Why shouldn’t Crimea become part of Russia?

Why shouldn’t Crimea become part of Russia?

Leaving politics aside, Crimea as a place seems to be profoundly jinxed. Bad luck hovers over the place, with no end in sight.

Consider the following facts from history:

  • Duke Vladimir who brought Christianity to Russia was baptized in Crimea by Greek Orthodoxes. This confessional choice cut Russians from the support of Catholic Crusaders against Mongols and Turks in the XIII-XV centuries. The absence of the Catholic tradition of proselytism lost for Christianity our Turks and Mongols, as well as the Central Asian nations.
  • 1343: Asian traders bring the Black Death along the Silk Road to Crimea. A few years later, the deadliest epidemic in the history of our continent is shipped from here to the rest Europe on Genoese ships. (thanks, Achilleas Vortselas!)
  • XIV century: Tatars start to settle down in Crimea during the era of Mongols. So stupid of them. They built here a mighty civilization that competed both with Russia, Poland and Turkey, only to be razed to the ground by Czars and Bolsheviks. The Crimean Tatar community who live there now, are tiny crumbles of it.
  • 1854: Czar Nicholas I decided to make the peninsula the fortress of rising Russian naval power aimed toward the Mediterranean. Again, bad decision. He brought upon himself the wrath of Great Britain and France who crushed him in the Crimean war. The Czar died in the process. The Black Sea fleet never since won a single major naval battle, and sits now behind the Straits, completely at the mercy of Turkey in case things suddenly flare up.
  • 1920: The Crimean peninsula became the last stand of the old pre-revolutionary Russia in their struggle against Communism. Extremely poor choice of place. 50 thousand were summarily executed by Bolsheviks to celebrate the win, maybe as many as 100 thousand.
  • In 1945, Western powers agreed here to give the Eastern and Central Europe to Stalin. Great decision for Stalin, bad for everyone else.
  • 1953: The attempt by Khrushchev to resuscitate Crimea after the devastation of WWII and Stalin’s ethnic cleansing by giving it to Ukraine. Bad decision, again. Crimea remained a drain on the Soviet economy, and in addition the entire Russia views Khrushchev now as a traitor—despite the fact that the man threw open the hell gates of Gulag and really tried hard to improve the lives of Soviets citizens.
  • August 1991: The attempt of Soviet old-timers to trap Gorbachev at his summer resort Crimea and persuade him into introducing a nation-wide state of emergency. An extremely stupid decision that effectively killed the USSR.
  • 1991, December. Crimea goes to Ukraine. The new country soon finds itself mired neck deep in corruption and incompetence of its elites, and trails more and more behind almost all its neighbors.
  • 2014: Putin makes the place Russian again—and then is mightily surprised to find himself kicked out of the G-8 and put under Western sanctions. Now, evil spirits of the place are slowly turning Russia into a cold periphery of the global Chinese sphere of influence.

Should Ukraine pursue developing nuclear weapons as a response to Crimea’s accession to Russia?

Should Ukraine pursue developing nuclear weapons?

Ukraine wouldn’t be able to take Crimea back, even if they had some nuclear warheads. The atomic weapon works great at preventing wars, not winning them.

Crimea was a loss-making project anyway, with a big nationalist Russian majority and a Russian naval base smack in the middle of it. Now, when Crimea is already lost, it makes much more sense for Ukraine to let it be where it is as long as Putin stays in power, and capitalize on the fact for what it’s worth.

Getting their own nuclear weapons would not only drain too much resources, but also damage the relations between Ukraine and their Western friends who don’t want the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons take another heavy blow right in their neighborhood.

How would you solve the Ukraine crisis if you became President of Russia?

How would you solve the Ukraine crisis if you became President of Russia?

No way in a million years I would touch this with a barge pole as a president. The Ukrainian crisis is insolvable in its present form. Why?

  1. It serves Putin’s personal political interest. Including Crimea into Russia—instead of leaving it as another formerly independent breakaway region like Abkhazia, or Transdniestria—was intended as a “poisoned pill” that any successor of Putin must swallow. Handing back Crimea, in any form, means for many years ahead a political suicide for every would-be Russian ruler.
  2. It serves Russia’s interest, because the annexation of Crimea builds up the expansionist imperial strand of Russian nationalism. Hence the unique cohesion of the Russian political class we have seen ever since 2014.
  3. It serves Ukraines interest, because the external threat from Russia has done more for Ukrainian national self-awarenes in the last three years than in all preceding decades and centuries.
  • It got off Ukraine’s back the most pro-Russian and least economically effective regions, and pulverized the political influence Russia was painstakingly building up during the last decades.
  • It serves the NATO’s interest, because it takes off the agenda the Ukrainian NATO membership issue. While at the same time it vindicates a program of a massive rearmament of Ukraine as a standalone military power directed toward Russia and serving as a buffer against any Russian move westward.
  • It serves the West’s strategic interest. Annexation by Russia of a another European country’s terrotory is a profound disruption of the post-WWII European security system. It fills the void that during the post-Soviet era weakened the military, political and ideological cohesion of the NATO countries, and created a new impetus for the American presence in Europe and NATO cooperation.