deutsche Fassung


Version española

Русская версия

Russia and Ukraine

In the mainstream media, there is not only the Corona topic, even if it overshadows all other topics. Another is the alleged Russian plan to invade eastern Ukraine. On 02/12 Germany has asked its citizens to leave Ukraine. One can accuse Vladimir Putin of many things, but not that he is a fool. Much more likely than a Russian attack is that Ukraine wants to break the Minsk Agreement and retake the Donets Basin (DonBas) from the separatists. If Russia then does nothing, Ukraine would try the same with Crimea and then join NATO. With Crimea, however, NATO would dominate the Black Sea, which would be unacceptable to Russia. A threat of war emanates from Ukraine and the USA at most.

The synchronized propaganda experienced a brief disruption when the inspector of the German Navy, Admiral Schönbach, had to resign on January 23, 2022 because he spoke a truth that was not politically acceptable. ( Not only about Corona, but also about the political role of Russia, there are other opinions only in the new media, to which I only want to name a few examples:

I myself have personal contacts in Crimea, which I have visited seven times, and I have also been to Kiev four times. I don't want to call myself a Russia expert, but I trust myself to make my own assessment, apart from government opinion.

Crimea's accession to the Russian Federation did not violate international law

After a referendum, the Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic of Crimea, dissolved by Stalin on June 30, 1945, was reestablished on February 12, 1991 by the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR. Until 1954 Crimea was part of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. However, because there was only one land connection to Ukraine and the entire infrastructure could therefore only be built from Ukraine, the peninsula was annexed to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic under Khrushchev, which was a sensible decision from an administrative point of view at the time. However, there was no referendum on this change in the status under international law. Because the union republics were independent states according to the constitution of the USSR and the union was only a federation of states, there should have been a referendum. However, the government of the Soviet Union at the time did not consider this subtlety to be so important.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Crimea's status was briefly an issue. But that was overshadowed by that of the future of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet and the Sevastopol base, where nuclear weapons were and probably still are stationed on submarines. An internationally unrecognized independent Crimea that can lay claims to the navy and nuclear weapons, which was too risky for Russian President Yeltsin at the time. This is probably why he did not support the independence movement. An agreement was reached between Russia and Ukraine on the division of the Black Sea Fleet, Ukraine's renunciation of nuclear weapons, Russia's base rights in Sevastopol and the status of Crimea. The Crimean ASSR was renamed the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol was detached with a special status. Russian remained the official language.

Hardly any Ukrainians live in Crimea. In addition to the Russian population, there is a Turkish minority estimated at 12%. Before 1991 there was no stable Ukrainian state. Before the First World War, western Ukraine belonged to Austria-Hungary as eastern Galicia. Only in this area is the majority of people speaking Ukrainian in everyday life. Even in the capital Kiev I only heard about 80% Russian. What was confusing for me was that street names and subway stations are officially called Ukrainian and people use the Russian translation. For example, the underground station was called лесная (Lesnaja = forest), and I could not assign the official name лісова (Lisowa). To say that Ukrainian is just Polish with Russian pronunciation and Cyrillic letters is of course an exaggeration, but for many words there is a closer proximity between Ukrainian and Polish than between Ukrainian and Russian.

Thank you / Russian: Спасибо – Spasiba / Ukrainian: Дякую – Dyakuyu / Polish: Dziękuję
Bitte / Russian: Пожалуйста - Pozhalsta / Ukrainian: просимо - prosymo / Polish: Proszę
good night / russian: спокойной ночи - spokojnoj notschi / ukrainian: Надобраніч - Nadobranitsch / polish: Dobranoc

Because of the political proximity between western and eastern Galicia (southern Poland and western Ukraine) in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the resulting proximity between the Polish and Ukrainian languages, the official language in eastern Ukraine is practically a foreign language for people, including ethnic Ukrainians .

