World View: Russia Declares the Autonomous Republic of Crimea
This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com:
- Russia declares the Autonomous Republic of Crimea
- Strategic consequences of Russia's conquest of Crimea
- North Korea fires short-range missiles into the sea
Russia declares the Autonomous Republic of Crimea
It appears that Russia has taken control of Crimea without firing a
shot and is referring to it as the "Autonomous Republic of Crimea,"
presumably with the intention of making it a puppet state of Moscow.
Ukraine's government in Kiev is only a few days old and seems to be
in disarray. So far, it's avoiding any strong military
overreaction that would provide Russia with an excuse for a further
military invasion, perhaps into eastern Ukraine beyond Crimea.
However, the government warned Sunday it was on the brink of disaster
and called up military reservists to counter Russia's threat to
Russia has appointed Sergey Aksyonov to prime minister of Crimea, and on Sunday
I believe that this day will go down in history of
the Autonomous Republic of Crimea as the day that all law
enforcement agencies were established in the autonomy. We will
prove that the Crimeans are capable of protecting themselves and
ensure the safety and freedom of our citizens.
Today the Autonomous Republic of Crimea is formed as an
independent, integral public authority. I am sure that all of us
will prove that we did not just come into power and that we can
give Crimeans what they expect from us.
We will never see 'Maidan' with their black smoke and burned tires
here. I responsibly promise that Crimea by May will be calm,
quiet, friendly. People of all nationalities will live here
This last paragraph is actually pretty funny. Aksyonov has absolutely
no clue whether Crimea will be "calm, quiet, friendly." No
national leader at any time or place in history can be sure of
avoiding widespread anti-government demonstrations that might result
in "black smoke and burned tires." A government can use violence and
torture to suppress demonstrations for a time, but even that doesn't
always work (as we see every day in Syria). Sooner or later the
pressure cooker explodes.
As I've written dozens of times, it's a basic principle of
Generational Dynamics that even in a dictatorship, major policies and
events are determined by masses of people, entire generations of
people, and not by politicians. What politicians say or do is
irrelevant, except insofar as their actions reflect the attitudes of
the people that they represent, and so politicians can neither cause
nor prevent the great events of history. So Aksyonov's claims are
There have been many comparisons of today's situation in Ukraine
to Russia's 2008 invasion of Georgia, when Russia annexed two
Georgian provinces in much the same way that Russia is now
But there was something noteworthy about the Georgian war that rarely
gets mentioned. Here's what I wrote in "Moscow Times: 'Russia Adds 2 New Countries to Its Map'" in 2008:
What's become clear in these three weeks is that
there isn't much visceral hatred between Georgians and
Russians. The Georgians are furious that the Russians are
occupying Georgian territory, but there's no genocidal fury
between these two ethnic groups.
What's also become clear, however, is that there is plenty of
genocidal fury between Georgians and Ossetians. These two ethnic
groups really hate each other, and either of them would gladly
exterminate the other.
Those relationships turned out to be the deciding factors in what
followed after the war ended. Russia and Georgia, both Orthodox
Christian nations, have gotten along pretty well since then, while
Muslim South Ossetia effectively joined North Ossetia to become part of
Russia's North Caucasus provinces. North and South Ossetia get along
well with Chechnya, Dagestan, and Russia's other North Caucasus
provinces, even though the Muslim Caucasians as a whole and the ethnic
Russians exhibit mutual vitriolic hatred almost on a daily basis.
Likewise, the future of Ukraine is going to be determined by the
relationships between the ethnic groups. There have been signs of
hatred between ethnic Ukrainians and ethnic Russians at the government
level. The new Kiev government voted to ban Russian as an official
language in the country, while the government in Moscow has been
referring to the Kiev government as "Nazis." But so far, I have not
discerned a great deal of hatred at the level of ordinary Ukrainians
and Russians (though it's early and it may simply not have shown
If there were only ethnic Russians and a few ethnic Ukrainians in
Crimea, then the hopes and dreams of Aksyonov for a "calm, quiet,
friendly" future might actually have a chance. But that's not
what you have.
