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Thread: The situation in Ukraine?

  1. #1
    MangaHelper MH中毒 / MH Chuudoku / MH Addicted Josef K.'s Avatar
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    The situation in Ukraine?

    The country making headlines these days, Ukraine! Well Europe wants to stretch it;s political and economical boarders, the people will decide EU or Russia?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-25996453

    Has the Arab spring spread there? Are similar consequences about to follow? Russia will "lose" Ukraine?

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    Corporate 伝説メンバー / Densetsu / Legendary Member blai's Avatar
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    You're not paid to think;
    A mindless worker is a happy worker,
    so shut up and do your job.

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    Translator 上級員 / Jyoukuuin / Sr. Member cmertb's Avatar
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    Re: The situation in Ukraine?

    Russia can't "lose" what it never owned.

    I'm just hopeful that the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine may be finally finding their own political voice, without their corrupt elites who have betrayed them time after time. It's also worth mentioning that those corrupt regional elites are possible only because local governors are appointed from the capital rather than elected. Much of the responsibility for the current mess lies in the fact that Ukraine was never a truly democratic state in the 23 years of its existence -- democracy was sacrificed in favor of mythical "unity".

    If the leaders of the Kiev coup are serious about preserving Ukraine's territorial integrity, what they need to do NOW is to offer Russian as a state language equal to Ukrainian and either federalization of the whole country or just a broad autonomy to the Southeast so it doesn't have to finance the rabidly nationalist West anymore and can democratically elect its own leadership. It's still too early in the game and tensions can be defused with just that. If the coup leaders don't choose this route, their only hope has to be that the Russians will go back to their usual slumber. However, one national trait of all Russians (and I use the term broadly) is that they are predictably unpredictable and full of surprises, even to themselves -- whatever expectations you may have of them, they will be sure to crush them. So I wouldn't bet either way.
    我は怠惰そのものである。

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    Horosho 伝説メンバー / Densetsu / Legendary Member Kaiten's Avatar
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    Re: The situation in Ukraine?

    Quote Originally Posted by cmertb View Post
    Russia can't "lose" what it never owned.
    Wat?!

    The Crimea was part of Russia from 1783 until 1954. It was transferred from the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic by decree in 1954. The Crimea was historically Russian territory, it was lost, and about half of the population identify as Russian nationals, not Ukrainian.

    Quote Quote:
    I'm just hopeful that the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine may be finally finding their own political voice, without their corrupt elites who have betrayed them time after time. It's also worth mentioning that those corrupt regional elites are possible only because local governors are appointed from the capital rather than elected. Much of the responsibility for the current mess lies in the fact that Ukraine was never a truly democratic state in the 23 years of its existence -- democracy was sacrificed in favor of mythical "unity".
    If only real life were so simple. Ukraine only has a limited history of independence. Most of it's modern history has been as a component of larger empires. The Golden Horde, Poland-Lithuania, Imperial Russia, and USSR. The modern state was developed in a piecemeal manner. The eastern boundaries were set after the Russian Civil War, the western boundaries were not set until after World War II, and the Crimea added in 1954. National identity is not created that quickly. Democracy can not simply be imposed on a state and expected to work smoothly. Dismembering Ukraine along national lines would not have improved the quality of government, decreased corruption, or fostered stronger identification with the state. Imperial collapse is a messy process. It has been less than a generation since the USSR collapsed. The former Republics had all also been part of Imperial Russia, some for hundreds of years. Local institutions, legitimacy, and national identity can not be forged in 23 years after hundreds of years of imperial rule. It simply is not possible.

    Territorial integrity is a pillar of modern international politics, established as long ago in the Treaty of Westphallia (1648). Allowing sovereign territory to be transferred indiscriminately would be disastrous, threatening a return to the politics of the late middle ages. Borders would become fluid, national sovereignty crippled across most of the world, with wars breaking out under the flimsiest of pretexts. National movements would be used as a pretext to invade strategically important territory and natural resources in neighboring countries. Nationalist movements exist all over the world. States can not be dismembered to satisfy every nationalist movement. The world would descend into chaos.

    Quote Quote:
    If the leaders of the Kiev coup are serious about preserving Ukraine's territorial integrity, what they need to do NOW is to offer Russian as a state language equal to Ukrainian and either federalization of the whole country or just a broad autonomy to the Southeast so it doesn't have to finance the rabidly nationalist West anymore and can democratically elect its own leadership. It's still too early in the game and tensions can be defused with just that. If the coup leaders don't choose this route, their only hope has to be that the Russians will go back to their usual slumber. However, one national trait of all Russians (and I use the term broadly) is that they are predictably unpredictable and full of surprises, even to themselves -- whatever expectations you may have of them, they will be sure to crush them. So I wouldn't bet either way.
    Erasing 200 years of history is not that simple. Recognizing Russian as an official language will not be close to enough for Russian nationals in the Crimea to begin identifying with the Ukrainian state. There is no reason to believe Russia will back down based on such a superficial gesture.

