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Parry writes: "If you were living in Crimea, would you prefer to remain part of Ukraine with its coup-installed government – with neo-Nazis running four ministries including the Ministry of Defense – or would you want to become part of Russia, which has had ties to Crimea going back to Catherine the Great in the 1700s?"

A girl holds a banner reading 'Kharkiv, Donetsk, Sevastopol' as pro-Russian supporters attend a rally under the statue of Lenin in the centre of the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on March 8, 2014 (photo: AFP/ Sergey Bobok)
A girl holds a banner reading 'Kharkiv, Donetsk, Sevastopol' as pro-Russian supporters attend a rally under the statue of Lenin in the centre of the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on March 8, 2014 (photo: AFP/ Sergey Bobok)

Crimea's Case for Leaving Ukraine

By Robert Parry, Consortium News

10 March 14


f you were living in Crimea, would you prefer to remain part of Ukraine with its coup-installed government – with neo-Nazis running four ministries including the Ministry of Defense – or would you want to become part of Russia, which has had ties to Crimea going back to Catherine the Great in the 1700s?

Granted, it’s not the greatest choice in the world, but it’s the practical one facing you. For all its faults, Russia has a functioning economy while Ukraine really doesn’t. Russia surely has its share of political and financial corruption but some of that has been brought under control.

Not so in Ukraine where a moveable feast of some 10 “oligarchs” mostly runs the show in shifting alliances, buying up media outlets and politicians, while the vast majority of the population faces a bleak future, which now includes more European-demanded “austerity,” i.e. slashed pensions and further reductions in already sparse social services.

Even if the U.S.-backed plan for inserting Ukraine into the European Union prevails, Ukrainians would find themselves looking up the socio-economic ladder at the Greeks and other European nationals already living the nightmare of “austerity.”

Beyond that humiliation and misery, the continuing political dislocations across Ukraine would surely feed the further rise of right-wing extremists who espouse not only the goal of expelling ethnic Russians from Ukraine but Jews and other peoples considered not pure Ukrainian.

This troubling racist element of the “inspiring” Ukrainian uprising has been mostly airbrushed from the U.S. media’s narrative, but more honest sources of news have reported this disturbing reality. [For instance, watch this report from the BBC.]

What’s Wrong with Secession?

And, despite what you hear from the U.S. government and the mainstream U.S. media, it’s not at all uncommon for people to separate themselves from prior allegiances.

It’s especially common amid political upheavals, like Ukraine’s neo-Nazi-spearheaded coup that ousted elected President Viktor Yanukovych – after he signed an agreement on Feb. 21 to relinquish much of his power, hold early elections and order police to withdraw.

Though this agreement was co-signed by European nations, they stood aside when neo-Nazi militias exploited the police withdrawal and overran government buildings, forcing Yanukovych and many government officials to flee for their lives.

Then, under the watchful eye of these modern-day storm troopers, the rump parliament “impeached” Yanukovych but did not follow the procedures laid out by Ukraine’s constitution. The overthrow was, in reality, a putsch.

But American political leaders and journalists have pretty well expunged that inconvenient history, making the crisis simply a case of black-hatted villain, Russian President Vladimir Putin, bullying the white-hatted “pro-democracy” coup-making heroes of Ukraine.

U.S. politicians and pundits now cite the Ukrainian constitution as some sacred document as they argue that Crimea has no right to hold a popular referendum on leaving Ukraine and joining the Russian Federation. President Barack Obama says a Crimean plebiscite would be illegitimate unless Crimea gets permission to secede from the national government in Kiev as stipulated in the constitution.

In other words, the Ukrainian constitution can be violated at will when that serves Official Washington’s interests, but it is inviolate when that’s convenient. That situational view also presumes that some normal constitutional process exists in Kiev when one doesn’t.

More Hypocrisy

This U.S. government/media hypocrisy on the Crimean vote is underscored, too, by Official Washington’s frequent role in advocating and even mid-wifing secession movements when they correspond with U.S. foreign policy interests.

Fifteen separate nations emerged from the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991 as U.S. politicians celebrated. No one seemed to mind either when Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993.

That same decade, U.S. officials helped negotiate the dissection of Yugoslavia into various ethnic enclaves. Later in the 1990s, the U.S. government even bombed Serbia to help Kosovo gain its independence, despite centuries of deep historical ties between Serbia and Kosovo.

In 2011, the U.S. government supported the creation of South Sudan, carving this new oil-rich nation out of Sudan. The supposed motive for breaking South Sudan loose was to stop a civil war, although independent South Sudan has since slid into political violence.

The Obama administration disputes allegations of U.S. hypocrisy about secessions, calling these comparisons “apples and oranges.” But the truth is that all secession cases are unique, a balance of history, pragmatism and politics. Very seldom are they simple and clear-cut.

