It was only in 1954, that Crimea was declared to be part of the Soviet Republic of Ukraine. The reason for this transfer, which took place in the direct aftermath of the death of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, is unknown. Some speculate that it was a favor to Ukrainian Communist Party leaders made as part of some kind of back room bureaucratic deal. Transferring Crimea certainly presented leaders of Soviet Ukraine with certain advantages, as Crimea was then, as it is now, a vitally important location.
Regardless, when the collapse of the Soviet Union occurred, the treaties signed afterward declared that Russia could keep its naval base and military presence in the region. Since 1991, the Russian Federation has had thousands of soldiers and sailors in Crimea, as is their right under the treaty. Until recent events, the Ukrainian government has respected Russia’s right to do so.
Everything changed when in the early months of 2015, the elected Ukrainian government led by Victor Yanukovitch, was overthrown. The “Euro-Maiden” movement, led by violent Ultra-Nationalists and admirers of Adolph Hitler seized power in Kiev. The forces of rampant Anti-Russian extremism, which have support only in the western parts of the country, were suddenly in control of the Ukrainian government.
The two major political parties of Eastern Ukraine, the Communist Party and the Party of Regions, were disbanded. The new regime cheered on violent mobs that destroyed monuments to Anti-Nazi resistance fighters and burned books from the offices of leftist parties.
The United States poured billions of dollars into the Euro-Maiden movement, and after the elected government was deposed by violent means, Ukraine signed on to IMF loans and joined the European Union. Ukraine has since moved into the orbit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and the US military has escalated its presence throughout Eastern Europe.
These circumstances have put Russia under great pressure. Though Russian leaders have often expressed a desire for peace and cooperation with the United States, these aspirations are clearly not mutual. Provocations from the United States and the Western European powers against Russia have escalated over the past decade.
But it wasn’t just the Russian government that felt threatened by the actions of the United States and the Kiev junta. Within the Crimean Oblast itself, the population is largely Russian speaking. The leaders of the Kiev government outlawed the teaching of their language, and mandated that a hostile, Anti-Soviet and Anti-Russian narrative be imposed on school children. With images of violent anti-Russian mobs on their TV screens, many of those living in Crimea became very frightened about the future.
A vote was taken, and the overwhelming majority of the people of Crimea voted to join with the Russian Federation. Crimea’s secession from Ukraine, and joining of the Russian Federation was mandated by the actions of the United States and the NATO powers. With a hostile, anti-Russian government forcibly imposed on Ukraine, Russia faced military threat, as did the populations of Crimea and East Ukraine.
Distortions and Provocations Continue
A year later, western media recalls these events very differently. They present a story of “Russian Expansion.” They tell of Russia “invading Crimea.” Hillary Clinton even compared Vladimir Putin to Adolph Hitler, likening the democratic process of Crimea’s secession and re-unification with Russia to the Blitzkrieg terror of the Third Reich.
The transfer of Crimea from Ukraine to the Russian Federation was indeed the result of aggression, but not aggression from Russia. The Russian military presence in Crimea was not a new development, with thousands of Russian military personnel in Crimea since 1991.
The campaign of violence that deposed the elected Ukrainian government, funded with billions of dollars by Non-Profits, NGOs, and other foundations based in the United States was aggression by any definition. NATO’s continued march eastward, along with the media campaign demonizing Russia’s leaders, have all created a hostile atmosphere which is conducive to violence.
These events have not stopped, a year after Crimea’s secession. In Eastern Ukraine, the peoples have been forced to take up arms in order to assert their basic humanity against the Kiev regime. The Kiev government bombs civilian areas, and subjects parts of the region to a state of military siege.
While the Ukrainian government wages war against a large section of its own population, western media joins them in a continuing chorus of anti-Russian provocations. The Kiev government sounds the alarm bells of a “Russian invasion” almost every few weeks, claiming Russian tanks are pouring over the border. These claims never stand up to reality, but get plenty of promotion in the press.
Most recently, after the assassination of Boris Nemstov, the western press declared that Putin was to blame. No evidence has been provided for such claims. Why would Putin do something to reinforce the tyrannical image constantly played up in western media? Why would an ex-KGB man be so sloppy as to gun down an opponent in such a highly public place?
Yet, with no evidence at all, as is the case with all the anti-Russia provocations, the juggernaut of western media rolls onward while US troops pour into Poland.
There are clearly some very powerful forces in the United States and Britain that are determined to intensify the tension between the United States and Russia. They will not allow the basic desire of humanity for peace, or actual facts about global events to get in their way.
Caleb Maupin is a political analyst and activist based in New York. He studied political science at Baldwin-Wallace College and was inspired and involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.