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Mother Russia on the March

Fearless Leader

 

Well, Fearless Leader has won the referendum in Crimea with 95% of the vote, so back to the USSR Russia Crimea goes.  One can determine the trustworthiness of that vote by recalling that 36% of the population of Crimea is ethnic Ukranian or Crimean Tatar, neither group having much love for the Rodina.

If Putin were going to stop with Crimea that would not disturb me much.  Sevastopol has always been the main naval base of the Russian Black Sea fleet.  With 58% of the population of the Crimea being ethnic Russian, the Russians clearly made a major mistake in allowing it to become part of the Ukraine and Russia was never going to allow a hostile Ukraine to keep it.

The problem is that Putin is unlikely to stop there.  In Obama he realizes he is confronting the weakest, and most feckless, President the United States has had since James Buchanan.  He views this as an opportune time for him to recreate the old Soviet Union as much as he can.  Next up is likely to be Eastern Ukraine. 

When the old Soviet Union collapsed, plenty of ethnic Russians were left in newly independent states.  Putin views these as an excuse to expand the current Russian borders.  Welcome to  Cold War II, with Obama and his Secretary of State John F. Kerry working ceaselessly to make the world safe for “former” KGB thugs dreaming of empire.

 

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

21 Comments

  1. Fichte famously said that frontiers should depend, not on dynasties and treaties, but on language and nationality. Likewise Mazzini, “They speak the same language, they bear about them the impress of consanguinity, they kneel beside the same tombs, they glory in the same tradition; and they demand to associate freely, without obstacles, without foreign domination…”

    During WWI, Mr Asquith declared, “the Allies seek to defend public right, to find and to keep “room for the independent existence and free development of the smaller nationalities, each with a corporate consciousness of its own . . . and, perhaps, by a slow and gradual process, the substitution for force, for the clash of competing ambitions, for groupings and alliances and a precarious equipoise, of a real European partnership, based on equal right and enforced by a common will.”
    The UN Charter declares the purpose of the UN is “To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace.” Perhaps, this is an echo of Woodrow Wilson: “National aspirations must be respected; people may now be dominated and governed only by their own consent. Self determination is not a mere phrase; it is an imperative principle of action. . . . “

  2. If I understand correctly, the Tatar and Ukrainian populations largely abstained.

    The position of the Crimea in the Ukraine was anomalous, so retroceding it to Russia should not be much of a problem. The question at hand is how much of the rest of the country is he going to attempt to detach. There are a fair number of ethnic Russians around Donetsk and in the borderlands.

  3. The UN Charter declares the purpose of the UN is “To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace.”
    .
    Thank you Michael Paterson-Seymour

  4. So, Eastern Ukraine is a kind of “Russian Sudetenland” that needs to be reunited with its ethnic Homeland.

    All Putin needs is a funny moustache.

  5. The Sudetenland was populated by ethnic Germans linquistically distinct from the Czech and Slovak populations. The distinction between Ukrainian and Great Russian and between Great Russian and White Russian appears to be more of a fuzzy spectrum. There are soi-disant Great Russians in the Ukraine and then there are Ukrainians with varying degrees of inclination toward the Russian language and varying degrees of Russophilia. The Crimea is unusual in that its indigenous population was deported in 1944 (though some have returned) and it has been colonized by Russians since the conquest of the territory in the 18th century. It was only added to the Ukraine in 1954 and it is separated from Russia proper by only a narrow strait which could be traversed with a suspension bridge.

  6. Given that Russia had to sweat to hold on to Chechenya (population 1.27 million), I suspect they will be cautious about conquering the Russophile swatches of the Ukraine (which have a population of 21 million excluding the Crimea). The affinities of the local populations in eastern Ukraine might be up for grabs if they were facing a military occupation.

  7. When the old Soviet Union collapsed, plenty of ethnic Russians were left in newly independent states. Putin views these as an excuse to expand the current Russian borders. Welcome to Cold War II[.]

    The experience of the 1930s suggests, to borrow from Admiral Painter, that this business will get out of control. It will get out of control and we’ll be lucky if the war stays cold.

  8. Just to point out, quite a mass of ethnic Russians in the near abroad packed their valises and went home after 1991. The Russian share of Central Asia’s population is a good deal smaller than it was 35 years ago. That’s true to a lesser degree even of the affluent Baltic states.

    I do not recall anything getting out of control in the 1930s. The German government executed a step-by-step plan to re-arm and acquire territory. Things began to go south for them in 1942. You might regard the beginnings of World War I as a tragedy of errors.

  9. So, does this action by Russia, and the overt mocking of America by Putin, not to mention the aggression shown by Russia (and unfortunate possible continued expansion of Russia and her errors)
    suggest that the Consecration of Russia by Bl. John Paul II was NOT done?
    Just askin’ ……

  10. A longtime coworker of mine is of Ukrainian descent – I believe his parents were born there and he attends the Ukrainian Catholic parish in his town. He once told me that Eastern Ukrainians are virtually Russians. Many of them speak Russian primarily or only.

