This video, by an Eastern European, is very helpful. Also very cruel: at the end, it’s building up to a hopeful, optimistic conclusion, until suddenly…Russia is massing troops on the Ukrainian border. It’s the worst kind of cliff-hanger ending, but that’s where we’re at now.
I have a coworker from the Ukraine and still has family there. He tells me that Russia isn’t going to do anything because Ukraine is in such bad shape it’s not worth it for Russia to invade.
The Ukrainians have been arming and training civilians for resistance for a while now in preparation for a Russian invasion. If Russia does invade, they’ll be in a similar position to when they invaded Afghanistan. Or like the USA was in when we invaded Iraq.
@alverant – from what I understand Russia outside of St. Petersburg, Moscow and a couple of other cities is about as bad, if not worse,
The thing is there is a very long history of Russia abusing Ukraine. The obvious is the Holodomor of the 1930’s where between 4 and 7 million were starved to death. IN the 19th century millions left the Ukraine because of brutal Tsarist oppression.
So yeah Ukraine has a history with Russia.
FYI, “The Ukraine” is archaic phrasing that emphasizes that Ukraine is to be viewed in relationship to Russia. Please try to drop that habit.
Ronald Couch says
With the way that the US Gov. and major media are slogging this, I have strong memories of Iraq, Libya, Syria, and of course the ever famous Vietnam. But this time I am sure it is different.
Putin probably threatened invasion to distract attention from problems at home and perhaps to push up[ the price of gas. He might invade to save face- imagine the international cackles if he backs down. Arse.
However, Ukraine didn’t help at all- after independence, they played the nationalist card against the very large Russian minority living in the country- refusing them the right to learn Russian in schools, shutting down Russian language broadcasting etc. Thirty years on, a dirty war (ongoing) is the result.
The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs) says
Yeah, I’m sure our media aren’t leaving anything out of this story. It would be terrible if the US once again stupidly backed a horrifying government which later turned out to be a ridiculous mistake. Think about how terrible it would be if not only did the US’ enemies explicitly say they were going to bait us into overspending on the military until our country collapses but if we consistently fell for it.
@7 The Vicar
Was a battalion of voluntary soldiers with Nazi insignia really the worst you could find? You’d almost certainly get that if Russia were to invade, say, Poland, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t protect the sovereignty of an independent democracy. Did you miss the part where the current Ukrainian president is a Russian speaking Jew? Perhaps the Ukrainian government aren’t quite the ethnonationalist fascists the Kremlin wants you to think.
Not that I think military sabre rattling is the solution to this crisis by the way.
John Morales says
Definite article Vicar is kinda amusing, sometimes. Ludicrous, but amusing.
The idea of anyone pushing the USA to overspend on “the” [sic] military is akin to the idea of someone baiting a drunkard to drink. Or a hobbyist to engage in their hobby.
SC (Salty Current) says
I do hope that no one makes a mistake in this game of international brinkmanship we are all like it or not engaged in leading to the infinite catastrophe .
It simply can no longer be a thing we can tolerate countries invading their neighbors because of the emotional and political needs of their would be kings!
every country deserves the right to self determination just as every person has that same right most often expressed in the ballot
The USA has been claiming an “imminent” invasion for 3 or 4 months now but those pesky Russians are just not cooperating. As Alverant #1 says, Ukraine is too poor to be anything but a drag on the economy. Even President Zelensky has been telling President Briden there is no imminent threat.
However, all bets are off if the Donbass gets invaded by those neo-Nazi “militia units” like the Azov Brigade or Right Sector. I’ve seen estimates of 600,000 or 700,000 Russian citizens living it the two breakaway states and Russia would do something to protect its citizens.
Can in endorse and reiterate 4 above? My wife is of Ukrainian descent and her relatives fought for the country’s independence. The ‘the’ implies that it is a principality another country rather than a sovereign country. The best way to get on my wife’s bad side is by using ‘the’ for Ukraine.
“With the way that the US Gov. and major media are slogging this, I have strong memories of Iraq, Libya, Syria, and of course the ever famous Vietnam. But this time I am sure it is different.”
