Thursday, February 27, 2014

Ukraine - Crimea Heats Up

The new cabinet has been named except for defense minister who will be chosen by the Afghan vets who served on the Maidan.  Yatsenyuk is PM, no surprise.  Need some experience as many of the cabinet are very green, which is exactly what people wanted.  We have had quite enough of “experienced” politicians, thank you very much.  

The Rada is now the sole legal authority in Ukraine.  There is still a quorum of elected deputies, though “useful idiots” in the internet press I read are spreading the word that many have been illegally replaced.  They haven’t, though quite a few Party of Regions Deputies have run for their lives and others have jumped ship.  The remaining Party of Regions is now acting as opposition and has raised some valid criticisms of events to date.

I do wish the useful idiots would shut up.  Some big shot who once wrote for the Wall Street Journal and has a great deal of experience with Russia academic and otherwise, has a blog post about Ukraine that reads like it was written by Russian Television News aka the Kremlin.

We are bankrupt.  There is $400,000 left in Treasury.  Over $70 billion has been transferred to offshore accounts over the past 3 years, plus $37 billion in loans arranged by government have simply gone missing.  So we are in hoc some $75 billion plus the $37 billion.  The hard part will be tracing the money and getting as much back as possible.  It was ever thus.  The criminals steal the country blind and the people have to pay for it.  I understand some of the frustration the Greeks feel.

The Autonomous Republic of Crimea which is 60% ethnic Russia is in turmoil, aided and abetted by the Russian FSB.  Sevastopol is a Russian city, on long term lease from Ukraine, home to the Russian Black Sea Fleet.  The good citizens of that city have appointed a new mayor, a Russian citizen.  The parliament buildings in Simferopol were seized by 120 professionals, armed with automatic weapons, RPGs and machine guns.  They are either Russians or ex-Berkut riot police. 

Hard to say if disbanding the Berkut was smart or not.  A great many of them call Crimea home.  I mean, if you are going to have a group of trained professionals to beat, torture and murder Ukrainians, who better than Russians.  And of course, vice versa, I am sure.  People are sometimes reluctant to turn on their own.  Putin has used troops from one part of Russia to quell protests in other parts; likely the same was done by the USSR.  So unemployed Berkut, with no love lost for the new government and owing first allegiance to Crimea may be a problem.

There is talk of going back to the 1992 Constitution which declared Crimea an independent Republic; that was forcibly scrapped a few years later for the current one which left it part of Ukraine.  Crimea has long been predicted as the next Georgia.  Russia is already promising to protect her citizens.  Hard to say if anyone wants WWIII or not.  I think they are just saying to the new guys in Kyiv, “You want to be government so bad?  Here, govern this!” and hope they make some serious mistakes.

A bit more history, geography, too, that I just learned.  Khrushchev is always accused of being drunk when he gave Crimea to Ukraine, which is of course, a not unheard of possibility.  Crimea was occupied by a great many peoples over the centuries.  The Crimean Khanate, sort of the last remnants of Genghis Khan’s armies was absorbed into the Ottoman Empire, where it stayed about 300 years.  Catherine put the Turks on the run in the last quarter of the 18th century at about the same time she squelched the last remnants of the Zaporizhzhia Cossacks and Ukrainian independence.  So Crimea has been Russian as long as much of Ukraine has been but was not considered part of Ukraine.

Source: Google Maps
However, the peninsula is almost an island.  The very narrow neck of land joining Crimea to the continent holds a highway, railway and most importantly a huge irrigation canal that makes agriculture possible on the barren steppe of Crimea.  I thought I had a picture but can't find it.  My understanding is that it also provides water to some of the cities along the coast but don’t hold me to it.  Given the importance of the canal to the economy, it made sense to have Crimea part of Ukraine back in the USSR.

There is also a highway and railway coming into Crimea from the north east but it crosses some bridges to get there.  One of the demands of the Crimean Russians is a bridge from Kerch across the narrow neck of water into the Sea of Azov.
Source: Wikipedia

I wish this would settle down as I would like to blog about kids and cats and stuff.


  1. I've thought about you many times as the situation develops or maybe deteriorates, as only time will tell.

  2. I wish it would, too, for your sake, but it's been interesting (if scary) to follow the situation through your blog. I dropped some of your links in the comments section of the Calgary Herald online on some of the articles they've done on the situation over there. I'm not sure if the links have been followed, but I gave it a try. :-)

  3. I'm missing hearing about the kids and cats, too, but I also really appreciate getting your simplified and balanced viewpoint on the issues as well. Please keep it up! (Though, I wouldn't complain if you threw in a few cat/dog/kid posts into the mix, too ;). )

  4. Thanks for the update. The details certainly make sense. This is going to take a while to sort out, and Russian sabre-rattling will not help the situation.

  5. Keep us informed.
    the Ol'Buzzard

  6. Where have you been young man we thought you were in hospital or worse?

    I've been following events live via Livestream. A special hat tip to all the Ukrainian translators we had that gave us an understanding of the situation. If it's okay I'd like to use some of your posts about the situation. You've filled in several blanks as to my understanding of the situation.

    1. Help yourself. I hope that others will forward them as well or take from them. I am no expert but have more clues than some of the stuff I have seen in the ultra left wing sites. Been away all day so am just catching up. Looking very scary right now.

    2. Thanks. They say the first casualty of war is the truth and I figure you have a better handle on it being there. And yes it is kind of scary. No trips to Kiev I take it.

    3. We were in Kyiv on Feb 18 but left before things heated up. Found out when we got home.


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