Thursday, June 5, 2014

War Nerd: What’s happening in Eastern Ukraine is very simple, rational, and straightforward | PandoDaily


That didn’t happen because Putin infiltrated the ranks of the Eastern Ukrainian Russian militias. We’re seeing ridiculous stories to that effect, like one in the New York Times headlined “Russians Revealed among Ukraine Fighters.”

No kidding—Russians are among the members of an ethnic-Russian militia in a Russian-majority area of Ukraine, bordering Russia? Scary stuff!

Some of these Russians, the NYT discovered, come from Grozny in Chechnya, or Crimea, or other areas now outside Russia. That’s hardly surprising, because when the USSR dissolved itself in 1991, huge areas with ethnic Russian majorities were abandoned to the tender mercies of other ethnic groups which began enforcing anti-Russian policies. Russians in Kazakhstan, the Baltic States, and even lowly Moldova encounter daily hostility, paying for decisions the Soviet Union made without consulting them as it played Great-Power politics.

And yet ethnic Russians, both in Putin’s constituency in Russia, and among ethnic Russian communities shut out of the Russian Federation, like the cities of Eastern Ukraine, continue to be willing to give their lives for Russia. Their grievances, their love for Russia, and their courage are real, not the creation of SpetzNaz or security-service infiltration as jingoistic American journalists like Eli Lake keep claiming.

But those noble qualities, and the lives of the people who hold them, are just expendable assets—straw dogs—to cold-eyed practitioners of Great-Power politics like Putin. They’re fighting at this moment to form a Russian secessionist republic in Eastern Ukraine, but the odds they’ll meet anything but betrayal from Moscow are very dim.

Complete story at - War Nerd: What’s happening in Eastern Ukraine is very simple, rational, and straightforward | PandoDaily

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