You have two million ethnic Russians and 300,000 Muslim ethnic Tatars
living in Crimea. Russia's dictator Josef Stalin in 1944 deported
200,000 Tatars from Crimea, where they had lived for centuries, 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. The Tatars are scared to death of being under
the control of the Russians again, and so they're aligning themselves
with the government in Kiev. And the references in Moscow to "Nazis"
in Ukraine strike a very deep chord in the Tatar psyche. There is no
way that this relationship is going to be "calm, quiet and friendly."
Russia Today and AFP
Strategic consequences of Russia's conquest of Crimea
One website reader (BronxZionist) has kindly provided a list of some
of the possible strategic consequences of the Russian conquest of
- Putin won't be satisfied with just the Crimea and will also
take the Ukrainian portion of the Donbas.
- 300,000 Crimean Tatars will become refugees. Or perhaps they will
just "radicalize" and join the jihad going on in the Caucasus.
- 500,000 Ukrainians in Crimea will become refugees, putting a
burden on Ukraine and the EU at a wonderfully wrong moment.
- The above two will be aggravated if Putin seizes the Donbas
[Ukraine's large easternmost province, bordering on Russia] as well,
along with the Russians who will be under great pressure to abandon
homes in Ukraine.
- [Russia's president Vladimir] Putin will see there is nothing to
hinder him in making demands in regards to Transnistria [in Moldova,
along Ukraine's western border, another breakaway province occupied by
Russian troops], whether it be recognition of its independence or
outright annexation. That will of course further degrade the defensive
situation in the rump of Ukraine.
- Putin will see there is nothing to hinder him in whatever other
demands he wishes to make in expanding his Eurasian Union, effectively
recreating the Russian Empire. Or is that the Soviet Union?
- The U.S. and U.K. will lose considerable diplomatic "face" over
the Budapest Memorandum, much as the U.K. and France looked stupid and
found themselves "forced" to declare war after the dissolution of
Czechoslavakia and declaration of war on Poland in 1938 and 1939.
- The fallout from that will be even more severe when it comes to
getting countries to give up their WMD in exchange for
"guarantees". That will go down especially well in Syria, which of
course Putin will be in an even better position to supply.
- The EU will lose standing for not bailing Ukraine out.
- NATO will lose standing, particularly with the former Warsaw Pact
countries, and more with the Baltic states who have Russian minorities
to deal with.
- Putin will gain a major victory overall, making it much easier for
him to promise help to others who see that no one will stand up to
- China will note the utter lack of resolve on the part of the
U.S. and advance its claims in the South China Sea and the Senkaku
North Korea fires short-range missiles into the sea
North Korea fired two short-range Scud missiles into the sea off its
east coast Monday, with a range of 500 km. This was the second such
launch recently. On Thursday, North Korea fired four Scud missiles
from the same area. According to South Korea's Defense Ministry, the
missile firings are a reaction to the annual South Korean/U.S. joint
military exercises, and they're a violation of U.N. Security
Council resolutions that ban use of ballistic missile technology.
According to a South Korean spokesman:
"North Korea is taking a two-faced approach, showing
the reconciliatory peace gesture on the surface, while launching
provocations on the other hand," the spokesman said in a
briefing. "We sound a serious warning to North Korea, urging it to
In light of the border trespassing and short-range missile
launches, South Korean and U.S. forces have stepped up their
surveillance status to closely watch the North Korean military's
latest moves. We are ready to strike back if
A North Korean statement blamed the U.S.:
The United States is stepping up military
provocations, going against the tide of peace and eased tension on
the Korean Peninsula. The U.S. does not welcome improved
inter-Korean ties and is conducting all forms of maneuvers to
intensify confrontations between the two Koreas.
About 28,500 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea. Yonhap (Seoul)
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