Here's my rough understanding of the historical context:Nothing unexpected here.
1. The place had a fair amount of ethnic Russians even before the whole mess started some 10 years ago.
2. This is kinda why the place was annexed in the first place.
3. Truly many ethnic Ukrainians escaped the place years ago.
4. People who now live there are under Russian media for almost a decade at this point.
5. In Russia is often smart not to say what you really think.
Therefore I would be surprised if anyone would came to different polling results.
As for Ukrainians: people who are under constant fire for many months tend to be sensitive to journalistic stunts. But that is hard to understand if your have never been in the actual war zone. However in my book this is probably more of a warning shot from middle management than the actual policy (even if it is true). In war zone standard logic or rule of law simply do not apply and anyone who wants to poke around should be aware of that from the start. If media and party politics are polarizing factors the war zone is a whole new level of exactly that.
Here's my rough understanding of the historical context:
Back in the 1800s Crimean Tatars were the biggest ethnic group. The Russian Revolution and civil war threw things into disarray, and then after Soviet Crimea was established the Tatars (and some other ethnic groups) were driven out or killed off under Joseph Stalin and ethnic Russians became the dominant group. Then after Stalin died, this happened in 1954: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transfer_of_Crimea_in_the_Soviet_Union
When the Soviet Union broke up, Crimea was part of the newly independent Ukraine. But Russia got unhappy about not having control of Crimea anymore, and many Crimeans didn't want to be part of Ukraine. So although Crimea legally belongs to Ukraine, Russia wants it back after all these years, and many (most?) of the residents side with Russia, although we can't be certain just how much of that sentiment is sincere and how much may be coerced.
Perhaps there could eventually be a peace settlement where Russia gets to keep Crimea in exchange for letting Ukraine have the Donbas.
I never thought it was about Crimea solely, just that Crimea seems to be the most strategically valuable piece of realestate in the Ukraine conflict. I keep hearing about Ukraine planning a counteroffensive to take it back, but there doesn't seem to be anything concrete yet.I am getting the impression that you want my honest opinion on this and therefore I will type it in detail (yeah, this came out even bigger than I planned).
Factually you are right however in my opinion you missed the key element here and that is that this war isn't about Crimea, Donbas or even the whole of Ukraine. This is about remaking Russian empire, Soviet union ... or however you want to call it. The thing is that when the current mess exploded a year ago Russia already had the whole Crimea and fair chunk of Donbas. However they wanted much more than that and that is the whole country. However with pure determination of the defenders and western aid that did not happen despite the odds. However the Russians haven't really stopped due to this since they are still hopping that the west will give up with their aid due to some internal reasons. What should pretty quickly turn the war into what was originally planned (a short operation). While the main reasons why they are doing this in the first place is because Ukraine was the tech center of the Soviet union and as such it has plenty of industry and mines. Not to mention quite decent energy reserves and food supply for huge chunks of Middle East and Africa. In the case that Russia wants only Crimea and Donbas this war would have been over by now. Because the start of the war would be different from what it was. However they wouldn't stop as long as they see the odds that the west might give up due to it's internal reasons.
I first heard of Transnistria from Michael Palin's New Europe. It's kind of funny to be hearing about it again in the news now. It seems to be a major thorn in Moldova's side.However this can't be clear to you if you don't know what is going on in and around Europe regarding this issue. What basically proves that this is all just a part of much much bigger plan than just taking Ukraine. For example in neighboring Moldova there is currently big mess and protests that is being pushed by local Pro-Russians, the turmoil is so big that the pro western as ousted. However it seem that they managed to patch it and restore it. In Turkey you have evident erosion of democracy and the country got dependent on Russian energy and some military ties were developed. To the point that US even had to distance Turkey from some of it's own military programs. Then there is Russian invasion on Georgia where down to this day they control 1/3 of that country without any desire to retreat. If you remember just before Ukraine there was a short Russian intervention in Kazakhstan in order to get the local regime standing.
