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Bryan Preston


March 13, 2014 - 12:43 pm

The Washington Post produced this map back in December to explain Ukraine’s protests. The Post explained the protests as the result of ethnic divisions, diversity not being a source of strength in Ukraine. Ethnic Ukrainians in the red sections resented the pro-Russian president and his policies. They wanted to look west and join the EU and NATO. He wanted to look east and join Russia’s Eurasian Union. Moscow also wants Ukraine in that union, not the EU or NATO. The brown section at the bottom is Crimea. Russia already controls that and Sunday’s vote stands to formalize its annexation to Russia. It’s majority Russian, and also home to Sevastopol, Russia’s sole warm-water navy base.

Putin bases the logic of his Crimea invasion on a need to protect the Russian majority who live there. They were under no actual threat from the Kiev government. Putin is reportedly massing troops along the Russia-Ukraine border, in the upper right corner of this map and down to the south in the hand-shaped area near Rostov, again ostensibly to protect the Russians who live in the yellow-brown striped zone on the Ukraine side of the border.

wapo-ethnic groups


Ukraine Energy produced this map of the country’s energy deposits.



Let’s do a quick and dirty overlay of the energy map onto the ethnic division map.



The majority of Ukraine’s energy production fields just happen to lie in or near the region dominated by ethnic Russians whom Putin wants to “protect.”

Russia is one of the world’s top energy producers, and it dominates energy production in Eurasia. Ukraine is a major regional producer of coal, natural gas and oil. Most of Ukraine’s energy production zones are within easy reach of Russia. Russia’s economy depends on proceeds from its energy production. Energy production is Russia’s #1 export.

Let’s look at one more map. Chuck DeVore created it, and Josh Trevino posted it on Facebook. It’s a speculative look at paths the Russian military might be expected to take into Ukraine, based on where Putin is reportedly massing his forces and where the ethnic Russians live.


Ukraine’s eastern energy production zones would be among the first prizes that the Russians would capture. Putin could then be expected to consolidate his positions, check international reaction, and should the Ukraine counter militarily, use that as an excuse to resume offensive operations aimed at seizing the rest of Ukraine including its western energy production fields.

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.

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All Comments   (5)
All Comments   (5)
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Energy is the goal, ethnicity is the weapon.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Objective?: Twenty steps forward, no steps back; just stop for awhile and then repeat elsewhere.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is very illuminating. The question is: how far can Putin push before his action cross some line (red or otherwise)…the problem is that if Putin does seize these additional lands (after successfully acquiring Crimea), his hand gets stronger. Meaning, the outcry against his aggression will actually lessen because he will then hold all of the energy cards.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
One wonders when the Federal Republic of Mexico will decide to protect the predominately Mexican population of the Southwest United States by occupying Alta California?

STILL think a "Path to Citizenship" is a good idea?

Are we ready to start deporting illegals yet?
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
You need one more map, or set of maps to overlay with that, showing the evolution of the political boundaries.
This is by no means complete, but:
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth at greatest extant:
Note that Kiev is a Polish city. It was taken by Russia in the mid-17th century, but remained heavily Polish until the mid-19th century.

The Crimean (Tatar) Khanate:
Note that it includes the Donbas and Black Sea coast.
It was taken by the Russians in 1774, and "New Russia" was established in the region. Its borders:

Then there are the Partitions of Poland:
Note that the second corresponds to "central Ukraine", while the third includes those western areas with particular minorities.

Finally there is Moldavia, specifically Bessarabia and Bukovina:
That history is a real mess throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, but again shows clearly on the modern ethno-linguistic map.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
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