Yes, this time it’s more like Kuwait.
The current (coup) government of Ukraine would like to conduct a genocide of ethnic Russians in the autonomous areas that do not recognize the government. Russia has pledged to support the ethnic Russians in those autonomous zones. Adam something (the YouTuber who made that video) has good content about infrastructure debunking, but in the political realm they are solidly out of their depth.
How so? In my language all contries that are grammatically feminine take the definite arcticle by default, such as Switzerland, Turkey, Czechia and Ukraine. How does this imply it’s only a territory?
You mean one brutal dictatorship threatened by another, even more brutal dictatorship?
Whatever one’s view of the overthrow of Yanukovych in 2014 (and it can reasonably be described as a coup), the current President and Parliament of Ukraine were elected in 2019. AFAIK, no credible evidence has emerged that these elections were fraudulent. If you have such evidence, I suggest you produce it. Of course, electors living in Crimea and the areas in east Ukraine under the control of anti-government forces could not vote, but that’s not the fault of the Kyiv authorities. similarly, if you have credible evidence that the government of Ukraine “would like to conduct a genocide of ethnic Russians in the autonomous areas that do not recognize the government”, produce it. I’m betting you haven’t, and so won’t.
Adam Something has done a new video “Assessing The Russian Invasion Threat” where he lays out the possibilities. I think he makes a lot of good points.
Full disclosure- I haven’t been to Kyiv for almost a decade, and am no longer married to the woman who taught me the most about Ukraine. That being said, I still know something about the situation.
@ Christoph #2- don’t count on it. A lot of Ukrainians hate the Russians, but a lot of them also identify as Russian. It’s far easier to get media and publications and media in Russian than it is in Ukrainian, and if you hear people talking in Kyiv, it’s just as likely to be in Russian than in Ukrainian.
Ironically, the pro-Russian governments that Ukraine has had have done more to promote the Ukrainian language than the pro-West governments (at least until the Crimean invasion). The pro-Russian governments couldn’t afford to alienate the nationalists, and the pro-West governments couldn’t afford to alienate the russophiles.
@bassmike #13- using the term “Malorussia” or “Red Russia” would be an even better way to annoy her. But I don’t recommend it.
@Aaron #15. Utter crap. That would be like Canada trying to have a genocide of all the Canadians who speak American-style English.
@lasius #16- different languages have different connotations for similar phrases. We’re talking about the connotations in English and the use of the definitive article in English. The connotations in your language are not relevant. Just like the Spanish word for “black” has connotations in American English that it doesn’t have in Spanish. I can assure you that Ukrainians would never use a definitive article in the name of their country, but that doesn’t force you to not use it in your language.
Ukraine — Russia
@ 19 NitricAcid
I must say that just because I would say “la France’ in French I do say “France” in English. Perhaps Ukrainia is better.
there is another comparison one could make with regard to Russia and Ukraine. I would suggest for many the comparison may be much more like England and Ireland, they were autonomous for a long time unfortunately that is not what is on offer today. They deserve to be an independent country regardless of anything else.
Well, duh. Definite articles do not exist in Russian or Ukrainian. But they would use definite articles if they spoke French or German, because the grammar of those languages demands it. To be honest I see no connotation of the definite article in English either. For example “the Gambia” doesn’t make me think that it’s not supposed to be an independent country.
Rob Grigjanis says
In English, the definite article certainly can carry the connotation of territory or region of a larger area or country. The North [of England], the Lowlands [of Scotland], the Midwest [of the US].
Countries whose official English names have (or had) the definite article are (AFAIK) either plurals (the Netherlands), named for a geographical feature (the Gambia [River], the Lebanon [Mountains]), or whose names include form of government (the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic).
Anyway, Ukrainians know what the connotations of ‘the’ are to them, and that’s all that matters.
@ 23 lasius
Or the famous ” In Russian language definite article does not exist” .
Ukraine is one of a few English country names traditionally used with the definite article. Use of the article was standard before Ukrainian independence, but has decreased since the 1990s. For example, the Associated Press dropped the article “the” on 3 December 1991. Use of the definite article was seen as suggesting a non-sovereign territory, much like “the Lebanon” referred to the region before its independence, or as one might refer to “the Midwest”.
