Monday, September 22, 2014

Russia: Other Points of View: A REALITY CHECK FROM RUSSIA

Dear Friends.

I've been in St Petersburg and Moscow for the past two weeks. As for the tragedy being played out in Ukraine, it's been surprising to find total uniformity of opinion from Russian citizens, including groups of our CCI alumni. This is not due to "controlled media," since all I've spoken with check a multitude of media sources daily on Internet, including CNN. Their ages range from 25 to 55 years, generally they are the builders of Russia's middle class. It is not long-term support for Putin, because at least half of them weren't supporters of Putin previously. But today the situation has changed.

Crimea––they are adamant that Crimea has always been Russian; that Russia fought battles to keep Crimea in former centuries, and except for a small percentage of Tartars, Crimeans are ethnic Russians––and that Khrushchev turning Crimea over to Ukraine was just a fluke on paper of a discredited Soviet leader trying to impress his birthplace with his power. Many of our alumni vacation in Crimea (it has enviable warm weather), they claim they have never heard any language other than Russian spoken on Crimean streets, further that Crimeans are Russian Orthodox, and feel themselves to be Russian. I'm told that in 1991 when Yeltsin gave all areas outside of Russia their freedom, that the Crimeans declared themselves independent. Four months later, the bureaucrats in Kiev disagreed, and unfortunately Crimea has remained politically bound to Ukraine since. Our friends remind that as children they went to summer youth camps in Crimea and vacation there routinely as adults. They have always considered Crimea a part of Russia as did the locals. Hence, when it became obvious that Kiev would no longer permit Russian as official language and rapidly began institutionalizing Western Ukrainian culture in Crimea, the locals balked. Our alumni add that Crimeans were grateful and excited to be officially rejoined with Russia.

Is Russia's Intention to capture former Soviet territories? Russians were shocked, flabbergasted, that I would even inquire whether Russia's leadership would try to go into the Baltic countries, Poland or any of the former Soviet Republics. So I re-asked the question …. "What would you do if you saw on TV that Russia intended to move troops into one of these former Republics?" They grew quite agitated that I might feel it even a possibility. They were adamant that under no circumstances would Russia EVER be interested in having any of those countries under its control again. It was absolutely unthinkable to them.

Will Russia take more Southeastern Ukraine under its control? Absolutely not, was the speedy answer across the large room. They offered that Russia may help with reconstruction if and when this war comes to an end. But NEVER will Russia annex any of Southeastern Ukraine's land. They say any information to the contrary is pure propaganda.

Russian/Ukraine history: Russians have always felt deeply related to Ukrainians––indeed Kiev was the very center of Russ -- Russia's history and culture. Everyone I speak with here has close relatives living in Ukraine. The two countries have considered themselves of the same stock (except for Western Ukraine). Ukraine and Russia remind me of Siamese twins -- with main arteries, bone structures, and organs being shared. Cutting, breaking them apart destroys vital flows of manufacturing, trade, other critical infrastructures––in addition to the hearts and souls of the peoples involved with each other for some three hundred years. It's no wonder that many Ukrainian troops have defected and can't shoot each other when forced into battle.

Complete story at - Russia: Other Points of View: A REALITY CHECK FROM RUSSIA

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Recommended Reading via Amazon

If you're seeking more information about how the world really works, and not how the media would want you to believe it works, these books are a good start. These are all highly recommended.

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1. The Shock Doctrine - Naomi Klein
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3. Manufacturing Consent - Edward Herman, Noam Chomsky
4. Gladio - NATO's Dagger at the Heart of Europe - Richard Cottrell
5. Profit Over People - Noam Chomsky
6. Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives - Stephen Cohen
7. The Divide - American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap - Matt Taibbi

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