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Author Topic: Ukraine  (Read 13755 times)

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Online Neysha

Re: Russia Invades Crimea?
« Reply #125 on: March 11, 2014, 03:43:16 PM »
Russia has decided to troll Latvia next.

Quote from: Wall Street Journal
Russian Ambassador Aleksandr Veshnyakov created a new wave of concern in Latvia with recent remarks saying it may soon become easier for ethnic Russians in Latvia to obtain Russian citizenship.

Mr. Veshnyakov told Latvian Radio 4, a Russian-language public broadcasting channel, that proposed legislation in Russia would allow granting Russian citizenship to ethnic Russians in Latvia to "save the Latvian noncitizens out of poverty by giving them citizenship and a pension without having to stay in Russia." Russians constitute 27.6% of Latvia's population of 2 million, the largest ethnic group among the minorities living in Latvia.

The comments come as many in the three Baltic nations—part of the former Soviet Union—have expressed fears about being the target of possible Russian expansionism. Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia—all members of NATO and the European Union—have been working to forge economic ties with Europe by joining the euro zone while also scrambling to lessen dependence on Russian energy.

Russia has justified its moves in Ukraine as a defense of ethnic Russians and Russian speakers. Moscow has complained about Latvia's alleged mistreatment of ethnic Russians there.

The government in Moscow has approved legal changes that would radically ease the process of obtaining Russian passports for Russian speakers in other former Soviet republics.

President Barack Obama discussed the situation in Ukraine with Baltic leaders in recent days following comments made by Baltic leaders severely critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The U.S. has committed fighter jets in Lithuania to reassure allies.

Latvia's former Minister of Defense, Artis Pabriks, who referred to Mr. Veshnyakov's remarks in a tweet on his Twitter account, told The Wall Street Journal Sunday that Mr. Veshnyakov's offer of social security and pensions was unnecessary, as Russia and Latvia had signed treaties that ensured that each other's citizens would receive their pensions in either country. Mr. Pabriks suggested the Russian diplomat was apparently trying to lure or keep some Latvian residents under Russia's political influence and in the Russian "information sphere."

According to the English-language website of the Pension Fund of the Russian Federation, the average old-age pension in February was 11,400 rubles, or $312.88 a month. In Latvia, the average old-age pension is EUR277, or $384.

Mr. Pabriks said that Mr. Veshnakov's remarks could also be seen as a slap at EU social security and living standards before an audience of poorly informed Russian speakers.

A member of Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma's Unity Party, Mr. Pabriks also said he was worried by Russia's vague promises of aid and support for "compatriots" abroad.

"What do they mean? By language, ethnicity, ancestry?" Mr. Pabriks asked, noting that this concept was being used to justify Russia's intervention in Crimea.

The Russian Ambassador spoke on Latvian radio last Friday, a few days after he said on a Latvian television Russian-language program that Russia wouldn't respond to calls by Russians in Latvia for military intervention if the situation were similar to Ukraine. "Don't fantasize. This wouldn't happen," Mr. Veshnyakov is quoted as saying.

Separately, The Russian Union of Latvia, formerly the For Human Rights in a United Latvia (PCTVL) party, which lost its place in the Latvian parliament in the 2010 elections, has called for a march in support of Crimea as part of Russia Monday in downtown Riga, which is Latvia's capitol.

In a Facebook post, the party, seen as pro-Russian, calls for an afternoon local march from the French Embassy to the German Embassy and culminating at a building housing European Union (EU) offices, called the "EU House."

Offline kylie

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Re: Russia Invades Crimea?
« Reply #126 on: March 11, 2014, 09:47:44 PM »
          The whole designation "non-citizen" has a rather awful ring to it in English and most of them do have some association with Russian culture.  So I could see how this is an attractive yarn for Putin to tug, however dubious his purposes.

          Edit...  Or maybe I spoke too soon about the culture part?  One article said most are "Russophiles," whatever exactly that is supposed to mean.  But this one says they are Russian speakers whose families came "from all over the Soviet Union."  Some could be Tajiks or Kazakhs, etc. (or maybe Chechens! hehe) for what little that clears up.  (Though others would say that well, some of the other territories like Kazakhstan are perhaps organized along much more Russo-centric lines of governance anyway...  But still.)