What parts of Africa have France and Russia been fighting over? I've heard about China establishing a strong presence in some African countries. It sounds sort of like a new colonial era.Then there is the brutal bombing of Syria that had the consequence that there was a huge migrant wave out of the country. Which was pushed towards Europe and the consequences of that aren't cleared out down to this day. Especially since Pro Russian media and forces are making this into even bigger mess than it should be. For example you have Hungarian government that build itself around this issue and now it is blocking all kinds of conclusions in the EU and NATO. While at the same time is taking in Russian energy and investments from China constantly. Also a few years ago there was Russia organized coup in Montenegro which is a NATO country. What was because to them Montenegro is quite important, but I am not going to explain that in detail. Also last year the local Pro Russians have crashed the government in Italy and caused snap elections. Since they wanted to create a mess and perhaps cause election of someone who is more favorable to them. Actually in Czech republic for years they are pushing for elections of junk people and often they managed to do it. In neighboring Slovakia there is currently quite high risk that the reformed communists could get elected, what would somewhat complicate the situation in Ukraine. Not to mention that this group of people has a track record of killing journalists. In Bulgaria there are currently forth snap elections since Russian propaganda and their local players are trying to muddy things as much as possible. Plus through that mess they are blocking Macedonia and Albania from getting more clear western perspective. In Romania there were problems but it seems that they managed to cut out the worst people out of the main parties. Actually all over eastern Europe they managed to elect plenty of local officials that are favorable towards them and which do their bidding, or they take loans from them for nonsense projects. What in the end provides profit for Russia and the debts for locals. There is also a fact that Russia is funding and favors anti system parties in France. As a matter of fact Russia and France are in a number of almost open fights over various places in Africa. Plus just a few posts back you have a link to the article about ex German chancellor who is sitting at the top of Russian energy company, and he isn't the only high level European politician that has this career path ........ etc. etc. etc.
Therefore thinking that in the end this is really about Crimea or Donbas is simply short sighted. At the moment it may seem like it but the plans and ambitions are evidently much larger. Especially since the plan is obviously to cause erosion and disintegration of the EU and thus create a bunch of states that are friendly towards Russia or at least economically dependent on it. What is still basically just the means towards the final goal and that is implosion on USA. In other words Europe is very important to US since here US companies are doing a lot of business and without that the economic situation in the country would be even worse than the current disaster. Plus without Europe USA just wouldn't have the manpower, the resources and industrial capacity to hold China at bay all over the oceans and the third world. Because even with Europe and other allies this is still a challenge.
I do find it kind of strange how some American journalists have been prone to romanticize the war in Ukraine, sometimes even to the point of likening it to the American Revolution. I'm sympathetic to Ukrainians being subjected to the horrors of war as part of Putin's global ambitions, but I don't go so far as to think that Ukraine is an ideal liberal democracy or that Zelenskyy is totally above criticism or scrutiny.So what I find scandalous in all this is that US media failed in explaining to the American public that what is being defended in Ukraine are their paychecks and their way of life. What is probably because that would be politically incorrect or something like that. However this is why it is imperative that Ukraine holds, since otherwise there will be even more mess and erosion around Europe. Especially since in that case Russia would become a neighbor or many countries and regions that are politically vulnerable towards it .... and then the costs of containing it would be even higher (if that contain would even work). Maybe the guns will indeed go silent in Ukraine over some deal but that is very unlikely to be the real end of this story. The political disagreements, interests and visions of the future are just too different and thus the genuine peace is unlikely (especially after this level of mess). Therefore the Crimea, Donbas and the whole Ukraine are simply pieces of a much bigger puzzle.
I do find it kind of strange how some American journalists have been prone to romanticize the war in Ukraine, sometimes even to the point of likening it to the American Revolution. I'm sympathetic to Ukrainians being subjected to the horrors of war as part of Putin's global ambitions, but I don't go so far as to think that Ukraine is an ideal liberal democracy or that Zelenskyy is totally above criticism or scrutiny.
Like you've said, it seems that there are very legitimate, pragmatic reasons for other countries to try to keep Putin from taking over all the territory and getting all the resources, regardless of idealism. But it's frustrating and worrying that there doesn't seem to be a plausible end in sight. Even if Ukraine manages to push Russian forces all the way back to the Russian border, I don't think the Russians would just stop fighting. Then there's also the issue of if there's a truce, what happens if Russia were to break that truce? I'm all for stopping Putin, but I can't say I know how that would work in practical terms.
LOL @ demonstrators in Jerusalem shouting "Yariv Levin, this is not Poland!"
It seems that the PiS justice reforms have become infamous outside the EU as well.
Yeah, that's why I said I didn't think the Ukrainian people would have accepted Putin installing a puppet government in Kyiv. If that had happened I imagine it would have turned out sort of like Afghanistan in the 1980s with Russia and a Russian-backed government trying to control a violently rebelling population that was being helped by the US.I agree that this whole situation is a shitshow that shouldn't be happening in the first place. In that you wouldn't get the counter argument from me. However the situation is what it is.
