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  #1    
Old February 19th, 2014 (11:33 PM).
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http://edition.cnn.com/2014/02/18/world/europe/ukraine-protests/

As you can see, a huge political crisis is happening in Ukraine.

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Old February 21st, 2014 (06:36 AM).
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At the moment Ukraine is courted by both Russia and the European Union for a closer integration with either power. The trouble is that while the President has rejected a deal with the EU late 2013 for closer relations with Russia, many Ukrainians favoured closer ties with the EU and see this move as the President selling out the country to unwanted Russian interests.

What complicates the situation even further is that Ukraine is a divided country. Journalistic charts show that the country has a marked difference between east and west - in the east, most people speak Russian (predominantly or natively, the charts weren't clear) and voted the president in, in the west, most people speak Ukrainian predominantly and voted for the opposition. While it is not to say that Ukraine will experience a split, as many people are nationalist and identify as Ukrainian even if they happen to speak Russian and favour closer ties with Russia, it does mean that the country is very polarized geographically. The biggest protests have naturally occurred in the western half, and mostly in Kiev, the capital. But the eastern half of the country contains over 40% of the population, and protests have been more mild.

The fact of the matter is that Ukraine can benefit from closer ties with either Russia or the EU. Different parts of its market supply either power. I haven't looked into the economic detail, but Ukraine has a greater opportunity to modernize if it taps into the common market of the EU. Joining the EU will require Ukraine to strengthen its democracy and its protection of human rights.

It's not clear what will happen at this stage, as the country is divided and the protesters are fierce but don't particularly like any of the opposition leaders. But if anything, both voices supporting and denouncing the current administration is strong. More to come in the weeks or months ahead.
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Old February 21st, 2014 (08:09 AM). Edited February 21st, 2014 by Stormbringer.
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Actually, they just announced earlier today that a deal is now in place (w/ current president Yanukovych) that allows for early elections and a newly minted constitution. So that's a plus. Now what they decide to do with the election is up in the air. I'm of the opinion that the Ukaraine will try and shift more to the EU in defiance of KGB Overlord Putin. There's more in it for them financially and economically, much more more potential for growth.

EDIT: And they have just voted to release former hottie PM Yulia Tymoshenko from prison.
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Old February 21st, 2014 (08:59 AM).
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I have no idea what is better economically for Ukraine, so I don't have an opinion on this.
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Old February 22nd, 2014 (04:17 PM). Edited February 22nd, 2014 by Ivysaur.
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Yanukovych fled the country, his party in shambles and voting for his impeachment, which was passed today- Chairman of Parliament Oleksandr Turchynov is the new acting President until the May elections. Meanwhile, Timoshenko's party is taking over state offices and filling the vaccum of power as she returned to Independence Square. Seems like the coup has succeded. Now to see where this leads, and how will Russia react to the pro-EU wave that took down the Government.
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Old February 24th, 2014 (12:23 PM).
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I found it interesting that the coup took place during the Olympics, as it's perfect/brilliant timing - Vlad was too busy with the Olympic ceremonies to intervene directly. I think it's obvious though that the new government is going to be Pro-EU, the only question now is what Russia's going to do now that he pomp and circumstance of the Olympics is over with. Imagine the ♥♥♥♥storm if Russia tried to intervene militarily.

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Old February 24th, 2014 (12:53 PM).
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I have family that live there, so I've been watching this evolve over the duration of the Olympics. Their timing is indeed flawless, but apparently, with Yanukovychs' leaving of the country, Putin seems to be very upset by that now that he doesn't have a direct hand of influence on that country. Then again, the citizens don't want to have what happened back in the Stalin days to happen again in a modern setting, so I don't blame them for having all this happen.
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Old February 24th, 2014 (06:41 PM).
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Good observations with the timing. In hindsight, it seems that Putin had very little control over the country at all - I'm sure the deposition of Yakunovich came as a nasty if unexpected shock. It seems all too easy that the parliament was able to release Tymoshenko and call for Yakunovich's arrest. Too bad for Putin, his power over Europe grows thin.
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Old March 1st, 2014 (09:55 PM).
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Well, with Russia now invading the country, the EU is likely to intervene in some way. I can see all sorts of embargos on Russia happening really soon now.
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Old March 2nd, 2014 (10:50 AM).
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I think the Ukraine may have to just cede Crimea to Russia to avoid a major incident. That region is historically Russian to begin with, and the alternative could be open conflict. The EU/UN needs the United States to bankroll and lead a hypothetical coalition against Russia, and I don't see that happening. England, Germany & France together might be enough politically to force the EU into some kind of action, maybe an embargo or sanctions of some kind, but, the US needs to play a major role if we want Russia to stand down.
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Old March 4th, 2014 (02:04 PM).
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For pro-Putin people, this is wonderful. He's not standing down, and he's got the West terrified since he's very important to have onside for pretty much any global matter; and a very threatening opponent both politically and in terms of military force.