           I wonder who could steal the population of American Samoa, next.   :P

« Last Edit: March 11, 2014, 09:57:23 PM by kylie »

Offline Zakharra

Re: Russia Invades Crimea?
« Reply #127 on: March 12, 2014, 10:10:12 AM »
  Aren't the people living in Latvia citizens (unless they migrated there after the break up of the USSR?)? If so, it seems very disingenuous for Russia to be calling ethnic Russians non-citizens as if they aren't citizens of Latvia.

Offline kylie

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Re: Russia Invades Crimea?
« Reply #128 on: March 12, 2014, 11:01:31 AM »
Quote
... unless they migrated there after the break up of the USSR

         It's a big group inside the "unless."  They make up almost 300,000 out of 1.8 million total population.  From the Wiki article:  Latvia created this category of "non-citizen" for families that moved from other parts of the USSR, including (most of them actually, or at least most of their parents) while there was still a USSR. 

Quote
These are "citizens of the former USSR (..) who reside in the Republic of Latvia as well as who are in temporary absence and their children who simultaneously comply with the following conditions: 1) on 1 July 1992 they were registered in the territory of Latvia regardless of the status of the living space indicated in the registration of residence, or up to 1 July 1992 their last registered place of residence was in the Republic of Latvia, or it has been determined by a court judgment that they have resided in the territory of Latvia for 10 consecutive years until the referred to date; 2) they are not citizens of Latvia; and 3) they are not and have not been citizens of another state."[1]

The referendum held in October 1998 eliminated the "windows" system, which limited the age groups allowed to naturalize each year. It also gave the right to children of non-citizens born in Latvia after August 21, 1991 to be registered as citizens without naturalisation[16] barring imprisonment or other citizenship.[17] Parents can request citizenship for their children until age 15, after which a child can make the request on their own behalf from age 15 to 17.

And now that I look again, it seems many are ethnic Russians among that category:

Quote
The most recent data of the Population Register, as at January 2014, shows 282,876 non-citizens living in Latvia (13.0% of residents).[11] With respect to Latvia's largest ethnic minorities: 31.7% of ethnic Russians are non-citizens, comprising 65.7% of all non-citizens; 51.9% of Belarusians are non-citizens, comprising 13.6% of the total; while 52.3% of Ukrainians are non-citizens, comprising 9.7% of the total.

           So from what little I've heard so far, I don't see that Putin has been disingenuous about the definition.  He's using the same category name that Latvia itself invented.  Unless there is some rule that Latvia has made for this apparently rather unique situation (I'm not quite clear on whether international law recognizes the category) or some way to argue that these people belong "to Latvia" even though they are not given full rights of citizenship...  Or for that matter, isn't it common practice for countries to make their own rules for admitting new citizens anyway?

             It may very well be that Putin hopes to seize some population from the Baltics, or to create some pretext for another foreign intervention 'in the name of protecting Russian citizens from abuse' etc.  But the whole "non-citizen thing" was a Latvian invention.  It was a way to keep people that the USSR government encouraged to settle there, from having a controlling stake in Latvian politics immediately after the USSR ended.  It seems to me that with Latvia allowing the children to apply for regular citizenship, that should gradually fade out...  But there's some room to question whether it's happening fast enough, or whether the standards for the citizenship test are too strict for others.


Online Neysha

Re: Russia Invades Crimea?
« Reply #129 on: March 12, 2014, 10:45:18 PM »
57% of ethnic Russians are Latvian citizens, but to become a citizen you have to go through a naturalization process which involves testing on knowledge of the Latvian language, as well as Latvian history, constitution and other things. It sounds strange, but not many Russians lived in Latvia prior to the 20th century (with the exception of the "Old Believer" type of Russians who thoroughly intermarried with Baltic ethnic groups by then) and especially after the invasion of 1940 where Latvia was transformed into a SSR and tens of thousands of Russians immigrated to Latvia and were heavily subsidized in various manners, including the Soviet Union building them their own towns. Also during and following World War Two, despite having a population of less then two million people (including Old Believer Russians and Germans for example) almost 300,000 Latvians were deported or expelled from the country. And until 1991, the Latvian culture, most specifically its language, was suppressed by the Soviet authorities as every child was intended to be taught Russian first, and all official paperwork, signage and news in the Latvian SSR was to be Russian.

