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US professor lectures Washington: Crimea is Russian, learn history and stop risking WW3

Lyle J. Goldstein reminded American politicians that Crimea has been Russian territory as long as the US has existed – in fact much longer

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In reminding Americans the crucial historical role of Crimea to Russia, and Russia to Crimea, an American professor teaches us all the importance of history.

Among many things, Professor Lyle J.Goldstein said that:

Russia first acquired Crimea in the same year, 1783, that marked the end of the American Revolution. To put it bluntly, Russians have controlled Crimea for quite a long while now and are extremely unlikely to give it up, so let’s neither hold our breath, nor premise our strategy on absurdly ahistorical, neo-liberal premises. European security specialists have much more pressing issues to address obviously, including primarily the refugee crisis and terrorism. A more thorough knowledge of history could help American policymakers draft more responsible policies to stop the “free fall” in U.S.-Russian relations that now imperils Ukraine, Europe and the entire world.

You can read the Professor’s entire speech here. It’s very important to listen carefully to his advice. A deeper knowledge of history is truly key. While it is unlikely this will change the mind of top American policymakers, it may help the average citizen understand the historical role of Crimea in Russia.

Let’s start at the beginning of Russian history, and take a walk through geography, in order to understand the realities of Ukraine and Russia today. If people better understood this, they would be more equipt to discuss what is really happening.

Russia first emerged as a state called Rus’ or Kievan Rus’ in 862. At that time, Rus’ existed on a shared territory around northwestern Russia, Belarus, and Central and Western Ukraine. Rus’ existed long before the modern borders of the states located there today. Take a look at this map.

You can make out the modern borders of Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia if you look closely. What you will also notice is that Crimea was not part of Rus’. Even if Ukraine wishes to claim to be the only successor of Kievan Rus’, one can see Crimea has NOTHING to do with so-called “Ancient Ukraine”.

By the 1240 century, Kiev would fall to the Mongols, and around 1362, Kiev, along with most of modern Ukraine would be ruled by the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In the picture below, one can see clearly how Lithuania occupied even parts of modern Russia, for example, Smolensk.

By the 15th century, Lithuania will have joined with Poland into a single commonwealth, ruling most of Ukraine. At that same time, the eastern half of Rus’ survived, and Moscow managed to reuinte almost all of the old territories of Rus’, save for that in the west until later.

In the mid 17th century, Cossacks under the leadership of Bogdan Khmelnitsky, wishing to unite with their Orthodox and Rus(ian) brothers and sisters, accepted the help of the Russian Czar, and with him, restored freedom in the left-bank of the River Dnipro. Contrary to what it would sound like, left bank Ukraine is the right side of the River Dnipro when you look at a map.

The lands in purple above, constituted the heartland of the Cossacks, who liberated the dark green region of Malorossia (little Russia) just above. With the help of Russia, they liberated the upstream territories, however, the lavender lands below, including Crimea were sparsely inhabited still.

Eventually, the Russian Empire continued it’s advance westward liberating the rest of Ukraine. The regions it liberated in the west were called “Little Russia” and constituted many ancient lost parts of Rus’

In the south, they liberated the “Wild Fields”, and under Catherine the Great in the 18th century, they overthrew the Crimean Khanate. Under Catherine, Russia built the great cities of southern Ukraine: Odessa, Mikolaiv, Kherson, and yes, Sevastopol, Yalta, and Simferopol. This land, formerly an empty wild field, filled with Tatar raiders, was called now “New Russia”.

New Russia (Novorossia) was aptly named, because it was…well…new. It was settled by Cossacks, but also by many Russians from the territory of the modern Russian Federation. While cities above such as Kiev, Chernigov, Lviv, Lutsk, Poltava, etc. were built in a time when no one could define what was Russian vs Ukrainian, the southern cities were clearly built by Russia.