However in my view you are missing one important point here. It is no secret that Ukraine isn't a perfect democracy. However the thing is that it is becoming a completed and round up democracy. After all this is the country that had openly pro Russian president(s). It has plenty of corrupt local politicians from some past era(s). As a matter of fact many of these people acted as some sort of saboteurs and spies during this war. Therefore EU and the west in general have put the pressure that this swamp gets cleared as much as possible even during the war. Especially since this is another frontline of the war. I mean all countries that openly passed the path from dictatorship to stable democracy didn't do that over night. As a matter of fact the start of that process is often violent since some people just don't want to give away power. After all I myself was born in a dictatorship, survived the violent change of the system ... and now I live in democracy without moving from my place of birth. Therefore all of this will be the case with Ukraine as well if it takes the path that many other countries did. This will take some time but the people will build a decent country and add to collective security. Especially since dictatorships leave a huge and deep mark on family histories and that really motivates people who have experienced genuine dictatorship. This is exactly why Ukraine defends itself above all expectations, since the will is coming from the people. While their president is just a cherry on the cake in the end. Therefore if the people didn't care this war would be over in a few weeks just as it was planned. Therefore this should be seen a genuine struggle of a nation rather then just another political game.
Well we've had 70 years of that sort of scenario for Korea, so that seems fairly plausible. I kind of doubt that Putin would be crazy enough to start nuking things if Russian forces got pushed back just to the point of 2014, but of course I don't know what Putin's actually thinking.But what exactly will happen with Crimea and Donbas is really a hard guess. At this point it seems that Ukraine will survive but what exactly will be with these regions is totally open chapter of the story. My guess will be that the borders will be more or less moved into the position that existed before escalation a year ago and then some kind of a deal will freeze the whole conflict into the situation that is similar to the one in Korea. What will be "intense peace" because neither side will want to admit that it is over.
Awhile back Elon Musk tweeted his idea about having elections decide who gets Crimea and the Donbas. Although it's a nice sentiment, I thought there were some serious flaws with that. For Crimea I would expect most people to genuinely side with Russia, but in the east my understanding is that a lot of the pro-Ukraine population fled after 2014 while the pro-Russia people were happy to stay, so it wouldn't be level playing field so to speak. Plus having any sort of legitimate election would be totally anathema to Putin anyway, so it's really just a moot point.After all for the sake of Ukraine's democracy and stability it is perhaps better that regions that are under Russian control for almost a decade don't get to vote in Ukraine's elections. What is politically incorrect argument that kinda stands as a logic. Therefore what Ukraine has left to return is the land bridge from Kherson to Mariupol. That part would just be a shame to leave behind. While everything else beyond that is a "bonus".
I know that Putin has dreamed of wielding major world in power for years, but has been constrained by not having the economic power or military manpower to do it as quickly and decisively as he would like, so he's often had to take it slow and try to be sneaky. That's why I was a little surprised when he actually tried to take all of Ukraine. I was guessing that the military buildup over the border might just be posturing and perhaps some sort of diversion to draw our attention away from something else nefarious that Putin was doing. It's a good thing I'm not a betting man.Regarding Africa: France and Russia are playing political and military games around French ex colonies in Western Africa. With coups, political games, with paying various local militias, with Wagner on the field ... etc. The most effected countries are Mali and Burkina Faso, but the whole wider region around them is a "playground" from what I have seen. What goes to the point that other western countries are providing effort since the struggle there is real. Especially since new energy pipelines should be build between Nigeria and Europe . Which should pass through this region and be a stable alternative to Russian energy. What basically proves that this is all much wider show than Ukraine. I agree that tensions shouldn't be escalated more than it is needed on any point on the map. However we must be aware that the global world order has cracked into two spheres with a fair amount of gray zones around them. Therefore in a way these are the 50s and 60s all over again.
Or perhaps he could compete in the 2024 Olympics for mental gymnastics.Is Lavrov thinking of changing careers to standup comedy?
Yeah, that's why I said I didn't think the Ukrainian people would have accepted Putin installing a puppet government in Kyiv. If that had happened I imagine it would have turned out sort of like Afghanistan in the 1980s with Russia and a Russian-backed government trying to control a violently rebelling population that was being helped by the US.
I know that Putin has dreamed of wielding major world in power for years, but has been constrained by not having the economic power or military manpower to do it as quickly and decisively as he would like, so he's often had to take it slow and try to be sneaky. That's why I was a little surprised when he actually tried to take all of Ukraine. I was guessing that the military buildup over the border might just be posturing and perhaps some sort of diversion to draw our attention away from something else nefarious that Putin was doing. It's a good thing I'm not a betting man.