Crimea has been a part of Russian federation until 1954 when Nikita Khrushchev “gave” it to Ukrainian socialistic republic. During USSR it didn’t really matter where Crimea belong because everyone and every place were or was suppose to be “equal”.
Russian troops have been stationed in Crimea for the past few centuries. Russian troops are more native to Crimea than anyone on Ukrainian mainland. In 1991-1992 Russia, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, has agreed to keep Crimea as part of Ukraine but kept its troops there as it has for centuries (I believe they can have up to 25,000 troops there).
Crimea is an autonomous republic in Ukraine. Autonomous meaning that it has its own laws and is somewhat independent from Ukraine. After unrests have started in Kiev (I will talk about them in a bit) in fear of its own security Crimea has reevaluated its autonomous status within Ukraine. At the moment Crimea is seeking higher autonomy from Ukraine to protect its interests. Crimea will have a referendum (a vote) on Crimea’s autonomy on March 30.
What Obama calls an invasion are Russian troops that have been there for centuries and haven’t really moved anywhere or done anything for a long time. Now, for the unrests in Kiev. Let me take a step back and give a few useful facts.
West of Ukraine has never really identified themselves with their Slav brothers in the east. One can argue that they have their reasons, I don’t want to get into it but Stalin is to blame. Even during WW2 they have fought on the side of Germans and Hitler. They had death squads that were hunting and killing Jews and allied forces. Their sole purpose was to kill. Recently I have read a letter called “confession of a Bandera follower” where a woman from western Ukraine told a story of how they would go out everyday during WW2 and look for Jews in neighboring villages. She went on to say that they didn’t want to waste bullets so they would choke Jews. She said that young children were easier to kill because you can just pick them up by the legs and smash their head against a wall or a stone. Today these same people, their children, and followers call themselves “Right Sector”.
While EuroMaidan protest started by few students standing in front of a government buildings, it was picked up by Right Sector in the western Ukraine. After several days of protests Right Sector has sent its people to join EuroMaidan. Right Sector activists started pouring into Kiev from the western Ukraine. Most of them have been trained in guerrilla warfare. Some have fought in Chechnya by joining Chechen terrorists against Russia in the 1990s such as Sasha Biliy aka Olexander Muzychko (I don’t feel like expanding on it, it would take too long, google it for yourself).
From the very beginning Right Sector did not come to Kiev to have a peaceful demonstration. After clashes have started in Kiev riot police did not have firearms, they were ordered to do nothing, just stand there. Meanwhile Right Sector grew more and more brazen as more violence they committed and no one resisted them the more confident they got. To the point where they started attacking local police.
As the situation escalated Right Sector started using molotov cocktails and firearms in addition to clubs and bats, riot police still didn’t have firearms and were ordered to just stand there. Meantime Yanukovych (whom I don’t really like) refused to meet protestor’s demands. Eventually one thing led to another, situation got out of hands and Yanukovych decided to meet protestor’s demands and on Feb 21, 2014 signed an agreement with three opposition leaders and three EU foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland. Agreement called for elections of new president and parliament. At this point Yanukovych had no real political power. Riot police Berkut was ordered to leave Kiev. EuroMaidan has won. They were gonna get new government, Yanukovych had no power and things looked good.
Not to Right Sector. Right Sector not only didn’t release government buildings, but they stormed the city hall where president and parliament convened their business and took control of it. Installed opposition leaders as new heads of state and established new government. Technically there was no need for it because Yanukovych has already given up.
When they took control of the city hall they called Yanukovych a war criminal and started creating new laws. Most new laws were of nationalist and even of neo-Nazi nature. One of those laws was to prohibit Russian as a second language which angered many Russians in the east and south of the country.
Right Sector has tried to repeat same success they have achieved in Kiev in other cities. However, regular people that live in those cities have come out to the streets in fear of new regime. Russian flag was raised above city halls in most of the large southeastern cities in Ukraine. Southeast has never supported EuroMaidan.
One thing that makes me smile is that everyone knows that eastern Ukraine which is populated by Russian speaking people is the industrial part of the country where people work and produce money for the whole country by working in the factories, mining coal, farming in the fields etc. While thousands of people from western Ukraine could spend months to go to Kiev and basically do nothing but fight the riot police, sleep in tents and captured government buildings and eat some good food that magically appeared on the Maidan square.
Despite the fact that Untied States spent 5 billion dollars on financing Ukrainian opposition and consequently Right Sector I will not get into blame game. Whether it was Russia or United States or United Nations who fueled it is up to you to decide.
Well, this is where we are now. People of southeast rising up while western governments are trying to blame Russia for invading Crimean peninsula and self proclaimed governments attempts to be in charge.
My personal prediction: US and UE will keep on blaming Russia for “invading” Crimea (despite the fact that Russian troops have been there for years). Crimea will get its autonomy on March 30. Southeastern regions on Ukraine will beg Crimea to let them join autonomy. Central and western Ukraine will see decline in the standard of living because of IMF and later EU contracts… Damn it, now I want to tell you more about IMF and EU contracts. First, you can google it yourselves. In short IMF contract will eliminate pension (equivalent of social security) to many elders. It will call for privatization of coal mines and farm land, it will raise gas prices (if I remember correctly by 40%), and bunch of other things, just google it. EU deal will destroy most of the machine building because of the upgrades Ukraine would have to do to their manufacturing and it will affect agricultural industry, again just google it or read the EU contract itself.
UPDATE: they’ve changed referendum from March 30 to March 16.
Photos of Russian forces near Crimea in the years past: