Connect with us

Latest

News

Crimea under siege: Revisiting the Crimean referendum

The recent Crimean incident highlights the extent to which Ukraine is unable to control its own military whilst re-emphasising Crimea’s historical connection to Russia which the West chooses to ignore.

Haneul Na'avi

Published

on

1,328 Views

The 7 August skirmish on the Crimean peninsula has ratcheted tensions between Ukraine and Russia, calling into question Kyiv’s legitimacy and claims to the territory. Currently, both nations are on high alert as they boost their military defences following a terrorist plot sanctioned by the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF).

RT reports.

“[The] FSB received a warning from Armyansk locals, who had reported on some suspicious people in military uniforms in their town,” and “detected some 20 people in the area, who were loading explosives and weapons from their hideout. Once the suspects noticed the Russian security forces, they immediately opened fire, shooting to kill.”

Acting Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s immediate, scripted reaction was to deny involvement.  UNIAN reports him saying.

“Russian accusations that Ukraine has launched terror attacks in occupied Crimea are as cynical and insane as its claims that there are no Russian troops in eastern Ukraine. These fantasies have only one goal: a pretext for more military threats against Ukraine.”

Nevertheless, Poroshenko’s statements are at cross purposes with Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, who chauvinistically asserted the opposite just months before.  Press TV reports him saying

“We have nothing. We need a new army, a new National Guard, a new police force. This is what the government of Ukraine is working on right now. We must restore all of this, and then, with enough will, Crimea will be ours.”

According to Press TV Avakov continued

“Kiev is currently training a separate special force within the Ukrainian National Guard”.

These contradictions show that Kyiv’s authorities are simply losing control of their defence forces. The UAF—a loose confederation of over 50 volunteer batallions—simply lack the skills and coordination to best the Russian FSB and infiltrate the Crimean peninsula. This became evident on 8 Sept. 2014, at the onset of hostilities, after Amnesty International released a scathing report documenting the lawlessness of the Aidar Battalion and other Ukrainian paramilitary groups’, as they committed increasingly brutal human rights violations in the Russian speaking Donbas region in a manner which compared to those of the Islamic State.

“Our findings indicate that, while formally operating under the command of the Ukrainian security forces combined headquarters in the region members of the Aidar battalion act with virtually no oversight or control, and local police are either unwilling or unable to address the abuses.”

Ironically, Marcin Mamon of The Intercept wrote a ground breaking series of articles on how the Kyiv government began overlooking Ukrainian collaborations with Islamic State.

“Ostensibly state-sanctioned, but not necessarily state-controlled, some have been supported by Ukrainian oligarchs, and others by private citizens. Less talked about, however, is the Dudayev battalion, named after the first president of Chechnya, Dzhokhar Dudayev, and founded by Isa Munayev, a Chechen commander who fought in two wars against Russia.”

Due to a long list of violations, Russian-Ukrainian relations remains in utter disarray and have come to a volatile showdown as the UAF advances southward to the Isthmus of Perekop, violating the Minsk agreements along with the self-determination of Crimean citizens.  Ukrainian relations with Crimeans, on the other hand, have been irrevocably changed forever.

Underneath the empty propaganda of Western media and the discourse of Russian-based pundits hides the uncomfortable truth: Crimea was been a gift to Ukraine and historically sanctioned within strict guidelines.

The 1954 “Meeting of the Presidium of the Supreme Union of Soviet Socialist Republics” speech explicitly states the terms of the agreement to transfer Crimea to the Ukraine.  The agreement was Nikita Khrushchev’s bid to promote fraternity between the Russian Socialist Federative of Socialist Republics (RSFSR) and the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR), as part of his “de-Stalinisation” policy, which included reconciling former General Secretary Joseph Stalin’s process of dekulakisation (1930-1937), the Ukrainian Great Famine (1932-33), and the mass deportation of Crimean Tatars, Russians, Greeks and Germans during World War II (1942-43).

The following passage, spoken by Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union Kliment Voroshilov, speaks almost prophetically and explains the terms in detail:

“[Voroshilov]: Under capitalism this would have been impossible. In history there could not be and cannot be such relations between republics [where] under capitalism, desires for territorial seizure and the desire of strong countries to feast on the territories of weak countries formed the very basis of relations between countries. Only in the conditions of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was such a just solution of all territorial issues between union republics possible based on administrative and economic advisability with complete mutual friendship and the fraternal cooperation of their peoples.

