Monday, January 27, 2014

City of Sevastopol officials are threatening to create their own sovereign state

According to the Regnum news agency the Sevastopol City State Administration is threatening to break-away from the Ukraine and create a "Federal State of Ruthenia/Small-Russia".  Here is a rough and quick translation of the article:
The Chairman of the Sevastopol City State Administration Volodymyr Yatsuba appealed to citizens in connection with what is happening in the country, and especially in its western regions, the correspondent of IA REGNUM reports.  
Yatsuba thanked citizens who had prevented a "Evromaidan" type of rally in Sevastopol.  He also thanks the  "Berkut" riot police, which, according to him, "coordinated everything to make sure everything remained clam".
"Sevastopol will not surrender! If things become critical and we get information that they (the nationalists) are coming - I will make an address on the TV and ask the people to come defend our city.  Together with the security forces we are in control of all the entrances into our city, its railway station and all the  roads.  Should something happen I will issue a alert on the local TV station"- said the official.

"All of our strength is in the fact that we are united. Our task is to be united and to all obey a single authority, because many provocateurs, they are prepared. People are afraid that the brown plague (Nazi) will come here. I beg eveybody to remain calm and to obey a single authority "- said Yatsuba.
He appealed to "all sensible people, men who can protect Sevastopol." "My main task is to assemble on the people who are willing to participate in the defense of Sevastopol.   There is no need to defend myself and my family. I grew up in this area, and I can defend myself if needed. I'm not asking you to defend any specific building, but I ask protect the entire city Sevastopol "- said the head of the administration.
In the meantime 12 local NGOs form the city Sevastopol have declared that they are considering the option of creating a "federal state Ruthenia" and that appeals to the local population explaining this are being prepared.  These appeals will also be sent to the local councils south, east and centeral  Ukraine.
"We have prepared appeals to regional, city and district councils of deputies southeast and center of Ukraine to establish a "Federated State Ruthenia" with a focus on Russia and we are also preparing an appeal to the people of Russia and the Russian authorities, the EU and the international community.
In connection with the real threat of a coup and violent overthrow of the government of the Ukraine, a meeting was held in the headquarters of Russian social and political organizations with representatives of the Russian youth, sports, Cossack, political and social organizations of city of Sevastopol.  It was decided that in the case of a coup and and an overthrow of the government in Kiev, Sevastopol would use its right to self-determination and remove itself from the jurisdiction of the Ukraine"
Just to clarify.  The possible future state these officials are thinking about would be called "Федеративное государство Малороссии" which Google translated as "Federated State Ruthenia" but which could also be translated as "Federated State of Small-Russia" (Malorossii).  The terms "small" here is not to be understood as referring to size, but in the ancient Greek meaning of "small Greece" i.e., central Greece as opposed to the "greater" (peripheral) Greece.  In other words, by planning to call their state "Federated State of Small-Russia" they are really saying that they aim to be recognized and seen as the historical core of the Russian nation which, of course, the Ukraine has been in the past.  I just wanted to clarify this point because all too many people think that the term "small Russia" is somehow condescending or derogatory while in reality it is quite the opposite: it means "central" or "core".  As for the term "Ruthenia" it really can mean either ancient Rus' or, more frequently, a region around modern Galicia.  This is why translating "Malorossia" as "Ruthenia" when speaking of Sevastopol makes no sense at all.

As for the statement itself, it sure contains some very strong words.  Whether the population of Sevastopol is truly that determined or not I cannot tell.  My personal and highly subjective feeling is that two factors indicate that there might be more bark than bite here:  first, the population of southern and eastern Ukraine has been amazingly passive since 1991 and, second,  I still don't see any credible political party or leader in the anti-nationalist camp.  There are quite a few decent politicians in the anti-nationalist camp but no real leader-figure has emerged so far.  As for the "Regions" party of Yanukovich, well, it is precisely that - the party of Yanukovich.  Still, cataclysmic events often generate their own historical figures so I would not dismiss the possibility of a charismatic anti-nationalist figure appearing to lead the reaction to the nationalist revolution in Kiev and the northwestern Ukraine.

The Saker