Wednesday, September 03, 2014


Ukraine Unspun

Vladimir Putin Told Us Exactly How He Would Annex Crimea Two Weeks Ago

President Vladimir Putin (2nd R), Crimea's Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov (front L), Crimean parliamentary speaker Vladimir Konstantinov (back L) and Sevastopol Mayor Aleksei Chaliy shake hands after a signing ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow.
President Vladimir Putin (2nd R), Crimea's Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov (front L), Crimean parliamentary speaker Vladimir Konstantinov (back L) and Sevastopol Mayor Aleksei Chaliy shake hands after a signing ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow.
Two weeks ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke to the press in his first public remarks since Russian troops had taken positions in Crimea.

In the meeting with journalists an angry Putin railed against the West and the "illegitimate" government in Kyiv. Julia Ioffe, writing for the "New Republic," said Putin had "lost it."  

Still, despite the bluster, the Associated Press said the message appeared to be one of "de-escalation." And Putin seemed to deny he had plans to annex Crimea. Western media reported Putin had said he had "no intention" of doing so. 

As it turns out, not only did the Russian president plan on annexing Crimea, but he explained exactly how he would do it -- and which arguments he would use for it -- in the span of a minute. Here's the tape, dubbed in English by the Russian government-funded RT television.​
From the official transcript :

QUESTION: How do you see the future of Crimea? Do you consider the possibility of it joining Russia?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: No, we do not. Generally, I believe that only residents of a given country who have the freedom of will and are in complete safety can and should determine their future. If this right was granted to the Albanians in Kosovo, if this was made possible in many different parts of the world, then nobody has ruled out the right of nations to self-determination, which, as far as I know, is fixed by several UN documents. However, we will in no way provoke any such decision and will not breed such sentiments. I would like to stress that I believe only the people living in a given territory have the right to determine their own future.

Two days later, the above vision for self-determination had been put into place. Crimea's parliament voted to secede and join Russia, and the date for a referendum on the decision was moved from March 30 to March 16. Under the protection of Crimean "self-defense forces," including thousands of Russian soldiers -- whose incursion into Crimean territory Moscow still refuses to acknowledge -- the peninsula voted overwhelmingly to join Russia.

Comparisons to Kosovo, too, had become a talking point for Russian politicians. If the West had supported Kosovo's declaration of Independence in 2008, why should it not support Crimea's in 2014? (We've outlined the significant differences between the two here.)

In his speech on March 18, before signing a treaty for union with Crimea, Putin expanded on his remarks from two weeks ago.

On the right to self-determination:

"Crimeans raised the question in a powerful and uncompromising way, without any half-tint. The referendum was conducted openly and honestly and people in Crimea clearly and convincingly expressed their will: they want to be with Russia."

On Kosovo as a precedent:

"I prefer not to cite quotations, but I can't resist pulling an excerpt from one of the official documents, in this case a U.S. memorandum from April 17, 2009…'Declarations of independence, can, and often do, violate domestic law, however this does not mean that there is a violation of international law."

He told us all this two weeks ago, but today his message was more direct.

-- Glenn Kates
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jack from: US
March 19, 2014 01:18
US and its NATO minions bombed and killed Christians in Kosovo and helped Muslim thugs from Kosov Liberation Army to ethnically cleanse most of Kosovo of all non-Muslims. US government itself designated Kosovo Liberation Army as terrorist organization and then engaged in open sponsorship of terrorists. Does US government have any credibility left?

by: jojnjo from: Dublin
March 19, 2014 02:48
Obama & EU are playing weak even though they talk tough...they're a shadow of past leaders...who could face up to Russia & their kind of ilk. John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher (even though I didn't agree
with her policies most of the time) but there's no denying she was an "Iron Lady" and would not tolerate Putin's shenanigans if she was in power today. And even Tony Blair had balls (pardon my language.)

But Obama is the biggest disappointment of all of them...he has no backbone & Putin sees this weakness in him...Putin also knows US is war weary & war afraid at this particular time & that Europe is broke in the main & recession still clouds the sky's over them that they are so afraid to go in hard against the Kremlin for fear it returns them to a another near depression or a cloud of dust as Dmitry Kiselyov spouted on a live Russian TV set he'd gladly send to Washington & as coolly as if he was taking a breath of fresh air in. (Did you report this? Radio Free?

