Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Clashes in Crimea

According to, Ukrainian nationalists have organized a congress in the center of the city of Sevastopol in Crimea. About 1000 local residents demonstrated under the slogan "Fascism will not pass". Clashes ensued. About 300 demonstrators were able to break through the police barriers and were then violently engaged by police special forces. A number of arrests were made.
Commentary: there we go, exactly as I predicted. The Ukrainian nationalists are staging their meetings in the city center of Sevastopol exactly under the same logic which brings the Israeli settlers to organize "religious" events smack in the middle of Palestinian villages: the point is to trigger a violent response which can then be legally crushed under the heading of "law and order".

For the Ukrainian nationalists an overt conflict with the Russian-speaking population is the best, if not only, way to bring the public's attention away from the absolute disaster in which 18 years of independence have resulted in and to focus all the attention on "patriotic" actions.

There is an very ugly historical precedent: the sudden and violent invasion of the Trans-Dniester Republic by Moldavian forces in 1992 resulting in the local Russian 14th Army being very reluctantly involved in the conflict, primarily because the officers' families were directly endangered by the assault. This could also happen in Crimea where the Russian Black Sea Fleet is based. A particularly ominous development in this situation was the demand made by the Ukrainian government that the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) withdraw all its officers from Crimea by December 13, 2009. Needless to say, the Russian simply cannot let its Fleet and dependent civilians unprotected in such a dangerous context, thus this demand will simply force the FSB to operate illegally (and increase the force protection mission of the GRU).