Letters to the Editor

Letter: Ukraine analysis

March 12, 2014


To the editor:

Congratulations to the J-W for presenting two views of the Crimean crisis. Charles Krauthammer supports Russia’s historical right to Crimea, while criticizing President Obama for weakness in contesting it, and David Ignatius gives a well-balanced analysis of U.S. policy toward Russia in the Crimean situation.

As Sergei Khruschchev reminds us, his father awarded Crimea to then Soviet Ukraine in 1954 for an economic reason: “the building of a hydro-electric dam on the Dnieper River which would irrigate Ukraine’s southern regions, including Crimea. And I never heard from Putin that he wanted it.” (Andre de Nessnera, “Giving Crimea Back to Russia is Not an Option,” Voice of America, March, 6, 2014). Crimea has a Russian naval base. Now, after sending in Russian troops — called “local forces” — Putin cares enough for the Russian majority there to hold a referendum.

Russian action in Crimea is both punishment and a means of pressure on the new Ukrainian government to give up its power and reinstate the previous president Viktor Yanukovich. After months of protest against his rejection of Ukrainian associate membership in the European Union, and then against his rule in general, there was bloodshed before and after a failed agreement. Finally, in late February, the Ukrainian parliament voted Yanukovich out of power and he fled to Russia, leaving his palace and gardens behind him. His assets, estimated at $12 billion have been frozen by the European Union.

President Putin’s goal is to restore Yanukevich as head of all Ukraine, although 90 percent of the latter’s support is in heavily russified eastern Ukraine. There is no need for Russian troops to “protect” Russian citizens there.


Leslie Swearingen 1 year, 7 months ago

Great letter, Anna, thank you. Historic boundaries should not be relevant only what there are now should be pertinent to a discussion. Countries have been fighting others for posession of land for centuries. If we were to go by that France would change hands.

I can understand why Russia so desperately needs the warm water port at Sevastopol, Crimea as otherwise its fleet would be frozen in port much of the year. Yanukovych was legally impeached and has no option but to leave. Its sounds to me as though Putin thinks a new government might tell Russia it can no longer have its fleet based in Crimea. That would worry him.

It is not astounding that Putin would be doing this if you know where the man is coming from. I would suggest reading his biography, it is worth the time and explains a lot.

We definitely should not even think about going to war with Russia over this.

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