I doubt that this will be popular but the mess that is the Ukraine today is not the fault of Russia but of liberal leaders in the West who just cannot stop meddling in other folk’s affairs. As for the response of Vladimir Putin and Russia, I have every sympathy with the old tyrant. On this occasion his actions are utterly defensible.
Let’s start with the overthrow of the crooked former President Yanukovych. There is no doubt that he was looting state coffers and was not a very nice man. He was, however, democratically elected. The EU has been trying to get the Ukraine into its orbit with a treaty of co-operation for a couple of years. The President was not helpful. So the West meddled.
The West does not really understand that the Ukraine is not exactly a homogenous block. It should perhaps have looked back to the last War when most Ukrainians fought alongside the Russians but a good number fought either for an Independent Ukraine or actually fought with Germany. But heck that is history so who cares, the EU marches on.
And so we supported tacitly and indeed verbally those who wished to overthrow the President. Senior EU politicians flocked to Ukraine to offer support. Why? It was none of our god damn business. Look at the speeches of US Politicians such as John Kerry but also the truly abysmal EU Foreign Secretary Baroness Ashton. As in Syria we back the rebels against an unpleasant regime just assuming that your enemy’s enemy is your best pal. As in Syria we are wrong.
I accept that many of those who protested in Kiev are good folks who would feel at home in a liberal Western democracy. But the hard-core, the ones that held firm against the riot police? Think again. Those hard core are the militant wings of political parties that are now represented in Parliament. Watch some recent interviews. I quote the leader of one of the largest militias (interviewed on the BBC) “We are nationalists, we want a country for Ukrainians…that means without any Russians…or Jews.” These are the folks – some of whom openly admire Hitler – the West has stirred up and encouraged.
I accept that most of the new Ukrainian Government are not Jew haters. But their attitudes to the sizeable Russian minorities in the conglomeration of territories that is the Ukraine is less than welcoming. One of the first acts of the new Government was to scrap a law which recognised Russian as an official language. This sent a clear signal to the Ukraine’s ethnically Russian citizens that their rights and liberties were in danger. It is no surprise that since the “glorious revolution” 143,000 ethnic Russians from the Ukraine have sought asylum in the mother country.
President Putin has every right to look after the interests of ethnic Russians since the West was doing little to do so, so busy was it cheering on the Glorious revolution. One might go further and say that parts of the Ukraine really should not be in the Ukraine at all. The Crimean region was part of Russia until 1954 when in an act of folly President Khrushchev handed it over to the Ukraine. Inside the happy family of the USSR this mattered little. Today it matters quite a lot. Most folks in that region are Russian. Would they rather live in:
b) A Ukraine where Russians feel threatened and where some members of the Government are openly hostile to Russians.
I support self-determination everywhere – whether it be in Port Stanley, Gibraltar or in Sevastopol. There is no doubt that in the Crimea ( as well as in certain other districts of Eastern Ukraine which only became part of that territory under Lenin) a plebiscite would support a union with Russia rather than remaining in the Ukraine.
That the leaders of the West are now selectively opposing self-determination is just typical. What does the EU know about democracy? That they are condemning Russian military intervention is also rank hypocrisy. At least Putin is intervening to protect his fellow Russians from a mess the West helped to create. What was our excuse in intervening in, say, Iraq?
The break-up of the Ukraine is no great evil. Look at the “real Ukraine” of 1654 and it is a tiny little place. The Ukraine of today is an artificially created country with peoples forced together. The West should encourage district by district plebiscites. Much of Eastern Ukraine and the Crimea would become Russian. Good luck to them.
The corrupt, economically challenged, western part of the Ukraine with its bloated Government bureaucracy could then decide its own fate. In many ways it seems an ideal candidate to join the happy band of brothers that is the EU and Eurozone although I guess that it might have to tone down the Jew hating a bit.
As to the leaders of the West, I despair. When will we learn to stop meddling in the affairs of other countries suffering an inevitable “blowback” as Ron Paul has termed it? Surely we have enough domestic issues to deal with. Perhaps if we might fix the vast Government deficits and debts, bloated State systems and unstable currencies that blight both Europe and the US then we could start thinking about lecturing others on how to Govern their countries. Even then it would be better not to interfere at all. It never has the desired effect.