Skip to comments.EU ponders ‘losing Ukraine to Russia’
Posted on 05/15/2012 11:20:50 AM PDT by Olog-hai
EU ministers held an animated discussion in Brussels yesterday (14 May), evaluating the risks of losing Ukraine to Russia if too much pressure is put on the country over the treatment of imprisoned former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
Meeting over lunch to discuss Ukraine, the Unions foreign ministers failed to adopt common positions, but agreed that more should be done to work with civil society in Ukraine to defuse a loss of confidence in the countrys European perspective.
Diplomatic sources said ministers spoke openly about the risk that a tough line on Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich would push the country closer to Russia, eager to put flesh to its plans for a Eurasian Union comprising former Soviet states. Russia has also invited Ukraine to join its Customs Union with Belarus and Kazakhstan.
Meanwhile, the EU has finalized an association agreement and a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) with Ukraine. But the signature of these documents is pending depending on the fate of Tymoshenko and the conditions under which parliamentary elections due in October will be held.
One minister reportedly quoted Russian President Vladimir Putin, who had called Ukraine a non-accomplished statenesosstoyavsheesya gossudarstva. According to some analysts, a Eurasian Union without Ukraine would not fly.
(Excerpt) Read more at euractiv.com ...
Barry has already promised to be “more flexible” on surrendering Ukraine to Russia...but only if he wins the election.
Uppity serf alert.
Shouldn't the Ukrainians have a say in this discussion? I believe the "Orange Revolution" left little doubt that the 30 something and under crowd was ecstatic about saying goodbye to the Bolsheviks.
From the CIA WorldBook:
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 17 January 2010 with runoff on 7 February 2010 (next to be held in October 2015)
election results: Viktor YANUKOVYCH elected president; percent of vote - Viktor YANUKOVYCH 48.95%, Yuliya TYMOSHENKO 45.5%, other 5.6%
The so-called Orange Revolution had the wind taken out of its sails when Viktor Yushchenko was poisoned with Agent Orange (the choice of toxins sounds very deliberate). As for the Ukranian people, it looks like they won’t get any other choices other than to align with the European Union or Pooty-poot’s new Eurasian Union (or USSR Part Deux if you like); actual independence is out of the question..
Ukrainians are not fans of Russians too many memories of the "Holodomor" and other atrocities.
1/3 of Ukraine and all of the Crimea should be given to Russia. A rump Ukraine of Ruthenia and Galica would be a Western oriented nation and not have to deal with irridentist Russians.
Yep, let Hitler have Austria and the Sudetenland...then he won't make any more trouble.
So the answer is to appease irredentists? Hmm, the Sudetenland’s heard that one before, never mind the entire Balkans. Anything but independenceit’s one empire or the other.
Then let him have Poland too, right? Lebensraum kept getting bigger and bigger . . . too bad some people have short memories and/or a fading sense of history.
I vote for restoring the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
A little peace of Poland
A little peace of France
A little peace of Portugal and Austria per chance
Russia already controls Ukraine because of the Russian population in the east. They have 45% of the population. So what is more important for you, Kruschev’s borders, or Ukrainian liberty?
It is a land which to the east of the Dnieper river speaks mostly Russian and none of the Ukrainian dialects (note: Ukrainian is really a transitional set of languages, though there is the official version set in Kiev, most is transitional between Eastern Slavic and Western Slavic) and favor Russia while to the west they are mostly Ukrainiac speaking and favor Europe.
This is due to their history and the repercussions of the Mongol invasion in the 13th century.
Prior to that, the lands of the Ukraine and Belarus were the center of the Kievan Rus principalities -- city states. The Mongols smashed this and conquered them all. Muscowy at this time was just a tributary city to Vladimir-Suzdal (Włodzimiersko-Suzdalska). The Grand Dukes of Muscowy set themselves up as tax-collectors for the Great Khan of the Mongols. Then in the 14th century they rebelled against the Khans and started the Muscowite Empire. Arguably these Muscovites took on much of the Mongol characteristics -- among some Great Russians there is the tendency to see imperial Russia as a continuation of the Mongol empire of Genghis Khan
At the same time, to the West, a section of the Western Slavs -- the Poles were getting stronger and were under the influence of Latin culture, becoming very Western in thought. At the same time, the Lithuanians in the vacuum with the end of Kievan Rus conquered all of what is now Belarus and Western Ukraine. They were initially administered by Belarussian speakers. Then in the 1400s they joined with the Poles to form the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth.
This lasted for nearly 400 years and Western Ukraine was an intrinsic part of this.