Britain's government are clearly reluctant to press this one too hard. We're talking the talk, but we're actually far from keen to inflict any embargo that would in the end be of great harm to our economy, putting us on bad terms with Russia, and getting next to nothing in return for our troubles.

Putin won't take anything less than a solid grasp on Ukraine, and he may be very willing to go to great extents to get it. He did it with Georgia with ease, and he may do it again.

Having Crimea annexed to Russia is VERY optimistic. That's really a best case scenario if that manages to happen.

A civil war in Ukraine with Russia leaving them to it seems like an outcome that... is a lot better than it could be.

Nothing to do but wait... I have an awful feeling about this.
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Old March 5th, 2014 (11:18 AM).
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The Ukraine crisis through the whimsy of international law

Spoiler:
Quote:
Listening to U.S. President Barack Obama bang on this week about the importance of world opinion and obeying international law and respecting sovereignty and being on the right side of history, you had to wonder whether he didn't have a little voice in his head whispering: "Really? Seriously? I'm actually saying this stuff?"

This is the commander-in-chief of a military that operates a prison camp on Cuban soil, against the explicit wishes of the Cuban government, and which regularly fires drone missiles into other countries, often killing innocent bystanders.

He is a president who ordered that CIA torturers would go unprosecuted, and leads a nation that has invaded other countries whenever it wished, regardless of what the rest of the world might think.

Disclaimer here: Vladimir Putin's proclaimed justification for invading Ukraine — protecting Russian-speaking "compatriots" in that country from some imagined violence — stinks of tribalism.

His rationale is essentially ethnic nationalism, something responsible for so much of the evil done throughout human history.

Stated motivation aside, though, what Putin is doing is really no different from what other world powers do: protecting what they regard as national self-interest.

And so far, he's done it without bloodletting.

Imagine, for a moment, what Washington would do if, say, Bahrain's Shia population, covertly supported by Tehran, staged a successful uprising and began to push itself into Iran's orbit.

The U.S. Fifth Fleet is headquartered in Bahrain, just as Russia's Black Sea Fleet is parked at its huge naval bases in the Crimea.

To pose the scenario is to answer the question of how America would react.

The same goes for all the other countries in America's political realm. The Philippines, South Korea, certain Persian Gulf nations. Imagine if Russia's military tried to return to Cuba.

The order of things

There is an order of things; it is disturbed at the world's peril.

And Ukraine, for better or worse — decidedly worse, those in the western portion of the country will tell you — has for centuries been in Russia's sphere.

Crimea, the region of Ukraine now occupied by Russia, was part of the Soviet Union and was deeded to Ukraine in 1954 to celebrate the 300th anniversary of a treaty that bonded much of Ukraine to Tsarist Russia.

To suggest, as European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso did this week, that Ukrainians "have shown that they belong culturally, emotionally but also politically to Europe," is just wishful thinking, even if some Ukrainians wish it were true.

Furthermore, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was right when he pointed out that many of the countries denouncing Putin's intervention were actively involved in encouraging anti-Russia Ukrainians to overthrow an elected, if distasteful, president and government.

Victoria Nuland, a senior American diplomat, was caught in flagrante delicto a few weeks back, chatting with another American official about which Ukrainian opposition figures should and shouldn't be installed.

Washington's reply: It was unconscionable of Russia to intercept and leak that discussion.

More angry flailings

Incidentally, some of the Ukrainian opposition groups that have now ended up in power are thuggish, anti-Semitic, anti-Russian, extreme right-wingers.

Putin's description of them — ultranationalists — was mild. You just wouldn't know it listening to Western politicians.

In Obama's case, sitting beside him on Monday as he gave his lecture on international law from the Oval Office was close ally Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Israeli prime minister, having just engaged in a protracted, robust handshake for the cameras, presides over a country that operates a military occupation in the West Bank, violating the "international law" Obama was demanding Putin obey.

