Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Background on Russia's war on Ukraine

Some of this has been covered before.

1. The Russian empire/USSR was land based unlike for example the British Empire.  It was not greedy for territory, only wanting what was next to its borders at any given time.  Access to year-round salt water ports was limited to the Baltic and Black Seas and the Far East.  The Baltic and Black Seas are bottlenecks and the Far East is just that - far.

2. Russia has always suffered from xenophobia, especially where the West was concerned.  When Constantinople was taken by the Ottomans, the intellectuals fled to Italy, helping spark the Renaissance, which the churchmen fled to Orthodox Russia taking with them a (well-earned) distrust of Western Europe.  There were times in Russian Tsarist history when even thinking about traveling abroad was considered treason.  This anti-Western-ism manifest itself again in Soviet times and is being pushed to new levels of hysteria under Putin.

3. Putin, certainly, and Russia in general, never accepted the breakup of the USSR into 15 new independent countries of which Russia was simply the largest.  Rather the 14 new independent states are viewed as breakaway provinces, much as China views Taiwan. Putin seems intent on recreating the empire as it was in the early 20th century.

4. There seems to be some kind of Russian mindset that people are unable to think or organize politically for themselves.  Everything is a conspiracy.  The CIA organized the Orange Revolution and EuroMaidan.  Yatsenyuk is PM because Victoria Nuland wanted him to be. (Actually it is because we wanted him to be - Tanya and I said several days before Nuland did that he would be a better PM than Klitschko.)

5. Anyone who thinks differently, does not agree with, or opposes Putin in any way is branded as a fifth columnist, traitor or foreign agent under the control of the CIA etc. This black/white, we/they view of the world is not unique to Putin but is a characteristic of other populist leaders who border on authoritarianism eg Erdogan in Turkey "WE are Turkish; who are you?"

6. Putin's vision for Russia has been called "Eurasianism" (see 1984 for irony).  Russia, (with Putin at the helm for life), is the heart of conservative Christian values fighting against the decadence of the liberal democratic West.  America and the EU are his sworn enemies because they stand in his way of establishing Russian hegemony "from Lisbon to Vladivostok".

7. Russia accuses everyone else of being fascists and neo-Nazis, however ultra-nationalism is dangerously on the rise in Russia and is condoned if not encouraged by the Kremlin.  You can also draw your own conclusions about how the country is governed.  Putin actively supports extreme right wing parties in the EU eg France, Hungary, Britain, Greece, Austria etc because they hate the EU and strengthening them weakens the EU.

8. While the Kremlin has been harassing the Baltic states since their independence, Putin has begun preparing a Ukrainian type intervention by claiming that Russians in the three countries are being deprived of their rights, requiring Moscow to step in.  Please read these two articles here and here. They are important to convince people that Ukraine, regardless of what happens here, is not the end of it. Keep in mind that everything Russia falsely accuses others of doing, it is actually doing itself.


5 comments:

  1. I appreciate your insight. You are always worth reading.
    the Ol'Buzzard

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  2. An Eastern European friend went to school in Moscow....Putin was a student in the school. This friend was so disappointed when he came back. The description of him given by my friend is of an evil leader-and that description appears to have been accurate from what I have seen. It is so interesting to see the world from a source other than a US media outlet. Thanks for the on-the scene information.

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    Replies
    1. An evil leader was a good character description

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  3. I don't know what to think....

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