Both in the distant and not-so-distant past enemies repeatedly tried to take the Crimean Peninsula from Russia and use it to pillage and ravage Russian lands, and to create a military base there to attack Russia and Ukraine. But more than once in joint battle the Russian and Ukrainian peoples severely beat the insolent invaders and threw them out of Ukraine and Crimea […]”.

(Bold italics added)

First, the transfer is based on trust between two communist governments—guaranteed under a socialist political economy. Now that both are independent capitalist republics, the terms and conditions no longer apply.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, it took years of painful negotiations between then-Russian Federation President Boris Yeltsin and US Presidents George Bush, Sr. and Bill Clinton to reshape the pacts under the “Treaty of friendship, cooperation and partnership between the Russian Federation and Ukraine”, which was enacted on 31 May 1997.

However, it was a fool’s errand for Yeltsin to believe that these new conditions would hold under the current global order.

Furthermore, former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych inflamed these tensions after opportunistically weighing his options between the Eurasian Union (EAEU) and the European Union (EEUU), violating Article 13 (coordination of strategies to implement economic reform and deepen economic integration) of the 1997 Treaty of Friendship.

According to EU Commissioner Stefan Fuele, Yanukovych could not agree to the deal because it would

“……cost Kiev $500 billion in trade with Russia over the coming years, while implementing demands for Ukraine to adopt EU legal and other standards would cost another $104 billion.”

By the time he had rescinded Europe’s offer, he had already besmirched Ukraine’s national sovereignty as the Euromaidan coup was already underway as a contingency.

Furthermore, Yanukovych invited disaster by negotiating the 2013 Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU, which exposed Ukraine to deregulated foreign privatisation.  As highlighted by an article in the Oriental Review

“Within two to three years, as the relevant provisions of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU go into effect, Monsanto’s lobbying efforts will transform the Ukrainian market into an oligopoly consisting of American corporations.”

Putin keenly observed this and following the coup, simply rescinded the 1954 transfer, noting specific violations in the Friendship Treaty to validate the Crimean referendum.

With Yanukovich gone and a hostile, puppet government on its doorstep, Russia reclaimed its historical territory.

Violations of the 1997 Friendship Treaty entailed Article 6 (no agreements with countries directed against the other party), Article 11 (violence against citizens based on national, racial, ethnic, or religious intolerance), and Article 12 (right to safeguard ethnic, religious, linguistic, or cultural histories without assimilation).

Following the US-backed Euromaidan coup, then-interim President Oleksandr Turchynov provoked Russian authorities further by temporary repealing a 2012 law protecting minority languages.  Reports of persecuted ethnic minorities finally compelled Putin to act by first speaking to US President Barack Obama and later contacting UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon.

With little support from the international ‘community’, Vladimir Putin worked with Crimean authorities to establish the referendum, then signed Executive Order no. 268 shortly afterwards.

The goal was to rehabilitate national ethnicities in an inclusive democracy and invest in their development, starting with the Kerch Strait Bridge, as is made clear by the Kremlin’s summary:

“The purpose of Executive Order No. 268 is to restore historical justice and remedy the consequences of the unlawful deportation of the Bulgarian, Greek, Crimean Tatar and German peoples from the Crimean ASSR and the violations of their rights that occurred.”

Whilst there certainly were material concerns in Simferopol and relating to the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol which explain the Russian actions, the primary motivation was that, under Putin’s watch, he would never to allow Crimeans to fall under fascism again.  The referendum was as ideological as it was material.

Rather than explaining this history to its audiences, international media outlets have chosen to lose face through the banal, deceptive mantra of “Russian aggression” and “annexation”. However, both the illicit Kyiv government and its Western supporters brush this aside and choose to ignore Russia’s valid concerns.

Unfortunately, in doing so, the ludicrous accusations against Vladimir Putin as a power-hungry dictator have only reinforced and increased support for his actions around the world.

The reintegration, not annexation, of Crimea is one such case study.

Western propagandists and its followers should look in the mirror and then study history. Russians never forget their own; something that continues to bewilder the misinformed to this very day

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of

Latest

Beijing Threatens “Severe” Retaliation Against Canada If Huawei CFO Is Not Released

China’s warning marks an escalation in Beijing’s rhetoric as investors worry that the arrest could cause the shaky trade detente between the US and China to devolve into acrimony.

Published

on

Via Zerohedge


Canada’s extraordinary arrest one week ago of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei founder and billionaire executive Ren Zhengfei, and its decision to charge her with “multiple” counts of fraud – a preamble to her likely extradition to the US to face charges of knowingly violating US and EU sanctions on Iran – has elicited widespread anger in Beijing, which declared Meng’s detention a “violation of human rights” during a bail hearing for the jailed executive on Friday.