One of my Estonian friends used to tell me that whenever they spoke Estonian in public, Russians were tell them to stop speaking a subhuman language or to speak a human language. So ultimately, when 1991 came around, you have significant minorities of Russians who refused to speak Latvian or Estonian or what have you mostly out of spite, and to this day, a fair number still do. However it's also important to note many Russian-Latvians also supported Latvian independence as well. Another factor today is that the Russian Federation continues to make a point of stating that they feel the 1940 Invasion and subsequent occupation of Latvia was wholly legitimate, accused the Baltic governments and people of being in collusion with the Nazis (despite the complete lack of resistance to the 1940 Russian invasion or the fact that Soviets had basing rights in the Baltic Republics.... sound familiar? ) and refuse to still call the period between 1940-91 an occupation.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Russia Invades Crimea?
« Reply #130 on: March 13, 2014, 02:41:10 AM »
57% of ethnic Russians are Latvian citizens, but to become a citizen you have to go through a naturalization process which involves testing on knowledge of the Latvian language, as well as Latvian history, constitution and other things. It sounds strange, but not many Russians lived in Latvia prior to the 20th century (with the exception of the "Old Believer" type of Russians who thoroughly intermarried with Baltic ethnic groups by then) and especially after the invasion of 1940 where Latvia was transformed into a SSR and tens of thousands of Russians immigrated to Latvia and were heavily subsidized in various manners, including the Soviet Union building them their own towns. Also during and following World War Two, despite having a population of less then two million people (including Old Believer Russians and Germans for example) almost 300,000 Latvians were deported or expelled from the country. And until 1991, the Latvian culture, most specifically its language, was suppressed by the Soviet authorities as every child was intended to be taught Russian first, and all official paperwork, signage and news in the Latvian SSR was to be Russian.

One of my Estonian friends used to tell me that whenever they spoke Estonian in public, Russians were tell them to stop speaking a subhuman language or to speak a human language. So ultimately, when 1991 came around, you have significant minorities of Russians who refused to speak Latvian or Estonian or what have you mostly out of spite, and to this day, a fair number still do. However it's also important to note many Russian-Latvians also supported Latvian independence as well. Another factor today is that the Russian Federation continues to make a point of stating that they feel the 1940 Invasion and subsequent occupation of Latvia was wholly legitimate, accused the Baltic governments and people of being in collusion with the Nazis (despite the complete lack of resistance to the 1940 Russian invasion or the fact that Soviets had basing rights in the Baltic Republics.... sound familiar? ) and refuse to still call the period between 1940-91 an occupation.

*nods* As late as in the fall of 1989, the then foreign secretary of Sweden (social democrat) said the Baltic Soviet republics were definitely not under any occupation, and hinted that they had not even been occupied at the end of WW2 - a very embarrassing statement (and one that was justly criticized at home).

« Last Edit: March 13, 2014, 02:49:29 AM by gaggedLouise »

Offline kylie

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Re: Russia Invades Crimea?
« Reply #131 on: March 13, 2014, 10:13:14 AM »
          I still don't see that there's really anything to stop Putin from making it easier for them to become Russian citizens.

          Now, using that as an excuse for another invasion would be another matter... 

