Russian officials last night expressed ‘outrage’ at Estonia’s treatment of its large ethnic Russian minority.Nearly 80 years ago, Germany began its annexation of nearby states with the widely broadcast notion of protecting marginalised German-language speakers.
Russia is now adopting the same line towards ex-members of the Soviet Union.Even as Ukraine surrenders any hope of retaining control of Crimea through ordering withdrawal of all its remaining troops, NATO has ramped up the rhetoric.
President Obama, however, appears to be playing the appeaser. In an interview with NBC News he reiterated that the US would not be taking military action in Ukraine against Russia.Ukraine has offered a hint: It is saying it will soon hold “joint military exercises” with the United States and Britain.
US officials have said they are reviewing a request from Kiev for military support, including arms, ammunition and non-lethal equipment.
Ukraine’s ambassador told the UN human rights council that it had found no credible evidence of mistreatment of its Russian minority
It retorted by asking for assurances against minority groups in Crimea, such as the Muslim Tartars and Ukrainian communities.Given the lack of vigour in the West’s reaction to the invasion of Crimea, many of the smaller former Soviet Union states now feel powerless as Putin begins to invoke the propaganda of history, language and culture (all from his perspective) as ‘cause for concern’ over their affairs.Now, Ukraine is made up of about 30 million Ukrainian speakers and 15 million Russian speakers. The main religion is Orthodox (15 million followers), with a sizeable chunk of Catholics (2.5 million).
Unlike its northern neighbours, it has until recently maintained close and friendly contact with its former Russian overlords.
But the recent overthrow of the corrupt Yanukovych government saw Russia lose the last vestiges of its Soviet Union-era influence over the strategic and beautiful region.
President Putin simply could not put up with that. Thus the Crimean ‘velvet invasion’
- 66A Russian occupation of Crimea raises the specter of the Cold War, in which the nuclear stalemate between the United States and the Soviet Union devolved into regional disputes around the world. While military and political frictions made the biggest headlines, the Cold War couldn’t be well understood without using…
- 65Crimea's parliament voted to join Russia on Thursday and its Moscow-backed government set a referendum within 10 days on the decision in a dramatic escalation of the crisis over the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula. The sudden acceleration of moves to bring Crimea, which has an ethnic Russian majority and has…
- 56The German government says Russian President Vladimir Putin accepted a proposal by Chancellor Angela Merkel for a fact-finding mission and a "contact group" on Ukraine that could be led by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Government spokesman Georg Streiter said the proposal came in a telephone conversation…
- 55When it comes to explaining Russia’s Ukrainian adventurism, the West has attempted to hide behind a wall of myths and hope its problems will just go away. There are all sorts of reasons to be stunned and perplexed today. Stunned by the reintroduction of the fears and phobias of the…
- 54It’s never a good day when almost 10% of the value of the world’s largest country - Russia - is wiped out. Do you remember UK in 1997 ?