Tuesday, 1 April 2014

A Russian’s View of Crimea

I get correspondence from around the world. This is about the situation in Crimea from a scholar who wishes to remain anonymous. Several notes are combined and edited.

"Putin's Russia" by Sergei Yelkin,The Moscow Times, 9 Nov. 2014.  
You are absolutely correct in your article: The Next Cold War? The whole representation of the events in Canadian media is based only and exclusively on lies. Russians and Ukrainians really have nothing to argue about, and nothing to split; we used to be one nation, and our languages and cultures are so similar.

If this was left to us common people, we would find ways to resolve all the issues, but the easiest way for politicians to gain popularity and votes is by fueling nationalism, so it is the shameless politicians who deliberately set people against each other to divide and conquer, and they climb to the tops of political power on hatred, blood, and nationalism.

Crimea is a disputed territory (to put it mildly), originally belonging to Ancient Greece, then Ottoman Empire, it was captured by Russia in 1871 and remained Russian until 1954, when it was given to Ukraine by idiot Khrushchev … as a present for Ukraine joining Russia some 200 years earlier. Once they split from Russia, doesn't it annul the ‘present’?

Ukrainian government (a bad one, I agree) was overthrown in a coup (illegal per se), and the new government which status is questionable passed a discriminatory legislation excluding Russian from the official languages of the country. This deprived 1/3 of the population of Ukraine of the ability to maintain and use their native Russian language. Crimea was an autonomous territory within Ukraine, and thus relatively independent. Disgusted Crimeans in turn overthrew their pro-Ukraine government, held a perfectly legitimate referendum, and decided to join Russia. Incidentally, their (Crimean republic) new language legislation is highly progressive and democratic, as it includes 3 languages (Russian, Ukrainian and Tartar) as the official language of the republic.
  • Where is the attack on Ukraine? Where is the occupation?
  • Suppose Canadian government undertook an action similar to that of Ukraine government and … forbade Quebecois to speak French? Wouldn't THIS action result with another referendum in Quebec and their separation from Canada?
  • Why are the results of the previous Quebec referendum LEGITIMATE, and Crimean not legitimate? Because the previous Quebec referendum barely left Quebec in Canada. Suppose it didn't?
  • Why was it OK for multiple countries to split (Yugoslavia, Czech republic, etc.) and redefine their boundaries, but not Crimea?
  • Why was it OK for territories to SPLIT from Russia, but not join Russia?
  • Why was it OK for Hawaii OCCUPIED by Americans to join the USA?
  • Why is the Canadian government making statements about their support of Ukraine, when Ukraine government made a discriminatory language planning decision?
The Ukrainian government proclaimed Bandera (a Nazi collaborator who murdered many people during WW II) a …national hero. Is this what Canada supports as well by the act of supporting the Ukrainian government?

Now, I am all for peaceful negotiation, but the referendum was peaceful.

All Doukhobors know what dreadful effects language discrimination has on minorities. I admire Doukhobors so much because they recognized the corruption of world governments, and refused to participate in hatred and division. They opposed the oppression of nation states and attempts to build self-governance systems. And threatened governments retaliated by renewed and reinforced oppression on both sides of the globe — Russia and Canada alike, the place of people struggling for their rights …was in prison.

  1. Пророчиства Америки о России’ [Prophecy by America about Russia]. From American archives in the 1920s and 1930s. YouTube (6:33 min.), Nov. 26, 2013.
  2. This is the one map you need to understand Ukraine’s crisis,’ ;Washington Post, January 24, 2014.
  3. Learn How the United States is Behind the Kiev Ukraine Riots,’ YouTube, Infowars.com, You Tube, Feb. 18, 2014.
  4. I am a Ukrainian’ Video Exposed As Kony Style Scam, YouTube, Feb 20, 2014.
  5. Danger of Nuclear War,’ by John Scales Avery, WagingPeace.org, March 14, 2014.
  6. 'This map shows what the loss of Crimea really means for Ukraine,’ Washington Post, March 21, 2014.
  7. Ukraine and Yugoslavia,’ by Diana Johnstone, Portside.org, 22 March 2014.
  8. Ukraine Crisis Highlights Ugly Global Energy Truths,’ by Andrew Nikiforuk, CounterCurrents.org, March 27, 2014.
  9. Western Looting Of Ukraine Has Begun,’ Blog by Paul Craig Roberts, March 30,2014.
  10. Will America Save Europe?’ The Equedia Letter, March 30, 2014.
  11. If You’re Surprised by Putin’s Move in Crimea You’ve Not Been Paying Attention,’ by Dr. David Stefancic, History News Network, 7 April 2014.
  12. The Strangelove Effect - or How We Are Hoodwinked Into Fighting a New Cold War,’ by John Pilger, Truthout | Op-Ed, 18 April 2014.
  13. 'The Crimean Crisis and US Hypocrisy. "War of Words" to Justify Outright Aggression,' by Kourosh Ziabasi, Global Research, 31st March 2014.
  14. War by media and the triumph of propaganda, JohnPilger.com, 5 December 2014.


