All righty then.
Crimea voted to secede, not unexpectedly, from the wreck of a shell of a nation known as Ukraine and join Russia -- which isn't much better off, but at least they speak the same language. Well, mostly. (Ukrainian strikes me a mutually intelligible language for Russian speakers, but my Russian is too rusty and imperfect to be sure and I've never studied Ukrainian, so I can't say.)
The posturing and hostility in Washington, London, Berlin and Brussels will now reach a fever pitch of OUTRAGE!!!!™ War fever and hysteria will reign. John McCain will thump his little booties. But the hysteria over "aggression" will all be in the capitals of the West; Russia will simply go on about its business, quietly assuring the security of its bases in Crimea, assembling mostly "show" troops near the Russia/Ukraine border -- but avoiding incidents that might inadvertently cause a hot war to break out -- and propping up the Crimean economy.
Oh, yes. I fully expect the Kremlin to do a demonstration project in Crimea, one that will show off their superiority -- or at least the superiority of their Oligarchs compared to the greed and destructiveness of "Ukrainia's" and the West's.
Has anyone seen a picture of Grozny lately? Remember Grozny? The capital of the republic of Chechnya that was almost completely destroyed during the Chechen rebellion in the '90s and early 2000s?
|Grozny, declared the Most Destroyed City on Earth by the UN in 2003|
It hasn't been completely restored by any means, but these are some of the images of the New Grozny shown these days:
|Grozny From Above, 2012|
And as we saw in Sochi, Russia is not averse at all about spending lots of money when it needs or wants to.
The governing system appears to be Fascism, the governing interests appear to be those of Oligarchs. This is true on both sides of the Ukrainian Divide and within Ukraine itself. The struggle in Ukraine merely highlights the higher level interests in conflict. The People of Ukraine, Crimea, Russia or the EU figure hardly at all.
It's about those on top. Not about those below them.
In order to maintain secure bases in Crimea, I have no doubt the Kremlin will spend whatever it takes to make Crimea a showcase of Russian-style civic virtue and beauty.
While the idea of doing things this way may be rooted in Soviet practice, this is not the same thing at all. Instead of the Soviet Kremlin forcing something typically grim and ugly on unwilling or uninterested subject societies and peoples, this is the Modern Kremlin providing something truly welcoming and beautiful -- in exchange for submission to oligarchic authority and compliance with Kremlin will. The tradeoff is straightforward enough, it seems to me, and the rewards seem to be sufficient in the short term, perhaps long term as well.
We shall see.
The West, on the other hand, is offering nothing but pain, suffering, and loss of dignity -- the Greek Model which has been openly touted as the future for the Ukrainian people under EU/US/NATO/IMF diktat. Instead of providing anything to the Ukrainians, they will take more and ever more from this already embeggared and impoverished people, and they will call it "Just" and "Right" and "Proper."
Just as they've done to the Greeks among quite a few others on the Near Periphery.
So. The Games have begun in earnest.
Perhaps the contrasting examples, of a stripped-bare Ukraine under EU/IMF authority and control versus a visibly more prosperous Crimea under Kremlin patronage and authority, will be informative and illuminating to the others contemplating plighting their troth with the EU.
On the other hand, no one is truly free in this game, and there is no democracy allowed. It's Fascism all the way down.
The only question is, which form of Fascism is better.