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Kiwi

Ukraine Unrest

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Violence seems to be escalating again this morning. I suspect that many here in the UK are bemused at the lengths that some will go to get into the EU!!

 

Seems to be dangerously polarising the Ukraine with the east siding with Russia and the "old guard" while those in the western areas and many of the young look towards the European Union. Russia's foreign minister says that the violent clashes are out of control and being stirred up by western politicians. I worry about where this is going.....

 

http://www.ryot.org/watch-live-stream-protests-ukraine

 

http://espreso.tv/

 

Posted Image .......and apart from the protests and just for the coldies, just look at all the snow falling in this live footage!!(as of  Wed 22 Jan) 

Edited by Kiwi

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Yes Kiwi, with regards to your last point, it did cross my mind, when I saw the news, that a few people in the Model Thread wouldn't even notice the story, but would be captivated by the snow falling and lying. :doh:

 

More seriously, I agree. It's a dangerous situation and a another European civil war is the last thing that's wanted. I don't think it'll escalate any more to become an east v west thing, involving other countries. At least I hope not. :(

 

In some ways it's better that these protests are happening in the depth of winter imho, rather than more potentially explosively in the warmer days. Hopefully things can be negotiated and resolved in good time.

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From what I have heard, it is basically the western areas of Ukraine who are more westwards looking and would like eventually to be a part of the EU, whilst those in the east are more eastward looking and tend to have more in common with Russia and are gravitating more towards them.

 

It is somewhat strange in away when you consider the millions who died from starvation and were transported to other parts of the USSR during the collectivisation process imposed by Stalin during the 30's but as time evolves, it seems he is only remembered for the good things, such as defeating Germany in WWII and the way he brought what was originally a fairly backward society up to being a 20th century world power, so the fact that he was responsible for more deaths than anyone else, including Hitler, appears to be getting air brushed out with time. 

 

However I have thought for some time that the best way out of the situation would be to divide this country with the more pro Russian in the east and the more pro EU in the west - this would provide an accommodation for the two sides of the divide and individuals could have the opportunity, if they so wished, to re-locate in one area or another.

 

This situation is not altogether without precedent, for instance Czechoslovakia split up not so long ago into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, then there was the splitting of the Indian sub continent into Pakistan, India and Bangladesh but I would hope that the troubles of the last example would not be repeated.

 

They don't have to be if it is gone about in a civilised manner, though the biggest stumbling block could be squabbling over the various resources.

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It's a difficult one but much like Poland ect.. joining the EU is a symbolic act of embracing what they see as freedom and liberalism as opposed to what many see as a somewhat cruel and distrustful Russia.

 

One has to remember that politics can be like an elastic band, by being subjected to the USSR it's drove a massive snap back to Europe.

 

Personally i'm relatively confident that they will join the EU at some point.

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Economically, Ukraine joining the EU would be a disaster. Just like it was for Portugal, Greece and Ireland, their economies just aren't strong enough. 

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Economically, Ukraine joining the EU would be a disaster. Just like it was for Portugal, Greece and Ireland, their economies just aren't strong enough. 

I don't think it is so much of a disaster for the Irish, amongst the three you mentioned, they have pulled up the most and are attracting inward investment and they have said 'no' to further bail outs - they have the advantage of being both in the EU and the Euro Zone with using English as a first language - the things many global companies look for.

 

They were serious about their austerity program and now it working, employment is rising and on the whole things are looking up.

 

As far as the Ukraine is concerned, yes they will be starting from a low ebb, as were the Baltic states and the other ex USSR satellites, but they have the space, a relatively skilled population as far as I am aware and with time should gradually pull up.

 

As to whether a country makes a success within the EU or not is more down to an attitude of mind and a willingness to work - unfortunately, the Greeks and the Italians have not yet got the better of corruption within their societies with many of the fat cats still dodging their taxes. I think Spain is gradually improving - they have their tiles, Seat, wine, olives and vegetables which go for export, plus their tourist industry.

 

All these things do take time, possibly generations but if we look at the state Europe, including Germany and ourselves were in, just under 70 years ago, a lot of progress has been made.

