I’ve failed yet again. Comrade Putin has completely ignored the sage advice i sent him in that letter a couple of posts ago. Ignored, hell, he’s dug himself even deeper and has succeeded in isolating himself from just about every country on the planet by taking over Crimea the way he has. And all of it so completely unnecessary when Crimea was just waiting for a chance to get out of Ukraine and back into Russia, as was illustrated by that 95% vote in favor of leaving Ukraine in the referendum called by the Crimean legislature.
And yes, even though that referendum clearly revealed the will of the people, and according to the EODE observer mission was conducted freely and fairly, it was illegitimate under both Ukrainian and UN rules. Sovereign states do not graciously allow portions of themselves to secede with a simple vote, as witnessed by our Civil War. No, it takes a revolution…or intervention by a foreign power as when we helped Kosovo throw off the Serbian yoke.
None of the stats i’ve mentioned before can more starkly illustrate the feelings in Crimea than what happened after Putin had accepted the surrender of the Ukrainian forces in Crimea and had offered them the choice between free passage back to the Ukraine for them and their families or the opportunity to remain in Crimea as Russian soldiers at the same rank. I read in yesterday morning’s paper an article that included a photo of bunch of Ukrainian soldiers waving from their departing bus. Buried deep in the middle of the article was one sentence mentioning in passing that two-thirds of the Ukrainian soldiers in Crimea had chosen to become Russian soldiers. I can think of nothing that speaks more eloquently for the innate Russian identity of Crimea than this.
And nothing that more deeply underscores how badly Putin has handled the issue.
And here, a sign of our times, this one on 16th Street at the foot of Potrero Hill.