “There are many Russians who believe it was Khrushchev, who was an ethnic Ukranian, who decided to give it to Ukraine, and still believe it is unfair.

“If it had been part of Russia, it would have provided a deep-water port for its fleet on the Black Sea, whereas Russia now has to pay a lease until 2042.

“Strategically, symbolically and historically, it is important for the Russians. If there’s turmoil and real talk of the break-up of Ukraine, the Russians will be interested in securing this part.”

In a recent opinion poll, 56 per cent of Russians said they viewed Crimea as a Russian territory, a far higher proportion than felt a claim on Chechnya.

But Miss Gevorgyan said the Crimean population was extremely diverse, and it may prove difficult to manipulate by Russian nationalists.

In particular, the region’s significant population of Muslim Tartars, who saw persecution and mass deportation under Stalin, have little desire to join Russia.

“It’s a patchwork of different identities and I am not sure it will be easy to manipulate,” she said. “It has never been either truly Russian or truly Ukrainian.”

Mrs Rice said it would be a mistake for Mr Putin to view the tumult as a Cold War battle between the East and West.

“That’s a pretty dated perspective that doesn’t reflect where the people of Ukraine are coming from. This is not about the US and Russia,” she said.

The country need not be torn apart on a cultural fault line between pro-Russian and pro-Europe Ukrainians, Mrs Rice said.


Not to Reason Why: A New Crimean “War”?

 By Juan Cole | Feb. 24, 2014 |
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The Russian-speaking population of the Crimean Peninsula in the Ukraine  is upset by the popular movement in the west of the country that has overthrown president Viktor Yanukovych and is said to be forming militias. On some government buildings, Ukrainian flags have been replaced by Russian ones. Sevastopol is an important Black Sea port of call for Russian naval vessels, and Moscow has a base there.

Of all the ways in which Russian President Vladimir Putin will see the revolution in the Ukraine as dangerous to Russian interests, the potential loss of Crimea as a Russian ‘near abroad’ is among the more serious. Crimea was given to the Soviet Socialist Republic of Ukraine by Nikita Krushchev (himself Ukrainian) in the 1950s, but more Russians think they have a claim on Crimea than think they have a claim on Chechnya.

US national security adviser  Susan Rice has already warned Russia against sending troops into the Ukraine.  But what about the sailors at the base in Crimea? They’re already there.

From about 1050 Crimea came under Turkic rule, later Mongol, and later Turkic again. From 1441 until the late 1700s it was a Muslim Khanate that became an Ottoman vassal state. In the late 1700s it was annexed by the Tsarist Russian Empire. By 1900 Crimean Tatars, previously the major population, had been reduced to half of residents. After the Soviet revolution they were reduced to a quarter. Then Stalin forcibly deported many of them to Central Asia. So Crimea was over the two centuries after its incorporation into the Russian Empire largely russified and its indigenous Muslim population swamped or displaced. Hundreds of thousands of Muslim Tatars remained or have returned, but they are still a minority.

What Crimea is best remembered for in the West is the Crimean War of the 1850s. Is there a parallel to today’s tensions? The conflict was initially between the Ottoman Empire and the Russian Empire. In some ways some  roots of the conflict lay in Ottoman Jerusalem in the 1840s and early 1850s, where Russia perceived that its claim on dominance of the holy places there through its Eastern Orthodox clients were being set aside by the Sultan in favor of those of the French and their Roman Catholic clients. Russia also coveted the Balkans and Istanbul (the Byzantium of the Eastern Roman Empire). When a conflict broke out between the princes of the Principalities (now Romania), who were nominally Ottoman vassals, and the sultan, the Russian backed the princes and sent in troops. Then it seemed Russia might fight all the way down to Istanbul and take it.

Britain and France did not want the Russian Empire to take over the Middle East, as it might have done if Istanbul fell to the Tsar. Britain reached India from the Mediterranean through Egypt and the Red Sea or through Syria-Iraq and the Persian Gulf. London did not want St. Petersburg to have the ability to cut it off from its rich Indian possessions. Likewise the French had clients in Lebanon and were a major power in the Mediterranean, and did not want Russia supplanting it.

Instead of trying to fight on land in the distant Balkans, the British and French proposed to the Ottomans a joint expedition across the Black Sea to the Crimean Peninsula.

At the time there was no railroad linking the Crimea to St. Petersburg, and the Tsar could not easily get troops down there at short notice. In essence the Franco-British and Ottoman forces took Crimea hostage to forestall further Russian advances in the Balkans. Although the British Empire got the poem “Charge of the Light Brigades” out of the war, actually it was predominantly and Ottoman and French campaign– the British forces supplied were smaller.

Tennyson wrote:

“Half a league, half a league,
   Half a league onward,
 All in the valley of Death,
   Rode the six hundred.
‘Forward, the Light Brigade!
 Charge for the guns’ he said:
 Into the valley of Death
   Rode the six hundred.

‘Forward, the Light Brigade!’
Was there a man dismay’d?
 Not tho’ the soldiers knew
   Some one had blunder’d:
 Theirs not to make reply,
 Theirs not to reason why,
 Theirs but to do and die:
 Into the valley of Death
   Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
 Cannon to left of them,
 Cannon in front of them
   Volley’d and thunder’d;
 Storm’d at with shot and shell,
 Boldly they rode and well,
 Into the jaws of Death,
 Into the mouth of Hell
   Rode the six hundred.”

The Crimea ploy worked. The war came to a halt. The Great Powers signed the Treaty of London of 1856. It was an important document in diplomatic history. It foreshadowed the United Nations Charter in guaranteeing the Ottoman Empire against any further Russian aggression, with France and Britain pledging collective security. It also pledged the Ottomans to make their Christian subjects equal to the Muslim ones, setting the stage for Ottomanism as a national imperial ideal (it didn’t work in the long run).

As in the 1850s, Russia is claiming as its sphere of influence a territory in eastern Europe (Ukraine today, Romania and other Balkan lands in the 1850s).

As in the 1850s, the West has an interest in seeing Russian power blocked from that part of Europe (today because of their desire to incorporate Ukraine into Europe and possibly ultimately NATO; in the 1850s because they wanted the weak Ottomans to control the Middle East and to give them passage rights through it, rather than having to drive a similar bargain with a powerful Russian Empire).

As in the 1850s, one flash point in this geopolitical struggle is Crimea and its Russian naval facilities. Today, the Russian fleet based at Sevastopol plies the Black Sea and goes through the Bosporus Straits to Tartus, Syria’s Mediterranean naval port.

As in the 1850s, the West worries about Russian hegemony in the Middle East, with Syria being today’s flashpoint. Russia supports the Baath government of Bashar al-Assad, whereas the West largely supports the Free Syrian Army (but not the al-Qaeda affiliates among the rebels). Russia also has better relations with Iran than does the West.

The parallels are hardly exact. But the place of a major Black Sea port in contests between Atlantic powers and Russia has remained a stable feature of geopolitics for over a century and a half.


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