Already 25 years ago there was strong anti-Ukrainian resentment in Crimea. The new Ukrainian state was perceived as corrupt. The mood was heightened when later Ukrainian governments transformed the multi-ethnic state (there are also Hungarian, Slovak and Romanian minorities in the west) into a Ukrainian national state. After the coup in February 2014, when western Ukrainian nationalists took power and the flight of then-President Viktor Yanukovych, dissatisfaction among the Crimean population reached its peak. The declaration of independence of the parliament of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea was supported by a large majority of the population and was overwhelmingly confirmed on March 16, 2014, despite the boycott of the Turkish minority in a high turnout. The subsequent accession of independent Crimea to the Russian Federation also corresponded to the will of the people of Crimea.

This was not an annexation contrary to international law, but an exercise of the people's right to self-determination according to Article 1, Paragraph 1 of the UN Civil Pact. (All peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of this right, they freely decide on their political status and freely shape their economic, social and cultural development.) In application of the Kosovo decision of the International Court of Justice of July 22, 2010, a unilateral declaration of independence violates a Entity in no way international law. International law does not prohibit a declaration of independence. The Crimean authorities were even entitled “to organize and conduct local referendums” under Article 138(2) of the Ukrainian Constitution. So there was nothing illegal about Crimea's declaration of independence.

Russia belongs to Europe, the USA does not!

The mentality of the Russians, with a high value on community and willingness to help, is also closer to the Western Europeans than the individualism and the everyone-against-everyone mentality of the US citizens. For the US, Europe is a geopolitical pawn, for the Europeans, it's home! Peace in Europe can only be organized with Russia, not against Russia. The exclusion of Russia is a serious mistake even from the perspective of the United States against the background of intensifying rivalry with China.

Russian President Putin may be a difficult negotiating partner on a human level, and so was former US President Trump. But the fate of peoples cannot be made dependent on personal sympathies and antipathies. From a European perspective, there is no reasonable alternative to peaceful coexistence among all European countries, including Russia. A new Cold War is of no use to anyone. A NATO that provokes Russia is not a security guarantee, but a security risk.

Admiral Schönbach's analysis was particularly accurate. Russia is not interested in a piece of land in eastern Ukraine. "U kraina" can be translated as "on the edge". The country is also a marginal issue for Russian politics. However, Russia's support for Crimea has raised expectations in eastern Ukraine that the people of the Donbass region will also be protected from western Ukrainian dominance. Russia just doesn't want to lose face here.

The crisis can only be solved with a sensible compromise. The Schönbach analysis is a good basis for this. Crimea will not return to the Ukrainian state. The West could save face if the 03/16/2014 referendum were repeated under OSCE supervision; this result should be recognized by the world. However, this will not change anything in the current situation; less than 70% agreement is not realistic. The provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk can become an "Autonomous Republic of Donbass" (Donets Basin) within the Ukrainian state, like the "Autonomous Republic of Crimea" from 1991 to 2014. NATO would have to declare that it would no longer accept new members as a matter of principle. This would also rule out Ukraine's accession. The EU would be overreaching itself with the admission of such a large country with such a big lag in economic development. Here, Russia should not insist on a formal declaration. All boycott measures against Crimea and the rest of Russia must be lifted.

Apart from pushing back the Ottoman Empire, there has never been a war on Russian soil in the past. Napoleon, Wilhelm II and Hitler were the attackers. Stalin did not evacuate Eastern Europe after 1945 so that the USA would not advance. Putin's policy is not aggressive either. In the longer term, the European NATO members should consider how they can “make peace without weapons!” This is only possible if Russia is treated with respect, as Admiral Schönbach had suggested. The peace-loving country will then play a very constructive role,

In fact, NATO has been superfluous since 1991. After Donald Trump said that, he was thoroughly processed by the arms lobby, and then the Europeans were asked to increase their arms spending - more profit for the corporations! From Corona, too, we know the mechanism by which the pharmaceutical lobby turned a simple virus into a marketing campaign. In the end, as always, ordinary people foot the bill.