           ...  If anyone west of Poland wants to start defending territory, at least.  But I'm somewhat doubtful if they would even over the Baltics, to be honest.  I've always thought they're not a big place and unless people were putting in some ground troops early a la South Korea, there isn't a lot of depth to actually defend.  Unless they have a lot of highlands along the coast I'm not aware of...?  (I see a little more green there on the maps, glancing quick.)  But even Korea needed preparation to hold what they've got better, and they have plenty of hills.   
« Last Edit: March 13, 2014, 10:14:40 AM by kylie »

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Russia Invades Crimea?
« Reply #132 on: March 13, 2014, 10:35:34 AM »
It's true the Baltic republics don't have a lot of natural defences to help - but nor have the western parts of Russia, except for size and the cold of winter (which used to be effective in the days before aircraft and supersonic missiles, but maybe less so in the modern age). Sure, "the Baltics" could technically be overrun in a week if it was only about conventional invasion warfare games. But since they are Nato members, and have a fairly obvious strategic weight both for Russia and for a few western countries, an invasion would come at a very steep price for Russia. It would really only make sense if Putin (or his successor) were prepared to pull up the drawbridges to the western world outside of Russia, try to make Russia proser on self-sufficience. And that really wouldn't be workable these days. Russia can't feed its own population on its own produce, and it is anything but self-sufficent on such things as electronics, modern vehicles or -- science and education. The idea of "Putinism in one country, against the world" would not be near viable.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2014, 10:36:47 AM by gaggedLouise »

Online TheGlyphstone

Re: Russia Invades Crimea?
« Reply #133 on: March 13, 2014, 01:13:12 PM »
Humor break! :D

If the EU and US go ahead with imposing sanctions against Russia for the invasion of Crimea, would you say that they are employing...

Putinive measures?

Offline Oniya

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Re: Russia Invades Crimea?
« Reply #134 on: March 13, 2014, 01:15:57 PM »
I'd say someone was Stalin for time.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Russia Invades Crimea?
« Reply #135 on: March 13, 2014, 04:15:00 PM »
Mr. Putin needs to show more Leninency.

Online ShadowFox89

Re: Russia Invades Crimea?
« Reply #136 on: March 13, 2014, 04:33:51 PM »
 That pun. Burns.

Online TheGlyphstone

Re: Russia Invades Crimea?
« Reply #137 on: March 13, 2014, 07:31:33 PM »
Making puns this bad should be Crimea-nal.

Offline kylie

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Re: Russia Invades Crimea?
« Reply #138 on: March 14, 2014, 09:50:20 AM »
          Some of these might be amusing.

Online Neysha

Re: Russia Invades Crimea?
« Reply #139 on: March 14, 2014, 02:12:13 PM »
Hmmmm... yes there is a lot of dark humor in relation to these events... even graphically speaking.








Offline kylie

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Re: Russia Invades Crimea?
« Reply #140 on: March 14, 2014, 02:54:15 PM »
         Not really a pun, but I rather liked this one.  (Putin the Tank v. protesters was kind of neat, too.)




Offline kylie

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Re: Russia Invades Crimea?
« Reply #141 on: March 14, 2014, 03:20:56 PM »
          So...  Who thinks Russia will go for another chunk of Ukraine already? 

Quote

Donetsk, a largely Russian-speaking city in eastern Ukraine where many residents have close ties to Russia, declared a day of mourning on Friday after one person was killed and more than two dozen injured in a mass fight. The city has been the site of repeated standoffs between pro- and anti-Russian demonstrators.

On Friday, protesters from a pro-Russian demonstration fought with those from a rally "for a united Ukraine", resulting in the death of a 22-year-old man and injuries to a reported 26 people. Other reports said 28 people had been injured and that the young man had been stabbed to death.

Ukrainian media said pro-Russian protesters had attacked first, but the foreign ministry and Russian media reported that armed men had attacked peaceful pro-Russian demonstrators. In a statement released in response to the clashes, the foreign ministry said Kiev was not in control of the situation in the country and had failed to guarantee demonstrators' safety.

"Radical far-right gangs armed with traumatic firearms and clubs, who began to arrive in the city yesterday from other regions of the country, attacked peaceful protesters who came out on the streets to express their attitude towards the destructive position of the people who call themselves the Ukrainian government," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The statement also hinted that Russian forces could intervene in eastern Ukraine to protect Russians there, the same justification used for sending troops to occupy key facilities in Crimea.

