Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

The Crimean of the century?

Posted by Charles II on August 28, 2008

Askold Krushelnycky, London Independent:

Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, home to the Russian Black Sea Fleet, could be the next flashpoint in the new Cold War. And any violent disturbance in Crimea could provide the political seismic shock to split Ukraine itself along its existing fault lines of ethnicity, language and religion.

The Crimean peninsula is the only part of Ukraine where ethnic Russians are in a majority. Many of them are deeply resentful about being part of Ukraine and openly call for annexation by Russia. Moscow has fostered pro-annexation groups for years.

For centuries, Crimea was the homeland of a Muslim people, the Crimean Tatars, until it was taken by Catherine the Great in the late 18th century.

The presence of the Russian fleet reinforces the local feeling that Crimea is part of Russia. Thousands of Russian sailors and soldiers are used to strolling around the city, and Russian flags flutter above the neo-classical government and naval buildings. …

Reports that thousands of Russian passports have already been distributed in Crimea have added to fears that a “South Ossetian” scenario is in the offing.

4 Responses to “The Crimean of the century?”

  1. Yup. Ossetians, both North and South, have always felt closer to Russia than to Georgia; they aren’t South Caucasian, but Indo-European and more specifically Indo-Iranian; the Ossetic language and people are descended from the Scythians made famous (or infamous) by Herodotus in antiquity. Stalin’s father was himself not a Georgian, but an Ossetian cobbler who had married a Georgian serf.

  2. Charles II said

    There was this minor ethnic cleansing in the 1990s that removed the non-Russian population. The Russians are, historically, the immigrants… or, one might say, colonizers. Per Wikipedia, the original Ossetians were descendants of the Iranians and not especially pro-Russian.

  3. “Per Wikipedia, the original Ossetians were descendants of the Iranians and not especially pro-Russian.”

    True, though things like the 1990s ethnic cleansing you mentioned pushed them towards Moscow.

  4. […] With Bush still in charge, Crimea could erupt soon […]

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