World View: Ukraine's 'Separatist' Talk Threatens Ethnic Tatars
This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
- Ukraine's 'separatist' talk threatens ethnic Tatars
- U.S. expels three Venezuela diplomats in tit-for-tat reprisal
- Nigeria's Boko Haram kills 39 school students after army mysteriously withdraws
- China considers two new anti-Japanese national holidays
Ukraine's 'separatist' talk threatens ethnic Tatars
As we've discussed several times, western Ukraine is mostly populated
by Ukrainian-speaking ethnic Ukrainians, while eastern Ukraine is
mostly populated by Russian-speaking ethnic Russians. However, even
eastern Ukraine isn't entirely Russian, and although the Russian
language is spoken there, it's spoken with a Ukrainian accent.
The exception is the Crimea, the body of land at the bottom of
Ukraine, jutting into the Black Sea, and connected to mainland Ukraine
by a narrow strip of land. This is the most Russian part of Ukraine,
and the most Russian part of Crimea is the port of Sevastopol, a
strategically important naval port hosting Russia's Black Sea fleet.
This is the place to which deposed Ukrainian president Viktor
Yanukovych fled over the weekend, and he has not been seen publicly
since then. It's impossible to predict what will happen to Ukraine
from the current crisis, but one thing is certain: Russia will not let
go of Sevastopol.
Talk of "separatism" is high in Sevastopol. And we're not talking
about separatism of east Ukraine from west Ukraine. We're talking
about separation of Crimea from the rest of Ukraine. Sevastopol's
city council on Monday already demanded a referendum on rejoining what
they call "The Motherland."
The situation has become sufficiently alarming that even Moscow is
backing down a bit. Two days ago, Russia's prime minister Dmitry
Medvedev referred to the situation as "an armed uprising" by "people
with black masks strolling through Kiev with Kalashnikov rifles."
But on Tuesday, Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov was
considerably more subdued:
"We are using our contacts with the various political
forces at play in Ukraine in order to calm the situation down.
[It is] dangerous and counter-productive to try to force upon
Ukraine a choice on the principle of 'you are either with us or
against us'. We want Ukraine to be part of the European family in
every sense of the word."
Whether this reference to the "European family" represents a change in
policy remains to be seen, but it's certainly a change in rhetoric.
The possibility of Crimea rejoining Russia is of greatest concern to
the Tatars, a mostly Turkic language speaking Sunni Muslim ethnic
group, currently numbering around 300,000. Russia's dictator Josef
Stalin, who had already engineering the massive famine in Ukraine in
the 1930s, in 1944 deported 200,000 Tatars from Crimea, where they had
lived for millennia, to central Asia, accusing them of collaborating
with the Nazis. It was only in the 1980s and 1990s that the Tatars
returned in large numbers to Crimea, particularly after the collapse
of the Soviet Union and Ukraine's independence.
Tatars are concerned that a return to Russia rule would mean "the end
of the Crimean Tatars," according to one activist:
"If the violence in Ukraine were to spread to Crimea,
300,000 Crimean Tatars would come face to face with approximately
2 million Russians living there. Soldiers in Russia's Black Sea
Fleet in the port of Sevastopol are ready to invade Crimea. The
parliament of the Autonomous Region of Crimea is under the control
of Russia, is predominantly of Russian ethnicity and is against
the Crimean Tatar National Assembly and Crimean
CS Monitor and Telegraph (London) and Zaman (Istanbul)
U.S. expels three Venezuela diplomats in tit-for-tat reprisal
The U.S. State Department said that two first secretaries and a second
secretary at Venezuela's embassy in Washington had been declared
personae non gratae, and have been given 48 hours to leave the
country. The expulsion is tit-for-tat reprisal for Venezuela's
expulsion of three American diplomats last week. Venezuela's
president Nicolás Maduro expelled three U.S. diplomats last week on
accusations of recruiting students to hold violent, rock-throwing
protests against him. The U.S. Washington has rejected the claims as
Nigeria's Boko Haram kills 39 school students after army mysteriously withdraws
Gunmen from Nigeria's Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram ("Western
education is forbidden") stormed at 2 am Tuesday, and killed 29
pupils, all boys, many of whom were burnt to death by a fire. The
girls were spared, and were told to go home, get married, and abandon
Western education. The school was secular, and students were both
Christian and Muslim.
Outrage is growing in Nigeria because Boko Haram has killed thousands
of civilians, but the armed forces are failing to protect them, or
even respond to raids. In this case, there had been soldiers guarding
a checkpoint near the government school, but they were mysteriously
withdrawn hours before the attack. And then the terrorists were able
to continue their massacre for five hours, no troops or security
agents intervening. It's believed that the soldiers knew the attack
was coming, and then withdrew either because they wanted to support
the terrorists, or because they were afraid of being killed
themselves. BBC and CBS News
China considers two new anti-Japanese national holidays
Laws have been submitted to China's National People's Congress to add
two new holidays to the list of China's national holidays:
The proposed law is expected to pass. BBC and Bloomberg
- September 3 would be "Victory Day of the Chinese People's War
of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression," marking the end of World
War II for China.
- December 13 would be a "national memorial day to commemorate those
killed by Japanese aggressors during the Nanjing massacre," which took
place on December 13, 1937.
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