Crimea has become part of Russia de facto and de jure. What are the political and economic consequences of this decision? The resistance of Russian-speaking residents to the self-proclaimed authorities is growing in the south-eastern Ukraine. Could they follow the example of the Crimeans? Leonid Polyakov, Russian political scientist, Head of General Political HSE assessed the situation in a live broadcast of Pravda.Ru.
The agreement on the reunification of Crimea and the Russian Federation was signed a day before the broadcast. Sevastopol was included as a separate entity. This is fair, because the city has always had a strategic importance and was the main base of the Russian Navy in the Black Sea. It was a separate administrative unit in the RSFSR before the transfer of Crimea to Ukraine. In the state structure of Ukraine the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol city were separate administrative units.
Ukraine is not a federation, but a unitary state composed of regions and two cities of republican subordination, Kiev and, until recently, Sevastopol. It is logical that the two subjects have separately asked the Russian Federation to be included in the composition of Russia and signed separate contracts. Inclusion of Sevastopol in Crimea does not make sense; it will have the status of a federal city, like Moscow and St. Petersburg.
It is a very beautiful triad. In the north, on the Baltic Sea, we have St. Petersburg, the capital of the Baltic Fleet, Sevastopol is the capital of the Black Sea Fleet, and Moscow is the official and the real capital of the entire Federation. The return of Sevastopol to Russia was initiated by Sevastopol. The first elected representative of the people, the people's mayor, as he was called, was Alexei Chaly. This is the wonderful sailor who wore a sweater to the meeting where the president delivered his message and signed a historic document, and who stayed true to himself. For this man, "honor" is not just a word, but concentration of all his experience and the meaning of life.
Now, after the addition of two new subjects, the Russian Federation has 85 subjects. In his address that preceded the signing of the treaty Vladimir Putin mentioned the history of Crimea and Sevastopol, specifically singling out the city of Sevastopol as the city of historical Russian military glory. It is in the Chersonese, as it was called in ancient times, where the first mass baptism in Russia took place. That is, "the communion of our homeland to the common Christian civilization began right there," said the analyst.
The President's speech was unusual in many respects, including its style. Usually the President gives his address in the fall, summarizing the issues and goals. Typically, the message provides a broad overview of the state of affairs in the country and the world. In this case, it was about a simple and clear circumstance. We must, we are ready to accept Crimea and Sevastopol, they are returning to Russia. Therefore, the beginning, I would call it an epic historical recollection of the great tradition of the glory of the involvement of Crimea and Sevastopol in Russian history, was very important. The day of signing of the agreement also immediately became a very important milestone in the history that is made before our eyes, almost with our participation. A memorable date is likely soon to be established. I do not dare to compare it with May 9th, although many Crimeans and Sevastopol residents said it was like 1945."
The world has changed dramatically over a few days. Can we say that Russia is back as a global power?
"Through this act, yes. It demonstrated that Russia is certainly a strong country, that Russia fights for justice; that Russia will fight for its countrymen wherever they are. All post-Soviet countries, especially pro-Western ones, must understand that if they somehow oppress, harass, discriminate against Russian-speaking population, the Russians will stand to defend them. It is an indisputable fact.
We have experienced unprecedented pressure from the West and continue to experience it. There is an ongoing blackmail, psychological pressure. There are attempts to isolate Russia and turn it into a pariah country. This was clearly stated by the president of the United States Barack Obama. This Nobel Peace Prize winner collects units under his banner to isolate Russia diplomatically, economically and in all other areas. Because of the interrupted military contacts between Russia and the Western community, there is also a military confrontation.
But it must be understood that 23 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the world has become a global reality and we are part of it. It is nearly impossible to tear Russia out of this world. Everyone will lose. The President decided to stand up to the end, do not bend, do not succumb to these semi-appeals and semi-threats, and it turned Putin into a real global leader. I would say number one politician in the globalized world. It is recognized by many Western analysts. It is no accident that Putin is regularly the Person of the Year in the West. Of course, the understanding that it is not only his personal decision helps Vladimir Putin. 90 percent of Russians are behind this decision. This is a new level of national consensus achieved in the last month, it gives the president strength to stand up to this unprecedented pressure, not to yield to blackmail or any tempting offers. Russia was transformed after the annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol."
Transnistria sent a request to Russia urging us to think about annexing this republic. They have wanted this for a long time.
"Absolutely. But Transnistrian case, of course, is a little bit different. First, it is far away. It can be compared with Kaliningrad, but there is a different story and reason there. Even Crimea has supply problems due to the continental blockade, possible loss of water and electricity supply. Crimea will have to provide an infrastructure through the Kerch Strait. Four kilometer is not that big of a distance. Of course, we will have to pull cables and establish independent water supply. There have been plans to build a bridge for a long time. A couple of weeks ago, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev instructed to develop a design. We have experience in the construction of huge infrastructure facilities. Recently we built a bridge in Vladivostok to the Russian island. Therefore, these problems can be resolved. You cannot build a bridge to Transnistria."
We are aware of our strength now, but will we get dizzy with success, or vice versa, become scared of our own strength?