    The Russian state is not unpredictable. Putin has established a distinct political platform since coming to power, and has followed it very closely over the last 15 years. He was first elected during the Chechnyan War, promising stability, safety, and national unity. He has long promised to protect Russian minorities in former Soviet Republics. He is a conservative who places a high premium on ensuring maintenance of the global status quo. His support for former President Yanukovych is in line with his support for other global leaders challenged by popular uprisings, including Syria and Libya. Russian troop movements in Crimea are not without recent precedent. Putin ordered Russian troops into South Ossetia and Abkhazia in 2008, Russian majority enclaves in the Republic of Georgia. Crimea is a territory of a major strategic importance for Russia. Since the time of Peter the Great, securing and maintaining a naval facility that is ice free all year has been central to Russian foreign policy. That remains a guiding principle to this day. The Crimea is Russia's most important naval facility. After the Maidan Revolution it was almost inevitable that Russia moved to secure such a strategically important territory. Putin's actions, so far, have been extremely predictable.

  5. #5
    MH's Most Awesome Staffer 英雄メンバー / Eiyuu Menbaa / Hero Member Ustegius's Avatar
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    Re: The situation in Ukraine?

    Things are getting really tense. Ukraine has started to mobilize reserve troops. Anti-Ukraine news/propaganda is leaking from Russia (Most hilarious of which this far has been a news insert about Ukrainians fleeing for safety to Russia, while the images of the lines of cars and wandering people are clearly from Ukraine-Poland border station Sehyn).

    Latest tidbit seems, that the commander of Ukraining Navy (who was appointed yesterday) has announced that he will take orders only from Crimean area goverment.

    I seriously hope this can be settled without military conflict.

  6. #6
    Translator 上級員 / Jyoukuuin / Sr. Member cmertb's Avatar
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    Re: The situation in Ukraine?

    Kaiten:

    The OP was talking about Russia "losing" Ukraine, not Crimea. I'm explaining that since the breakup of USSR, Russia hasn't owned Ukraine, regardless of how the media insists on calling Yanukovich a "pro-Russian" president, which he obviously never was -- his voters were hoping he would be, but he betrayed them, as did Kuchma before him. This is typical of Ukrainian politics throughout history starting with the war of independence. Thus, there is nothing for Russia to lose here except the hope and trust of Russian-speaking Ukrainians.

    I don't know why anyone would want to bring up territorial integrity as a principle of international law after the Kosovo precedent. In any case, as you rightly point out, the current border was artificially created as an internal administrative boundary, and since the Soviet generation is still alive, it's too early to start applying international law here. Having said that, federalization or autonomy is the minimum that would satisfy Russia, Russian Ukrainians and preserve Ukraine's territorial integrity. Unfortunately, the Kiev junta are not statesmen, so they will never agree to it.

    Neither S.Ossetia or Abkhazia are precedents because they did not in fact have a Russian majority or any significant number of Russians at all. These were two de facto independent states who had fought to free themselves from Georgia, and pretty much begged Russia to recognize them for 15 years. Russia finally recognized them only because Georgia went too far in pissing Russia off, plus the Kosovo precedent. Even now, Russia still refuses to consider annexing S.Ossetia, despite of two or three referendums where Ossetians were almost unanimously in favor of it.

    The situation in Crimea is the very first time in Russian history that Russia moved for nationalistic reasons -- i.e. to help compatriots. No one saw it coming. NO ONE. Even in Russia. I don't want to go into Russian politics now, but this is so unlike Russia everyone had gotten used to, no one knows what to make of it. If this indicates a turn from imperialism to nationalism (these are technical terms, not judgmental), repercussions could be huge.

    Ustegius:

    Ukrainian mobilization means exactly nothing at this point because a) people aren't exactly willing to get mobilized -- i.e. practically no one showed up; b) it only uses the mythical Russian "invasion" as a pretext, its real goal to get some kind of a fighting force together against the separatists of the Southeast; c) right now many units are simply refusing to obey the order to move out. Also, I wouldn't call this "fleeing", but the number of Ukrainians applying for permanent residency in Russia has tripled in the last quarter, that's a fact. The picture shown on TV has nothing to do with it, they always get something from image/video banks that could be marginally related. Like they showed riots in Nepal when doing stories about some Tibetan protests in China. Or the CNN showing riots in Athens when there were protests in Moscow. Although in the case of western media, it's more likely a case of deliberate falsification rather than carelessness.
    我は怠惰そのものである。

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    MangaHelper MH中毒 / MH Chuudoku / MH Addicted Josef K.'s Avatar
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    Re: The situation in Ukraine?