In Crimea, the case for secession from Ukraine seems strong: Crimea is populated mostly by ethnic Russians; many people speak Russian; and they have historically viewed themselves as part of Russia. If a large majority of the voters prefer joining Russia, why shouldn’t they?

Perhaps the case for Crimea’s secession would have been weaker if the Western nations hadn’t so eagerly embraced the putsch in Kiev. If the Feb. 21 agreement had been enforced – clearing the way for Yanukovych’s orderly departure – Obama’s argument might make more sense. The constitutional procedures would have remained intact.

But the haste with which Washington and Brussels recognized the coup government – with Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland’s choice for Ukraine’s leadership, neoconservative favorite Arseny Yatsenyuk, named interim prime minister – shattered the formal political process of Ukraine.

That was followed by the post-coup rump parliament passing measures, often unanimously, that targeted the political security of ethnic Russians in the country’s east and south. Combined with threats from the neo-Nazis who have grabbed significant power and favor a purified Ukraine for ethnic Ukrainians, the nation confronts a potential civil war.

In such a case – with the prospects of ethnic cleansing and the violence that would surely follow – the most reasonable solution might well be to hold referenda in Crimea and in eastern Ukraine on whether the people in those areas want to stay attached to the Kiev regime. If the people in those regions want independence or association with Russia, why should the United States ratchet up a new Cold War to prevent that?

If what’s left of Ukraine wants to join the European Union — and if the EU would want it — then those Ukrainians could vote for their future, too.

Democracy means little if populations are compelled to remain part of an undemocratic regime that has seized power in the capital by force and demonstrates hostility toward outlying regions. Since such a predicament now exists in Ukraine, the best-imperfect solution could be to dispatch international observers to Crimea to monitor the plebiscite and verify whether the popular vote fairly reflects the people’s will. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

-33 # Patrice Ayme 2014-03-10 10:25
Apparently, Mr. Parry never heard of the genocide and deportation of the Tatars by Stalin in 1944. The Tatars had lived in Crimea for 7 centuries.

Among other things, the alphabet of Crimea was then changed from Latin to Cyrillic. One Crimean out of 6 is Tatar now, and does not enjoy Putin and his KGB gang. Much more Tatars want to come back to their ancestral Ukraine.

Parry keeps on calling the government in Ukraine non Constitutional and Neo-Nazi, just as Putin does. Meanwhile we are facing not just secession, but the first annexation-inva sion since Hitler.

Meanwhile up to hundreds of people have apparently disappeared at the hand of Russian Special Forces in Ukraine in recent months, says the New York Times.

How obvious does it need to be that Mr. Parry's thoughts are planted by dictator Putin?
+40 # Farafalla 2014-03-10 11:48
And you so well make the case for the US neocon position. I don't have to like Putin to smell a rat in the regime change in Kiev. One can't be indifferent to the fascist groups emerging as the power in Kiev. Stalin notwithstanding , Crimea has been Russian since 1700. We didn't like Soviet missiles in Cuba, why should Russians like NATO in Ukraine?
+18 # wrknight 2014-03-10 14:26
The issue is not what Stalin did to the Tartars, the issue is what to do now given that the vast majority of occupants are ethnic Russians. Regardless of which side you are on, the Tartars are not going to get Crimea back and Ukrainians never did have a large population there. So, do you want to cleans Crimea of ethnic Russians who live there now so that ethnic Ukrainians (not Tartars) can take over?
-7 # curmudgeon 2014-03-10 15:12
Yes, as a matter of fact....let the Russians vote with their feet and return to the Motherland...

The Ukrainians actually are welcoming the Tatars back.

Annd if you are going to liken this to the native Amerinds(who BTW 'cleansed' an even earlier people) don't forget the U.S. stealing the Southwest from Mexico (parts of NV, CA,UT, AZ, NM, TX)

Viva La Mexico!!!!
+13 # wrknight 2014-03-10 14:27
Patrice Ayme:
If you feel so strongly about what Stalin did to the Tartars, then you should feel equally strongly about what Europeans did to the native Americans. Oh, but that would be so inconvenient, wouldn't it?
+3 # jsluka 2014-03-10 16:16
Patrice - Do you mean The New York Times which is renowned as one of the most biased and untrustworthy "newspapers" in the world - that New York Times?
+4 # Activista 2014-03-10 22:55
"Meanwhile up to hundreds of people have apparently disappeared at the hand of Russian Special Forces in Ukraine in recent months, says the New York Times."
Please ... read (or let somebody objective read and interpret) -
think that there are only TWO cases substantiated - "This fear, cited almost universally by the opposition, is rooted in two particular cases." these are rumors/propagan da NYT is famous for - west started civil war in Ukraine and people are killed ...
-15 # Tazio 2014-03-10 10:49
Mr. Parry seems to make Putin's case for him, word for word, phrase by phrase.
Russians never heard of the Tatars, or don't want to remember.