In 1993 the Ukrainian government explicitly requested that, in linguistic agreement with countries and not regions, the Russian preposition в be used instead of на, and in 2012 the Ukrainian embassy in London further clarified that it is politically and grammatically incorrect to use a definite article with “Ukraine”. Use of “Ukraine” without the definite article has since become commonplace in journalism and diplomacy (other examples are the style guides of The Guardian and The Times).
I hope that explains it!
KC@17: The current government does not recognize Donetsk and Luhansk as autonomous territories and has been actively conducting operations to bring them back under control. It has an army battalion that literally uses Nazi symbols (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azov_Battalion) who have been conducting war crimes in the region without an official disavowal by the government of Ukraine (who, in fact, officially incorporated it into their national guard). There is no evidence whatsoever that Russia’s involvement is imperial in nature, and plenty that it is protective, but even if it weren’t, our involvement (through pushing Ukraine to join NATO) represents both a promise broken with the original establishment of NATO (that we wouldn’t “expand its influence”) and a massively aggressive posture to Russia, neither of which is justifiable in any way.
Or we can look at it another way: Russia is not there to brutally sack the country and put it under its thumb, but even if it were, we would have no business getting involved, because we have no historical record of meddling with other countries’ affairs and making them better. Fucking 20 years of blowing brown people up in Afghanistan and Iraq, alone, should be plenty, and that’s only scratching the surface of how our imperial involvement on the world stage has killed millions and immiserated many times that, and will again if we let Biden lead us into confrontation over Ukraine.
Rob Grigjanis says
Aaron @27: Can you provide some evidence that ‘we’ are pushing Ukraine to join NATO?
Are you sure about that ‘promise’? Read this;
It’s a good job Russia has no history of meddling with other countries’ affairs!
Rob @28: It’s not controversial to note that the Kiev government from 2014 was heavily resisted by large segments of the populations in the North and East (Wikipedia, not a pro-Russian source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolution_of_Dignity). The desire of the Kiev government to join NATO was it’s desire, from a rabidly anti-Russian government, overweighted against the desire of those regions that resisted it. It’s more controversial, but still enough to raise eyebrows, to point at the Maidan Revolution as being at least partially instigated by the US (https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2018/06/04/how-and-why-the-u-s-government-perpetrated-the-2014-coup-in-ukraine/). That is in part the implication of the US as “pressuring” Ukraine (not just its Kiev government) to join NATO.
How delightful that we didn’t actually make a promise not to encroach around Russia’s sovereign territory before we did it. That makes everything better. /s
Yes, and my construction was precise: What Russia will do is not relevant to what we should do, because our involvement will not make whatever result that comes from it better. Believing otherwise in the context of Korea, Vietnam, Chile, Nicaragua, Iraq, Afghanistan (twice!), et cetera ad nauseum, is lunatic.
John Morales says
Well, that’s really silly.
So, you think any involvement whatsoever will not improve any result whatsoever.
Basically, you’re saying “do nothing”, and that, should something be done, whatever Russia is doing or will do is not relevant.
(Hopefully, you’re getting paid for this, otherwise you’re merely being, um, usefully idiotic)
Rob Grigjanis says
So what? In 2019, Zelenskyy won in a landslide. That’s why the psychopath Putin wants him dead.
That construction manages to be both a weaselly and profoundly creepy way of describing the aspirations of the Baltic states and Ukraine. No doubt you’d include a democratic Belarus in this ‘encroachment’ if Lukashenko hadn’t stolen the election.
My parents were from Latvia. Spare me the bullshit about encroachment.
I am aware of the existence of Nazis within Ukraine (some here will remember that I made multiple comments on it back in 2014), but I notice that you have supplied no evidence that the Ukranian government wants to carry out genocide. That’s because you don’t have any. Have you noticed that the freely elected President of Ukraine is a Russian-speaking Jew?
How do you feel about Putin proving you a barefaced liar so promptly?