Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Ukraine another perspective - [Putin might be right]

This may be quite a controversial perspective on the situation in the Ukraine. There is one thing I read the other day that has made me consider a different perspective.

On the 23rd February, only days after the former Ukrainian president Yanukovych fled the capitol the Ukrainian Parliament voted to repeal a law passed in 2012 that allowed the use of "regional languages" – including Russian, Romainian, Hungarian, and Tatar - see  The International Business Times .

Now that seems a bit odd - why would this be the first thing the new government sought to do. Faced with a country that was falling into disunity, why pass such a divisive law guaranteed to alienate the Russian speaking people in the East and in Crimea. We haven't heard a lot about the repeal of this law in the mainstream media, nor have we heard anything from the ordinary Ukrainian people who were protesting only just over a week ago. The news has been dominated by the events in Crimea.

From the Russian perspective, Crimea had been part of Russia since 1783 and had only been granted to Ukraine in 1954 during a reorganisation of Soviet provinces. When the Soviet Union collapsed the former Soviet Black Sea fleet was divided with the Russian portion of the fleet granted a lease to remain in its port in Sevastopol.   

It seems to me that Putin may have a point. The government in Kiev may have been taken over by people with a right wing tendency. (the Washington Post has an interesting article on the background of some of the groups involved) Indeed the repeal of the Language Law may be considered a nationalist act.

Although undoubtedly a popular move among Russian people at home and in the Ukraine - Putin acting to protect the Black Sea Fleet - Russian assets may be a pragmatic action faced with the risk of the country descending into chaos.

If this had been an issue on the doorstep of the West, we may acted in a similar manner. It is not long ago that the West got involved in the revolution in Libya. What would the US have done if one of their naval bases faced a similar situation? The West has a record of intervening in similar cases and this issue is squarely in the Russian doorstep.

Putin's position globally is fairly secure - he may face rhetoric from the West and some mild sabre rattling. He knows that so far at least he can hang onto Crimea and his fleet and the West is unlikely to do much. The West, Europe especially is also heavily reliant on Russian oil flowing almost entirely through Ukraine.

 I think we should worry less about what the Russians are doing turn our attention to what is actually happening in Kiev. 

So come on Western Media - I would like to understand a little more from the people in the Ukraine and a little more about the new Government and its intentions as it is this that is likely to shape how this will play out and how the Russians may be forced to act in the days to come.

The BBC has an alternative analysis here

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good commentary, Al...I particularly like your neo fascist observation. From an economic perspective, I suspect that there will be a lot of hot air and pretty much nowt else.