Tag Archives: 2014

The little reported Ukrainian Moslem problem & feeling sorry for politicians

Kiev2_18feb2014

BBC TV reporting from Kiev on events of 18th February 2014

I visited the Ukraine briefly at the beginning of 2012 and at the beginning of 2013. So I am interested in the ongoing and currently escalating crisis there.

On 23rd February 2014 – just over a week ago – the new Ukrainian government abolished the “law on languages of minorities” including Russian – making Ukrainian the sole state language.

On 26th February, highly-armed pro-Russian paramilitaries appeared in the Crimea.

On 28th February, Russia in effect invaded the Crimea and took over key buildings and areas.

Yesterday, I was sent a long analysis of the ongoing situation by a Ukrainian academic. There were two interesting parts which do not seem to have been covered in UK news reports.

Apparently advisors who were once close to Russia’s President Putin (e.g. Andrey Illarionov) say that, after the 2004 Orange Revolution in the Ukraine, Putin became obsessed (my word) by the very real threat of a domino effect of further revolution in post-Soviet states, particularly in the Ukraine.

Seen from this viewpoint, the overthrow of Ukraine’s President Yanukovich could escalate into a very real threat to the inviolability of authoritarian rule in (what Putin sees as) the entire Soviet region. Throughout the recent ‘second Orange Revolution’ in Kiev, the Russian media not surprisingly focussed on discrediting everything connected to it – claiming the ‘revolutionaries’ were neo-Fascists etc.

But less well reported in the West was the fact that Russian intellectuals were increasingly vocal in their support and (according to what I was sent yesterday) in St Petersburg and Moscow these ‘intellectuals’ began asking: “If the Khakhly (a derogatory term for Ukrainians) can do it, why can’t we?”

Thus, arguably, the risk of a domino effect has become even more of a potential danger to Russia itself and even more threatening to Putin’s position.

The other (from my TV viewing) under-reported fact is the Moslem factor.

It is complicated enough that Western Ukraine tends to be Ukrainian-speaking, Eastern Ukraine tends to be Russian-speaking and yet a lot of the Russian-speaking Ukrainians see themselves as totally Ukrainian and do not want to be controlled by Russia. It is complicated enough that Crimea used to be part of Russia itself.

But then there are the Tatars.

According to the 2001 Ukrainian census, the Crimean population is roughly made up of 58% ethnic Russians, 24% ethnic Ukrainians and 12% ethnic Tatars.

The Tatars were deported from the Crimea by Stalin after the Second World War and only allowed to return after Ukraine’s independence in 1991.

One of the leaders of this ethnic group apparently spoke at a demonstration in Kiev on Sunday and, as translated, he said that, if a single drop of Moslem Tatar blood is spilt in Crimea, Red Square in Moscow will become true to its name. “By starting a war in Crimea, Mr. Putin,” he apparently said, “you are starting a war against all Moslems in your own country. It will be your end. Crimean Tatars are not fundamentalists, but the Islamic faith promotes significant solidarity among its believers.”

This is a very complicated situation.

It is one of the times I feel sorry for politicians trying to problem solve.

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A message from Kiev this morning

Kiev1_18feb2014 Kiev2_18feb2014 Kiev3_18feb2014

Above, BBC News reports from Kiev.

I know someone who lives in Kiev. I got a message this morning.

It’s been an amazing time in Ukraine the last three months and no more than the last five days, it became quite scary but thankfully the worst is over now – well as long as Russia doesn’t get too involved. I am very proud of the Ukrainian people. What a fight they had to put up against such a dictator, thankfully who is now on the run!

I asked if the person I know wanted to say anything on my blog.

They did. This is it:

The situation in Ukraine is chaotic, and out of chaos DOES NOT come democracy.

If the EU does not act now with genuine help and money – lots of money – Ukraine will end right back where they just came from.

The EU needs to send experts to help the National Bank of Ukraine, experts to help support businesses and again lots of money to make sure the country does not go bankrupt.

The EU gave Greece an obscene amount of money for a much smaller country where almost all citizens were part of sucking their own country dry and into bankruptcy. In Ukraine a very small group of people have been sucking the state coffers and 99% of the 45 million population have suffered.

If Ukraine goes bankrupt, the Hrivna (the Ukrainian currency) will collapse, which is already well underway, Ukrainians will eventually largely blame the events happening over the last three months for this and they will end right back in corruption with leaders that will suck the coffers for anything they can get their hands on. They will want to choose a strong man/woman that will again have too much power and democracy will be lost again.

The EU have to act FAST and ignore Russia, because Russia can never act against a blooming democracy. But Russia CAN act against an ongoing chaotic situation as we have now.

EU foreign ministers – Get together again immediately, stop patting each other backs thinking you saved Ukraine from (ex-President) Yanukovich. The people of Ukraine kicked out Yanukovich, but NOW they need you to help building up and keep the country united fast, before the situation becomes even worse. Please use the momentum, do not let a chance of getting the biggest country in Europe on a correct democratic path slip away. Because it WILL slip away if you do not act NOW.

And NOW does not mean within the next 3-4 weeks where you just want to see where events go in Ukraine, since you do not want to interfere too much… The time for waiting is over, action is needed and it is needed NOW.

Ukraine needs experts to help them hold a free and fair election before May 25th  that can unite the country.

Ukraine needs financial help so the Hrivna will not collapse further.

Ukraine needs help to set up democratic institutions as we know in western Europe.

Ukraine needs to know that the EU is there to support them and not just in words  – Remember people have died for this!

EU will NEVER get a better chance to get the biggest country in Europe on the right track than right now, so why are the foreign ministers and heads of states in the EU not sitting right now in Brussels talking about this ??

Please EU, show us why you exist.

* * * * *

There is a video, posted on YouTube last Thursday, of people being shot in the street by government snipers.

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