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Monday, March 17, 2014

Russia Annexes Crimea, Saves $ 98 Million

No wonder Russia wanted Crimea. No wonder Ukraine didn’t want to let the region go. Russia was paying Ukraine $ 98 Million to keep their ships in port in Crimea. And when the troops got paid, I’m pretty sure that they didn’t all send the money back to momma on the Volga. The local Crimean businesses made a bundle on having the Russian naval base there.

So now Russia is that much richer and Ukraine is that much poorer.
But the trouble is only beginning for Ukraine. The Ukrainian version of “George Bush’s Fault’ is going to manifest itself as other cash-starved or soon to be cash-starved regions of Ukraine vie for a chance to vote on a referendum to rejoin Russia. Now the Ukrainian region of Donetsk wants one.
This is obviously all Vladimir Putin’s fault.

The rest of Ukraine seems just as divided. There are factions that wish to rejoin Russia and there are the Ukrainian Nationalists who wish to stay an autonomous nation and join the EU.  This is going to have to be sorted out and having a vote will be a good start. The trick is to pull it off without the country descending into chaos.
The situation in Ukraine is beginning to play out in a fashion reminicent of the old "Bloody Kansas" turmoil in the days leading up to the U.S. Civil War. This was when the Kansas territory was given a chance a vote whether to join the Union as a "Free" state or a "Slave" state and bloody clashes took place between Free State and Pro Slavery factions. This lead to increased polarization, deeper divisions and then to civil war.
The Ukrainian insurrection that toppled its president is nothing less than a revolution. Not a particularly bloody one but with the absence of power, history has shown, there is an increasing risk there will be a clash between powerful groups to fill that gap and as we have seen, they are very wide apart in their views to say the least.

This is Vladimir Putin’s fault.
There have been many promises made by the U.S. and the EU as to guarantees of support both financially, politically and militarily. These are not going to happen nearly to the satisfaction of Ukraine’s interim government which is not only having to deal with a vote of their own and the loss of Crimea but also the potential of a breakup of the rest of the country.

Somehow I don’t think the losing parties in the Ukrainian elections are going to take it sitting down.
This is Vladimir Putin’s fault.

So whether you think the Crimean vote was legitimate or coerced or whatever, Ukraine is going to have bigger problems down the road with whichever group gains control of the country. The loss of Crimea is a big blow financially but if they don’t address other more pressing issues first, the Crimean vote will look like a good idea and then other regions will follow suit.  
Who’s fault will that be?



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