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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 9:49 pm 
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bioalchemist
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I think the shock is the slip happened.

SirDennis wrote:
River wrote:
Whoops. The truth about the Crimean referendum results slipped out

Those kind of numbers -- the slipped ones -- have lead to a few majority governments in Canadian elections. No joke.


Elections in the US have had craptacular turn-outs as well. However, the US and Canada are both honest about both the turn-out and the results.

The biggest problem with the Crimea referendum, though, was it was held while Crimea was effectively under Russian occupation and the options on the ballot were independence or joining Russia. The status quo wasn't on the table. How exactly does one give consent when one is not allowed to refuse?

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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 11:45 pm 
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Absolutely. There's something so old-school about all of this. When you throw the off-again, on-again plans to develop a missile shield in Poland into the mix, a return to Cold War ways seems more likely every day. (Which was predicted as early as when the missile shield was being discussed in the mid-oughts.)

I will say that if it does come to war -- though some would argue war has already begun -- it'll be the first time in a long time that skin colour won't be one of the key defining features among enemies.

ETA: I can accept that election results were fudged -- there's been vague (and sometimes overt) mistrust of such things for years. Yet the present treatment of Jews in the region is almost inconceivable. What planet is this again?


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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 11:55 pm 
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Time moves on. History repeats. And Putin has stated he wants the USSR back.

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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2014 12:51 am 
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Putin's strong advocacy for a Eurasian Union was the first sign that he was seriously interested in creating a modern USSR.


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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2014 10:24 pm 
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Referring to a strong Russia as a "modern USSR" is rather strong rhetoric.

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PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2014 3:13 am 
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Passdagas the Brown wrote:
Putin's strong advocacy for a Eurasian Union was the first sign that he was seriously interested in creating a modern USSR.


It looks more like he is seriously interested in becoming a modern Stalin.

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PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2014 3:34 am 
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I suspect that his influences are more in line with the Russian Empire and the likes of Nicholas I and Alexander III. Or even, for that matter, the reactionary pan-Russianism and anti-Westernism of Alexandr Solzhenitsyn.

I believe that it was Storyteller on TORC (who was born and grew up in Belarus) who made the observation that Russia must be understood not as the most eastern of the western countries but as the most western of the eastern countries. More and more I think he’s right, particularly regarding things like the continuation of serfdom into the modern era, the wholesale adoption of communism, the ongoing weakness of liberal and democratic ideas, the popularity of authoritarian rule, and other features that would be very unusual in Europe. Whereas Poland, Lithuania and the like went from the Iron Curtain to modern, democratic European states, Russia has somewhat reverted to its pre-1917 form.


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PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2014 3:41 am 
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OK, yeah, Tzar Nicolai I may be a better comparison. Orthodoxy, Autocracy and Nationality.

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‘There’s no greys, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.’
‘It’s a lot more complicated than that -’
‘No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.’
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PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2014 3:58 am 
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"Two Romes have fallen. The third stands. And there will be no fourth."

Not so much Eastern, but definitely Imperial and pre-1917.

http://www.portal-slovo.ru/history/39078.php (You'll need to translate.)

ETA Well some of you. :)

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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 2:55 pm 
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Cenedril_Gildinaur wrote:
Referring to a strong Russia as a "modern USSR" is rather strong rhetoric.


Only I referred to the "Eurasian Union," not a "strong Russia." Putin is a believer in a Greater Russia. His support for a Eurasian Union was a subtle manifestation of that, while his invasion of Ukraine is a not-so-subtle manifestation of that. To offer a historical analogy from inter-war Germany, Putin has gone from Stresemann to Hitler.


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PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2014 11:28 pm 
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Huh? Never thought of Solzhenitsyn in those terms. IIRC he supported Putin's desire of a return to "Russian values" (whatever that means); I daresay he would be no fan of Putin now.

ETA: timing


Last edited by SirDennis on Wed May 14, 2014 5:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2014 12:10 am 
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I wouldn't call Solzhenitsyn an imperialist, but he's on record as not in favor of an independent Ukraine.

