In my last post I wondered if Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych would be allowed to cave to protesters by Moscow. Suffice to say, it all got rather out of hand…
You need to have been under a rock for the last few months to not know that Yanukovych absconded, the opposition came to power in Kiev, Crimea seceded illegally (it can’t vote by itself, the constitution is clear) and was annexed wholly illegally by Russia. Vladimir Putin and
his imperial council The Kremlin insists that Russia had no hand in directly destabilising Crimea, and that the armed men who seized government and military buildings there were essentially concerned citizens – not Russian military. Furthermore, that the roughly 40,000 Russian soldiers on its border with Ukraine were there for “training exercises” and not bully a country that wanted to extricate Russian hands from its government. Unsurprisingly, no one was or is buying this line of bullshit as healthy as its oil pipelines, both of which are pumping directly into Europe. When the G8 was called, the number of members was bumped to 7 because Russia was not asked to attend. Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign secretary, responded in the manner of, “Well, we didn’t want to be part of your stupid club anyway, neh neh nehnehneh!” Then the sound of a raspberry being blown from Moscow.
There’s an oblique doublespeak going on here: ethnic Russians living in Crimea are not actually Russian citizens, just as ethnic Italians living in New York are not Italian citizens. It is patently absurd to justify your illegal action with a falsehood, yet this blurring of ethnic Russian and Russian citizen is something Putin has been doing for a while. There are ethnic Russians in most former Soviets: what does Putin’s claim to their defence mean for the sovereignty of these states? For Russia to base its claims upon defending Crimea on the safety of Russians was seen by the entire world for the power-grabbing maneuver it truly was. The referendum drawn up smacked of the annexation of the Sudetenland by Nazi Germany but laughably is less internationally legal than an action by the Nazis. A pattern was established when no one stopped Russia strolling the fuck into Georgia, carving out two goddamn republics, and then roaring back. At this point, Russia foreign policy makers decided they had been pussy-footing too long after witnessing Iraq and Libya, and with NATO encroachment into former Soviet nations, so wanted to prove the Bear still had bite.
The EU has talked big about economic sanctions but so far has only frozen the assets of individuals (refer to earlier healthy pipelines), it needs to pluck Europa’s mouth from off the black gold tits of Mother Russia or any threat it makes can be laughed off; there must be an economic kick in the daddy bags. What we should all realise is that sanctions work both ways but if we stop asking for oil then the Russian people might stop looking out and start pointing fingers within. There is a growing feeling in eastern Russia that Moscow doesn’t really give a damn about the rest of the country. An emphasis on taking the wind out of Russia’s foreign clout would leave the Kremlin to actually deal with its internal problems.
Unless something is done to prove to Russia that the world does not tolerate its behaviour and will do something concrete to stop such behaviour, the situation looks like it will only become much worse. Vladimir Putin promised to defend the interests of Russians in Ukraine and quel surprise there were seizures of government buildings in eastern Ukraine by “pro-Russian protesters” – the motherfuckers in the balaclavas, combat gear and carrying assault rifles – absolutely grass roots and not at all a professional force hellbent on destabilising a nation. Sergei Lavrov’s negotiations with John Kerry talked about a radical change to the Ukrainian constitution to see the country exist as a federation…capable of leaving…straight to Russia one presumes. This is the Russian compromise: we win or we win.
There’s a part of Moldova called Transnistria which is breakaway state recognised by no other nation – not even Russia who backed it leaving Moldova. Yet now, with Russia’s renewed aggression to try and prove it has power, Transnistria might very well go the way of Crimea. It is 100 years since the start of World War One, a powerful country looks primed to roll into the land of other countries and take what it claims it has a right to. History is hopefully not doomed to repeat itself.