 

The less successful countries of union should be looking to the examples of those who are more successful and use some of their policies as blueprints where they fit into their societies.

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Dunno what all the fuss is about - those scenes on the television device are just like a normal Saturday night around here.

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Dunno what all the fuss is about - those scenes on the television device are just like a normal Saturday night around here.

No there're not - Donny doesn't get snow like that :D

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Economically, Ukraine joining the EU would be a disaster. Just like it was for Portugal, Greece and Ireland, their economies just aren't strong enough.

Are you actually aware of when these countries joined the EU? Are you seriously trying to suggest that their recent economic problems are due to their decision to enter a trade bloc 30-40 years ago?

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Economically, Ukraine joining the EU would be a disaster. Just like it was for Portugal, Greece and Ireland, their economies just aren't strong enough. 

 

Any evidence to support this point?

 

Firstly there is a difference between the EU and Eurozone. Secondly there is no evidence i have ever seen to suggest that Ireland would have perused a different approach outside the Eurozone (i.e. one that wasn't to inflate a housing bubble and make your tax regime dependent on property taxes). Thirdly, economies don't have to be strong per say (the reason for Greece and Ireland is a lack of fiscal discipline and mutual debt) not least because the definition of a strong economy is entirely subjective (all were recording good growth pre-crisis).

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You cant compare the Ukraine with the likes of Poland and the Baltic states...Ukraine historically had been part of Russia and then the USSR for centuries..unlike Poland and the Baltic states which had a recent history of being independent states. Ethnically speaking the eastern areas of Ukraine are largely Russian whilst the west is largely Ukrainian..dont forget prior to the war large parts of what is now Western Ukraine was part of Poland.

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You cant compare the Ukraine with the likes of Poland and the Baltic states...Ukraine historically had been part of Russia and then the USSR for centuries..unlike Poland and the Baltic states which had a recent history of being independent states. Ethnically speaking the eastern areas of Ukraine are largely Russian whilst the west is largely Ukrainian..dont forget prior to the war large parts of what is now Western Ukraine was part of Poland.

Quite agree and in my view it re-enforces the argument to split the country in two. To my mind that would be the best solution though a sticking point could be in dividing the resources.

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Quite agree and in my view it re-enforces the argument to split the country in two. To my mind that would be the best solution though a sticking point could be in dividing the resources.

 

Poland's prime minister warned, just yesterday, that Ukraine was at risk of breaking apart.

The stark divide is illustrated by this map....the blue areas, being those which voted for the (Russian leaning) current President Viktor Yanukovych in 2010.

 

post-1808-0-87713400-1390639440_thumb.jp

 

All looks pretty clear until, as you say, you start to consider the natural resources

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Poland's prime minister warned, just yesterday, that Ukraine was at risk of breaking apart.

The stark divide is illustrated by this map....the blue areas, being those which voted for the (Russian leaning) current President Viktor Yanukovych in 2010.

 

Posted Imageukraine-2010-election.jpg

 

All looks pretty clear until, as you say, you start to consider the natural resources

Agreed

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Quite agree and in my view it re-enforces the argument to split the country in two. To my mind that would be the best solution though a sticking point could be in dividing the resources.

 

Yes that would be the best solution. But the thing is Russia's Putin won't let go of Ukraine without a nasty fight. He is pulling the strings in all this and not Yanukovych.

 

Putin has a monopoly on Ukraine's gas and some what it's economy. So for now Yanukovych is Putin's puppet.

 

All part of a wider game with Putin and America jostling for dominance and influence over European countries and elsewhere. The cold war is not over.

 

Also US Senator John McCain is in a personal battle with Putin over Ukraine. 

 

Putin has risen to the top of the world over the last few years with his rhetoric and sabre rattling with the US, and last year was considered the most powerful leader on the planet.

 

For Ukrainians the end to all this is not going to be a quick process. 

 

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/12/john-mccain-blames-obama-for-emboldening-russian-bullying-in-ukraine/

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-25411118

 

http://www.forbes.com/powerful-people/list/

Edited by Gaz1985

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Yes that would be the best solution. But the thing is Russia's Putin won't let go of Ukraine without a nasty fight. He is pulling the strings in all this and not Yanukovych.