    Western Ukraine has always been the heart of the Free Ukraine movement, be it against Polish occupation (centuries ago) or Russian or Soviet occupation more recently.

    I do not know anything of Russia’s military might, except that it isn’t what they had in the days of the USSR. Putin will bully and grab and take what he thinks he can get away with. Eastern Ukraine and Belarus may be next and Poland will find the Bear on her doorstep.

    I am of Polish descent. I know enough of the history of this part of the world to know that any Russian government cannot be trusted. Russians end up being ruled by dictators and spilled Russian blood (and that of her neighbors) sustains them. Poland was carved up by Prussia, Russia and the Habsburg Empire (who Poland saved from the Muslims) in the 1790s and didn’t exist on the map until 1918, when, of all people, Woodrow Wilson supported the reestablishment of Poland. Is Putin going to declare that Warsaw belongs to Russia too?

  11. The referendum proves the following quote from MPS, especially after the recent upheaval, posturing and visitation by the not-so-objective acronyms to the west on the global map combined with what they have seen in the Near and Middle East.

    Likewise Mazzini, “They speak the same language, they bear about them the impress of consanguinity, they kneel beside the same tombs, they glory in the same tradition; and they demand to associate freely, without obstacles, without foreign domination…”

    Referendums are interesting – it would be a great way to change laws or not.

  12. Putin will bully and grab and take what he thinks he can get away with. Eastern Ukraine and Belarus may be next and Poland will find the Bear on her doorstep.

    I realize the terrain is different (and that may be salient), but I will repeat: the Russian military had the dangdest time subjugating Chechenya, which has a population smaller than metropolitan Kharkhiv. Somehow, I suspect the dispositions of eastern Ukraine’s population are not straightforward. Remarks from the directorate of Mr. Yanukovich’s political party can be seen here:

    http://partyofregions.ua/en/news/5309dfd9f620d2f70b000031

    Eastern Ukraine has a population 1/7th that of Russia. Imagine the United States attempting to occupy and subjugate on a permanent basis a neighboring territory with a population of 40 million. Not done lightly.

  13. Art Deco wrote, “You might regard the beginnings of World War I as a tragedy of errors.”

    One similarity may be the rôle of demographics. In 1914, with its stagnant population and Germany’s growing one, France knew that she could not afford to wait another generation, if she were to have any hope of recovering the lost provinces of Alsace and Lorraine. With Russia’s disastrous fertility rate, Putin might well calculate that he needs to reassert control over the “near abroad,” whilst he has the manpower of military age to do so and before his economy falters under the weight of dependent elderly.

    You also wrote, “The affinities of the local populations in eastern Ukraine might be up for grabs if they were facing a military occupation.”

    Of course. Even the German-speaking population of the lost provinces resented the ham-fisted nature of Germany rule in Alsace and Lorraine. A Saverne incident (or even something like the march of the Strasbourg students past Kléber’s statue and the reaction to it) could have disastrous consequences for the occupiers.

    Perhaps, we shall see an exchange of populations, similar to that between Greece and Turkey, after the collapse of the Ottoman power.

    Thank you for your excellent contributions to the discussion.

  14. Putin has just upstaged Obama.

    I have a pin and I have a phone
    If congress does not act I will do it alone. Obama

    I have a phone and I have an army
    If you don’t like what I am doing, try to stop me. Putin

  15. I liken this situation, in part, to Puerto Rico choosing to become part of Cuba. How much would fight to avoid this???

  16. In order for the analogy to work it would occur after Cuban troops had landed and occupied Puerto Rico, with one-third of Puerto Ricans desperate not to be ruled by Cuba. Cuba would also be threatening to take other areas with a heavy Puerto Rican, who are of course American citizens, population, New York City for example, under their control. I would fight under those circumstances, just as I suspect the Ukrainians and the Russians will ultimately come to blows.

  17. With Russia’s disastrous fertility rate, Putin might well calculate that he needs to reassert control over the “near abroad,” whilst he has the manpower of military age to do so and before his economy falters under the weight of dependent elderly.

    Russia has seen considerable improvement in its fertility rate in the last dozen years. Were this sustained, it would intersect with European means in another dozen years or so. As we speak, Russia’s fertility is higher than Germany’s (which has seen little improvement over a generation) and higher than Italy’s (which has seen only mild improvement since its nadir in 1995).

  18. Of course. Even the German-speaking population of the lost provinces resented the ham-fisted nature of Germany rule in Alsace and Lorraine.

    The Germanophone population in those provinces did not have much if any affinity for the other German states. They were loyal to France from the get go.

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