The Belarussian and Ukrainians became very polonized (as did the Lithuanians) with the upper classes becoming Polish.
the lower classes were still Orthodox. This was not a problem in the multi-ethnic, multi-religious (it had Jews, Catholics, Orthodox, Tartar Muslims, Lutherans and UNitarians) Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (called the Rzeczpospolita) Muscowy started portraying itself as the protector of the Orthodox people. The Ukrainian Cossacks especially the Zaporozhian Cossacks fought against the Poles (too long to go into the reasons here, suffice to say the fault was on both sides) and Muscowy offered "help".
The Ukrainians, from trying to get away from a perceived oppressor entered the embrace of a true oppressor.
After the Polish partitions in the late 1700s, the Tsars called themselves the Great Russians and the Ukrainians the Little Russians (it doesn't sound so bad in Polish/Russian, just like New and Old) and the Ukrainians were under heavy Russification from the 1870s onwards with the rise in nationalism in Europe (this was the same time the French were putting down regional languages like Basque, Bretagne, Gascon etc. and the English were putting down regional languages like Cornish, Manx etc. and the Germans were replacing all of their dialects with standardised German and forcing Poles, Czechs etc. to speak German).
This was only exacerbated under the USSR.
net result, we now have a Ukraine divided. Western Ukraine is still westward-looking and Eastern Ukraine looks to Moscow.
Please start making sense.
Bolshevikism is dead, kaput. Russian nationalism is alive and strong.
The population there mostly want to be in Russia. They speak Russian.
Remember that the boundaries between Russian and Ukrainian nationalities are very fluid -- the Ukrainians haven't had a chance to develop their nationality -- they've been under either Lithuanian or Polish or Russian influence and control. They only had a "national awakening" in the late 1800s and have not had a chance to develop what you could call the same level of identity as the Russians or Poles.
And since they are transitional, this is a logical thing -- the same happened to the Belarussians who now mostly speaking Russian. In the past this happened to the area around Nice and currently you can also see this in various states in India.
Anyway, back to this, the parallels to the Austria and the Sudentenland are there, I agree. But this is not so much Putin pushing as an internal argument.
Arguably, post WWI, both Austria and the Sudentenland wanted to be part of Germany and were heavily German -- the allies didn't allow this and gave Hitler a pretext (note: not the only reason for WWII, but one) -- the Czechs also discriminated against the Germans (a reaction against the Germanization policies prior to WWI) and the Sudentenland Germans became the most ardent supporters of the Nazis as they were a party that supported them joining Germany.
If they were allowed to be part of Germany from 1919 onwards then the people could have chosen differently.
Now to the Eastern Ukrainian example, if the lands to the east of the Dnieper became Russian, this would allow the people there to chose different political options, not any party that supports them joining Russia (which would be the most radical).
Also, let's look at another, colder reason -- defense. The problem, strategically of giving the Sudentenland to Germany in the 1920s was that it was the highlands, whoever controlled it had a marvellous defensive place. For the case of defending against Russia, what is a better option than the Dnieper river?
At the northern part, the Dnieper is close to the Niemen river. This was the classical boundary between the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth and Muscowy. Without this boundary, the entire steppe region from Vladivostok to the Netherlands is flat land, easy to conquer.
If this is restored as a boundary, it makes a lot of sense defensively.
I'm reminded of the Poles problem in WWII -- what to defend. Most of Poland is, well, "pole" -- fields, flat land, easy to conquer. Except for the southern stretches around Kraków. But the Poles decided to defend everything (well, they had reason, you or I probably would do the same) and lost.
The best idea would be to create that defence.
The only catch would be the city of Kyiv -- an ancient city that is to both Russians and Ukrainians the origin of their nationhood
The Belarussians are not as divided as a people, they don't want to become part of Russia, but they don't know what they want to be.
The Rzeczpospolita rebuilding is a good idea -- it is similar to what Piłsudski wanted to make -- Międzymorze
rmlew is making perfect sense. He is talking sense. See my above post
With all due respect, I am not in the mood for posts that excuse the rise of old European and Eurasian empires.
with due respect, rmlew didn't do that, he said Russia already controls Ukraine because of the Russian population in the east. They have 45% of the population. So what is more important for you, Kruschevs borders, or Ukrainian liberty?
De-facto the eastern part of the Ukraine is already Russian. And, more critical, it feels Russian (as I said, the boundaries between Ukrainian and Russian nationalities is vague due to the shared inheritance from Kievan Rus)
And even more critical to us is that the eastern part holds back the Western part.