 

Putin has a monopoly on Ukraine's gas and some what it's economy. So for now Yanukovych is Putin's puppet.

 

All part of a wider game with Putin and America jostling for dominance and influence over European countries and elsewhere. The cold war is not over.

 

Also US Senator John McCain is in a personal battle with Putin over Ukraine. 

 

Putin has risen to the top of the world over the last few years with his rhetoric and sabre rattling with the US, and last year was considered the most powerful leader on the planet.

 

For Ukrainians the end to all this is not going to be a quick process. 

 

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/12/john-mccain-blames-obama-for-emboldening-russian-bullying-in-ukraine/

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-25411118

 

http://www.forbes.com/powerful-people/list/

I think that from the Russian perspective Putin has made great strides and very likely history will show him as one of the greatest  leaders in Russian history, however he does come from a KGB background, making him quite ruthless and this is bound to affect his thinking so it appears that there is very much a love/hate relationship with his own people. Though just recently through his release of the Green Peace protesters and the 'girlie pop group', he appears to be mellowing a little.

 

At the same time he is a highly intelligent and strategic thinker. Going back into recent history, I suspect the lessons of the breakup of Soviet regime and the ill fated Afghanistan campaign are not lost on him and that at times it can be more trouble than what it is worth to continue to subjugate peoples who are actively resisting such subjugation.

 

No doubt for historical and security reasons he is anxious that the Ukraine should remain within the Russian sphere of influence and is actively bribing their leaders in an effort to achieve this.

 

However as has been pointed out previously a fair portion western Ukraine was originally Poland until it was annexed during the early part of WWII in the Stalin/Ribbentrop deal and this is bound to affect the mental processes of the people of that area and make them more inclined to lean towards the EU rather than Russia. This attitude is not likely to go away, in fact it could increase with time, engendering and encouraging a rebellious faction within that part of the country.

 

Being pragmatic about this situation it appears to me that the easiest way to prevent future problems from persisting would be to agree to a division of the country and allow the pro Russian east to throw in their lot with Russia and the pro EU west to eventually join the EU.

 

No doubt it is also be a bit of a thorn in Putin's side that in order to visit Kaliningrad, a part of Russia, he has to travel through the EU Baltic states, which will be one of the things, amongst many which eventually cause him to draw a line in the sand but this will very likely cause further protests and troubles with the more extreme organising themselves into underground armies in a similar vein to the IRA and ETA.

Edited by mike Meehan

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I can't say i support Putin too much, he possibly rigged the last election and while he's entitled to push through what policies he likes his government is guilty of a mirade of human rights abuses. Most importantly however he's far too nationalistic and anti-west for my liking although he is smart enough to separate economic differences from wider differences which at least means we continue to trade.

 

Russia has big problems in the future though. It's economy is a little screwy and totally dependent on resources, there's high inflation but most importantly it's population is already collapsing.

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I can't say i support Putin too much, he possibly rigged the last election and while he's entitled to push through what policies he likes his government is guilty of a mirade of human rights abuses. Most importantly however he's far too nationalistic and anti-west for my liking although he is smart enough to separate economic differences from wider differences which at least means we continue to trade.

 

Russia has big problems in the future though. It's economy is a little screwy and totally dependent on resources, there's high inflation but most importantly it's population is already collapsing.

Anti West - Yes, no doubt a product of his KGB background - Nationalistic  - Yes, and also ruthless but Russia has plenty of natural resources - they are still building up after the collapse of the Soviet regime and some of their industries still operating on obsolete machinery - still quite a way to go but if you look at the difference between now and the Yeltsin days, there is quite a difference.

 

There is little doubt that it is Putin's aim to elevate Russia back to being a world power. I believe he still has a little over 2 years in his current term, I'm not sure if he will be able to serve a second term this next time round but whichever, he could possibly do another soft shoe shuffle with Medvedev subject to them not getting divorced - he is now 61 years of age and could conceivably last another 15 years at the top before riding off in his troika into the sunrise, or settling into a comfortable retirement by the Black Sea.

