World View: Putin Gives Angry, Nationalistic Speech Annexing Crimea to Russia

World View: Putin Gives Angry, Nationalistic Speech Annexing Crimea to Russia

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Putin announces the annexation of Crimea to the Russian Federation
  • Furious Vladimir Putin expresses contempt for the West
  • Putin’s spokesman signals plans to invade eastern Ukraine
  • Report: Chechnya terrorist leader Doku Umarov is dead

Putin announces the annexation of Crimea to the Russian Federation

In a speech to the Duma Tuesday, Russia’s president VladimirPutin announced that Russia will annex Crimea.

In order to understand why this choice was made, itis enough to know the history of the Crimea, and know what Russiameans for the Crimea and what Crimea means to Russia.

There is ancient Chersonesos there, where Holy Prince Vladimir wasbaptized. His spiritual struggle – an appeal to Orthodoxy -predestined common cultural values and [a] civilizational frameworkthat will unite the peoples of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. In theCrimea, there are graves of the Russian soldiers, with whosecourage the Crimea was taken into the Russian state in 1783. TheCrimea is Sevastopol, a legendary city of great destiny, afortress city and the birthplace of the Russian Black Sea Navy.

During all these years, many citizens and many public figures haveraised this issue, saying that the Crimea is a native Russian landand that Sevastopol is a Russian city.

One might almost have sympathy for Putin’s arguments if the Crimeanreferendum hadn’t been conducted under gunpoint of a Russian invasion,with Ukrainian supporters beaten up or locked up, justifying theRussian invasion because some Russian citizens were being attacked byNationalists, neo-Nazis, and Russophobes. By Putin’s logic, Turkeycould invade Germany because some Turkish citizens have been attackedby German neo-Nazis. In fact, by Putin’s logic, any country whosecitizens are attacked by any terrorists in any other country has aright to invade that country, to “protect its citizens” from “theterrorists.”

I would have more sympathy for Putin, but my opinion of him isstrongly colored by my overwhelming disgust at the situation in Syria and Putin’s support of Bashar al-Assad. As I’ve said in the past,it’s like the TV show Criminal Minds, which dwells on scenes ofrape, torture, and mutilation. But al-Assad and Putin are performingCriminal Minds scripts on an “industrial strength” scale, bombinginnocent women and children with barrel bombs, sarin gas, and anyother heavy weapons al-Assad can get his hands on from Putin, in hiscampaign to exterminate all Sunnis in Syria. Al-Assad is a warcriminal, and Putin is also a war criminal for supplying weapons toal-Assad.

So when I hear war criminal Putin say that he’s going to protectRussian citizens from “terrorists” and “neo-Nazis” (i.e. Ukrainians),it takes me back to the beginning of the Syrian civil war, and I feelwe’re going down the same path. And so do a lot of other people.Pravda (Moscow) and Tauric Chersonesos

Furious Vladimir Putin expresses contempt for the West

A furious Vladimir Putin made it pretty clear how contemptuous he wasof Western politicians, in Europe and the U.S. It’s well known thatPutin believes that the European Union and President Barack Obama liedto him several times, particularly in the context of the Libyan war in2011. (Not hard to believe.) Russia and China abstained on the votefor a no-fly zone in Libya based on the promise of no militaryintervention, which Putin believes was a lie.

As I wrote in 2011, Russia adopted a policy of usingthe United Nations Security Council to cripple American and Westernforeign policy. Putin has been incredibly successful with thispolicy, by vetoing one Security Council resolution after another, evenresolutions mildly criticizing Bashar al-Assad.

So today we’re seeing the culmination of Putin’s successful policy.Western foreign policy is crippled by Putin’s policy, but Putininvades Crimea with no Security Council resolution.

In his speech on Tuesday, Putin clearly expressed his uttercontempt for the West:

Like a mirror, the situation in Ukraine reflects whatis going on and what has been happening in the world over the pastseveral decades. After the dissolution of bipolarity on theplanet, we no longer have stability. Key internationalinstitutions are not getting any stronger; on the contrary, inmany cases, they are sadly degrading. Our western partners, led bythe United States of America, prefer not to be guided byinternational law in their practical policies, but by the rule ofthe gun. They have come to believe in their exclusivity andexceptionalism, that they can decide the destinies of the world,that only they can ever be right. They act as they please: hereand there, they use force against sovereign states, buildingcoalitions based on the principle “If you are not with us, you areagainst us.” To make this aggression look legitimate, they forcethe necessary resolutions from international organizations, and iffor some reason this does not work, they simply ignore the UNSecurity Council and the UN overall.