Unlike the upper territories, “Little Russia”, where the ancestors of Modern Ukrainians lived for almost 300 years separated from Russians, Novorossia was a new frontier, settled by mostly Russians. Its cities were not ancient principalities of Rus’, they were built in the Early Modern Period by the Russian Empress. There was no civilization there prior to Russia building it, so they belong as much to Russian culture as to Ukrainian. Just because they are located in modern Ukraine, does not make them any less Russian than Siberia or Kuban. Russia literally built them up from empty fields.

Ukraine is a mostly artificial invention. The land is of course, ancient, as are the people, but the name and current borders are contrived. As a matter of fact, many parts of modern Ukraine were added to the nation by Russia throughout history. Some parts of Western Ukraine were part of Poland or the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the 20th century, and they were simply stitched onto Ukraine.

This was the case with Crimea, which was a part of Russia simply added to Ukraine by Khrushchev, in as much as all of Ukraine was a part of Russia. Crimea is also crucially important to Russia because it is the site where Saint Vladimir Equal-to-the-Apostles of Kiev was baptised Orthodox. Saint Vladimir baptised all Russia into the Orthodox faith in 988, and was considered her greatest King. The place of his baptism is not far from modern Sevastopol, in a Greek colony, so one must understand this land is sacred to Russia. It is not simply a strategic place, it has more meaning than a foreigner could possibly understand.

Saint Vladimir’s Church beside Greek Ruins in Crimea

If someone really wishes to understand Ukraine, which means “Borderland” in the old Slavic language, one must see it less as a united nation or ethnic group, and more like a territory with legal sovereignty and statehood. According to international law, Ukraine, has the right to sovereignty, but it is factually wrong to see this as a separate nation-state with internal ethnic unity. You don’t have to hate Ukraine, or oppose the right of modern Ukraine to exist as a state in order to understand the land and people itself are not homogenous.

The reality is, Ukraine like two different countries split down the centre, and even within that division, there are subdivisions. Every region practically has its own foreign policy, and one is better served talking about Kharkov people, or Lviv people, or Odessa people, or Poltava people, than grouping them together as Ukrainians. Russia and Ukraine began together, and dividing them artificially is not a permanent solution, but it will breed permanent conflict.

The sooner westerners understand this historical and cultural fact, regardless how they feel about the Ukraine crisis, the sooner they can better understand what is really happening in Ukraine.

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Vladimir Putin calls new Ukrainian church ‘dangerous politicking’

President Putin said creation of the “Orthodox Church in Ukraine” is against Church canon and that the West drove Constantinople to do it.

Seraphim Hanisch

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In an interview with the Serbian newspapers Politika and Vecernje Novosti ahead of his visit to Serbia, Russian President Vladimir Putin noted the creation of the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine”, a schismatic agglomeration headed by Ukrainian ultra-nationalists was “dangerous politicking.” He further noted that:

The establishment of the new religious entity in Ukraine is nothing but an attempt “to legalize the schismatic communities that exist in Ukraine under the jurisdiction of Istanbul, which is a major violation of Orthodox canons.”

“Yet, hardly anyone in the U.S. or in the Ukrainian leadership worries about this,” Putin said.

“Once again, this has nothing to do with spiritual life; we are dealing here with dangerous and irresponsible politicking,” he said.

President Putin had more things to say in the interview, and we present what he said in full here (emphasis ours), as reported on the Kremlin.ru website:

Question: The Serbian Orthodox Church has taken the side of the Russian Orthodox Church in the context of the ecclesiastical crisis in Ukraine. At the same time, a number of countries are exerting pressure on Patriarch Bartholomew and seek to ensure recognition of Ukrainian ”schismatics“ by Local Orthodox Churches. How do you think the situation will evolve?

Vladimir Putin: I would like to remind your readers, who are greatly concerned about the information regarding the split in the Orthodox community but are probably not fully aware of the situation in Ukraine, what it is all about.

On December 15, 2018, the Ukrainian leaders, actively supported by the USA and the Constantinople Patriarchate, held a so-called “unifying synod”. This synod declared the creation of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, with Patriarch Bartholomew signing the tomos (decree) granting it autocephaly on January 6, 2019. Thus, it was attempted to legalize the schismatic communities that exist in Ukraine under the jurisdiction of Istanbul, which is a major violation of Orthodox canons.