Source: http://www.newyorker.com/talk/comment/2014/03/17/140317taco_talk_remnick. Bolding is mine.
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990, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn emerged from his isolation in Cavendish, Vermont, and issued a vatic manifesto entitled “How to Revitalize Russia.” Published at great length in Komsomolskaya Pravda, it was a document out of time, written in a prophetic nineteenth-century voice, with archaic diction and priestly cadences. Solzhenitsyn, a heroic dissident, was always at the nationalist end of the spectrum, but he was not calling for some sort of tsarist revival and imperial maintenance. Rather, he endorsed a hyper-local, Swiss-style democratic politics, a transition to private property, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. “We do not have the energy to run an Empire!” he wrote. “Let us shrug it off. It is crushing us, it is draining us, and it is accelerating our demise.” Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, along with the Caucasian republics, were to make their own way. But on the question of Ukraine he had a different view. Russia must be at the center of a “Russian union,” he declared, and Ukraine was integral to it.

At the time, Ukrainian nationalists, particularly in the western part of the republic, were joining the Baltic states in their bold drive for independence, and had formed a “people’s movement” called Rukh. Leonid Kravchuk, a dreary Communist Party hack who had previously shown nothing but indifference to Ukrainian nationalism, won the Presidency, in 1991, by deciding to stand with Rukh. This was a trend that Solzhenitsyn, in the woods of New England, and so many Russians throughout the Soviet Union, could not easily abide. It defied their sense of history. To them, Ukraine was no more a real nation than Glubbdubdrib or Freedonia. Vladimir Putin, a former officer of the K.G.B., was the first post-Soviet leader to deliver a state prize to Solzhenitsyn, who had spent a lifetime in a death struggle with the K.G.B.; a large part of their common ground was a rough notion of what Russia encompassed. As Putin told the second President Bush, “You have to understand, George. Ukraine is not even a country.”

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PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2014 4:24 am 
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An interesting excerpt, River.

I would like very much to hear Frelga, as a Ukrainian American, contribute to this discussion.

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PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2014 4:50 am 
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Er, Frelga has been contributing significantly to this discussion.


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PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2014 5:55 am 
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Thank you both. It's a bit tricky for me, as the background required to make a meaningful post exceeds both the time I can spare for typing and the time everyone else can spare for reading. Besides, it's not always fun being the only person with an emotional stake in the discussion.

Solzhenitsyn had gone a bit around the bend by the time he got back to Russia, IMO. As I wrote back when, having been a courageous dissident doesn't qualify a writer to be a statesman.

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‘It’s a lot more complicated than that -’
‘No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.’
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PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2014 7:03 am 
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I'm going to be lazy and refer to Wikipedia on Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's political views. While I am an admirer of his I don't have any illusions that he was a liberal or a democrat. Which goes back to the point of being careful about judging Russia and political movements in Russia by Western standards.


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PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2014 3:49 pm 
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For full disclosure (and to support Frelga in her loneliness!) I do have a significant emotional, as well as moral, stake in this crisis. Though I am not a Ukrainian national (nor do I have Ukrainian ancestry) I have worked on and off on human rights and security issues in Ukraine for some years, including with the OSCE, and have very close Ukrainian colleagues and friends throughout the country (east and west, including in Crimea). And one of those colleagues has been missing for over a month.


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PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2014 5:35 pm 
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Thanks River and LM. My impression of AS was based on a few of his books and the odd thing I'd heard of him over the years.

And I'm so sorry Frelga. We're Ukrainian and Serbian on my love's side, with Polish and Austrian on my side. When it comes to that part of the world, my default is to blame access to docklands for the centuries of trouble there.


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PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2014 9:03 pm 
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Quote:
Ukrainian and Serbian on my love's side, with Polish and Austrian


Three of those four could be from the same village, depending on the year. Mrs. Ax has ancestors from near L'vov, nee Lubeck. When they left it was Austria-Hungary. Between the World Wars it was Poland. Now it's Ukraine. Her great-grandfather's papers are in fraktur German, Polish, and either Russian or Ukranian.

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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2014 3:51 am 
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Throw me a rope.
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Passdagas the Brown wrote:
Er, Frelga has been contributing significantly to this discussion.


Frelgita, I read your earlier contributions, and fully understand why you may be feeling overwhelmed emotionally by this, so I certainly wasn't demanding your analysis. :hug:

I was attempting to express my sense of the complexity of the situation, which comprises nationalism, politics, security issues (emotional, economic, political), history, aspirations, ideology... hard to untangle, and as LM said, bringing western sensibilities to it does not really unravel it at all.

Frelga's personal experience and perspective on the situation is very interesting to me, beyond the political analysis. But I don't demand it of her.

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