BTW, for those confused by my words, I am OPPOSED to the Russian take over of Crimea.
And I am suspicious of the neo-con assisted revolution in Ukraine but I wish the Ukrainians well in their efforts to create a new government.
+41 # Edwina 2014-03-10 11:03
It should be noted when using the New York Times as a source, that they were not accurate in the lead-up to the Iraq war, and on several other important occasions. Putin may or may not be a thug, but ignoring Russia's legitimate concerns will not lead to a productive solution to the crisis. Follow the, resources. This is the latest in a series of crises that hinges on who will control the flow of energy. Large portions of the citizenry of North Africa, the Middle East, and now Ukraine want more democratic and transparent governments. But they are not the ones deciding on whether or not to go to war. We only need to look at Egypt and Syria to see popular people's movements that have devolved into civil war when outside forces provided weaponry. We need some serious diplomacy, not weapons or sanctions -- or the pissing contest that so far has passed for diplomacy.
+29 # Joe Bob 2014-03-10 11:29
So do we have any credibility, you and I, in making noise about Crimea or anywhere else, when we can't even run our own country? When we let lobbyists and Big Money make all the decisions? When we just want to make it more difficult for our populace to vote? When we can't even decide to pay a living wage? When we let Kerry make statements about Russia's actions, that are exactly opposite of what we have done? When we are spoon fed the news by corporate shills?
-17 # Philothustra 2014-03-10 12:16
These loonies also deny that there is such a place or nation as the Ukraine, no such ethnicity or language, and only Rooskies in that part of greater Russia.

Now that Russia's newly revived Cossack regiments are being snuck in, we won't need a debate or negotiation on whether Putin gets to keep Crimea- its a fait accompli.

The only question is, who's next? I'm sure we will be told what to believe by the Stalinist shills on this and other websites....
+19 # dickbd 2014-03-10 13:38
If anyone tries to put things in perspective historically and a kind word is said about Russia, you guys call them "Stalinists." That's name calling, not civil debate.

I'm mindful of a quote by Isaac Asimov when he said that Russia took the brunt of the German attack in WW2, and maybe some day we'll get around to thanking them for that.

I love this country, but whenever our government and press start demonizing a country or a person, my baloney detector deploys. It has worked well for 83 years as a system that usually leads me to the truth of the situation.
+4 # Ja-Roz 2014-03-10 12:27
You said, Joe Bob! I am happy to see the Parry article, and also the one about the postal shenanigans, even as it gives an unpopular view of its sponsor. I like Liz-- but not in this context
-16 # The Buffalo Guy 2014-03-10 15:00
AHA! Patrice Ayme!!! How dare you try to enlighten the imbeciles that use this web site! Look at Tazio who never heard of the Tatars so he's free to praise Russia. Perhaps those missing people were invited to the Kremlin for dinner. Funny, we never have any missing people in the USA. May we do and our media covers it up? I guess I use this site to get my daily dose of disbelief but I will never contribute a dime to help them propagate their anti-USA nonsense. Let them get it from Russia. As for you, my friend, welcome to the world of red thumbs down! I guess that now my friends will add NEOCON to my title of LIBERAL.
+3 # Tazio 2014-03-10 15:35
I was making fun of Russia for forgetting the Tatars. You got my point exactly backwards Buffalo Guy.

My fault for being too brief and for imitating Russian nationals and their chants of "Russ-i-a!" without explaining that I was being sarcastic.

I have edited my first post so that quick glance readers don't get confused...
+2 # The Buffalo Guy 2014-03-10 16:25
Quoting Tazio:
I was making fun of Russia for forgetting the Tatars. You got my point exactly backwards Buffalo Guy.

My fault for being too brief and for imitating Russian nationals and their chants of "Russ-i-a!" without explaining that I was being sarcastic.

I have edited my first post so that quick glance readers don't get confused...

Sorry Tazio! I missed the sarcasm and saw your editing. I also noticed that you now have been nailed with thumbs down...I wonder for which version.
-10 # curmudgeon 2014-03-10 15:04
Patricia Ayme is the only one who has the right perspective.

Everyone forgets the Tatars whom the Russians cleared out of the Crimea after Catherine took it over after the Ottomans.