  1. Valeriy Kalmykov2 April 2014 at 09:07

    Браво, Кузьма!! Вы абсолютно правы, вы отлично разбираетесь в геополитических вопросах. Хочу добавить что при развале Советского Союза в 1991 году, Республики которые хотели выйти из Союза обязанные были выйти с территориями которые получили в результате подписания Союзного договора от 1922 года.

    1. Valeriy Kalmykov2 April 2014 at 21:05

      Translation from Russian: Bravo, Koozma! You are absolutely correct in clearly understanding the geopolitical questions. I want to add the following: With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Republics which wanted to leave the Union were obligated to leave the [exact] territory that they left under the Union agreement signed in 1922.

    2. Some basic inaccuracies. What constitutes a legal referendum? One held at the gunpoint of unidentified mercenaries? Questions on legitimacy of interim Ukrainian government overlook totally role and continued existence of legally elected Parliament! Further more, legislation on language rights were not promulgated. In fact, Russian has had by sociological forces, Soviet decree and local preference had a predominant role in the linguistic profile of Ukraine. How many Ukrainians speak Russian - answer all! How many Russians speak Ukrainian - check it out?

      Historically, separation of Ukraine including Crimea involved a legitimate vote in which Crimea participated and which result was an absolute majority? So quit the biased discussion about legality of current referendum which was absolutely non transparent. If the goose wants to be cooked, the gander should be joining it! Bandera spent most of the WWII in a German prison. What was the role of Stalin, unacknowledged and unrepentant by Russia in starving millions of Ukrainians to death in 1932-33? I appreciate Dukhbortsi and pacifism but in the guise of disputable chauvanism.

  2. Lawrence Klippenstein, Steinbach, Manitoba2 April 2014 at 20:43

    I really like that emphasis on a "nonkilling solution" I attach something on Mennonites working at a "non-killing " solution in Crimea long ago, though not sure whether their assistance in helping Russian soldiers to do their job in killing quite meets the non-killing solution ideal. I had a piece on this in my 1984 dissertation about Mennonite pacifism in Russia in the tsarist period.

    Thanks much.

  3. Anita Rizvi, Ottawa, Ontario2 April 2014 at 20:45

    This is wonderful, Koozma! I am so happy we have a spirit wrestler like you, fighting the good fight for a
    a better and more peaceful world.
    Lots of love from me and Joe,

  4. Mary-Sue H, Ottawa, Ontario2 April 2014 at 21:44

    Hi Koozma:

    This point about language rights is one I've been raising on Facebook, in comments to the CBC, etc. The coup-installed government couldn't move fast enough to cancel Russian language rights. Was it an intentional provocation that they knew would make Crimea turn back to Russia, which could then be blamed for it?

    As an American asked, why was the election in occupied and shocked-and-awed Iraq OK, but not Crimea with some Russians standing around without firing any shots?

    Can you or your contacts find out whether the reports about Ukraine's gold reserves being sent to the US can be verified?
    < http://jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.ca/2014/03/ukraine-gold-reserve-put-on-plane-for.html>

    09 MARCH 2014

    Ukraine Gold Reserves Said To Be Put On Plane For Safekeeping in the US

    Includes a rough translation but the original-language site would not load when I tried it.

    According to reports out of Kiev (see links below), the US has quietly transfers 33 tons of Ukrainian gold out of the country and back to vaults in the US. Presumably, this sovereign wealth transfer would be counted as partial “collateral” for a fresh round of IMF, US FED, and ECB paper debt that is currently being organised for dumping into the Ukraine’s economic black hole.

    So is it the chief driver for war that the countries lined up for destabilization and regime change are the ones with their own gold reserves?

    Additionally, like Libya, both Syria and Iran are two of the world’s last remaining nation states who both have state-run central banks and gold reserves which fall outside of the world’s private central banking syndicate.

    One of those articles referenced this article about control of gold written in 1967 by none other than the same Mr. Bernanke who ended up in charge of the Fed.

    There is much going on which has not been told on mainstream news. Only Rick MacInnes-Rae asked the question
    "Who are the snipers?" when interviewing a protester in Ukraine and a Yanukovich supporter just before the coup. This question has not been properly answered, though CBC radio did interview the doctor who said the snipers were shooting both police and protesters.

    Canada should not make any sudden moves unless and until there's a new election in Ukraine, under the eye of third party observers to assess how fair it is. Yanukovich is quoted as expressing concerns about the process...
    (quoted from TASS — any other reports about these changes?)

    If things keep going here as they are, we're going to need those third-party observers too.

  5. Excellent and fair analysis of this situation.

  6. I shared the blog with a person who calls himself an "investigative journalist". I had really appreciated his posts on Fukushima but his US-view position got under my skin. However he replied with this....

    "Thanks for your comment. I checked the link you sent, but didn't find anything on the provocateurs. I did note the post on the situation in Crimea, but see a number of factual mistakes. (For example, Russia conquered Crimea in 1783, not 1871. As well, Ukraine didn't in fact adopt legislation barring Russia as an official language.) Also, I think it's a bit of a stretch to call the Crimea referendum "perfectly legitimate." The main group of outside observers were from European far right and neo-Nazi groups. OSCE observers were prevented from entering Crimea four times. Tatar officials reported lots of fraud and said turnout was actually 30-35% (not the 83% claimed)."