That anger has apparently only intensified after the hearing adjourned without a decision (it will resume on Monday, allowing Meng’s defense team to argue for why she should be released on bail, contrary to the wishes of government attorneys who are prosecuting the case).

And with Canada insisting that it will prosecute Meng to the full extent of the law over allegations that she mislead banks about the true relationship of a Huawei subsidiary called Skycom, angry Chinese officials have decided to issue an ultimatum directly to the Canadian ambassador, who was summoned to a meeting in Beijing on Saturday and told in no uncertain terms that Canada will face “severe consequences” if Meng isn’t released, according to the Wall Street Journal.

China’s foreign ministry publicized the warning in a statement (though Canadian officials have yet to comment):

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng summoned Canada’s ambassador to Beijing, John McCallum, on Saturday to deliver the warning, according to a statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

The statement doesn’t mention the name of Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, though it refers to a Huawei “principal” taken into custody at U.S. request while changing planes in Vancouver, as was Ms. Meng. The statement accuses Canada of “severely violating the legal, legitimate rights of a Chinese citizen” and demands the person’s release.

“Otherwise there will be severe consequences, and Canada must bear the full responsibility,” said the statement, which was posted online late Saturday.

Phone calls to the Canadian Embassy rang unanswered while the Canadian government’s global affairs media office didn’t immediately respond to an email request for comment.

The warning marks an escalation in Beijing’s rhetoric as investors worry that the arrest could cause the shaky trade detente between the US and China to devolve into acrimony. A federal judge issued a warrant for Meng’s arrest back in August. Though after she was made aware of the warrant, Meng avoided travel to the US. She was arrested in Vancouver last Saturday while traveling to Mexico.

Aside from breaking off trade talks, some are worried that Beijing could seek to retaliate in kind by arresting a notable US executive. While the threats of Chinese bureaucrats might not amount to much in the eyes of US prosecutors, threatening a US executive with long-term detention in a Chinese “reeducation camp” just might.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Latest

The trials of Julian Assange

Eresh Omar Jamal interviews Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi in relation to the situation of Julian Assange.

The Duran

Published

on

Authored by Eresh Omar Jamal for The Daily Star (Bangladesh):


Stefania Maurizi is an investigative journalist working for the Italian daily La Repubblica. She has worked on all WikiLeaks releases of secret documents and partnered with Glenn Greenwald to reveal the Snowden Files about Italy. She has authored two books—Dossier WikiLeaks: Segreti Italiani and Una Bomba, Dieci Storie. In an exclusive interview with Eresh Omar Jamal of The Daily Star, Maurizi talks about the continued arbitrary detention of Julian Assange, why powerful governments see WikiLeaks as an existential threat, and the implications for global press freedom if Assange is prosecuted for publishing secret government documents.

You recently had the chance to visit Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. When was this and can you describe the state he is in?

I was able to visit him on November 19, after 8 months of failed attempts, because last March the Ecuadorian authorities cut off all his social and professional contacts, with the exception of his lawyers, and in the preceding 8 months, I had asked for permission to visit him nine times without success—the Ecuadorian authorities didn’t reply at all to my requests.

When I was finally granted permission to visit the WikiLeaks founder at the Ecuadorian embassy in London last November, I was literally shocked to see the huge impact his isolation has had on his health. Because I have worked as a media partner with him and his organisation, WikiLeaks, for the last nine years, I have met him many times and can tell when there are any changes in his body and mind. I wondered how his mind could keep working; but after talking to him in the embassy for two hours, I have no doubt that his mind is working fine. I still wonder how that’s possible after six and a half years of detention without even one hour of being outdoors. I would have had a physical and mental breakdown after just 6 months, not after 6 years.

Detention and isolation are killing him slowly, and no one is doing anything to stop it. The media reports, the commentators comment, but at the end of the day, he is still there; having spent the last six and a half years confined to a tiny building with no access to sunlight or to proper medical treatment. And this is happening in London, in the heart of Europe. He is not sitting in an embassy in Pyongyang. It is truly tragic and completely unacceptable. And I’m simply appalled at the way the UK authorities have contributed to his arbitrary detention, and have opposed any solution to this intractable legal and diplomatic quagmire.

Having bravely defended Assange for years, the Ecuadorian government in late March cut off almost all his communications with the outside world. What prompted this turnabout and what is its purpose?