In an ideal world, both the Russians AND the Ukrainians would be gone from the Crimea and the Tatars would come back to their ancestral lands.
+12 # skipb48 2014-03-10 16:08
It is not a matter of what the past was with Stalin, Catherine the Great or any other of the actions taken prior to the fall of the "Wall". The past is past. What we need is for the people of Ukraine and Crimea to peacefully solve this problem with out any of the super powers sticking their noses in. Unfortunately that is too reasonable!
+6 # curmudgeon 2014-03-10 16:41
Yep, it's too bad that 'peaceful resolution' appears antithetical in the interest of ANY of the oligarchs - US, EU, Russian or Ukrainian.....t he battle is about oil, or greed or money (or all 3).
+8 # Willman 2014-03-10 18:03
"Everyone forgets the Tatars whom the Russians cleared out of the Crimea after Catherine took it over after the Ottomans".
The same thing happened here in the USA between the Euros and the Native Peoples.
We see how that has worked out.
+14 # brno222 2014-03-10 20:38
Russia's key strategic problem has been that its main southern military asset (the Sevastopol naval base) is located in the Crimea, thanks to Nikita Khrushchev, and is thus hostage to the political situation in Kiev. This has encouraged NATO strategists to invest hugely in subversion of the Ukraine, even to the extent of supporting a fascist putsch in the capital. The fools thought they had it wrapped up. What Putin has done, in de-facto reclaiming the Crimea for Russia, is to move the cookie jar to the top shelf, out of reach of the children - and boy, are they screaming!
+11 # Activista 2014-03-10 23:44
My position on Crimea is very close to Parry. Most likely because the information Parry provided. Neither Russia or Ukraine want war - but US Neocons do - the conflict in Ukraine is Made in USA. Synopsis from the news ...

BBC News:
Ukraine crisis: John Kerry declines Vladimir Putin meeting‎
A meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin will not happen until Moscow engages with US proposals to tackle the crisis in Ukraine, US Secretary of State John Kerry has said.

Ukraine crisis: America will refuse to recognise Crimea referendum ...

Crimea invites OSCE mission to observe referendum on region's future
International-RT-11 hours ago

US warship in Black Sea as Ukraine's Crimea readies for referendum
RT-Mar 8, 2014
With the Crimea Peninsula getting ready to hold a referendum on independence from Ukraine in a week, the US is ramping up its military ...

Thank you Mr. Parry ... keep US informed
+7 # Activista 2014-03-11 00:25
Nato jets to monitor Ukraine border
BBC News
Nato announces it will deploy Awacs reconnaissance planes in Poland and Romania to monitor the crisis in Ukraine."
NATO is looking for justification for its existence - notice that only Poland and Romania accepted NATO "protection".
+1 # geraldom 2014-03-11 09:32
Activista, have you seen the PBS documentary entitled "The Man Who Saved the World" under their series called "Secrets of the Dead?"

In any case, I give you the following URLs:

Online full documentary of video

General Info on the incident

Wikipedia background of Russian officer who stop WWIII.

Wikipedia - Vasili Arkhipov

I don't know if you know how close the human race came to extinction in October of 1962, but we literally were one finger away from human annihilation.

I also refer you to a movie that was made in 1965 with Richard Widmark and Sidney Poitier. It was actually filmed in black and white I'm guessing for effect.

The reason why I mention the above documentary and the movie is because both Russia and the U.S. are now playing Russian Roulette similar to what took place in the aforementioned films. The U.S. because it doesn't know when Russia is being serious and Russia because it's playing tiddly winks with the U.S. and it's not telling the U.S. how serious it really is on this matter.

If they maintain the current path that they are both on, it could mean the end of all life on this planet.
+1 # geraldom 2014-03-11 09:36
Activista, I forgot to mention the title of the movie that was made in 1965. It's entitled "The Bedford Incident."

If you don't really want to watch the movie, I give you the following URL, a wikipedia description of the plot:
+13 # geraldom 2014-03-11 00:27
This mess in the Ukraine today could've been completely avoided if Mikhail Gorbachev wouldn't have been so trusting of the western powers and allowed the breakup of the USSR in the early 1990s, and perhaps just as big a mistake by Russia was when Nikita Khrushchev gave away the Crimea to Ukraine in 1954.

Gorbachev trusted that the U.S. and its military arm in Europe, NATO, would stick to the agreement that they wouldn't encroach, politically and/or militarily, into any of the nations that came out of the breakup.

It was a bad mistake on Gorbachev's part, possibly a fatal one for Russia in the long run as both Bill Clinton and G.W. Bush massively violated the agreement to the point where Russia now finds itself virtually surrounded by nations that used to be part of the USSR but are now members of NATO, their enemy.

What would've been better for Gorbachev would've been to allow the various component nations of the USSR to have complete autonomy with the caveat that the U.S. and NATO wouldn't be allowed to establish military bases in these countries.

The bottom line here is that Russia has the same right to protect its national security and its borders and its so-called backyard (its sphere of influence) in general from any further incursions by the west, by the EU and by the United States, as the U.S. has in protecting its national security and its borders and its so-called backyard from any incursions by Russia as had occurred during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
0 # curmudgeon 2014-03-11 09:35
I wish the know-nothings posting here would explain their apparent anti-Tatar bias.

Their blind parroting of manipulated views expressed by the administration is disappointing.

Their are many players involved besides EU, US, Russia, Ukraine....try Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran

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