"I'd rather not point out to the fact that we have committed some act that scared us. I see the situation from a slightly different perspective. I looked yesterday at the Crimean politicians, Alexey Chaly, Sergei Aksenov, Vladimir Konstantinov, Rustam Timerbaliev, and today spoke with a very young man, a 32 -year-old Minister of Information of the Crimean government. I see new type of politicians who came to Russia. We have arguments here, we have our own nonconformists, some semi- Maidan protests ... That is, there is some degree of political struggle.
But it does not compare with what the Crimean politicians had to go through. This was a real existential test. They literally went to the brink. They received death threats and were well aware how it could end. They were branded as separatists by the current Kiev government. This means, at the bare minimum, they face up to 15 years in prison, and in fact, physical destruction. The new Maidan authorities and supporting radicals upload videos online depicting violence against the nonconformists they accused of separatism. The faces of the new Crimean, and now Russian politicians, evoke different feelings in me. These people bring into our lives a completely different feeling of modern times.
Russia today is yet to get to the new frontier of self-understanding. There is no need to be afraid of our own courage. We need to understand that we finally found something inside that we can firmly hold onto. Up to this day, we existed in some state of perplexity. We talked about the need of a national idea, where it is and what it should be.
The Soviet Union was a red project. People were stimulated by certain goals. But the Soviet Union has collapsed, and the pendulum of thought swung the other way. Universal cynicism has reached unprecedented level; the word "communism" was a mockery and a joke. The project has ran out of steam, the country has disintegrated and collapsed. Incidentally, when Ukraine left the Soviet Union, it was done under the same model under which Crimea left Ukraine.
After the coup in August of 1991, Ukraine declared its independence on August 24. The first line of the Declaration stated that Ukraine declared its independence because there was a coup in Moscow. The people were against it. In March there was a referendum where 70 percent of Ukrainians spoke in favor of preservation of the USSR. However, the question was worded incorrectly. Instead of asking whether they wanted to preserve the USSR, the question was "Do you want to live in the renewed Soviet Union?"
Still, people voted for the Union, but the situation has changed dramatically, and all previous referendums and documents no longer had the old value. The motion vector was determined by new circumstances. Now, after the rapid 23 - year-long period with gang violence and faith in liberalism, the rapid development and entry into the "civilized" world, came the realization of large losses, including in moral and ethical sense. We have one intrinsic value around which we can unite, plan, and build a real future. This is the "Russian world." Russian not in a strict ethnic sense, but in traditional civilizational sense.
Many peoples reside on Russia's territory, but there are some eternal troubles around the state-forming people. Some were very suspicious of the emphasis on being Russian. Such self-identification was almost immediately equated to nationalism. Now it sounds proud and unifying.
One of Putin's seven articles of the election campaign was devoted to the national issue. There he clearly stated that the Russians were a unique civilization, both the people and certain civilizational commonality that integrated, collected and created harmony for different nations, different faiths, different values ... And all this happens organically, without violence. Now the idea of gathering the Russian world is presented clearly, we began to implement it. The national idea as a real task was revived. The protracted ideological worldview pause is over. It is time to move forward, to develop the idea that once inspired the people, said Leonid Polyakov.
Ukraine was artificially created by the Bolshevik state, it has never been homogeneous, and it gained its own statehood just over 20 years ago, but has not emerged as a country. Donbass has always been part of Russia, as well as the Black Sea region, the New Russia. Ruthenia and Galicia were individual parts. All these regions were part of the Russian Empire and were always considered the Russian land. In all of South-East, Kharkov, Lugansk, Donetsk, Odessa, Kherson, Mykolayiv and other regions the Russian population strives for the Russian world. Now this split is growing through the actions of the Maidan participants and the new authorities. We can only sympathize with our fellow Ukrainians.
Birth of a nation is a painful, difficult process. Now, the most active f Western passionate fanatics are dictating the model of the birth of a nation. They want to Ukrainise the Russian part. They carry out their project through terror. This is their model of state building. It is clear that this will not work, a nation cannot be created through violence. Conversely, the greater the pressure, the greater will be the resistance and split. Crimea has clearly given an adequate response to a violent attempt of Ukrainianization.
To save Ukraine from decay, one must at least choose the federal model, sign a contract. But the new terrorist pseudo-authorities are starting with prohibiting the use of the Russian language, that is, abolishing the existing law, oppressing and threatening all Russian-speaking citizens. In the regions the Russians had a defensive reaction against violent Ukrainianization. Increasingly more people will consolidate. There will be new political figures, leaders, national governors. Self-organization is inevitable, self-defense units will be created...
The analyst believes that it would be logical for Russia to begin active diplomatic offensive on Europe without waiting for the victims. Russia should state that if they continue to support the interim government, any subsequent blood will be on their conscience. Russia today has an absolute moral right to protect people. It must overcome the cynicism of international law transformed into international lawlessness. Russia should not wait for hundreds of thousands of corpses, turn Ukraine into Syria, develop the Balkan scenario. It needs to implement active diplomatic attacks on Europe.
Prepared by Yuri Kondratyev