Yes, Russia is guilty of meddling in Ukraine, but then again so are the United States and the European Union. The major difference is that far less was said and much less reported by the international media over the Americans’ and Europeans’ interference than of Russia’s actions and the reactions it caused.
Where Russia is involved many in the West believe that one only needs to scratch the surface to see traces of the old Soviet Union begin to resurface. After all, Russian President Vladimir Putin is a former KGB officer. The truth is much more complicated than that: or perhaps somewhat simpler.
The Cold War that divided the East and West maybe over but the old rivalry still lingers. The rivalry between the West and Russia is no longer one over diverging political philosophies, but purely over resources – and the capitalistic gains they produce from mainly oil, gas and pipelines.
The West and in particular the United States seems to be suffering from collective memory disorder and have forgotten all the mud they slapped onto Putin’s face during the past 15 or so years. Or at least they expected him to forget and forgive.
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But then again Russian troops did move in to grab control of Crimea, taking over the territory from the Ukrainians. You can counter that argument by pointing to the US and NATO, who not only interfered, but swallowed former Soviet domains bringing them into the North Atlantic alliance, pushing NATO closer to Russia’s borders.
Yes, Russia needs access to warm water ports for its Black Sea fleet and many analysts also believe that this is a major issue of concern for Moscow, which it is. But the plot, as they say, thickens.
There is also another reason for Putin’s intervention in Ukraine and that has to do with Russia elbowing for dominance of the very lucrative and strategically important “energy corridors.”
That is very likely to be the major reason why Putin is willing to risk going to war with the West over Crimea, the pipelines that traverses the Caucasus and the oil and natural gas these pipelines carry westwards to Europe.
Given the geography of the region there are only so many lanes where the pipelines can be laid; and most of them transit through Ukraine. Others travel across Azerbaijan and Turkey. Most of Western Europe’s gas and much of Eastern Europe’s gas travels through Ukraine.
If Russia has vested interest in “recolonizing” Ukraine, the United States on the other hand has its own interests in Ukraine and other former Soviet areas.
What is going on today is nothing short of a race for control of what’s going to dominate the energy markets over the next two or three decades: the energy corridors from Central Asia, the Caucuses and through Russia and Ukraine.
As stated in a report published by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, “the proclamation of independence, the adoption of state symbols and a national anthem, the establishment of armed forces and even the presence on Ukrainian territory of nuclear missiles—all important elements of independent statehood—amount little if another power, Russia, controls access to fuel without which Ukraine cannot survive economically.
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That same report denotes that "Ukraine's strategic location between the main energy producers (Russia and the Caspian Sea area) and consumers in the Eurasian region, its large transit network, and its available underground gas storage capacities," make the country "a potentially crucial player in European energy transit" - a position that will "grow as Western European demands for Russian and Caspian gas and oil continue to increase."
Ukraine's dependence on Russian energy imports has had "negative implications for US strategy in the region."
As long as Russia controls the flow of oil and gas it has the upper hand. Russia's Gazprom currently controls almost a fifth of the world's gas reserves.
More than half of Ukraine’s and nearly 30% of Europe's gas comes from Russia. Moscow wants to try and keep things going its way; Washington and Brussels find it in their interests to try and alter that by creating multiple channels for central Asian and Caspian oil to flow westwards.
Ukraine today finds itself in the center of the new East-West dispute.
Ironically, the very assets that make Ukraine an important player in the new geopolitical game being played out between Washington and Moscow is also its greatest disadvantage.
By Claude Salhani of Oilprice.com
It is not NATO or US that have pushed closer to Russian borders. It was our (estonian citizens) free decision to seek for for security against Russian erratic behaviour and agression, like it has happened in Ossetia and Ukraine already. Thats why we voted for NATO. It is not US that somehow decided to push closer to Russian borders.
And the reason why we voted for NATO lies in the very bad memory of soviet republic years. Only yesturday we commemorated forced deportations by soviets that happened 55 years ago. We do not want no more deportations, opressions nor russification. We want to live in a free world.