  7. Gordon Breedyk, Ottawa, Ontario4 April 2014 at 09:27

    Thank you Koozma,
    Although I find the way the argument is presented and some of the statements in it a little concerning, on balance I agree with the main point. As near as I can tell, Crimea is frankly going back where it belongs - this whole issue is correcting a historical mistake. Therefore, it really is not something the international community should be getting too exercised about ... certainly not something over which blood needs to be spilled.

  8. Larry Ewashen, Creston, British Columbia4 April 2014 at 09:35

    Good article, no doubt the US and the Euro Union are muddying the waters for their own ends.

  9. Valeriy Kalmykov7 April 2014 at 22:13

    07.04.2014 Пан Ги Мун в ООН сделал интересное заявление. Дело в том, что Совет безопасности ООН в очередной раз рассмотрел вопрос Украины, и эксперты вынесли следующее
    заключение в рамках международного права: оказывается,
    что со времен развала СССР Украина не провела и не зарегистрировала должным образом в ООН демаркацию своих границ как государства. Они остаются по границам административным округом СССР согласно обычному
    договору в рамках СНГ, который в ООН не имеет законную силу.
    Поскольку , у страны нет ее официальной границы в рамках международного права, то говорить о ее нарушении кем-либо нет оснований. Также нет оснований говорить о сепаратизме,т.е. насильственном изменении конфигурации границы. Нельзя изменить то, что не существует.

    1. Translation of original report partially quoted by Kalmykov:
      On April 7, 2014, according to a statement from UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon, Ukraine is missing borders.

      Experts operating under the aegis of the UN Security Council came to the following conclusion about Ukraine's borders: Within the framework of international law , it turns out that, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine has not been properly registered as a state, according to the UN demarcation of its borders. According to the accepted contractual framework of the Russian Commonwealth, or Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the country remains on the limits of the administrative boundaries of the USSR, over which the UN has no legal jurisdiction. The EU currently backs this position. The only established borders are on the European side.
      This quote and more were posted in English by reporter George Eliason in Ukraine ("Ukraine without Borders: Should Obama Sanction the UN?" OpEdNews, 4/15/2014, http://goo.gl/FQVkNh)
      On 8 April 2014, Voice of Russia consulted political analyst Dmitry Babich about this "demarcation of borders" story, which he could not confirm. ("Ukrainian government in Kiev has revealed itself to be capable of preposterous lies — political analyst, http://goo.gl/fecsJk)
      This UN quote about "demarcation of borders" was widely reported in Russian and Ukrainian news (http://goo.gl/5JcoLH), but has not been repeated by any major English news.

  10. Lev Tarasov, St. John's, Newfoundland8 April 2014 at 19:33

    I just read the blog (which has some good points), but could not find proof of the claim that the new government passed legislation excluding Russian from the official languages of the country. In wikipedia (which I would not rely on without further fact checking), the following appears on Crimea:

    ‘The law "On the principles of the state language policy" was aimed at giving Russian or any other minority language the status of a "regional language"; approving its use in courts, schools and other government institutions in areas of Ukraine where the percentage of representatives of national minorities exceeds 10% of the total population of a defined administrative district.[1][2] In practice this was mostly the case in the country's predominantly Russian-speaking southern and eastern regions.[2] Ukrainian remains the country's only official country-wide language.[2] The bill was adopted amid fistfights in the Ukrainian Parliament building on 3 July 2012. The law came into force on 10 August 2012.[1] Since then various cities and regions of Ukraine declared Russian a regional language in their jurisdictions.[3] Three minor settlements did the same for, respectively, Hungarian, Moldovan and Romanian.[4] A proposal to repeal the law was vetoed on 28 February 2014 by acting President Oleksandr Turchynov, who ordered drafting of a new law to "accommodate the interests of both eastern and western Ukraine and of all ethnic groups and minorities."[5][6]’

    Where can I find proof of the minority languages act being repealed?
    And if it hasn't been repealed, then that should be clarified.

    What I think would be most useful is to use this as the start of a dialogue to clarify what misconceptions are being propagated in both the west and the east. I find it especially interesting that Russian scholar(s?) are getting misled on this. As a scientist, I'm very conscious of trying to distinguish fact from claim. I remember the last time I was in the then Soviet Union, I asked about how folks identified propaganda in the state-run media, and they had a wonderful response (paraphrasing): It's easy for us: we generally take the opposite to what is written/said as being true while you in the West have a much harder time of identifying what is true and what is state/corporate propaganda.

    Cheers, Lev

    1. Valeriy Kalmykov17 April 2014 at 06:10

      The Russian and Ukrainian versions of the Wikipedia topic cited (Legislation on languages in Ukraine) give more details about the language issue, and presents both sides of the debate. Imagine if all of Canada only published everything in one language — French. How would you feel?