    Losing Ukraine in terms of influence tho, Russia does not want the EU/NATO so close to it's boarders, with a big country like Ukraine under "western influence". Remember the anti-missile shield? After the fall of the Soviet bloc, Ukraine was pro-Russian still, at least generally speaking.

    Remember Yugoslavia? Remember Kosovo? Russia always wants to prance it's influence, in the UN even more so, sadly tho I disapprove of any western or Russian involvement in Ukraine.

    As Kaiten said if every nationalist movement rises up in this world, the world would be divided into thousands of little pieces. It's an absurd scenario to even think of. I do think however that Russia made a bad move now, it has made things worst.

  8. #8
    Translator 上級員 / Jyoukuuin / Sr. Member cmertb's Avatar
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    Re: The situation in Ukraine?

    Ukraine was neither "pro-Russian" nor "pro-western", all of it was nothing but talk. The reality was that Ukraine had always tried to milk both cows at the same time, regardless of who was in power. On Yanuk's watch the game couldn't be played anymore because all the previous betrayals and turnarounds completely destroyed Ukraine's credibility with both Russia and EU. And America, of course, never cared about Ukraine itself, it was just a tool they were using to stick it to Putin.

    Given the direction things were headed, I don't know if Russia made things worse. First of all, for whom and in what way? The Crimeans seem happy. Their favorite pastime the last couple of days is taking selfies with Russian marines. Well, Obama is deeply embarrassed, but he brought it upon himself. How would things have developed without Russians?
    我は怠惰そのものである。

  9. #9
    Horosho 伝説メンバー / Densetsu / Legendary Member Kaiten's Avatar
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    Re: The situation in Ukraine?

    Quote Originally Posted by cmertb View Post
    Kaiten:

    The OP was talking about Russia "losing" Ukraine, not Crimea. I'm explaining that since the breakup of USSR, Russia hasn't owned Ukraine, regardless of how the media insists on calling Yanukovich a "pro-Russian" president, which he obviously never was -- his voters were hoping he would be, but he betrayed them, as did Kuchma before him. This is typical of Ukrainian politics throughout history starting with the war of independence. Thus, there is nothing for Russia to lose here except the hope and trust of Russian-speaking Ukrainians.
    How exactly did he "betray" Russia? This whole mess started when he rejected an economic pact with the EU in favor of one with Russia.

    Quote Quote:
    I don't know why anyone would want to bring up territorial integrity as a principle of international law after the Kosovo precedent. In any case, as you rightly point out, the current border was artificially created as an internal administrative boundary, and since the Soviet generation is still alive, it's too early to start applying international law here. Having said that, federalization or autonomy is the minimum that would satisfy Russia, Russian Ukrainians and preserve Ukraine's territorial integrity. Unfortunately, the Kiev junta are not statesmen, so they will never agree to it.
    Crimea already has special autonomous status.

    ---------- Post added at 05:56 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:50 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by cmertb View Post
    Given the direction things were headed, I don't know if Russia made things worse. First of all, for whom and in what way? The Crimeans seem happy. Their favorite pastime the last couple of days is taking selfies with Russian marines. Well, Obama is deeply embarrassed, but he brought it upon himself. How would things have developed without Russians?
    "Crimeans" are not an ethnic group. The primary nationalities are Russian, Ukrainian, and Tartar. The Russians make up just over 50% of the population. They may seem happy, at the moment, but I imagine the other 48% of the population are not thrilled.

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    MangaHelper MH中毒 / MH Chuudoku / MH Addicted Josef K.'s Avatar
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    Re: The situation in Ukraine?

    Ukraine was not under Russian or more so old Soviet influence after it separated? Him and him. All former communist states had influence from the Soviet Union in their first years, I mean political influence. For example people chose leaders that were close to the communist party, and such was the case in Ukraine.

    The first 8 years of independence in my country had an old Communist elite running it. So yeah I don't think Ukraine had a start that was purely neutral in terms of "leaning" towards.

  11. #11
    Translator 上級員 / Jyoukuuin / Sr. Member cmertb's Avatar
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    Re: The situation in Ukraine?

    Kaiten, you need to read more carefully so you can respond to what I write, not to what you imagine I write. I said Yanukovich betrayed his electorate. He promised Russian as a state language, but he didn't deliver because he tried to pander to the rabidly nationalist part of the country that hated him anyway. He allowed nationalist groups to flourish while he crushed any political force in the Southeast other than PoR. You may look up a certain Markov, who got arrested right before the latest "revolution" on trumped up charges. His final betrayal, of course, was the cowardly surrender to the right wing coup. If you want to discuss how Yanukovich betrayed the trust of Russia, it's a separate question and I'm not really interested in it right now.