Yet, hardly anyone in the US or in the Ukrainian leadership worries about this, as the new church entity is an entirely political, secular project. Its main aim is to divide the peoples of Russia and Ukraine, sowing seeds of ethnic as well as religious discord. No wonder Kiev has already declared ”obtaining complete independence from Moscow.”

Once again, this has nothing to do with spiritual life; we are dealing here with dangerous and irresponsible politicking. Likewise, we do not speak about the independence of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. It is de-facto fully controlled by Istanbul. Whereas Ukraine’s largest canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which has never requested autocephaly from Patriarch Bartholomew, is absolutely independent in its actions. Its connection with the Russian Orthodox Church is purely canonical – but even this causes undisguised irritation of the current Kiev regime.

Because of this, clergymen and laymen of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church are being persecuted and deprived of churches and monasteries, and attempts are made to deny the Church its legitimate name, which raises tensions and only leads to further discord in Ukrainian society.

Evidently, Ukraine’s leaders have to understand that any attempts to force the faithful into a different church are fraught with grave consequences. Yet, they are eager to put interconfessional concord in the country at stake in order to conduct the election campaign of the current Ukrainian President based on a search for enemies, and to retain power by all means.

All of this does not go unnoticed by Orthodox Christians.

Naturally, Russia does not intend to interfere in ecclesiastical processes, especially those happening on the territory of a neighboring sovereign state. However, we are aware of the danger posed by such experiments and blatant interference of the state in religious affairs.

The situation continues to degrade in Ukraine, and though the Orthodox faithful of the Autonomous but Moscow-based Ukrainian Orthodox Church are the hardest hit, worry over Ukrainian lawlessless-made-law has the Jewish community in that country nervous as well. This is perhaps to be expected as the Azov Brigade, a neo-Nazi aligned group that is hypernationalist, is a good representation of the character of the “hate Russia at all costs” Ukrainian nationalists. A parallel piece in Interfax made note of this in a piece dated January 17th 2019:

[A] bill passed by the Verkhovna Rada introducing a procedure by which parishes can join the new Ukrainian church makes it easier to seize places of worship, and supporters of autocephaly have already started doing this across the country, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church said.

“They need this law to seize our churches. You can’t just come with a crowbar to someone else’s barn, but now the law allows you to do so. They aren’t creating something of their own, but are trying to steal what’s ours,” Ukrainian Orthodox Church spokesperson Vasyl Anisimov told Interfax on Thursday.

The religious entity set up in December with Constantinople’s involvement and called the Orthodox Church of Ukraine “in fact doesn’t yet exist in nature. It’s fake. It doesn’t have any parishes of its own or government registration,” he said.

However, “the supporters of autocephaly don’t have plans to create anything of their own at all, so they have chosen the path of takeover, and the authorities are helping them in that,” Anisimov said.

“Hence, the legislation passed by the Verkhovna Rada today is in fact absolute lawlessness,” he said.

“If you pass legislation affecting an industry, you should talk to industrialists, and if it’s legislation on the agricultural sector, talk to farmers. And here legislation on a church is passed, and moreover, this legislation is aimed against this church, it is protesting, and Jews are protesting, too, because this legislation may affect them as well – but nobody is listening, and they change the law for the sake of an absolutely absurd and unconstitutional gimmick. But, of course, it’s the people who will ultimately suffer,” Anisimov said.

 

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According to Ukraine, the Crimean Bridge doesn’t exist (VIDEO)

Ukraine tries to deny the reality of the completion and soundness of the Crimean Bridge, though Ukraine was unable to build it, itself.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Russia’s VESTI News is truly an entertaining channel at times. This news service is strongly supported by the Russian government, and one of the criticisms it receives from Russian people is that it is an “extreme” propaganda house, telling all manner of crazy stories to distract its watchers’ attention away from the real problems that Russian people face at home.