The U.S. insists that Israel's occupation can only be solved by respectful negotiation between the parties themselves, and it vehemently opposes punishing Israel with the sort of moves currently being contemplated against Russia.

It's easy to go on and on in this vein — Britain's prime minister, who leads a nation that helped invade Iraq on a false pretext, denouncing Putin's pretext for going into Crimea. The NATO powers that helped bring about the independence of Albanian Kosovars complaining about the separatist aspirations of Russian-speaking Ukrainians, etc.

But that's diplomacy. Hypocritical declarations and acts are woven into its essence.

What's remarkable is the unspoken pact among the Western news media to report it all so uncritically.

When Obama spoke, the gaggle of reporters in attendance rushed to report his statements, mostly at face value.

Likewise, Western news reports seriously reported Russia's ridiculous threat to end the role of the U.S. dollar as the world's reserve currency, as though Russia's creditors will begin to accept rubles at whatever exchange rate Putin decrees.

On TV and in print, we hear serious talk about the possibility of economic sanctions against Russia — which would only trigger a devastating trade back-blast against European economies.

Other media analysts agree with the angry flailings of U.S. foreign policy hawks, who seem to think Obama should be much more aggressive with Putin, although they have few concrete suggestions. (A frustrated Senator John McCain demanded that rich Russians be barred from Las Vegas.)

The unspoken media-government arrangement is understandable, I suppose.

We must at least pretend there's international law and fairness and basic rules, because it reassures us that we live in a world where raw power doesn't ultimately rule.

But it's all just gibberish; through the looking glass. We might as well be reporting that slithy toves gyre and gimble in the wabe.

Money and hard power count, and that's that. The big players have it, and the smaller players play along. If we need the anaesthetic liquor of self-delusion to deal with it, well, drink up.

A good read. A solid check to the anti-Putin meal feed.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/the-ukraine-crisis-through-the-whimsy-of-international-law-1.2559980
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Old March 6th, 2014 (10:08 AM).
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Oh, and there's this for the tl;drers:



A image macro picture is worth a thousand words.

There are also leaked cables of American diplomats discussing the opposition figures they'd like to install after the crisis ends (presumably in their favour).
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Old March 6th, 2014 (04:14 PM). Edited March 6th, 2014 by Ivysaur.
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There is the smaaaaaalll tiny little bit of the entire thing being a revolt over a treaty with the EU that the president refused to sign against the opinion of the Western half of the country, of Yanukovich having suffered another revolution in 2006 when he used electoral fraud to win the elections, of the Russians poisoning the previous president Yushenko, of Yanukovic sending the opposition leader to jail on ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ charges, the fact that Russia is doing whatever the hell they damn please all over the area, international treaties be damned, while the US isn't getting anything and the EU will have to put a 15€bn credit to keep Ukraine alive...

Oh, and the little tiny fact that UKRAINE HASN'T ENOUGH GAS FIELDS OF THEIR OWN JUST FOR THEMSELVES, and, in fact, Russia will start charging them a 30% more for the gas they have to buy off Russia. And, as a bonus, a lot of those fields are in Crimea- yes, the area Russia, not the eeeeeviiiilll US, Russia, have invaded without warning.

I know that lots of conspiracy theorists want to blame the US for everything that goes on in the world ever but reality is truly more complex than the the stock "gas oil CIA" trope.

Can we see those cables? Aren't they just discussing the "possible people who can rise to power", without any US intervention? (Because it would be kind of a failure for a diplomat not to make such a list during a crisis of this level just to have an idea of who they might have to talk to in the future- we do where I work and we are just a news agency!)
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Old March 6th, 2014 (06:55 PM).
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Yeah I read the cables. They're on BBC or something and they're pretty ugly. And I'm not taking the memepic literally, but the point is that it's humorous and that American interests in Ukraine go beyond the protection of human rights. There's going to be a referendum in the Crimea, but Canada and the US aren't going to recognize it because of "Russian pressure". When I hear "protect human rights and democracy", I hear "let's get our boys in". This emphasis on human rights and democracy is just a weakly veiled attempt to challenge Russia on its own turf. I recognize that Russia has its turf, a lot more than China but a lot less than the US.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26079957
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Old March 7th, 2014 (11:55 AM).
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The Ukrainian crisis has deep roots in history and culture. The fact that the current Ukrainian parliament is a rump parliament excluding representatives from the east (mostly from Yankovich's party) makes all of their talk about about how Crimea's similar pro-Russian rump parliament actions illegitimate kinda hypocritical
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Old March 20th, 2014 (09:15 AM).
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Yeah! Russia catch the Crimea! We finally showed "Kuzkina mat" to the U.S., as said comrade Khrushchov
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Old March 24th, 2014 (08:45 PM).
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So apparently Russia is building up a lot of military at the Crimean border and the Western states are taking this to mean that Russia has plans to further invade Ukraine. Looking at it from a Russian perspective, it seems more likely that they're just trying to up their defense in the area to prevent possible western invasion. It seems much more like a scenario of the security dilemma rather than aggressive posturing from Russia.
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Old March 25th, 2014 (05:12 AM).
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...why would any Western country ever try to invade Russia? What would it be to gain with another European war? Why would Russia think anybody would want to throw millions upon millions of euros and people to the fire of war in order to gain... what exactly?