Politics has completely changed in Ecuador, and more in general, in Latin America, since 2012, when Ecuador granted Julian Assange asylum. I have never had any interviews with the current Ecuadorian President, Mr Lenin Moreno, but based on his public declarations, it’s rather obvious to me that he does not approve of what Julian Assange and WikiLeaks do.

With all his problems, Rafael Correa (former president of Ecuador) protected Assange from the very beginning, whereas Lenin Moreno considers him a liability. Moreno is under pressure from the right-wing politicians in Ecuador, and also from very powerful governments, like the US and UK governments, who will leave no stones unturned to jail Assange and destroy WikiLeaks. I am not sure how long Lenin Moreno will hold out against this immense pressure, provided that he wants to hold out at all.

Assange was vindicated not so long ago as to why he cannot leave the embassy when the US Department of Justice “accidentally” revealed in November that the founder of WikiLeaks had been secretly charged in the US. What do you think those charges are for?

It’s hard to say unless the charges get declassified and I really appreciate how the US organisation, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, is fighting before the court in the Eastern District of Virginia, US, to have the charges declassified.

There is no doubt whatsoever that the US authorities have always wanted to charge him for WikiLeaks’ publications. They have wanted to do so from the very beginning, since 2010, when WikiLeaks released its bombshell publications like the US diplomatic cables.

But the US authorities have been unable to do so due to the fact that WikiLeaks’ publication activities enjoy constitutional protection thanks to the First Amendment. So it will be very interesting to see how they will get around this constitutional protection in order to be able to charge him and other WikiLeaks journalists and put them all in jail.

Why have some of the most powerful governments and intelligence agencies invested so much resources to attack Assange and WikiLeaks?

You have to realise what it meant for the US national security complex to witness the publication of 76,000 secret documents about the war in Afghanistan, and then another 390,000 secret reports about the war in Iraq; followed by 251,287 US diplomatic cables and 779 secret files on the Guantanamo detainees; and to watch WikiLeaks save Edward Snowden, while the US was trying everything it could do, to show the world that there is no way of exposing the NSA’s secrets and keep your head attached to your neck having done so.

You have to realise what this means in an environment like that of the US, where even the most brilliant national security reporters didn’t dare to publish the name of the head of the CIA Counterterrorism Center, Michael D’Andrea, even though his name and the abuses committed by his centre were open secrets within their inner circles. Although the New York Times finally did, later on. But this was and still is the reality in the US, and even though it may not be as bad in the UK, it’s still quite bad. Look at what happened with the arrest of Glenn Greenwald’s husband, David Miranda, at the Heathrow Airport during the publication of the Snowden Files. Look at what happened with The Guardian being forced to destroy its hard drives during the publication of those files.

There are different levels of power in our societies and generally in our western democracies, criticism against the low, medium and high levels of power via journalistic activities is tolerated. Journalists may get hit with libel cases, have troubles with their careers; however, exposing those levels is permitted. The problem is when journalists and media organisations touch the highest levels, the levels where states and intelligence agencies operate.

WikiLeaks is a media organisation that has published secret documents about these entities for years, and Julian Assange and his staff have done this consistently, not occasionally like all the other media organisations do. You can imagine the anger these powerful entities have towards WikiLeaks—they perceive WikiLeaks as an existential threat and they want to set an example that says, “Don’t you dare expose our secrets and crimes, because if you do, we will smash you.”

If Assange is prosecuted, what impact might it have on other publishers and journalists and on press freedom globally?

It will have a huge impact and that is why organisations like the American Civil Liberties Union are speaking out. Never before in the US has an editor and media organisation ended up in jail for publishing information in the public interest. If Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks’ staff end up in jail, it will be the first time in US history and will set a devastating precedent for attack on press freedom in the US, but actually, not only in the US. Because if a country like the US, in which the activities of the press enjoy constitutional protection, treats journalists this way, you can imagine how other countries where the press doesn’t enjoy such strong protection will react. It will send a clear message to them: “Your hands are free.”

At the end of the day, I think there are two sides to this Assange and WikiLeaks saga: the US-UK national security complex, but more in general, I would say, the people within the national security complex, who want to destroy Julian Assange and WikiLeaks to send a clear message to journalists: “Don’t mess with us if you don’t want your lives to be destroyed.” While on the other side, there are the freedom of the press guys, meaning journalists like me, who want to demonstrate the exact opposite: that we can expose power at the highest levels, we can expose the darkest corners of governments and come out alive and well. And actually, we must do this, because real power is invisible and hides in the darkest corners.