This happened in Yugoslavia; we remember 1999 very well. It washard to believe, even seeing it with my own eyes, that at the endof the 20th century, one of Europe’s capitals, Belgrade, was undermissile attack for several weeks, and then came the realintervention. Was there a UN Security Council resolution on thismatter, allowing for these actions? Nothing of the sort. And then,they hit Afghanistan, Iraq, and frankly violated the UN SecurityCouncil resolution on Libya, when instead of imposing theso-called no-fly zone over it they started bombing it too.

There was a whole series of controlled “color” revolutions.Clearly, the people in those nations, where these events tookplace, were sick of tyranny and poverty, of their lack ofprospects; but these feelings were taken advantage ofcynically. Standards were imposed on these nations that did not inany way correspond to their way of life, traditions, or thesepeoples’ cultures. As a result, instead of democracy and freedom,there was chaos, outbreaks in violence and a series ofupheavals. The Arab Spring turned into the ArabWinter.

Putin is saying something I’ve said many times before in the contextof a Generational Dynamics analysis. The survivors of World War IIcreated the United Nations, the World Health Organization, theInternational Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the RockefellerFoundation (Green Revolution), and other international organizationsnot only to prevent a new world war, but also to end poverty andstarvation and to improve health. Only WWII survivors couldaccomplish these things. But today, with the WWII survivors gone,it’s almost impossible to accomplish by compromise. The only thing -the ONLY thing – that works today is military force. Washington Post

Putin’s spokesman signals plans to invade eastern Ukraine

Two weeks ago, Vladimir Putin promised not to “consider” annexingCrimea. That promise was broken within two days.

In his speech Tuesday, Vladimir Putin said that Russia has no plansto invade eastern Ukraine. But his spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, wasinterviewed on the BBC Tuesday, and said in effect the opposite (mytranscription):

First of all, we do expect some measures from thosepeople who are calling [themselves] the Ukrainian government.

And we do expect western community backing those people to takeeffective measures in order to protect those people living in theeastern regions of Ukraine. Because at the same time, we’rereceiving reports about clashes in Kharkov, it’s an eastcity of Ukraine, in eastern region. So there are clashes andsounds of gunfire, and also some reports about one or two peoplebeing wounded. Those clashes between military gun men andfighters extremist coming from western regions, so we do expectUkrainian government to protect Russian population. OtherwiseRussia simply cannot stay without reaction. We will have toreact. We will have to protect Russians, and those Ukrainiansliving there.

A careful reading of this statement reveals that it containsall of the elements and rationalizations for a Russian invasionof east Ukraine:

  • It expresses contempt for “those people who are calling themselves the Ukrainian government.”
  • Russian people are being attacked in Kharkov, presumably by coming from western regions.”
  • The “Western community” must take “effective measures… to protect” Russians living in eastern Ukraine.
  • If nothing changes, Russia will “react.”

In other words, Putin is going to use the violence in Kharkov as anexcuse to invade eastern Ukraine, and will blame it on the “Westerncommunity” – the United States and the European Union.

There are many people in Poland, Estonia, and Moldova who believe thatonce Putin is finished “protecting Russians” in Ukraine, he’ll move onto their countries. With the U.S. and Europe distracted by thepossible war in eastern Europe, China may choose this time to move onthe islands in the South China Sea and East China Sea.

Report: Chechnya terrorist leader Doku Umarov is dead

Doku Umarov, the Chechen leader of the Caucasus Emirate, has beenresponsible for several major terrorist attacks in Russia, includingbombings at the Moscow airport in 2011 and on the Moscow subway in2010. In addition, he called for terrorist attacks at last month’sSochi Olympics. A jihadist website says that Umarov is dead and willbe replaced by Ali Abu Mohammed. The report cannot be independentlyconfirmed, and there have been several previous reports of his death; this is the first time by his sympathizers. CNN

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