 

Yes, there is still a lack of democracy in the way we know it but the Russian people have never really had a western style democracy. Hopefully this will progress as Russia becomes more secure and sure of itself with the people becoming increasingly exposed to western ideas.

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What happens if someone — a band of nationalist guerrillas, say — attacks one of the vital East-West oil or gas pipelines? It is easy to imagine the Kremlin demanding that its forces be allowed to restore order (and not much harder to imagine the Yanukovych regime accepting the “offer†of help). Do we stand by and watch Ukrainians being gunned down? Or intervene and risk the Third World War?

 

I suspect the calculation in Moscow and Kiev is that Europe is too tired, too divided and too ineffective to defend its interests and values in its eastern neighbourhood.

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Being pragmatic about this situation it appears to me that the easiest way to prevent future problems from persisting would be to agree to a division of the country and allow the pro Russian east to throw in their lot with Russia and the pro EU west to eventually join the EU.

 

 

i think this would be a very dangerous game...it would only be a matter of time before the eastern half would be persuade to vote on rejoining Russia..thus the first step in the west ward expansion of Russia...next step would be Belorussia.

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Events in Ukraine seem to be becoming increasingly dangerous.  Russia’s Foreign Ministry have described the violence in Ukraine as an attempt at a coup d’etat and a “brown†revolution, accusing European politicians of being complicit.

Protestors are blocking some of the roads in to Kiev in expectation of the arrival of troops being sent from the Crimea. Meanwhile Col Gen Zamana has been replaced as head of the armed forces by the commander of Ukraine's navy, suggesting dissent in the ranks.

http://espreso.tv/news

Philip Breedlove 

tweets: As NATO's military commander I ask that responsible leaders avoid the use of military force against the people of Ukraine.

 

edit; Obama adds "There will be consequences if people step over the line,".........where have we heard that before?..that'll really have them quaking in their boots!!!


 
Edited by Kiwi

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Yes, it's very sad and disturbing watching this unfold. I did quite a lot of work in Ukraine a few years back, mainly in Ternopil, and it is horrible seeing all the progress that I witnessed over the three years of my visits being threatened. I'm an academic and worked with the Ternopil University, they have very strong faculty there with growing international links and I attended one of the first international conferences they organised in Phoros, Crimea. They are so dependent on maintaining relationships with the EU and need the kind of freedom to grow and prosper that the likes of Estonia and Latvia have achieved.

 

To see that beautiful square in Kiev being a scene of bloodshed is heatbreaking. It's a striking place in summer or winter. I have fond memories of leaving a delightful little restaurant with a friend and coming out into a -30c with perfect little stars of snow falling against a backdrop of buildings with 3 metre icicles dangling from them, and during a May visit a violent thunderstorm with lightning striking the St. Michael cathedral.

 

I hope for a peaceful and progressive resolution but I have my doubts...

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Yes, it's very sad and disturbing watching this unfold. I did quite a lot of work in Ukraine a few years back, mainly in Ternopil, and it is horrible seeing all the progress that I witnessed over the three years of my visits being threatened. I'm an academic and worked with the Ternopil University, they have very strong faculty there with growing international links and I attended one of the first international conferences they organised in Phoros, Crimea. They are so dependent on maintaining relationships with the EU and need the kind of freedom to grow and prosper that the likes of Estonia and Latvia have achieved.

 

To see that beautiful square in Kiev being a scene of bloodshed is heatbreaking. It's a striking place in summer or winter. I have fond memories of leaving a delightful little restaurant with a friend and coming out into a -30c with perfect little stars of snow falling against a backdrop of buildings with 3 metre icicles dangling from them, and during a May visit a violent thunderstorm with lightning striking the St. Michael cathedral.

 

I hope for a peaceful and progressive resolution but I have my doubts...

The only way of resolving it as far as I can see would be to split the country into the pro Russian east and the pro Euro west - there have been so many nasty things happening that it will take generations to get over and as it is even if order is restored immediately there will always be sections of their community seriously dissatisfied to the extent they will continue to cause unrest, so I believe it would be much better to let the two sides forge their own futures separately.

 

The problem being that I do not expect that nice Mr Putin to agree to this and no doubt he still considers the Ukraine a Russian satellite.

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