    Crimea had autonomous status only on paper. It didn't have any more rights than other regions of Ukraine. The prime minister of Crimea was in effect appointed by the president of Ukraine, not elected. The tax regime was identical. Educational policies were identical. The right to elect their own president was stripped from the Crimeans in 1998. All it has to show for its "autonomy" is a meaningless constitution, anthem whose words no one knows, and some other similar trinkets. Also, if you look at the map, you might notice that the Southeast of Ukraine contains 8 more regions in addition to Crimea, all of which require real autonomy (or better, one autonomy for all of them).

    You're also confusing this as ethnic Russian vs ethnic Ukrainian issue. Most Russian-speaking ethnic Ukrainians in the Southeast are with ethnic Russians on this, not with the Kiev junta. Even the Tatars have come out in favor of the new Crimean government, especially since they were given a few positions in it. The referendum on Marsh 30 will show where everyone stands.

    ---------- Post added at 05:37 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:35 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Josef K. View Post
    Ukraine was not under Russian or more so old Soviet influence after it separated? Him and him.
    Two Kuchmas? But I already discussed this. The answer is still no.
    我は怠惰そのものである。

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    MangaHelper MH中毒 / MH Chuudoku / MH Addicted Josef K.'s Avatar
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    Re: The situation in Ukraine?

    Quote Originally Posted by cmertb View Post
    Two Kuchmas? But I already discussed this. The answer is still no.
    Sorry my link failed. I meant Kuchma and him. He was member of the communist party of the Soviet Union. Old regimes take time to be phased out, ofc Nazi Germany was a totally rebuild. In the Soviet World and Yugoslavia nothing was radically changed, the policies were there. It's impossible to think that after the Orange revolution Ukraine was completely without "Russian" influence, the old system was already dug in deep.

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    Horosho 伝説メンバー / Densetsu / Legendary Member Kaiten's Avatar
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    Re: The situation in Ukraine?

    Quote Quote:
    Even the Tatars have come out in favor of the new Crimean government, especially since they were given a few positions in it. The referendum on Marsh 30 will show where everyone stands.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...hey-important/
    Last edited by Kaiten; March 02, 2014 at 08:04 PM.

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    MangaHelper MH中毒 / MH Chuudoku / MH Addicted Josef K.'s Avatar
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    Re: The situation in Ukraine?

    lol, since when is having a foreign military in your country fun?

    Russia made a bad move since they are power playing it in Ukraine, using an old dispute for their current means. Why all this now? Simple, it's a crisis, let's see what we can gain.

    http://www.kyivpost.com/content/ukra...ty-338102.html

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    Translator 上級員 / Jyoukuuin / Sr. Member cmertb's Avatar
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    Re: The situation in Ukraine?

    I'm glad you're able to google up someone's wishful thinking. Here's the reality as of yesterday: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vq1ocQxLdH0 (this guy is a Tatar, and sorry about very poor translation). Here's another Tatar organization denouncing maidan back in November: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQ0nQEuA2Qs (sorry, no translation, but if you're genuinely interested in this topic, I'm sure you'll figure out how to get it translated).

    This is not to say that all Tatars are happy about the current Crimean situation, but they are minority of the total Tatar population, which in itself is 10% (iirc) of the Crimean population.

    Like I said, the measure of the population's happiness will be the March 30 referendum, not wishful thinking of an American newspaper.

    ---------- Post added at 09:06 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:48 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Josef K. View Post
    lol, since when is having a foreign military in your country fun?
    If you don't consider that said military "foreign" and in fact view them as liberators, then... {complete the thought yourself} I apologize for being Captain Obvious.

    Here's a fresh video of Crimeans in Feodosiya explaining the situation to a Ukrainian pro-junta channel: http://youtu.be/3DBdh1HFgvg?t=35s Luckily for you, someone posted an English translation in the comments:

    Spoiler show


    Quote Quote:
    Russia made a bad move since they are power playing it in Ukraine, using an old dispute for their current means.
    You're not really answering the question. For whom is it bad?

    One minor problem with claims here is that a memorandum is not a treaty, so it's not binding. Second minor problem is that no one has ratified it.

    But the major problem is that Yanukovich is still the legitimate president http://blog.fluenthistorian.com/2014...nt-of-ukraine/ and he doesn't mind. Russia does not recognize the current junta as the government of Ukraine (and Russia is absolutely correct from the point of view of law).

    I would suggest that the junta are the last people who should get legalistic here. Of course, in our real world might makes right, so it's really all about whether they'll be able to suppress all opposition and then force Russia to deal with reality of their victory.
    我は怠惰そのものである。

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