I love Russia. I love the landscape. I love the people. I love the little villages and the amazing churches. Russian history is long and fraught with turmoil and war and often times poverty. I am mama to a small Russian-American.
I do not love the oppression that has left the Russian people without a voice, without the means to support themselves, without help from their government. I do not love the government that has left hundreds of thousands of orphans without the hope of a family. They are forever locked in cold dark rooms without a warm touch because of the Russian government.
I am not an expert on Russian politics, but what I do know is that Russian President Putin is more concerned with leaving a legacy to his name than with acting in the best interests of his people.
Currently, Russia is occupying Crimea. This is very confusing for most people. Crimea is a region in Ukraine (don’t call it the Ukraine, it’s offensive to Ukranians). What makes Crimea different from the rest of Ukraine is that a large portion of it’s citizens are ethnic Russians. I compare this to south Texas. A large portion of the citizens of south Texas are from South America.
The dispute comes down to this: Crimea has apparently voted to succeed from Ukraine and be annexed by Russia. Whether Russia wants Crimea is another topic – of course they do or they wouldn’t occupy it. The the international statement Putin is presenting says he doesn’t want Crimea. But, Ukraine and the rest of the Western world says that the occupation of any of it’s sovereign borders is a hostile movement.
I talk about this today because I don’t think that most American’s understand the impact this could have on us.
Some facts from wikipedia.com:
-Russia is the largest country in the world and Russia has the 9th largest population in the world -“As one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council, Russia plays a major role in maintaining international peace and security.” -” Russia is a member of the G8 industrialized nations.” – The G8 represents the most wealthy 8 developed countries in the world. -” In 2006, the military had 1.037 million personnel on active duty.” -“Russia has the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world. It has the second largest fleet of ballistic missile submarines and is the only country apart from the United States with a modern strategic bomber force. Russia’s tank force is the largest in the world, its surface navy and air force are among the largest ones.” -“The country has the world’s largest natural gas reserves, the 8th largest oil reserves, and the second largest coal reserves. Russia is the world’s leading natural gas exporter and second largest natural gas producer, while also the largest oil exporter and the largest oil producer.”
So, while we sit in our offices or on our couches today, just imagine what happens if Russia takes Ukraine. What then? Where would they stop? What would the backlash be if the UN or US tried to stop them?
Here are some links to some excellent articles on the Crimea Crisis for more of an analyst perspective:
President Putin’s Fiction: 10 False Claims About Ukraine (from our own State Department)
Putin Doesn’t Know What He Wants in Ukraine (written by an independent Russian journalist)
Crimea’s Parliament Decides to Secede to Russia (note this is a Russian Government run media source)
I would love to hear what other Americans, Europeans, and Russians think of what’s happening? I don’t want to start a debate, I am just curious if anyone else is as concerned about this as I am.