The Russian paranoia is getting even worse, and I could understand that feeling back in the 80's when the surrounding countries were nominally their sworn enemies, but now that they haven't been for over 20 years?
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Old April 17th, 2014 (10:43 AM).
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This thread seems relevant to bump up as some truly frightening news is coming to light - in one city that has been taken over by Pro-Russian protesters, the new "government" is forcing Jewish people to register themselves and all their property. This is very clearly a ploy in the same way that it was a ploy in the 1930s to focus anger and resentment on the Jewish people. It's a great boon to us now that we have the history to beat this kind of thing back (hopefully) and the technology to know about it when it happens, but it's amazing to me how blatantly a group of people can try to imitate what a great deal of people see as the worst atrocity in human history and not see a problem with it.

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Old April 17th, 2014 (11:11 AM).
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It's pretty confusing - I'm wondering what Russia's motivations are, what they're getting out of this. Perhaps they're worried about EU getting too cosy in their backyard, so to speak.
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Old April 17th, 2014 (12:20 PM).
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NEWS:

NATO, EU, Ukraine and Russia have made an agreement on trying to restore peace to Ukraine. At the same time, Putin does not acknowledge Russian troops in Ukraine, and he claims no relation to them.

[source]
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Old April 18th, 2014 (06:13 AM).
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Quote originally posted by Oryx:
This thread seems relevant to bump up as some truly frightening news is coming to light - in one city that has been taken over by Pro-Russian protesters, the new "government" is forcing Jewish people to register themselves and all their property. This is very clearly a ploy in the same way that it was a ploy in the 1930s to focus anger and resentment on the Jewish people. It's a great boon to us now that we have the history to beat this kind of thing back (hopefully) and the technology to know about it when it happens, but it's amazing to me how blatantly a group of people can try to imitate what a great deal of people see as the worst atrocity in human history and not see a problem with it.

Source
http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117415/relax-ukraine-not-ordering-its-jews-register?utm_source=internal&utm_medium=flyout&utm_campaign=mostpopular

Apparently all the "forcing" was someone dropping leaflets claiming Jews had to register under the new rule, nobody is actually doing it. It's just part of the propaganda war.
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Old May 8th, 2014 (06:40 AM).
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Hi friends! Why you don't say about real situation in Ukraine? Nowadays this is already not revolution, Russian invasion or civil war. Now this is killing civilian, not armed, people in eastern regions of Ukraine. This making armed, illegal teams of fighters from western regions. Moreover, civilian defense activists found on fighters bodys, killed in battles, id cards of foreign citizens and weapon, traditional for NATO's country. They using national army of Ukraine vs civilian people, because top managers in army was set by fascist's government. They already killed more 80 civilian in city's of Slavyansk and Karamatorsk - cores of people's resistance. On may 2nd they kill more 100 people in city of Odessa by burning out in building. Tomorrow they planning make mass killing of veterans of WW2 on traditional celebration of V day on may 9. This criminals supported by illegal Ukrainian government and, as I understand, not official of course, by US and EU. Governments of western country's incriminates Russia in supporting pro-russian movements in Ukraine, but we want just protect Russian speaking people who support union with Russia, not Ukrainian integration in EU. Aha as we made it in Crimea))) So, thanks for reading my clear english))) Don't trust your mass media, think by your head. True here: http://vk.com/maidan_bez_grima?w=wall-67120081_1362
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Old May 8th, 2014 (07:05 AM).
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When isn't there a crisis happening in the Ukraine? To be honest, I think that Russia should just step out of it. It seems that they're just causing more conflict.
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