I usually try to stay away from international politics, which are mostly sword-rattling and propaganda and bullshit, backed by bullets and bombs. A lot of innocents get maimed and killed, a lot of soldiers get maimed and killed, and a handful of “leaders” walk away and declare victory. It’s almost fourteenth-century, when the nobles used to fight “ransom wars” — the objective being “capture the king” so you could hold him ransom — which just didn’t have the right ambiance if you didn’t have a bunch of poorly-armed peasants milling about to add “color” (mostly red).
My son works with Ukrainians, however, both here in the US and also via Skype, and as some of the “peasants” likely to add color to this situation, they’re all devastated and in a state of high anxiety over friends and relatives. So I’m less than six degrees separated from this mess.
At any rate, I picked up a link to a Ukrainian blog (it’s in English) that has some interesting insight into the whole issue.
A brief rundown, from his perspective.
The Ukraine has split in two, and has two governments at the moment.
One, which violently overthrew the elected President in Kiev and which the author refers to as the RRK, is apparently led by a revolutionary group. It enjoys popular support in the west, north, and central Ukraine, and consists of multiple parties, including openly neo-Nazi and racist parties, as well as more moderate “nationalist” parties. Its goal is a unified Ukraine under their party ideology.
The other, based in Crimea (the southern peninsula of the Ukraine surrounded by the Black Sea), which seceded from Kiev after the overthrow, has established a provisional government the author refers to as the SRC. It enjoys high (95%) support in Crimea and Russian-speaking Ukraine, and substantial (if not majority) support throughout the rest of the Ukraine. Its goal is to establish a multi-ethnic Crimea as an independent Ukrainian state.
Interestingly, the RRK — the revolutionaries — have been heavily funded by the US and the EU, including a $5B package from the US. They are now out of money, have no governing infrastructure, have no police or other local law enforcement in place, and have been cut off from the Russian teat, so shortages are starting in Kiev. Arseniy Yatsenyuk, current (post-overthrow) Prime Minister of Kiev, has called his own government a “kamikaze government.”
The SSC — the Crimean secessionist government — has been backed by the Russian government, and has apparently simply made use of the existing infrastructure, particularly local mayors, to maintain order.
I don’t, of course, know the real issues underlying this, but the US and the EU clearly want something in the Ukraine, and want it pretty badly. It may have been just regime change, but if I had to guess, I’d guess it has something (again) to do with oil.
Another Iraqi quagmire brewing?