this may seem like heresy

But why are we concerned about Crimea?

I get that it’s Russia, and by default we should be anti-Russky. I get that it’s Putin and he gives us all the creeps. I get that guns are involved and that means, you know, IT CAN’T BE RIGHT!

But here are some facts: Crimea, a strategic location, has been fought over for centuries. It was under Russian control from before the Crimean War (1853-1856) until 1954. In 1954, Nikita Kruschev, a Ukrainian, handed it over to the Ukraine when it was all a part of the USSR. After the breakup of the USSR, the region remained part of the Ukraine but in a sort of quasi-separate state, having its own parliament, etc.

The population is majority Russian. The Russians in Crimea have been calling for reunion with Russia for some time.

I realize that Russia makes everyone nervous and we think that expansion into the Crimea could mean aggression and expansion by Russia into other regions. That wouldn’t be good.

But… what are we going to do about it? If the West went to war with Russia over this move, it would mean World War III, literally. That just isn’t going to happen.

Yeah, we can adopt “economic sanctions” … but Europe is heavily dependent on Russian oil and other trade. I doubt that spigot will get turned off.

The bottom line is that we may not like Putin or his moves, but he is in a strong position here. I think regardless of Western opinion, if Putin wants Crimea, he will get Crimea. End of story.

And I’m not entirely sure that a case can’t be made that Russia should have Crimea.

Just my opinion – I am offering to pool my ignorance with the rest of the world on this!

A few links and quotes that bolster my points above:

From Wikipedia: According to 2001 Ukrainian Census, the population of Crimea was 2,033,700.[78] The ethnic makeup comprised the following self-reported groups: Russians: 58.32%; Ukrainians: 24.32%; Crimean Tatars: 12.1%; Belarusians: 1.44%; Tatars: 0.54%; Armenians: 0.43%; Jews: 0.22%, Greeks: 0.15% and others.

From the New York Times: Bombarded with reminders of the Crimean War, which involved a yearlong siege of the city, and World War II, when the city doggedly resisted Nazi forces until finally falling in July 1942, Sevastopol has never stopped thinking about wartime losses — and has never been able to cope with the amputation carried out in 1954 by the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.

Wielding a pen instead of a knife, Khrushchev ordered Sevastopol and the rest of the Crimea transferred to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. At the time, the operation caused little pain, as both Russia and Ukraine belonged to the Soviet Union, which chloroformed ethnic, linguistic and cultural divisions with repression.

From the National Post: It was not clear what the West could do to make Russia back down. The clearest weapon at the disposal of the EU and U.S. appeared to be economic sanctions that would freeze Russian assets and pull the plug on multi-billion dollar deals with Russia. Late Monday, the EU threatened to freeze visa liberalization and economic co-operation talks and boycott the G8 summit in Russia if Moscow does not climb down on Crimean peninsula by the Thursday summit.

Already the economic fallout for Russia over its Crimea takeover was being intensely felt: Russia’s stock market dropped about 10 per cent on Monday and its currency fell to its lowest point ever against the dollar. But the economic consequences of antagonizing Russia were also acute for Western Europe: The EU relies heavily on Russian natural gas flowing through a network of Ukrainian and other pipelines.

don_sig2

Comments

  1. Brian says:

    What I find a bit troubling is Ukraine’s non-response to the invasion of the Crimean peninsula. I mean you have another nation landing troops on your shores and not one shot is fired, not one plane is surrounded on the tarmac by Ukrainian troops. We are now dealing with an after the fact land grab. Not much to be done when Ukraine did nothing themselves and continue to do nothing. I’m not saying that bullets must fly or bombs must be dropped, but again, I am troubled that a country did nothing in response to the infringement of their sovereignty by the invading troops.

    • Well, the Ukraine is really not in any position to respond. They have issues of their own to deal with.

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