"Russia recognises its responsibility for the lives of countrymen and fellow citizens in Ukraine and reserves the right to take people under its protection," it said.


Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Russia Invades Crimea?
« Reply #142 on: March 14, 2014, 04:39:17 PM »
         Not really a pun, but I rather liked this one.  (Putin the Tank v. protesters was kind of neat, too.)



That one's my favourite too.  ;)

Don't do the Crime-ah, if you can't do the time!  (might sound like we're talking of a new dance craze)


Offline Kythia

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Re: Russia Invades Crimea?
« Reply #143 on: March 14, 2014, 06:11:53 PM »

Offline RazgrizAce

Re: Russia Invades Crimea?
« Reply #144 on: March 16, 2014, 02:41:31 AM »
          So...  Who thinks Russia will go for another chunk of Ukraine already?

I wouldn't be surprise if they did since the Ukraine military would just be a mere speed bump to the Russian military. So how much of Ukraine do you think it will take before NATO would take a strong military stance?

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Russia Invades Crimea?
« Reply #145 on: March 16, 2014, 04:06:50 AM »
In today's referendum, the option "Crimea remains part of Ukraine as a semi-autonomous republic under the conditions and treaties that have been in force up to present" isn't even on the ballot, plus the guarantees for keeping your vote secret and for no rigged voting look, well, flimsy. No wonder many non-Russians are going to boycott the whole thing.

I wouldn't be surprise if they did since the Ukraine military would just be a mere speed bump to the Russian military. So how much of Ukraine do you think it will take before NATO would take a strong military stance?

*nods and looks at the map*. The Donetsk region is most likely next.

Offline kylie

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Re: Russia Invades Crimea?
« Reply #146 on: March 16, 2014, 08:52:05 AM »
        I have to admit, even from the 1990's, I often wondered what Nato would really do if they accepted the Baltics and those were invaded.  It always felt like a symbolic, 'Well we'd look weak if we didn't include them after all this' sort of move.  But actually trying to hold the place?  Not without a whole lot of people and engineering, I imagine.

       And of course Poland is infamously flat for the most part; it's been tromped across so many times historically by the bigger neighboring armies. 

       Unless one is going to put in ground troops as a screen to say "We're committed and we mean it", every new line is just another rhetorical or economic tripwire.  Nato could ultimately bomb if it meant to play attrition or be punitive, but seriously getting down to it with Russia would take lots of assets and guesswork about ultimate intentions.  (Would Putin really go nuclear over Ukraine, or part of it?  I rather doubt it, but then I don't know the area all that well.)

        Then if Europe is actually going to take on some expenses for real sanctions, there is the question of how willing Russia is sweat out market isolation over a longer haul.  If in fact the US, even, were willing to dish that out.

Offline lovelylilT

Re: Russia Invades Crimea?
« Reply #147 on: March 16, 2014, 09:04:36 AM »
The Donetsk region is most likely next.

Many in eastern Oblasts want rejoining Russia, like Crim.

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Re: Russia Invades Crimea?
« Reply #148 on: March 16, 2014, 09:46:59 AM »
Many in eastern Oblasts want rejoining Russia, like Crim.

Yes, and even if there's strong sympathy for Ukraine within Europe, I figure many EU member governments are not keen on getting Ukraine on board for the union, in the sense of opening up a fast-track path to membership. Or any kind of guarantee of membership. That would be like buying a ramshackled old house with a lot of damp, rot and a reputation of serving as a shelter for criminals and ugly insects. Inevitably the EU would have to pump lots of money and credits into a recruited Ukraine to try to stave off crime, corruption and unsavoury political extremism - and that's just on top of the military costs. It would bring all sorts of things to the surface in discussions within the EU and its member states,  things that they really don't want to have to discuss and dig through over the next few years.

Offline lovelylilT

Re: Russia Invades Crimea?
« Reply #149 on: March 16, 2014, 10:58:47 AM »
EU and United States don't support Ukraine in any way that means something. They say pretty words and offer some money but they don't really care about Ukraine. It's very disappointing.