Tuesday, March 18, 2014
It is easy to understand why Putin brought about the events which have resulted in the Crimea apparently on its way to become part of Russia once again. In the middle of the 19th century, Russia lost the Crimean War to the combined forces of Britain, France, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia. That episode from so long ago is still an unhappy memory for many Russians. With Russian troops massed along the Ukrainian border, Putin is now promising to "protect" ethnic Russians living in such countries as Latvia, Belarus, Poland, and Moldova, as well as Ukraine. This results in destabilizing most of the European countries on Russia's borders. Although I do not expect a major war to break out, it is possible that we shall see parts of eastern and southern Ukraine swallowed up by the big, bad, bullying, Bear. What we don't hear is any cries for help from the sizable Russian minorities in these countries. I think that most such inhabitants are more comfortable staying in these peaceful and relatively moderate nations. I do not expect any clamor for these minorities to be "rescued" by forming part of Russia's repressive regime.