The Western half is truly "Ukrainian" in the sense that it is building up the concept of a Ukrainian nationality
But would Russia want a strong united Westernized Ukraine on their doorstep, or keep all of Ukraine divided and weak.
Did the Czechs have a say in Munich?
I see you weren’t listening. There is no American conservatism in countenancing the retread of the breakup of Eastern Europe between “east” and “west”acts that led to two prior World Wars. The pattern is so blatant, even Captain Obvious is saying nothing about it because he feels he shouldn’t have to.
They would want it to be a Małorussia (little Russia), just another part of Russia. Most Russians, even moderates want that and the reasons are not jingoistic -- Kiev is the birthplace of the "Rus" peoples -- the 3 eastern slavic peoples look to the land of the Ukraine as their birthplace, so for Russians it is logically in their heads, part of Russia.
You and I don't agree with them, neither do most people who think of themselves as Ukrainians
If they can't get this, then most Russian people would want a friendly Ukraine -- Russian people wouldn't mind a Western-oriented Ukraine unless it was blatantly anti-Russia. The Russian government on the other hand would see this as the revival of the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth, their 1000 year enemy.
You are incorrect. World Wars I and II were not caused by the split of Central or Eastern Europe but due to nationalities being across imperial boundaries.
This case is completely different -- to the east of the Dnieper river are people who feel part of Russia, who speak Russian not any Ukrainian dialect.
There will be in fact the opposite of what you stated - since a Western Ukraine would be overwhelmingly "Ukrainian", it would be better for relations between East and West.
Sounds like you are suddenly agreeing with me, perhaps inadvertently. The core of that is that empires caused both of those world wars. And we have two nascent empires on the scene in Europe right now. The only way to peace in Europe is the absence of those empires, but no external force is trying to make them go away right now.
World Wars I and II were not caused by the split of Central or Eastern Europe but due to nationalities being across imperial boundaries
Please learn your history. That's carving up Eastern Europe again, and that always led to war.
There will be in fact the opposite of what you stated - since a Western Ukraine would be overwhelmingly "Ukrainian", it would be better for relations between East and West
There is no external force which can make Putin go away. He will self-implode or become a tyrant, but it is only the Russian people who can decide that -- that's not idealist talk, that is a fact.
What external forces can do is build up defences against a future Tsarist Russia.
And the place to build this up is in Eastern and Central Europe.
And the only ways to do this is to use natural boundaries - of which the only ones in the east are rivers, the Niemen and Dnieper rivers as I pointed out above AND to have the realization of Międzymorze -- unity of purpose of the nations from Finland to Western Ukraine.
They've not been able to do this since Jan III Sobieski and right now two things stop that -- the population in Eastern Ukraine and Lukashenko in Belarus.
Cut off the Eastern Ukraine -- it's already lost -- and you have the best two defenses on the south-eastern flank against Russia -- a united Ukraine and the Dnieper river.
Read Zamoyski's book on the 1920 Polish-Soviet war. Piłsudski from 1918 tried to cobble up a union of Lithuanians, Poles and Ruthenians (Belarussians and Ukrainians), but this failed -- to a large extent the Ukrainians by trying to fight for everything, lost everything. in 1920 a Soviet horde advanced westward and the only thing that stood in its path was Poland. But the Poles lost early battles as there was no natural boundaries to halt the Soviets in the lands east of the Pripet marshes.
Only when the Soviets came to the edges of Warsaw were there natural boundaries to hold them off. Piłsudski gambled and brought the Soviets all the way in and then crushed them mercilessly -- so mercilessly that they never dared move westward for another 20 years
you want to stop a Russian advance east, then give up some indefensible territory that is already lost (in the minds and hearts of the people there, in Eastern Ukraine) and build the network from the Neimen to the delta of the Dnieper.
Firstly, eastern europe is from the lands of Lithuania to the Ukraine. Central Europe is Poland-Germany through to Greece.
Secondly, "carving up Eastern Europe" has not caused war -- "carving up European people" has caused war -- people, not land.
One of the criticisms I’ve heard leveled against Pilsudski, was that he didn’t aid the Whites in the Civil War, because he hated the Czars even more than the Bolsheviks....I wonder if had he aided the Whites what the difference might have been, would it have been enough to prevail?
Great discussion you two.
Heavy-duty, and really more than an internationalist ignoramus like me can grasp.
But fascinating nonetheless.
And to think we have a President whose significant choices these days comprise whether or not and what day to go on The View and how much per plate he is going to charge at George Clooney’s glam-scam dinner.
Putin would batter this little fairy into pelmeni in under three minutes.