No doubt there is truth to this, as this is a technique certainly duplicated in the US, Great Britain and elsewhere. Every nation has the right to its own propaganda. However, Vesti also seems to have a lot of fun making fun of other nations’ propaganda, and here they found a great one. Apparently, Ukraine’s propaganda ministry is trying to make the assertion that the Crimean Bridge collapsed and its debris is floating around in the Kerch Strait, “with the tectonic plates.”

See for yourself.

According to Ukrainian scientists and even “psychics”, this bridge is doomed to fall into the Kerch Strait once a sufficient earthquake hits it. Some claims appear even to say that the bridge already is not there, or at least, is not there in the way the Russian news sources have described it.

Of course, the VESTI team erupts into its famous snark, talking about how the bridge is very much alive and well and that it is the new “pride of Russia,” and so on.

This bridge is indeed quite an engineering feat, being completed only about three years after the rejoining / annexation / invasion / hostile takeover / or was it a voluntary referendum? of Crimea to the Russian Federation. This is a rapid speed for such a major project, but it is not very unusual for such projects to progress rather quickly when they are done with a will.

Burj Khalifa (formerly Burj Dubai) is presently by far the tallest building in the world, reaching skyward 828 meters, over half a mile into the sky. It took a little over four years to construct this landmark building, and it was done steadily and with a will to completion. Its would-be successor is not having as smooth an experience, for the Jeddah Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, has hit problems, and even though this tower is projected to go only about 130 meter higher (reaching a significant milestone of one kilometer tall), its construction started in 2013, and as of the latest update, only 63 floors are completed.

The Crimean Bridge was built with a will to make a point, presumably to Ukraine, the rest of Russia and the world:

This is the New Russia. Look what we can do!

And, they did a marvelous feat of engineering in a very short time.

VESTI indeed does try to make some people feel better by pointing out the problems of other countries. Sometimes that is a distraction. But sometimes it is worth a serious bit of consideration.

Ukraine has a leader most of its people apparently cannot stand, who is a warmonger and a crybaby at the same time, begging the West for help while breathing threats against Russia.

While there are no doubt many, many wonderful people there trying to do wonderful things, it does seem to be that the country is suffering because of its willingness to be a pawn of the West. Russia is feeling the Western squeeze and it is not pleasant, but the Russians also seem to know that they can get themselves through this, and so they have reason to be glad when the country makes a good accomplishment such as the Crimean Bridge. The political and geopolitical importance of this project is such that it is very likely that all sorts of great engineering went into the bridge. It is prudent, and Russians seem to understand prudence very, very well.

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Second group of Su-57 stealth fighters to be requested in 2020

The second Su-57 contract will feature fighters with the advanced engine design that was under development while the prototypes were made.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The contract for a second order of Russian Su-57 stealth fighters is expected to be signed in 2020, according to an unnamed source in Russia’s aircraft-making industry. TASS, the Russian News Agency, reported on this on Wednesday, 16 January:

The second contract to manufacture 13 Su-57 fighter jets for the Russian Aerospace Forces is to be signed next year, a source in Russia’s aircraft-making industry told TASS on Wednesday.

“In 2020, we plan to sign the second contract to manufacture and deliver 13 Su-57 fighter jets, some of them equipped with the second-stage engines,” he said. “The preliminary timeframe for the new contract is five years.”

The first contract envisages the delivery of two fifth-generation aircraft in 2019-2020.

“In line with the contract signed in 2018, one serial Su-57 jet with first-stage engines will be delivered to the Aerospace Forces this year, the other aircraft featuring the same type of engine – in 2020.”

The aircraft’s manufacturer, the United Aircraft Corporation, refrained from commenting on the report.

The Su-57 is a fifth-generation multirole fighter designed to destroy all types of air targets at long and short ranges and hit enemy ground and naval targets, overcoming its air defense capabilities.

The Su-57 took to the skies for the first time on January 29, 2010. Compared to its predecessors, the Su-57 combines the functions of an attack plane and a fighter jet while the use of composite materials and innovation technologies and the fighter’s aerodynamic configuration ensure the low level of radar and infrared signature.

The aircraft has been successfully tested in Syria.

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