Monday, March 3, 2014

Ukraine – Not a good time to be a student of history

While several Oblast governments have declared for Ukraine, there are still pro-Russian demonstrations working hard to create incidents in Odessa, Kharkiv and Donetsk.  The new government has appointed some of the oligarchs as governors of these Oblasts, e.g. the new governor of Dnipropetrovs’k is the owner of the biggest commercial bank in Ukraine, Privatbank.  These guys have the most to lose and the most power to bring people around.

Crimea’s new Russian-backed government is working to block all TV channels from Ukraine so Russia will have full control of the information that Crimeans receive.  Russia is claiming hundreds of thousands of refugees from Ukraine, though “no one has seen them cross the border” and there are only a few cars at the Kharkiv border crossing.  

Crimea seems to be a tourist attraction with people out strolling and taking pictures of the Russian and Ukrainian military staring at each other. We're going to hang out the washing on the Siegfried Line…then the Battle of France started and it wasn't fun anymore.

Russia has taken full military control of Crimea, with the exception of the Ukrainian navy and military bases.  They have been given to 5:00 am tomorrow to surrender or face full scale attack.  It is quite likely that there will be an incident in which several Russian soldiers will be killed by people in Ukrainian military uniforms to give the Russians an excuse.  The Gleiwitz incident, anyone?

Lavrov states that Ukraine must go back to the agreement that kept Yanukovych in power; this time with Russian army to makes sure he stays there.  That agreement was signed by the politicians doing the negotiating and some of it by Yanukovych but not the part about reverting to the 2004 constitution.  It was flatly rejected by Euromaidan protesters.  It is not going to happen that Ukraine will ever go back under Yanukovych.  It is a condition the Russians expect will be rejected.  The Austrian ultimatum to Serbia was expected to be rejected but was accepted all but a couple of minor details.  Austria declared war a few days later.  This summer is the 100th anniversary of that particular war.

There have been many suggestions that Ukraine should be split and the highly Russified south east put under Russian control etc to protect its citizens.  First off a majority even in those areas do NOT want to end up under Putin’s iron fist and secondly can you say “Peace in our time”?


Crimea and punishment

How will the West read Putin’s playbook?

Crimea offers few signs as yet of an invaded territory

West scrambles to counter Russia

From Financial Times, I think

From Financial Times


  1. Thank you for keeping us upated, Uncle Al. Did I hear that you guys are now without power, as well?

    Over here, this student of European history keeps watching, praying, and thinking too much about how this has all gone down before.

    1. Power was only out for an hour; normal repair work; happens usually on Saturdays but not always.
      Thanks for thinking about us.

    2. Oh good, I'm glad that it was just normal repair work. When you casually said on Facebook that the power was out and you were nearly out of battery, we worried that it was something long term!

    3. My computer is only good for a couple hours on battery

  2. I really appreciate your updates. Your daughter Kylee-Anne posts them on FB. I have a question though as I'm not as familiar with the history or politics of Eastern Europe. You refer to Oblast a few times. Could you explain what that means? Hope you and yours remain safe.

    1. Oblast is like province or state. Governor is appointed and in charge of administration; Council of Deputies is elected.

  3. Hang in there - stay safe
    the Ol'Buzzard

  4. I'm trying to keep up with reality from a lot of different sources, but dablogfodda is from a completely different perspective. I have been re reading a lot of history lately, Peter The Great's quest for a warm water Russian port is a great place to jump off...but the Ukraine has 40,000 years of trackable history. This is where horses were domesticated! I am posting one of the best Pharrell Williams Happy dance videos I have ever seen...from the streets of Kiev only a few weeks ago. You might have heard this song 10,000 times, but what a blast of positive energy!

  5. I have read one history of Peter the Great. Incredible man even if he built St Petersburg on the bodies of 100,000 serfs. Have read a number of ancient histories about this area of the world.
    The Horse, the Wheel, and Language is good. and thanks for the link.


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