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Baseless are the rants of the West on Crimea
March 25, 2014 , 7 : 16 pm GST
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Ukrainian novelist Andrey Kurkov is grievously wrong in his perception about Russian President Vladimir Putin taking control of Crimean peninsula. Putin's move does not smack of aggression neither it is an effort to revive the historic Russian empire. The world, at least half of it, isn't asking "Where in Putin's mind, does Russia end?" In offering an answer, Kurkov has evidently exaggerated. But he can probably be condoned and given a benefit of doubt for thinking that in Putin's mind Russia ends where the US begins. Kurkov is Ukrainian and obviously his acuity on the issue will be clouded, biased and laced with nationalistic feelings.
Reactions of the West and the United States over Crimea have been more hysterical than rational. And in that cacophony the only voice of sanity is that of the former British Foreign Secretary David Owen. Though there aren't many at present in Europe and the United States ready to lend him a patient hearing and consideration Owen is absolutely right in offering the best possible solution to the crisis.
Owen's suggestion to the West and the United States on Crimean crisis is to arrive arrive at a compromise with Russia and its president. Sanctions will not offer any way forward.
If we would look at the whole issue with objectivity we may probably find some rationale in Putin's move. In fact, Russia's seizing control of Crimea is justified and is a strategic move.
It is certainly not only to secure the interests of the Russian speaking majority in Crimea but also to secure the naval base Russia has in Sevastopol.
Nikita Khrushchev had been foolish in giving away Crimea to Ukraine in 1954 and it was a move the Russians have not yet accepted.
Till date Russians view the giving away of Crimea to Ukraine only as a symbolic move. Historically, Russians have always been extremely passionate about Crimea. They have shed enough blood, sweat and tears for this tract of land.
Between 1853 and 1856 Russians fought tooth and nail against the Ottoman Empire, Britain, France and Sardinia. The war claimed a massive toll of 750,000 human lives. The Russians again fought a grim war in 1944 to reclaim Crimea from the Germans.
What surprises us most is the manner in which the West and the United States have reacted to Putin taking back what has always been Russia's. And didn't the United States do the same in Cuba?
In 1962 Washington and the then US President John F. Kennedy enforced Monroe Doctrine of spheres of influence to demand immediate dismantling of Russian missile deployment in Cuba and even threatened a military strike.
America felt threatened at the Russian missile deployment, many of which were nuclear. Most of the missiles Khrushchev deployed in Cuba then to "put the ants in the pants of Uncle Sam" were within range to strike and destroy almost the whole of the United States. Why is the United States so agitated today when the Russians are also enforcing their sphere of influence in Crimea? Why is the US President Barack Obama whipping up a Cold War like situation?
After all, when Ukraine and Belarus were granted independence and accepted as UN member states in 1946 in all intent and purpose they both remained as parts of erstwhile USSR. And the world had then accepted this arrangement.
Though the status changed since the disintegration of USSR Russia retained its sphere of influence over Crimea and Ukraine just the way the United States did in Cuba because of its naval base on the western and eastern banks of Guantanamo Bay.
Russia's "Black Sea fleet is operated from Sevastopol in Crimea under special arrangements, the most recent signed in 2012 between the Ukrainian and Russian Federation governments."
If Washington reserved the right to exert its spheres of influence in Cuba, Russia justifiably reserves a similar right in Crimea and Ukraine. Moscow is justified in ensuring that its port in Sevastopol is never rendered inoperable.
The West's rants against Russia and its president over Crimea aren't worth paying any attention. We know the rest of Europe and the United States will not be able to soften Moscow with their toothless and useless sanctions. But we can probably agree with Andrey Kurkov that Putin's move on Crimea was pre-meditated and was planned out well in advance as plan B if the Ukraine uprising succeeded in driving out its elected president.
Putin may not have walked into Crimea earlier because he was keen then to finish the Sochi Winter Olympics. But, Kurkov appears a trifle off the point to claim it is a drawn-out Russian occupation of Crimea. Obviously, this Ukrainian novelist has not been a serious student of history.
He is unaware of the history of Singapore and Taiwan and even Rwanda. These countries of today have had their share of troubles when they were expelled and abandoned. None, more than half a century ago, believed they would survive.
They survived. Singapore and Taiwan are today global economic powerhouses.
Crimea too will survive and with Russian support this small tract of land with a population of little over 2.5 million. A Machiavellian move is underway in the West and in the United States to make people believe that Crimea cannot survive on its own or as an independent entity. In fact, it may be the other way round. With Russian help Crimea can survive but the question is can Ukraine survive without Russian gas and other largesse?
The author is the Opinion Editor of Times of Oman
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May 15 at 2 : 17 pm
Pathetic article, sorry. The author keeps repeating that the West is wrong and Putin is right without offering any logical explanation. "It was a wise and strategic move" and "he has always been passionate about Crimea" doesnt count. If somebody took of a chunk of Oman because theyve always been passionate about it - would that be right? If they did it in a wise and strategic move - would that make it any better? Thought not. Pathetic, just pathetic.
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