Russia in Ukraine


Russia, quite difficult to imagine that it mostly chooses the wrong side and as a consequence looses influence although it makes its choices because it wants to expand its influence and rule over others: some examples are Russia's support for the leaders of Libya, Syria, Iraq, Serbia, and now Ukraine, leaders not known for their good human rights record and despised by many of their own people. Still, concerning Ukraine, Russia may not loose everything as a large proportion of the country supports Russia and the referendum may proof it, if the West would accept the outcome. But Russia's support for regimes that suppress their own people demonstrates something is wrong with Russia with its support for dictators.

Still, we blame Russia for not supporting the government we support while, to be honest, the elected government is the one who had to flee the capital and even the country, although a Parliament should have the power to impeach a President as it did in Ukraine. Of course, when people fight their government, it suggest something is wrong (and President Yanukovych is probably not the nicest guy as many died during the protest while it is already the second time people removed him from his presidency while it seems even President Putin doesn't like the guy). Still, he was elected. How many governments in the West would allow that the people remove their President or PM before an election? Or their (unelected) King or Queen?

I think a referendum may be the solution. Indeed, many years ago I knew a Ukrainian who never accepted Ukraine was no longer part of Russia, showing his unhappiness and feeling betrayed by the people who celebrated being independent from Russia.

Also, I think the West handled its expansion towards the East not always good as I can imaging it was often humiliating for Russia after its lost territory and influence while it should have been more collaborating as long as Russia behaved and didn't threaten its neighbours. On the other hand, the USSR behaved so badly in the past that after its decline its the neighbours did everything to remain out of the grip of Russia. And again Russia is changing into a country few like as it starts to reduce human rights again, although many Russians support some of these limitations.

Thus, I think Ukraine and the West should accept the outcome of the referendum and accept Russia may become larger by increasing its influence in the region or even by gaining part of Ukraine. Of course, it would be unacceptable if Russia would also take the part that doesn't want to belong to Russia. But accepting a country can split is difficult, especially as at present many countries condemn and fear the possible split of other European countries such as the UK (where a referendum will be held on independence of Scotland), Belgium, Spain and others. Still, accepting Ukraine may fall apart may prevent war if people vote for it. But there are those in the West who suggest Ukraine should become a member of the NATO while I think this may be a big mistake as it may result in a new big war if Russia doesn't back off because NATO countries are obliged to defend any Member State against the aggression of other countries. If Russia would move out of Ukraine it may be regarded as the country that tried to stop war while civil war may still descent upon Ukraine and thus NATO because some in the east of Ukraine prefer Russia and may resist the EU. Even those who don't want to be part of Russia may find life becomes easier after a split and then work together with the other part as good neighbours. Future will show what will be the outcome.

So, what I think are possible outcomes:

  • The referendum is accepted by all parties and half the country may or may not split from Ukraine:
    • People in East Ukraine say 'yes' to independence. End of story and a large country becomes smaller while the eastern part becomes independent or part of Russia, depending upon the people's will. Russia gains influence and can keep its Black Sea fleet in Crimea although should return Ukraine's fleet but also the West gains as the western part of Ukraine can become part of the EU;
    • The eastern part vote against independence and thus remains part of Ukraine while Russia is allowed to continue using its military base in Crimea. Indeed, also Western countries have some bases in other countries that don't belong to their influence such as Cuba. At this moment Russia send soldiers to Crimea because it probably wants to protect its fleet.
    • The eastern part vote against independence and Russia can no longer use the port for its fleet in the future. In this scenario, Russia is the determining factor to accept loosing its fleet or not. This is the least likely scenario as Russia is probably allowed to continue using the military sea base, or at least is given time to move as the West doesn't want war.

  • The referendum is not accepted by Ukraine and the West but it is by Russia if the outcome suits Russia. Then there are some possibilities:
    • More sanctions against Russia when Russia doesn't leave the Crimea but Russia may not mind;
    • The NATO agrees that the whole of Ukraine becomes part of the NATO and Russia refuses to leave the Crimea. As a consequence, one country invaded a NATO country and thus, if the NATO does what it promises, war starts against Russia leaving many death although probably Russia will loose as the Western alliance is stronger (Russia has few friends as not many countries trust Russia). The eastern part may rebel against "NATO occupation" and thus an army has to occupy Ukraine that may result in western Ukrainians getting fed up with the Western interference as it didn't bring peace and wealth;
    • Russia uses its senses and removes its army from the Crimea as Russia realises it has too few friends to fight against the countries of the West who unite while the West takes Ukraine as a member, therefore expanding its territory. But, because the West doesn't accept the referendum, the eastern part may rebel and try to block the West in Ukraine as much as possible, some may even take weapons against the other part. The elected government in Kiev may have one side of the country against them and thus as in the past, governments are considered as anti Russia and pro Western or anti Western and pro Russia. The country may move further into the direction of civil war as about half the population voted against Ukraine and thus do not accept the "occupation by the West". If civil war erupts, many may die while in the end the country may split and half will go to Russia, almost the same result as when the referendum would have been recognised, except many people died and the Western part of Ukraine may turn away from Europe as the West may be considered as the reason war started. Russia will be the only winner as it will gain influence over eastern Ukraine and maybe even over the whole of Ukraine as Russia returned and thus didn't kill, even when they started the aggression.

In fact, it doesn't even concern the whole eastern part of Ukraine but mainly Crimea, demonstrating Russia doesn't want to loose its Black Sea fleet and wants to prevent outsiders may enter it. It is quite similar with the US base in Cuba where even Cubans can't enter although it is their land.

Let's wait and see what the diplomats and politicians will decide (even other possibilities may be possible). Also the western part of Ukraine is important because they too need to accept a referendum or troubles continue. But it shows the difference between previous President Gorbachev (despised by his people because he allowed his country to fall apart instead of using the army to keep it together) and President Putin (celebrated by many in his country because he may cause war to expand Russia while he limits human rights in his country, thus also from those who celebrate him). People!

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