Eresh Omar Jamal is a journalist for The Daily Star (Bangladesh). You can find him on Twitter: @EreshOmarJamal and Stefania Maurizi: @SMaurizi

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Latest

Diplomacy a Waste of Time with Washington

Trump’s JCPOA pullout and threatened INF Treaty withdrawal show Washington can never be trusted.

The Duran

Published

on

Authored by Stephen Lendman:


The US is a serial lawbreaker, operating by its own rules, no others.

Time and again, it flagrantly breaches international treaties, Security Council resolutions, and other rule of law principles, including its own Constitution.

Diplomacy with Republicans and undemocratic Dems is an exercise in futility.

Trump’s JCPOA pullout and threatened INF Treaty withdrawal show Washington can never be trusted.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova’s proposed US outreach to discuss INF Treaty bilateral differences is well intended – despite knowing nothing is accomplished when talks with Washington are held, so why bother.

It’s just a matter of time before the US breaches another promise. They’re hollow when made. Kremlin good intentions aren’t enough to overcome US duplicity and implacable hostility toward Russia.

“We are ready to continue the dialogue in appropriate formats on the entire range of problems related to this document on the basis of professionalism and mutual respect, without putting forward unsubstantiated accusations and ultimatums. Our proposals are well known and remain on the negotiating table,” said Zakharova, adding:

“We have admitted (US) documents for further consideration. This text again includes accusations in the form of unfounded and unsubstantiated information about Russia’s alleged violations of this deal.

Comments to Washington like the above and similar remarks are like talking to a wall. The US demands all countries bend to its will, offering nothing in return but betrayal – especially in dealings with Russia, China, Iran, and other sovereign independent governments it seeks to replace with pro-Western puppet ones.

Not a shred of evidence suggests Russia violated its INF Treaty obligations. The accusation is baseless like all others against the Kremlin.

“No one has officially or by any other means handed over to Russia any files or facts, confirming that Russia breaches or does not comply with this deal,” Zakharova stressed, adding:

“We again confirm our consistent position that the INF Treaty is one of the key pillars of strategic stability and international security.”

It’s why the Trump regime intends abolishing it by pulling out. Strategic stability and international security defeat its agenda. Endless wars and chaos serve it.

The US, UK, France, Israel, and their imperial partners get away with repeated international law breaches because the EU, UN, and rest of the world community lack backbone enough to challenge them.

It’s how it is no matter how egregious their actions, notably their endless wars of aggression, supporting the world’s worst tinpot pot despots, and failing to back the rights of persecuted Palestinians and other long-suffering people.

The only language Republicans and Dems understand is toughness. Putin pretends a Russian/US partnership exists to his discredit – a show of weakness, not strength and responsible leadership.

In response to the Trump regime’s intention to withdraw from the INF Treaty, he said Russia will “react accordingly” – precisely what, he didn’t say.

A few suggestions, Mr. President.

  • Recall your ambassador to Washington. Expel the Trump regime’s envoy from Moscow and other key embassy personnel.
  • Arrest US spies in Russia you long ago identified. Imprison them until the US releases all Russian political prisoners. Agree to swap US detainees for all of them, no exceptions.
  • Install enough S-400 air defense systems to cover all Syrian airspace. Warn Washington, Britain, France and Israel that their aircraft, missiles and other aerial activities in its airspace will be destroyed in flight unless permission from Damascus is gotten – clearly not forthcoming.
  • Publicly and repeatedly accuse the above countries of supporting the scourge of ISIS and likeminded terrorists they pretend to oppose.
  • Warn them in no uncertain terms that their aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic no longer will be tolerated. Tell them the same goes if they dare attack Iran.
  • Stop pretending Mohammad bin Salman didn’t order Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, along with ignoring the kingdom’s horrendous human rights abuses domestically and abroad – including support for ISIS and other terrorists.
  • Put observance of rule of law principles and honor above dirty business as usual with the kingdom and other despotic regimes for profits.
  • Do the right things at all times and damn the short-term consequences – including toughness on Washington, the UK, Israel, and their imperial partners in high crimes of war and against humanity.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at [email protected].

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

JOIN OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL

Your donations make all the difference. Together we can expose fake news lies and deliver truth.

Amount to donate in USD$:

5 100

Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Advertisement

Advertisement

Quick Donate

The Duran
EURO
DONATE
Donate a quick 10 spot!
Advertisement
Advertisement

Advertisement

The Duran Newsletter

Trending