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Another Moscow Land Grab?

February 20th, 2014 - 3:10 pm

Is Vladimir Putin planning on seizing parts of Ukraine — most likely the Crimea, a “gift” of Russian territory from Khrushchev to the old Ukraine SSR — under pretext of restoring the peace? That’s one theory:

The methods the Kremlin “has used and will use in the future” are trade wars, the development of ‘a fifth column’ within the countries it wants to subordinate, and “as they say in Tbilisi, “the borderization of seized places des armes,” Samar says. With regard to Ukraine, Moscow has already done the first, is doing the second, and is setting the stage for the third.

A week ago in the same paper, she notes, Andreas Umland described what Russian “humanitarian intervention” in Ukraine and called on the European Union to prevent Moscow from launching a Georgian scenario in Ukraine in general (gazeta.zn.ua/internal/es-dolzhen-predotvratit-gruzinskiy-scenariy-v-ukraine-_.html).

The dangers he pointed to are already very much in evidence in Crimea, a place where Russian intervention is easier and cheaper than anywhere else because of the presence of the Russian naval base from which provocations can be launched and of the complicated history of the region, a history that Moscow will use to present itself as the only force available to end the inter-ethnic conflict it is provoking and to defend the world from “Islamic terrorists.”

Putin certainly set the template in Georgia, where the “contested” border areas are now firmly in his grip. But the Crimea is a bigger chunk to tear off than little Abkhazia or South Ossetia — however its of much bigger importance as well.

More at the link. Check it out.

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All Comments   (6)
All Comments   (6)
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I don't think Russia's going to grab Crimea in the short term. The protesters were originally protesting the pro-Russia stance of the current government. I'm sure there's quite a bit of Ukrainian pride attached to Crimea, so they would oppose any kind of transfer to Russia (not to mention the Crimean Tartars). If Putin grabs Crimea it would completely discredit the current Ukrainian government, likewise if the Ukrainian government hands it over.

Far better for Putin to keep working to support a pro-Russia government. It gives him the benefit of grabbing Crimea without creating a permanently hostile and Western-aligned Ukraine on his border.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
I remember back when Ukraine declared independence, I suppose around the time of Bush 41's "Chicken Kiev" speech, I said to some (and NO Russo-phile am I by any stretch) that it would probably be a good idea for Russia to grab the Crimea then, and for the US to stay muted about it.

Fact is, Kruschev handed to Crimea over to Ukraine basically on a whim. He was a communist leader and thus could say "I can do whatever I want" [ahem]. So for whatever political advantage he was out to secure at the time, he did it, knowing that in the big Soviet picture it made little difference. He, of course, could not fathom 1991.

The Russian claim to Crimea is a valid and centuries old one, and it's strategic importance is indisputable. There are times that containing a massive world power is like a steam boiler... tighten it down to the max and you can cause a catastrophic blow-out, as opposed to bowing to the power of the steam to some extent and accounting for it in design.

I knew Crimea was going to be an issue before long. I totally knew it, and no genuis am I. Now, if Putin gains it, it will be seen as some grand strategic victory for him (a la the Rhineland), as opposed to essentially a gift to the defeated from the (more far-sighted) victors that it would have been 20 years ago.

Lost opportunity, current problem. That's profoundly unfortunate.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
The closing ceremony is Sunday. Monday everyone leaves. The tanks will roll on Tuesday.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ugh. Putin's playing hardball on a three dimensional chess board while we're over here playing bean bag.

BTW: Where do these politicians come up w/ these metaphors (politics ain't beanbag, whacko birds)? Who talks like that?
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's from the Politics of the 80s & 90s (1880s &90s).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finley_Peter_Dunne
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment

The eastern part of Ukraine (including the Crimea) isn't "the Ukraine". It's Russian--they took it from the Tatars, fair and square. I don't think Ukraine can hang on to that and remain independent.

27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
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