Of course, since both US & EU threatened sanctions weeks ago if Crimea referendum went ahead...most of those high ups & others named today...that the sanctions were supposed to be against had already moved their money or bought into company's so as usual US & EU are too late & the exercise is as useful as useless. Now Putin will keep on daring them & keep his land grab up especially when he has nothing to lose, at least, not while his West opponents are cowardly & fearful of their own actions & greedy economically as to the monies they might lose from Russia’s Oligarchs. And to cap it all mad Kim Jong-un is starting his new tantrums because he sees Russia getting away with murder. And the truth of the matter is that Syria was the precursor to all of this, because Putin saw the West was afraid to move against Assad once Russia was standing by his side.

But they all better beware of future of all this, because we're on the road of now going back to full blown war if all this mayhem is allowed to continue & threats & empty threats go on being voiced. Putin after all loves getting it right while Obama & Co wither aimlessly. Obama & Co should get that fact into their skulls & now be prepared to follow their talk with real bite. No more Obama with the "Mr Nice Guy" image, shake it off & shake a fist to the bully who is now looking for a prolonged fight. When you (Mr Obama) say there'll be consequences, mean it & then follow it up & stop the dilly-dallying. If you don't...then the world will suffer more war & worse war down the line. & your lasting legacy will be that you chickened out. So, Mr President, what's it to be?!

I can bet all my money that sooner rather than later Putin is going to grab the East of Ukraine & who knows by then he might just be confident enough to take the lot. The West from this second onwards better get ready & be prepared to put US & NATO on a war footing...it might be the only language Putin will heed & understand.


PS. Can US? offer Ukraine a lend of one or two of their Nuclear Weapons on Ukraine soil under US supervision to combat Russia's bullying. I think that would make this battle more even...seeing that Russia broke their agreement of no harm/invasion on Ukraine.
In Response

by: JZ from: Canada
March 19, 2014 21:00
I think this is the best comment I've seen. The Russian terrorists *er* hooded Crimean militants should have been taken out by snipers within 3 days after Putin's orders sent troops *er* somebody *blink blink* sent ruffian's somehow cooperative and coordinated proverbial thumb on population occurred.....
In Response

by: Barney Murrell from: Illinois, U.S.A.
March 20, 2014 03:06
Critics of President Obama should take note of how (and why) Republican President Dwight Eisenhower acquiesced to Russian threats during the 1956 Hungarian and Suez Canal crises.

"On November 1, 1956, Hungarian Premier Imre Nagy summoned Soviet Ambassador Yuri Andropov (none other than the future Soviet Premier), informed him of Hungary’s withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact, and demanded the withdrawal of the Soviet forces."

"On November 2, as Russian tanks massed around Budapest and Premier Nagy pleaded with the U.N. for quick action... At dawn 2 days later, 200,000 Soviet troops—including 4000 tanks—invaded Budapest; ... An 11th-hour “urgent and personal message” from President Eisenhower to Soviet Premier Marshal Nikolai Bulganin, expressing the “shock and dismay” of the Western world, likewise failed to stem the rapid Soviet suppression of the uprising." No further action was taken by U.S. President Eisenhower
(http://www.americanhungarianfederation.org/docs/Thomas_Torda_1956Revolution.pdf).

July 26, 1956: After President of Egypt Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal, Egypt was attacked first by Israel then Britain and France. After which they were forced to withdraw by Russian and President Eisenhower who feared Russian threats a possible prelude to WWIII (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suez_Crisis).

by: jojnjo from: Dublin
March 19, 2014 02:57
Putin's saying to the boys in the picture above, "Oh all right then "lads"... if you must insist...shake hands with the "Divil"!

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
March 19, 2014 14:10
Guys, in your article on the "6 regrettable lessons" that you learned from the Crimea crisis, I found the following one pretty interesting: "5. The Market Has No Morals".
Well, ok, one can certainly be glad that you finally realized that simple fact of life. Even though Karl Marx made this point more than 150 years ago, you are getting it only now. Well, it's better late than never...

by: Anonymous
March 19, 2014 20:38
Interesting no one mentions that while Putin is using Kosovo as an excuse for his aggression against Ukraine, Moscow has not recognized Kosovo's independence.

About #UkraineUnspun

The information war is in full swing in the tense standoff between Ukraine and Russia. In an attempt to present a clearer picture, #UkraineUnspun will unravel information coming from Russian and Ukrainian media, politicians and activists. Written by Glenn Kates and contributors from RFE/RL.

Follow the hashtag #UkraineUnspun on Twitter and let us know what we should be covering -- or to weigh in on any of our stories. Or write us at webteam@rferl.org
 

Most Popular