The aim of this article was to offer a perspective as seen from the Russian side. In no way was it intended to insinuate that Russia was correct in acting the way it did. Correct, no one forced any of of the former Warsaw Pacy countries to join NATO, and Mr, Lukk is correct in explaining that joining NATO was a guarantee that Russia would not return. But Russia did see the NATO borders creeping closer to it as a threat.
The people of Crimea are mainly Russian. The coup installed interim government in Kyiv exhibited tangible signs of hostility to Russia and pro-Russian Ukrainians almost immediately. If you were Russian, would you opt to remain in this situation if you were given a choice? I think not. This so-called aggressive takeover was virtually bloodless and met by people waving Russian flags. Many of the Ukrainian military chose to remain and serve in the Russian Federation.
Your memory is long but very selective. After Ukraine established its independence from Russia, it went through roughly a decade of pro-Western leadership in which people like Yulia Tymoshenko and the interim prime minister "Yats" main priorities were to get rich and strive for political influence (just like they do here). These people love the US/EU model where capital dictates to politics (incidentally, Putin does not). Consequently, there has been little progress thus far in terms of building a strong and independent Ukraine.
When the majority of people in Ukraine were fed up with this bunch, they democratically elected a pro-Russian president. This is not so different from the pattern we have been engaging in for quite some time here in the US. The idea is that when you are displeased with the direction your elected officials are taking the country, you vote the other way next time around. What you don't do is camp out on the White House lawn, storm government buildings, burn tires and throw Molotov cocktails. The US has a nasty little habit of promoting activity in politically unstable regions that they would NEVER tolerate here. There is ample proof that the US openly encouraged this coup and meddled behind the scenes. And now the interim government is trying to figure out what to do with the "Tyanybok piece" and how to suppress the eastern half of the country who have played by the rules and are now pretty much out in the cold. They are bewildered as their lives are changing in ways they do not agree with.
What is happening in the east right now is not at all fair. They have strong ties with their Russian neighbors, do not want enmity with Russia and have demanded referendums of their own to decide their destiny. Kyiv will never allow this because they know what the result would be. They have instead insisted upon dragging the eastern half in a direction they don't want to go. They are arresting leaders of referendum movements, replacing their public officials with ones of their own choosing, downplaying their rallies in the media and so forth, in essence denying them the right to assert themselves in the same way the protestors did in Maidan. It is presumed that the eastern Ukrainians don't have the same moral right to pursue an agenda that is different from tries. It's ok to suppress them because after all, they are only the puppets of Moscow. Could anything be more hypocritical? It's like saying, "You have no right to do what we just did. The tables have turned and you will do what we want whether you like it or not!" Hypocritical and vindictive. And if you want to know the real reason why the west will never let the east go their way, check out where all the economic resources are located. All the booty is in the east.
I'm glad you feel so safe with NATO. People like you play right into their hands because you live in a world with a very limited mindset. I personally do not feel safer with NATO, an alliance led by a country that breaks international law by bombing countries that cannot defend themselves. That was not the case with Crimea but it certainly was with Iraq. We bombed it, occupied it, plundered it without regard for any meaningful definition of "territorial integrity." If you come to my house, destroy whatever you please, take what you want etc. is it really my house just because you never changed the name on the deed? And who sanctioned us for that? Who tried to crush our economy for that unforgivable breach of territorial integrity? No one. That's because when you are top dog, you can do whatever outrageous thing you want, call it whatever suits you and everyone who wants a piece of the action goes along with it. Then anytime a lesser power does something top dog deems is not in THEIR best interests, if it foils top dog's plans for unrivaled supremacy in any way, top dog can demonize and discipline them. This global cabal has made me sick these past few months, they are like some exclusive clique in high school with an overly high opinion of themselves. Each of these countries are affluent today because they conquered, exploited, exterminated, subjugated and plundered all over the world.
Your excellent analysis chimes with a world community increasingly disaffected with the pseudo-democratic west, its lies and propaganda.